Pros and Cons of Moving to Taiwan

Posted Country Guides / November 12, 2021
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

InterNations named Taiwan the best place to live for expats for the third year in a row. Yet, moving to Taiwan can be the best possible decision you will make, or not the smartest move you made – it all depends on your preferences and expectations. In our guide, you can see all the positive and negative things that you can experience once you relocate and start your new life on this beautiful island.

Located between Japan, China, and the Philippines, this island is known for its gorgeous nature, friendly people, and delicious food. Still, there are some things that could be a dealbreaker for you. The only way to learn if this land is a good choice for a future home is to do your research and see what you can expect. In this article, you can read more about how to move to Taiwan and what your life will look like after relocating.

The First Pro of Moving to Taiwan Is That It’s Easy to Obtain a Visa

Have you been wondering can foreigners live in Taiwan, or can you move to Taiwan at all? The answer is – of course. There are plenty of ways you can become eligible for citizenship, and there are five different types of visas for expats – courtesy, diplomatic, visitor, working-holiday, and resident visa. For whichever type you decide to apply for, you must have all the supporting documents of approval required for your type of permit. For example, all expats that want to get a working visa must obtain a work permit first.

If you wish to stay for more than six months for educational, business, or family purposes, you’re required to apply for a re-entry permit and an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) within fifteen days of your entry.

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Is it Hard to Move to Taiwan as an American?

There are lots of US expats here, so the answer to the question can US citizen live in Taiwan is definitely yes. When it comes to the documents needed to travel abroad, keep in mind that US citizens don’t need a visa to enter the land, but only if they wish to stay for up to 90 days. For a longer stay, you should apply for a visa through Taipei Economic and Culture Center in the US. One of the main documents you should have is an ARC which is valid for three years. To get yours, visit the nearest Service Center of the National Immigration Agency (NIA) after you get a letter of approval from the authority that sponsors the reason for your move.

If You’re Moving from the USA to Taiwan, Expect Lower Costs

The general costs you’ll have per month will be lower than the average costs you’ve had in the US. You can expect a lower cost of living than if you were relocating to South Korea or Japan, as well. This is a big pro, especially if you’re relocating on a low budget. According to Numbeo, a family of four needs around $3,000 per month, not counting the rent costs. If you’re relocating across the world alone, you’d spend $800 on average each month, also without the rent. The average salaries are around $1,400 after taxes.

A Con Is That the Accommodation You Find Might Not Meet Your Standards

One thing that can make adjusting to a new country harder once you relocate here is the fact that you’ll find that apartments are not as they are in Western countries. They’re usually much smaller, as are the appliances in them. Renting is cheap, but if you wish to find a place that will meet your needs, you’ll pay more. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs $470 per month, and you’ll pay $1,200 for a three-bedroom one at the same location. If you wish to live further from downtown, you can expect to pay from $300 to $800 per month, depending on the size of your home. Better equipped places can have higher rents.

A Benefit of Relocating to Taiwan Are Many Choices for Good Places for Living

One of the reasons this island is one of the best places to live abroad is the number of cities that are perfect for residing and finding a home. Many of them already have established expat communities since thousands of foreigners live and work here. The following cities are the most recommended ones, so you can pick the one that offers what you’re looking for:

  • Taipei, the capital, is by far the most attractive place for foreigners to relocate to. There are many job opportunities, tourist attractions, and activities.
  • Kaohsiung is the second-largest city here, and it also offers many great options for expats. It has better weather conditions than Taipei, and it’s a bit cheaper.
  • Taichung will make you fall in love with it because it embodies all the best things about this land. It’s centrally located, everything is nearby, very laid back, and the weather is beautiful.
  • Tainan is a relaxed, small city with a tight-knit expat community. There are great restaurants and bars, and it’s very affordable.

The Traffic and Driving in Taipei Will Make You Want to Leave the City

Even with all the fantastic things that Taipei has to offer, there’s something that might be a dealbreaker for you – the traffic is chaotic. It’s not just the congestion, but the fact that drivers often don’t follow the traffic rules. One of the crucial tips for moving to Taiwan is to be very careful if you plan on driving, and even as a pedestrian.

However, there’s a silver lining – getting around Taipei and other Taiwanese cities is cheap, and public transportation is very efficient, so you don’t have to drive if you don’t want to.

National Health Insurance Is Cheap, and It’s Top Quality

One of the main reasons to move to this beautiful island is the fact that the national healthcare system is great and the insurance is very affordable, especially compared to the US. Health insurance is necessary for both foreigners and locals, and everyone is entitled to great healthcare. The waiting time is much shorter as well, and the service you get is just unparalleled. People even come here as medical tourists since surgeries are much cheaper than in Western countries.

There’s a Strong Focus on Education

Kids here experience a lot of pressure when it comes to education and grades. If you’re coming here to work as an English teacher, prepare yourself for this cultural difference. Parents often demand the very best scores on tests from their children, so the students you’re teaching can be very stressed.

However, this land is home to some of the best schools and universities like National Taiwan University and National Chiao Tung University      There are courses in English, and the scholarships are much cheaper than in the US. If you plan on enrolling your kid in a school here, keep in mind that there are some differences between the standards in the US and here. In the video below, you can see several unusual things that you will encounter in schools here.

You Will Need to Learn Chinese

English speaking people are not that common, so there will be a need for breaking the language barrier. Most of the signs on the streets are also in Chinese, so it can be hard to orient yourself if you’re not planning on learning a language abroad and knowing some basic phrases at least. Luckily, there are many tips for learning a new language that you can use and you can find many courses that will help you a lot.

Probably the Biggest Con for Every Expat Is the Humidity and Heat

If you’re not a fan of the hot weather, it would be better to relocate somewhere else. The south of the island experiences a very hot and humid tropical climate, while the north has a bit cooler temperatures. Rain is very common, which is where all the humidity comes from. Sticky and muggy months can be a problem, so if you don’t like sweating all summer long, choose your city carefully.

There’s a Risk of Typhoons and Earthquakes When Living in Taiwan

Another challenge of living overseas on this island is natural disasters. Typhoon season is from July to October, when you’ll experience heavy rainfalls and strong winds. It’s recommended that you stay indoors for a day or two until it passes so you don’t get hurt, but the material damage is inevitable. Earthquakes are frequent as well since the island is located on a boundary of several tectonic plates, but they aren’t that strong.

The Culture and Sense of Community Are Amazing

An amazing pro of relocating to this beautiful place is the culture and the people. Once you arrive, you’ll see how warm and welcoming this island is and how many great things you can see and do. It’s no wonder that this is one of the friendliest countries in the world. People here have a very rich history, and respecting tradition is a very important thing. This has built a strong sense of community among the Taiwanese residents, and every foreigner admires that.

However, Taiwanese culture isn’t exactly perfect according to some Western culture standards and beliefs. You may experience culture shock once you see that the people work so hard and have long working hours. Also, as we mentioned before, there are very harsh educational expectations from children. It might not be what you’re used to, but you should respect it.

One of the Best Things About Moving to Taiwan Is the Safety and Low Crime Rate

Even though there’s a lack of privacy and space because of a high density of population, safety here is on an incredibly high level. Cities are crowded, and it’s very noisy, but your chances of seeing (or being a victim of) a theft, robbery, or a violent crime are close to zero. This is especially important if you’re relocating with kids and you’re looking for the best places to live abroad with family. Also, if you’re a female relocating abroad alone, keep in mind that this is one of the best countries for women. Immigrating to Taiwan means feeling safe 24/7.

This Island Offers You Countless Things to Do

No matter what you’re into, this island has something for you. Foodies love the local food markets and inexpensive street food where you can find cuisines from all around the world. Some of the best vegan cities are here as well since there are many fresh vegetables and fruit available everywhere.

Taiwan is also one of the best countries to live in for outdoor activities. You can go biking, hiking, kayaking on lakes and rivers, exploring mountains, ocean, beaches, and other numerous natural beauties. The weather also allows you to spend time outside and enjoy the lush greenery and incredible scenery of this place.

Other forms of entertainment are also very available. You’ll find many amusement parks, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Local people are very friendly, so even if you’re coming alone, you’ll never be lonely.

If You Opt for Moving to Taiwan from the US, Consider Hiring an Overseas Shipping Company 

International moving to land this far away from the US takes up a lot of time to organize, which is why hiring an international moving company is a very smart move. You can use all of their services or opt for just the ones you need. An overseas moving company will offer you international moving by air or sea, overseas vehicle shipping, professional and efficient packing services, as well as a storage unit in case you need it. Shipping overseas can be easy with the right help. Find a reputable company and relocate without stress.

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