Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, an island off the south-east of China and — since 1945, following surrender of the territory from Japan — part of the Republic of China (for details on the One-China Policy and Taiwan’s disputed legal status, please refer to our article on Moving to Taiwan). Taiwan is a densely populated municipality with approximately 23.3 million inhabitants sharing the island's 36,193 square kilometers; within that, Taipei is home to 2.6 million.
Taipei is the center of commerce, culture, and politics in Taiwan and is part of a major high-tech industrial area. It is also home to world famous landmarks, including Dalongdong Baoan Temple, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, and the Presidential Office Building.
A rich mix of expatriates and international visitors afford Taipei a diverse and fascinating culture, combining the modern with traditions dating back through both Chinese and Japanese history. For many, Taipei is the first port of call as a city that offers all the dynamism you would expect of a capital and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the tapestry of cultures that make up Taiwan today.
With China to the north-west and Japan further north, Taiwan is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and lies on the Tropic of Cancer, providing it with a marine tropical climate. Further inland, Taipei’s climate only differs slightly from the rest of Taiwan, where they are recorded as having a humid subtropical climate that is heavily influenced by monsoons. Due to its location in the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan, and consequently also Taipei, is affected by the Pacific typhoon season, between June and October.
Usually, summers are hot and humid, interspersed with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, with winters remaining warm with heavy fogs. Taipei has never had snowfall recorded in its history; however, the nearby mountains within the city borders, such as Mount Yangmingshan, are the exception.
Average temperatures for Taipei range from 14°C to 34°C, with temperatures recorded as high as 39°C in the height of the summer season. The bigger challenge for many expatriates living in Taipei is the humidity, which can reach record highs of 80%, although on average, this is nearer 70–75%.
Taiwan allows entry to the country for short stays (of less than 90 days) visa-free for nationals of 45 countries, including the US and many EU nations, as well as Israel and South Korea. For a detailed list of which countries are exempt needing entry visas, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Visa exempt entries into the country cannot be converted into other visa types and should only be used for short visits and not if you are wishing to take up residency in the country.
Residency permits, for stays of more than 180 days, can be applied for online, provided the applicant holds a valid passport with more than six months remaining on it. The visa process can be a complex one and if employment is secured prior to moving, the employer will need to provide you with a letter of approval from the government after they have applied for a work permit to employ you.
For more detailed information on the visa process, as well as work permits and Alien Resident Cards, please refer to the respective section of our guide to Moving to Taiwan.