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posted 4 years ago

By Tim Hsu, Washington Group & Associates, Taipei, Taiwan

Since early 2018, Taiwan has issued the “Gold Card” to selected “foreign special professionals”, meaning foreigners who are skilled in one of eight fields listed below.

The Taiwan Employment Gold Card includes an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) that allows the cardholder to live in Taiwan long-term. It also includes an open work permit.

This allows the cardholder to work for any employer in Taiwan while the Gold Card is valid. In fact, the cardholder can work for multiple employers. The flexibility to take any job is a valuable privilege, since most foreigners in Taiwan require an employer to sponsor their residence visa, and that visa only allows them to work in the specified job.

The eight fields in which foreigners may apply for the Gold Card are: economy, technology, education, culture and arts, sports, finance, law, and architectural design.

By far, most people choose the Economy field. To date, no one has ever had success in the Law field (successful lawyers have used the Economy field or other fields). A significant number of people have succeeded with applications in the Science & Technology, Culture and Arts, Finance, and Education fields.

The Gold Card is valid from one to three years, depending on how many years the applicant requests. It is nonrenewable, but the applicant may apply for another one after the first expires. Time living in Taiwan with the Gold Card counts toward the five years required to qualify for permanent residence – the certificate granting that is called an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC).

Applications can be made online through the National Immigration Agency’s (NIA) online portal:


The applicant can request a card lasting one year, two years, or three years.

The Gold Card application requires color scans of the applicant’s passport and photo, as well as Taiwan visa and residence permit information where applicable. The application also requires documents demonstrating the applicant’s eligibility for a Gold Card. The applicant will need to choose one of the eight fields for her application. The best field to choose is the one in which the applicant has the strongest evidence of her being a significant contributor in that field.

Around two-thirds of all successful applicants choose the Economy field, which requires proof that – now or recently (within the last three years) – the applicant’s monthly salary exceeded NTD 160,000 (approximately USD 5600 as of this writing). This salary must generally be proven with appropriate tax records – without limitation, these may include a W-2 from the US, or salary statements from the applicant’s employer. A bank statement will not be sufficient.

The applicant may be asked to submit additional documents indicating that she is skilled in her particular field. In that case, the best documents to submit are ones that:

  • are clearly related to the applicant (e.g., have the applicant’s name on them), and
  • are created or endorsed by an authority in the appropriate field (without limitation, examples might include a patent granted by a national patent office, a letter of recommendation written by a respected senior member of a profession, an article published in a noted professional journal, an award granted by a professional society, documents proving the applicant’s status as a corporate executive, etc.)

Other fields in which applicants have had significant success include the following:

Science & Technology: For this track, the applicant can submit evidence of her “unique talents or outstanding R&D ability or innovation performances” in cutting-edge technological fields. A relevant Ph.D., publications, professorships, or prizes are other ways to qualify.

Culture and Arts: Major art awards, serving as an important member of an international arts event or arts organization, or making “special contributions to film, broadcast, or pop music” (with five years of relevant experience) are all possible options here.

Finance: This category applies to those with outstanding financial ability or cross-border experience, high-ranking executives in financial institutions, and people who have made cutting-edge contributions in financial technology or e-commerce.

Education: This category applies to those with a Ph.D. from one of the world’s 200 top-ranked universities, and also for applicants who have done teaching and research for more than five years and have worked at a top-500 university.

Once the necessary documents have been submitted, NIA will review the application within around 30 days (not counting weekends or holidays). Unsuccessful applicants will be given more time to submit acceptable documents. Successful applicants must show their passports and verify their identity at designated offices. After they do, they later receive an email telling them where to pick up their Gold Card.

Around 1500 Gold Cards have been granted so far. This number could be considerably higher if more foreigners knew about the program and the many advantages it offers.


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