A Teacher’s View: Completing The Visa Application To Teach in Taiwan

A Teacher’s View: Completing The Visa Application To Teach in Taiwan

Visa application process to teach in Taiwan with Teacher Stu

Learn about the visa application to teach in Taiwan with Stu, a Canadian teacher who arrived in Taiwan in May 2022 after working with RTT since July 2021. In this interview, Stu talks about his experience working with Reach To Teach to complete his paperwork to obtain his work permit and visa in Taiwan. You’ll also learn some great tips for quarantine as well!

Visa Application To Teach In Taiwan

RTT: Hi Stu! First off, congratulations and welcome to Taiwan! You’re one of our applicants that waited close to a year to get here. We first started working together in July 2021! How are you feeling about that extra-long wait to get to Taiwan? Could you please tell our readers a little about yourself?

Hey there, I’m Stu and I’m slowly going a little crazy in my hotel but I think it’s going to be worth it. (Update: Stu is out of quarantine now and he’s enjoying his new job.)

I’m a recently graduated English Major from Calgary, Alberta in Canada. I’m super into weightlifting and I nerd out over wine and spirits! I’m actually planning on continuing my WSET education (wine nerd school), possibly even in Taipei! As far as the extra-long wait to arrive in Taiwan goes, I’d say that COVID is definitely a pain in the butt. I was hoping to come sooner but it was totally out of my control. I’m sure lots of people are probably feel the same way. I’m just happy that I finally got here!

RTT: We’re so happy you’re here too! You’ve been so patient and understanding about the length of the visa application to teach in Taiwan. We appreciate that you stuck it through! Could you walk us through the paperwork process for obtaining your special entry visa to  come to Taiwan? 

The first thing I remember applying for was my work permit. I had to submit my approved health certificate, police background check, employment contract, passport photos, and my full document package to Reach To Teach in order to secure my work permit. All of the documents needed to be within a certain expiration date. That includes the blood work and x-rays for the health check.

I sent my health check mailed to TECO Canada to have it approved. Reach To Teach walked me through completing the health check at each step. It turns out that this part of the process is quite specific. They also checked all my paperwork before sending it to TECO to be authenticated to be sure everything was correct. It was nice to have that extra peace of mind in knowing that what I was sending to TECO was correct.

Then I just got to sit around and clench my butt cheeks for two weeks while waiting for TECO to authenticate my health check.

After that was approved, I was ready to mail my documents to Reach To Teach for the work permit and continued clenching. I had my work permit in exactly two weeks, just as Reach To Teach had promised.

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After my work permit got approved, I had to send it along with some other things to acquire my Special Entry Permit and visa from TECO. I sent my work permit, a few passport photos, a bank statement, money order, and my passport, but each TECO office is unique depending on where you live. I know it sounds weird but I had to actually include my passport in the mail. They attach the visa to a page in your passport at the office.

They also wanted proof my quarantine hotel booking, too. Make sure you call your TECO office to double check because it could be different.

It sounds like a pain in the butt because it is a little bit. Once you break it up, it really isn’t too bad. Reach To Teach will keep you on track.

Note from Reach To Teach: The process is streamlined to six to eight weeks now that borders are open. The timeline depends on how quickly your TECO office processes your documents.

RTT: When did you start the visa application to teach in Taiwan? Did you find it hard to do all of the paperwork requirements in Canada? Can you give us some approximate costs for your paperwork if you can still remember?

I think I started right after getting accepted by Reach To Teach last July! I began by planning dates and doing a lot of photocopying. I actually got slightly unlucky at the beginning with getting my health certificate completed. My doctor’s office was getting slammed with COVID stuff, so it took a lot longer than expected to get it finished.

This leads me to my first tip. Be assertive and remind anyone that you’re working with that it’s important. I had to call my doctor’s office at least a dozen times. I felt sorry and bad for pestering but I had to do it.

Most of the other things, like the passport photos and the contract, were a breeze.

I’d say my biggest pointer for that, is just double checking with Carrie about expiration dates of documents, especially for the work permit. Unfortunately, I had to get two police checks because of my issues with the health certificate. Be careful and make sure you save your money on that stuff. It really sucks to pay for it twice. Also, don’t be afraid to call your TECO office. I called mine so many times that the lady knew me by name. LOL. Don’t lose sleep over papers in the mail. The worst thing that can happen is just having to do them one more time!

Visa Application to Teach in Taiwan

As far as costs go, here’s a breakdown. Keep in mind, this is in Canadian dollars. I don’t want to give any American teachers a heart attack.

● Police Background Check: $90
● Health Certificate: Free (May vary in other countries)
● Passport Photos: $30 at Wal-Mart
● Both TECO fees (work permit and visa): $150-ish this may seem high but my bank charged me for the money orders
● Shipping for the whole process: $150
● Notary public signing: $90

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It may seem like a lot of money but it pays for itself super quickly, if you do the math on a month of work in Taiwan!

Other than that, the visa application is straightforward if you’re working with Reach To Teach.

RTT: Did anyone say anything about your decision to teach in Taiwan during a global pandemic?

In regards to the pandemic specifically, no. My mum had a lot to say about me leaving but that’s just because she’s a super good mom. She was excited for me but naturally, she was a bit worried. I think most people’s opinions on the pandemic, at least where I’m from, are quite sparing. Everyone was far more interested in my trip.

RTT: How was your experience leading up to processing all your paperwork for moving to Taiwan?

I was very lucky and didn’t have to do anything too outside of the norm. I had quite a bit of money saved for the trip and my parents were kind enough to let me stay with them for the last month before I left. They also just wanted me to get rid of a bunch of old children’s toys that were cluttering their house, which is totally fair. I still kept my Yu-Gi-Oh cards because I have priorities.

RTT: What has the quarantine process been like for you so far? Can you describe a day in quarantine?

I’ll be honest and say that it’s exactly what I and most people likely expected. I am bored off my rocker. Pants are becoming a burden. I’m rambling on way too long in this blog to pass time. I’ve been doing a lot to try and keep myself sane. Having people to chat with on my phone is nice. My mom is calling me all the time, partially because she’s worried but hey, it means company for me and my mom is rad.

I’m a daily meditator, so I’ve been going to town on that, too. I’m also an exercise addict. Many things have been moved in here to allow for janky calisthenics. It’s day 5 and I’ve already almost finished the show “Preacher”. Super weird show, I’d have to say. Very fun, though. I would recommend it to a friend. The food is actually pretty good, too!

Get a hotel room with a window. Just trust me. You may not think much of it, at first. You will learn to love your window. Carrie will tell you this many times!

I’ve also gotten in contact with Ray to find an apartment. He’s an awesome guy. Shoutout to Taiwan Rental Assistance.

RTT: You have a great sense of humor, Stu. You’re as funny on paper as you are in person. Thanks for the laughs throughout this past year! How did things go at the airport when you arrived in Taiwan?

I had been up for at least 24 hours because I am horrible at sleeping on airplanes. I had to get a SIM card for my phone for the CECC to message me. They will do this daily to ask about the status of your health. Other than that, I was just shown around to a lot of different lines. I was a bit worried, at first but the staff were awesome. They all knew English and helped me with everything. I just had to move from line to line until I was finally taken to my hotel.

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RTT: Has your new school been supportive since you arrived here?

My school principal got in touch with me the day after I landed and has been super supportive. She’s told me to enjoy the calm before the storm of teaching a bunch of little goobers. Not her words verbatim but not too far off either.

She also told me to reach out to her, if I needed any help. We have plans to meet up after quarantine and before I start working. (Update, Stu did meet with his manager and she thinks ‘he’s an interesting guy and so funny.’)

RTT: What advice would you give to new teachers thinking of teaching abroad during a pandemic? Should they go for it?

It depends on your situation. My family was very supportive and I had savings. It will most likely be a bit more expensive and tedious than usual but I am just so happy to be traveling somewhere and trying new things. I’d advise that you have $4,500 in savings for all of it and keep in mind that you’ll get some of it back when you arrive in Taiwan. This amount gives you enough to live on safely while you’re waiting for the rest of your documents to be issued in Taiwan, and it also includes your three months of rent up front.

If you can hold off until COVID is more under control, it might be a good idea but I guess it all depends on what you want.

I’m sure everyone’s tolerances to certain things will vary. Be aware that Taiwan has very different standards than western countries when it comes to COVID. I was a retail worker through most of the pandemic, so things like wearing a mask and sanitizing constantly do not really bother me. That could be different for you.

RTT: Do you think having a recruiter was a plus for you?

Having Carrie to help me made the entire process so much easier. She really helped me to break things down into manageable steps and answered all of my questions or pointed me in the direction of someone that could. I still have to buy her a beer after I serve my quarantine sentence, as a way of saying thanks.

RTT: Thanks so much for your time, Stu. We didn’t know you were a wine guy so maybe you’ll be able to suggest something that I’ll like since I’m not a wine person. Canadians are always good for beers, though, and we look forward to meeting you in person soon!

We know other teachers that are considering moving to Taiwan will be interested in learning about Taiwan quarantine and what to expect, and they’ll also appreciate your invaluable tips on the visa application to teach in Taiwan. Have a good one, eh!


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