This article analyzes the most popular options available for foreign nationals seeking to relocate to Taiwan with the ultimate goal of obtaining either citizenship or permanent residence.

Traditional Route

It is possible for a foreign national to secure an Alien Resident Certificate (“ARC”) in Taiwan through (i) marriage, (ii) employment, or (iii) as a student. These options are fairly straightforward. Foreign nationals who qualify often obtain their ARCs through their spouse/school/employer, so this option is not discussed in this article.

HK/Macau Resident Investor Immigration

Under Taiwan Law, qualified Hong Kong/Macau residents may obtain a Taiwan passport and ID Card without renouncing their Hong Kong/Macau status by investing at least NTD 6 million (~USD200,000) into a new or existing Taiwanese company, and meeting certain employment creation and residency requirements.

Foreigner Investor Visa

Individuals deemed “foreigners” under Taiwan law may obtain residence by investing NTD 6 million into a new or existing Taiwanese company. This can be converted into permanent residence after 5 years, or citizenship by meeting certain requirements.

Entrepreneur Visa

This visa allows the recipient to reside in Taiwan for one year to set up a business. The minimum investment is NTD 2 million, and funds must be received from venture capital, angel investors or other start-up funding platforms.

Plum Blossom Card (“PBC”) – Company Investment

A foreigner, having invested NTD 15 million into a for-profit Taiwanese company, and having created five or more jobs for ROC nationals over a period of three years, is eligible for a PBC (i.e. permanent residence). The individual need not reside in Taiwan during the three-year period.

PBC – Investment – Government Bonds

Theoretically, a foreign individual may spend NTD 30 million on Taiwanese government bonds to qualify. However, the Financial Securities Commission stipulates that foreign nationals are only allowed to invest 30% of total funds wired to Taiwan in Taiwanese government bonds. Therefore, the applicant must invest a total of NTD 100 million to meet stated investment requirements, invest NTD 30 million in government bonds and the remaining 70 million in other securities. It is also difficult to find a bank willing to work with a non-resident investor.

PBC – Foreign Senior Professional:

Senior foreign professionals with key skills in emerging industries, research and development experience, or scientific/industrial capabilities of benefit to Taiwan’s economy may be eligible for a Plum Blossom Card. Outstanding academic achievements, international recognition for accomplishments or success in an international athletic competition may also help a foreign national qualify.

PBC – Exceptional Contribution

Individuals who have made contributions to Taiwan in fields such as culture, human rights advocacy, the arts, medicine or the economy may be eligible. This also includes individuals who have received awards from a government agency or international organization.

Employment Gold Card

The Taiwan Employment Gold Card is part of a wider government initiative to attract more highly-skilled foreign talent to Taiwan. The Taiwan government has identified several key areas which are deemed of importance to the economy, within which qualified foreigners can apply for the Gold Card: science & technology, economy, finance, education, culture & the arts, sports, law, and architectural design.

Comparison Table

HK/Macau Resident Investor ImmigrationForeigner Investor VisaEntrepreneur VisaPBC – Investment – CompanyPBC – Investment – Gov. BondsPBC – Foreign Senior ProfessionalPBC – Exceptional ContributionEmployment Gold Card
Available toHK/Macau Residents

Spouse and children under 20

Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

HK/Macau Residents or Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

HK/Macau Residents or Foreigners

Spouse and children under 20

BenefitsResidence (ARC)

Permanent Residence (APRC)

Citizenship

Residence (ARC)

Permanent Residence (APRC)

Residence (ARC)

Work Permit

Residence (ARC)

Permanent Residence (APRC)

Residence (ARC)

Permanent Residence (APRC)

Immediate Permanent Residence (APRC)Immediate Permanent Residence (APRC)Residence (ARC)

Open Work Permit

EligibilityMinimum Investment

Job Creation

Residency Requirement

Minimum Investment

Must be appointed director

Minimum Investment

Job Creation

Funded by investors

Minimum Investment

Job Creation

Minimum InvestmentExperience in a “key industry”Click for detailsClick for details
Minimum Investment RequirementNTD 6MNTD 6MNTD 2MNTD 15MNTD30M in government bonds, NTD100M totalN/AN/AN/A
Required Investment TypeNew or existing companyNew or existing companyNew companyNew or existing companyGovernment bondsN/AN/AN/A
Job Creation Requirement2 full time jobs for Taiwan nationals for 3 yearsN/AEmploying at least 3 Taiwan nationals qualifies for extension but it is not required as there are other criteria (revenue, expenses, etc.)5 full time jobs for Taiwan nationals for 3 yearsN/AN/AN/AN/A
Minimum Residency Requirements330 days in a year to qualify for citizenship

OR

270 days for 2 consecutive years to qualify for citizenship

N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Required Period to Hold Investment~3 – 4 years (until citizenship is “confirmed”)~5-6 years (until APRC is obtained)~5-6 years (until APRC is obtained)~3-4 years (until PBC/APRC is obtained)~3-4 years (until PBC/APRC is obtained)N/AN/AN/A
Time to Residence (ARC)ImmediateImmediateImmediateTo reside in Taiwan during 3-year period, applicant would have to apply for Foreigner Investor Visa.N/A (Immediate APRC)N/A (Immediate APRC)N/A (Immediate APRC)Immediate
Able to  work in Taiwan?Yes, either at invested company or at different company

Needs to apply for work permit

Yes, either at invested company or at different company

Needs to apply for work permit

Yes, only at invested companyYes, either at invested company or at different company

Needs to apply for work permit

Yes

Needs to apply for work permit

YesYesYes

No work permit application required

Time to Permanent Residence (APRC)~1 or 2 years depending on residency requirement chosen5 years (assuming residence over 183 days for 5 consecutive years)5 years (assuming residence over 183 days for 5 consecutive years)3 years3 yearsImmediateImmediate5 years (assuming residence over 183 days for 5 consecutive years)
APRC Maintenance RequirementsN/AReside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)Reside over 183 days every year (can apply for exemption)
Time to CitizenshipGranted after 1 or 2 years

“Confirmed” after maintaining jobs for 3 years

No requirement to give up HK/Macau status

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Must renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Must renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Required to renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Required to renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Required to renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Required to renounce original citizenship

Can apply after obtaining APRC

Required to renounce original citizenship

Eligibility for Senior Professionals

  • Having professional skills in emerging industries, key technologies, key components or products
  • Having special and rare talents for the technical research and development of a technical institution, with remarkable achievement in nano- and micro- electro-mechanical systems, optoelectronics, information and communications technology, automation system integration, applied materials technology, high precision sensing technology, biotechnology, resource development or energy conservation technology and advanced fundamental research that are badly needed in Taiwan and cannot be easily developed in a short time
  • Having exclusive and rare talents for management or remarkable achievement in highway, high-speed rail, subway system, telecommunications, aviation, shipping, deep-water construction, meteorology, seismology, etc., that are badly needed in Taiwan and cannot be easily developed in a short time
  • Having special capability in science, research, industry and/or commerce that offers effective and substantial benefits to Taiwan’s economy, industry and education or welfare and is currently employed in Taiwan due to his/her professional skills
  • Being currently or formerly hired as a chair professor, professor, associate professor, assistant professor in a domestic or foreign university, or being a researcher, associate researcher or assistant researcher of a research institution, or having a doctoral degree or having received an international academic award, or having written a specialized book or having engaged in research at a research institution or having conducted technical research and development at a technical institution or having been involved in management for over four years and currently employed by an educational, academic or research institution in Taiwan
  • Having achieved exceptional accomplishments and won international recognition for research and development that can upgrade Taiwan’s industry
  • Having won a top place award (first, second or third place) in an event of the Olympic Games or the World Cup, or having won the first place in the Inter-continental Games, or having ever coached a national sports team whose members have ever won a place among the top five in an event of the Olympic Games or among the top three in the Inter-continental Games, or other special competitive achievement boosting the capability of Taiwan’s athletes.
  • Possessing other special skills and experiences ratified ad hoc by the central authorities in charge of the specific fields

Eligibility for “Special Contribution to Taiwan”

  • Having received an award from a ministerial (or above) level of a governmental agency
  • Having received an award from an international organization or ranking within top five in critical international competition contests that are recognized by the relevant authorities; such competitions or contests must benefit Taiwan by promoting technologies and the cultivation of talent in Taiwan
  • Having made outstanding contributions in democracy, human rights, religion, education, culture, the arts, the economy, finance, medicine, sports and/or other domains in Taiwan
  • Having made contributions to promoting the image of Taiwan at an International platform(s)
  • Having made other special contributions to Taiwan

Eligibility for Employment Gold Card

The Taiwan Employment Gold Card, part of the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, was introduced in February 2018. It is part of a wide initiative by the Taiwanese government to attract skilled foreign talent to Taiwan. The Taiwanese government has identified eight areas regarded as important to the economy, within which qualified foreigners may apply for the Employment Gold Card. They are:

  • Science and Technology
  • Economy
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Culture and Arts
  • Sports
  • Law
  • Architectural Design.

Any foreigners who are specialists in their field are eligible to apply for the Employment Gold Card. This includes Taiwan dual citizens and Macau and Hong Kong residents.

There are tax benefits associated with the Employment Gold Card. Successful applicants are eligible for a tax benefit of 50% on annual income above NTD 3 million, for the first three calendar years in which the individual is a tax resident (i.e. has resided in Taiwan over 183 days in a calendar year). They may also be eligible for exemption from tax on overseas income for the first three calendar years during which they are a tax resident. An Employment Gold Card Holder is only eligible for these tax benefits if he or she has stayed in Taiwan over 183 days in a calendar year for the first time in 2018 or later.