Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa – one of the top programs in Asia

Taiwan is the 2nd country that launched the Entrepreneur Visa program in Asia. Currently, countries like Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand implemented to attract talented global entrepreneurs to experiment, research, and create a company structure to create job opportunities and thrive in Asia.

1.0 What is Entrepreneurship Visa (Startup Visa)? Why is it important for countries to create such policy?

This is a special visa created by different governments to support the new form of entrepreneurs, especially the startup founders, who first seek for market validation first before setting up the company. The ability for entrepreneurs to test out in new markets with the ability to operate without obligation to setup company is critical for a startup company with the need to move fast with Asia market expansion.

Traditionally in most countries, a special investment/operator visa is issued only at or after the company is set up or the investment fund is transferred. This traditional approach becomes a challenge for countries embarking on the path of digital transformation with the objective of creating an international startup ecosystem where global and local entrepreneurs can co-create and set a new definition of future of employment and create job opportunities.

2.0 What is Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa? What are the benefits of obtaining one?

The Taiwan Entrepreneur Visa program, also known as Taiwan startup visa, is designed for the entrepreneurs who would like to start a business or conduct business feasibility research in Taiwan with the need to either stay longer or need a residency card to execute the operation of researching and prototyping testing in Taiwan.  

For detail explanation, please refer to https://visaguide.world/asia/taiwan-visa/entrepreneur/

2A.1-year residency 

After a successful application, the applicant will receive a 1-year duration of residency with an official Taiwan ARC (i.e. Alien Resident Card). The card not only allows multiple-entries in and out of the country but allows entrepreneurs to enjoy other benefits. (please see below)

The ARC card has the following items:

  • name: may have both in English and Chinese
  • National ID
  • type: entrepreneurship
  • entry: multiple


2B. No investment is required

For 1st time applicant, the program does not require the entrepreneur: 

  • To invest before the application
  • To invest or open the company during the 1-year duration.
    • However, if there is a desire to use Entrepreneur Visa status as one of the few possible ways to renew the ARC after 1-year expiration, then creating a company is required. (note: please see the section below for renewing steps).

2C Additional possibilities 

  • Enjoy the local banking service with the ability to open a bank account as personal or as a company account. Some banks have a debit card with credit card like function  
  • Enjoy the Ubike bicycle rental service 
  • Travel like the local Taiwan people at the airport with fast track gate counter 
  • Enroll in the Taiwan National Health Insurance program (健保/medical care) as an individual with proof of living in Taiwan for more than 6-months with less than 30 days leaving outside of Taiwan.  

 

3.0 Is it easy to apply? What are the prerequisites or qualifications? How long does it take? 

  • pre-prerequisite: an applicant who meets one of the following criteria may apply for Taiwan Entrepreneurship Visa, without need to invest prior.  (note: investment is required for 2nd year renew).
  • how to apply:
    • outside of Taiwan
      • step #1: Apply via Taiwan foreign affairs office
      • step #2: Enter to Taiwan
      • step #3: Apply ARC (Alien Resident Card) at the immigration office.
      • note: during COVID-19, please check the latest updates of the Taiwan government.
    • inside of Taiwan (what iiiNNO is very experienced with application duration of 7 weeks)
      • step #1: Hand-in application to BOCA for qualification approval
        • documents: online visa application print-out, 2 photos, photocopy of passport, MOEAIC form, supporting documents. (note: if applying via incubation/accelerator criteria, please submit a copy of incubation/accelerator contract)
        • duration: 12 to 18 calendar days
        • fee: N/A
        • government agency: BOCA (Bureau Of Consular Affairs) https://www.boca.gov.tw/mp-2.html
      • step #2: Hand-in passport to BOCA
        • document: receipt of step 1, official passport
        • duration: 8 working days (normal process for regular VISA fee) or 5 working days (expedited process with additional VISA fee)
        • fee: Taiwan VISA fee (varies depending on countries)
        • government agency: BOCA (Bureau Of Consular Affairs) https://www.boca.gov.tw/mp-2.html
      • step #3: File for 1-year residence for ARC (Alien Residence Card) application.
        • document: ARC application form, 1 photo, photocopy of the lease, photocopy of passport (note: the lease proves that the applicant has a location to stay more with a duration at least 1 year)
        • duration: 12~16 calendar days
        • fee: 1000NT
        • government agency: NIA (National Immigration Agency) https://www.immigration.gov.tw/5475

4.0 What are the key steps? What preparation do need for each of the steps? 

  • Step #1: Choose which of the criterion/qualification criterion the entrepreneur will apply under
    • Summary of qualification criterion (please refer to the official document below)
      1. The applicant received an investment of at least 2 million NT from VC, a fundraising platform, and Taiwan NDF.
      2. The applicant enrolled in a government-approved incubator or world top-tier international accelerator.
      3. The applicant is awarded a patent.
      4. The applicant won the recognized competition
      5. The applicant invests at least 1 million NT into a Taiwan company whose innovation capability is approved by the government for innovation.
      6. The applicant has ever been shortlisted or awarded in significant domestic or foreign film festivals.
      7. The applicant receives subsidy/grant from Taiwan central or local government
    • Official document from Taiwan government website (MOEAIC)
  • Step #2: If apply under the criterion of enrollment of an approved incubation/accelerator
  • Step #3: Proceed with the application process. (note: please see above for the summary of the application process, and decide if will apply outside or inside of Taiwan).

 

5.0 Why applying via an incubator/accelerator is a better choice? Why applying via iiiNNO? 

  • Ease of criterion
    • Unless the applicants have already received a patent, an award from an approved global competition list, fundraised over 2 million, investment to a Taiwan company which approved by the government, winning a film festival award, receiving a Taiwan government grant/subsidy, the criterion of enrollment to a Taiwan government-approved seems to be a feasible one which applicant can proceed.
  • iiiNNO experience
    • iiiNNO has collaborated with more than a dozen entrepreneurs (France/Italy/Spain/Sweeden/US/UK) and assists with glove-service to accompany the applicant throughout the entire process, instead of leaving the applicant to proceed on-their-own (which may result from rejection/longer process time)
  • iiiNNO Glove-Service
    • Not only we issue the required documents for applying for the Entrepreneur Visa, but we accompany the applicants during the critical steps to the government agencies together to ensure the application is filed correctly and efficiently.
  • iiiNNO credibility and good standing government relationship
  • Invitation to interview with SMEA’s deputy general director, Betty Hu, and host of Radio Taiwan International, Valentin Floquet.
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. (left-far) Pei-Ti, Hu – Deputy General Director of SMEA, (right-front) Valentin Floquet, Host of Radio (left-front) David Kuo, CEO of iiiNNO, (center-far) Valentin Floquet, Host of Radio, (left-front)  Pei-Ti, Hu – Deputy General Director of SMEA,

 

6.0 Collaboration of Taiwan government ministries and agencies

Program Owner:

Entrepreneur Visa Application Submission: 

ARC Submission & Approval (1st-year application + 2 years extension flexibility for entrepreneurship visa residency benefit)

Program Regulation and Incubator Approval

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