How to get Taiwan Citizenship - Primer, FAQ, and Resources


#1161

[quote=“jidanni”]http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/12/15/2003550192
Legislator to propose changes to naturalization laws - Taipei Times[/quote]

If I’m allowed to mention it here (and I can’t think why the hell not, but one never knows): We have been discussing this on Forumosa’s brother site, and are taking various steps offline to help Hsiao Bi-khim argue this cause, and to spread the word about why the law needs to be changed. Important steps on the agenda include: conducting a bilingual information campaign, to spread understanding of the issue and drum up support for change; enlisting support from foreign chambers of commerce and other influential quarters; and possibly preparing and presenting a petition pleading the case for revision of the law. How much these will be needed, and how far it will be necessary to proceed with them, will depend on the success or otherwise of Hsiao’s efforts in the LY.

Hsiao’s initiative is very welcome indeed. It provides a glimmer of hope for all of us who wish to see the renunciation requirement eliminated.


#1162

What is URL of brother site discussion?


#1163

Click here.


#1164

@cooling tower: Your post is informative and useful. I’m married to a local and hoping that you can assist me on some issues, can you please enlighten me (im really confused at these requirements):

a) Is five years (180 days at a time stay) fixed? - i mean i usually travel as part of my work so are there other ways for this?

b) Do i need to pass or attend any school for a language certificate? Or can i bypass this by taking exams?

c) Health Exams?

I’m staying in Taiwan for 2 years counted from the date that i have my ARC.


#1165

If you have a TARC you are not stateless. A TARC holder is a Taiwan National. Traveling on a TARC passport has some restrictions as you won’t qualify for certain visa free entrances as the passport has no ID number.

[quote=“Juan_Marco”]@cooling tower: Your post is informative and useful. I’m married to a local and hoping that you can assist me on some issues, can you please enlighten me (im really confused at these requirements):

a) Is five years (180 days at a time stay) fixed? - I mean i usually travel as part of my work so are there other ways for this?

b) Do I need to pass or attend any school for a language certificate? Or can i bypass this by taking exams?

c) Health Exams?

I’m staying in Taiwan for 2 years counted from the date that I have my ARC.[/quote]
If you’re married to a local you should be on a JFRV. You need to be married for 3 years, not stay here for five years to qualify.
You have to either prove proficiency in a local language with the immigration test, or have proof of attending a government recognised Mandarin Language center for two or three semesters. And yes, you need to do a medical before you apply for your Candidature, and again before you apply for your ID Card.


#1166

My understanding is if you are married to a Taiwanese National for 4 years, then you do not have to give up your original citizenship an you can get Taiwanese citizenship. How do I know? Three people have told me that.


#1167

I’ve never heard such a thing Sparky.


#1168

Don’t forget to tell those three idiots that they are full of shit and don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground! :no-no:


#1169

Question for ex-US Americans: Technically speaking, did you “relinquish” your citizenship (by intentionally committing an expatriating act), or “renounce” it? I am wondering whether it is possible to “relinquish” US citizenship on the basis of acquiring provisional ROC nationality, i.e. before one has actually acquired ROC citizenship.


#1170

A US citizen can renounce their US citizenship at any time. There is no requirement to have any other citizenship or to be granted any provisional nationality before renouncing.

There is no such thing as provisional R.O.C. nationality and there is no sneaky, behind the back, smoke and mirrors, mumbo jumbo, magical way of somehow surreptitiously retaining your US citizenship while obtaining Taiwan citizenship. There is no technically speaking. You either make a conscience declaration to renounce your US citizenship or you don’t. By participating in the renunciation ceremony and declaring the oath of renunciation, you are committing an intentional and voluntary expatriating act.

My first hand experience in the steps for renouncing US citizenship in Taiwan:

  1. Make an appointment to meet with the Chief of American Citizen Services at the AIT regarding your desire to renounce your citizenship. He will give you all the information you need, explain the ramifications of renunciation to you and then finally give you a packet of paperwork which you must read, consider, and fill out if you truly desire to renounce your US citizenship. You will take this paperwork home and complete it on your own time.

  2. If you decide to go through with the renunciation procedure, you must make an appointment with the Chief of American Citizen Services in order to perform the renunciation ceremony. At this time, you will email a soft copy of the paperwork he gave which you will have completed at this time. His administrative assistants will type up an official hard copy of the all the documents in preparation for your renunciation ceremony.

  3. On the day of renunciation, you will enter the 2nd floor conference room with the Chief of American Citizen Services. He will ask you if you are certain that you wish to complete the ceremony of renunciation. Then, he will administer the oath of renunciation and both you and he will sign all of the myriad renunciation documents, statement of understanding, etc. etc. There may or may not be additional government witnesses in the conference room with you. However, additional witnesses are unnecessary as the entire ceremony is recorded via the secret video camera hidden behind the US Department of State Seal in the corner of the room. Once the ceremony is over, you will give your US passport to the Chief of American Citizen Services, he will make three certified true copies for you and then you will go away and wait for your renunciation to be approved or disapproved.

  4. Approximately one month later, you will receive an email or a phone call from the Chief of American Citizen Services directing you to come to the AIT on a specified date and time. Since you no longer have your US passport, you will use one of the certified true copies of your passport to enter the AIT and also to enter the American Citizen Services Department on the second floor. You will once again meet in the conference room with the Chief of American Citizen Services. At this time he will let you know if your renunciation has been approved by the US Department of State. If it has, you will then be directed to go to the cashier and make a renunciation of US citizenship fee of $450 US dollars. Once you’ve paid the required fee, you will go back into the conference room and the Chief of American Citizen Services will return your US passport, which has been invalidated, back to you. He will also give you your official Certificate of Loss of a Nationality document to you. The Certificate of Loss of Nationality will be back-dated to the original date of your renunciation ceremony. At this time, you are a stateless individual if you do not hold any other citizenships. Again, there is no provisional R.O.C. citizenship, so you are truly stateless at this time. You’re no longer American and you are not a Taiwan citizen and are not even a Taiwan national at this point.

  5. You then must take your Certificate of Loss of Nationality and submit it with your final Taiwan citizenship package at your local household registration office. You are still stateless at this point.

  6. A few weeks later you will receive notification from the household registration office that your citizenship package has been approved…or denied in some cases for some individuals,which is really really a bad thing if it happens. If approved, you go to the household registration, pick up your paperwork and head off to your NIA office to fill out the necessary paperwork for your TARC (Taiwan Area Resident Card).

  7. A couple weeks later, you receive notification that your TARC has been approved and is ready for pick up at your NIA office. You give the NIA your ARC or APRC and they give you your TARC. From the date on your TARC, you are considered a Taiwan National, but not a Taiwan citizen. This is not provisional R.O.C. citizenship as there is no such thing. You have to wait one year from the date of your TARC, until you can apply for citizenship. Hopefully you will be approved and not denied like what happens to some people…which of course is really really bad.

I hope this sheds some light on the procedures for renouncing US citizenship in Taiwan and can assist you in making the best decision for you own personal needs.

Best wishes. :bow:


#1171

This is a question for any one who has moved to Taiwan with children:

(Little bit of background) My wife is Taiwanese, we lived in Taiwan for 5 years, moved to the UK (that’s where I’m from) for 4 years. She gained UK citizenship and a passport after a long and expensive process. We now have a 3 year old son who was born in the UK (he has a UK passport). We’ve recently moved back to Taiwan to live, and after reading parts of this thread, I’m wondering what to do about my son’s nationality. We were planning on letting him have dual nationality (as my wife does), but saying as he was born in the UK - would he still be allowed to do this? I don’t think he’s a fully fledged UK citizen yet, but he does have a birth certificate and a passport. Does anyone know if he can keep his UK passport and become Taiwanese (saying as his mother is Taiwanese)?


#1172

Northwest Surfer, thank you for taking the trouble to explain this, but I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. My question was about the distinction between “relinquishing” and “renouncing” U.S. citizenship. Legally speaking, these are two different processes, though they both result in loss of U.S. nationality. I realize that this must sound very esoteric, if you have not heard this language before, and as far as I know, the USA is the only country which makes this distinction. In the first case, you are attesting to something that has already occurred. In the other, you are applying to the government for a change of status, which they will probably grant, but need not. There are also tax differences. Also, renunciation costs 400+ USD, while relinquishment is free.

If a U.S. American obtains the citizenship of a foreign county, or serves in its government or armed forces, this would not automatically deprive him or her of U.S. citizenship–unless the American swears that the act was done with the intention of relinquishing citizenship. For those who do wish to be rid of their U.S. citizenship, this can be done, and the process is superficially similar to renunciation. (One goes to the embassy or trade office, fills out some forms, etc.) My question was–since it is not possible to receive ROC citizenship first, so that one may then inform the U.S. authorities that this was done with an intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship–would this mean that relinquishment is not possible in the Taiwan context, only renunciation (which, again, is something very different)? Now that I think about it, I think that this is indeed the case. Accepting another country’s nationality-not-citizenship (as with the TARC) might well qualify as a potentially expatriating act, but as you say, not even this can occur in Taiwan until one’s former citizenship is nullified somehow.


#1173

[quote=“Dr Jellyfish”]This is a question for any one who has moved to Taiwan with children:

(Little bit of background) My wife is Taiwanese, we lived in Taiwan for 5 years, moved to the UK (that’s where I’m from) for 4 years. She gained UK citizenship and a passport after a long and expensive process. We now have a 3 year old son who was born in the UK (he has a UK passport). We’ve recently moved back to Taiwan to live, and after reading parts of this thread, I’m wondering what to do about my son’s nationality. We were planning on letting him have dual nationality (as my wife does), but saying as he was born in the UK - would he still be allowed to do this? I don’t think he’s a fully fledged UK citizen yet, but he does have a birth certificate and a passport. Does anyone know if he can keep his UK passport and become Taiwanese (saying as his mother is Taiwanese)?[/quote]
Yes. The law changed a few years ago whereby a child born to a Taiwanese mother or father is automatically Taiwanese. Does your wife still have Household registration? He should be registered on her HHR. Best to go to your wife’s HHR office and get all the details from them. Should be an easy process.


#1174

Longterm resident here in Kaohsiung. I’m taking the oral citizenship test. After I take it, what is my next most important step and when do I take it?

Jimssteed@hushmail.com

RESIDENCE:
Many foreigners in Taiwan have residence in the form of an Alien Residence Card. This green colored card allows you to legally stay in Taiwan based on the fact that you have a legal job (employer is indicated on the card) or that you are married to a local.

CITIZENSHIP:
To be a citizen of Taiwan means that you have an actual ROC ID card. With this, you can get phone numbers easily, own property, own a business, etc. To become a citizen, you must renounce your original citizenship. Your marital status has no effect on your status as a citizen of Taiwan.

Becoming a citizen gives you a lot of freedoms that you will not have otherwise. If you are married and your credit card, car, home, etc. are in your spouse’s name. A divorce can be a severe disadvantage to you. This is eccentuated if children are involved, or if maybe you have moved and changed jobs many times.

GETTING CITIZENSHIP:
To get Taiwan citizenship, you need to go to your District Office (Qu Gong Suo) and find the Household Registry Office. They will give you a list of things you need (written in Chinese). The requirements may vary and this post is biased by the process I personally went through myself. Luckily, mine was comparatively simple since I am single, no children and have kept the same job for 7 years.

You will need to have lived in Taiwan using an ARC for at least 5 years and have not been away from Taiwan for more than 180 days at a time. You will need to produce at least 7 forms of documents in order to complete this process. They are outlined as follows:

  1. An entry/exit document.
  2. A document from your employer(s) (Tzai Tze Tzen Ming).
  3. Proof of residence (Ju Liu Tzen Ming).
  4. Local police report with “no convictions”. (Jin Tsa Ju Tzeng Ming).
  5. A copy of your most recent tax report, if you are a legal worker.
  6. Copies of your current ARC and passport.
  7. A copy of your police report from your original country.

You will also need numerous passport-sized photos, so make sure they’re good ones because these things seem to last forever.

The entry/exit document can be obtained by going to a Ministry of The Interior (MOI) office (bring your passport, ARC, and at least some cash–maybe $400). These exist in at least Taipiei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. (Ask me for directions if you want to go to the Kaohsiung branch). The document from your employer–they should know what that is. (3) and (4) can be obtained from your local police station’s foreign affairs office (a few hundred dollars’ fees for those). (5) tax report–you should receive this from your employer in Jan or Feb of any year*. (6) Easy. (7) Difficult *.

  • All of these documents can not be more than 60 days old, so it’s very unlikely you could apply for citizenship in Jan or Feb of any year, as you have not yet received your most recent tax report from your employer.

  • Your original-country police report needs to be at least A4 or (in the case of US) “Letter”-sized paper. This is because it will need a series of stamps. This document will have to have certain things done to it:
    1 Send it back to your original country’s Taiwan Economics and Cultural Office (TECO) and have them “authenticate it” (by putting a stamp on the back. The purpose of this stamp is to say "Yes, this is really from (your original) country). There is a fee (US$15 for the US) and you can negotiate postage options based on how much of a hurry you are in. TIP: You will need to make separate bank-draft checks for the processing fee and for the postage fee.

  1. Upon receiving your report with the stamp on the back, you can save time by copying the front and giving that to a translation agency. They can work on that while you go for number three.
  2. Take the original document to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office (MOFA). In Kaohsiung at least, these are in the same building. I can’t say the same for Taipei, but I imagine the same is true. The MOFA stamp indicates that “the stamp from (your original country) is really a Taiwanese stamp.”
  3. The translation company will have to have it notarized. You can’t take it yourself unless you translate it yourself. I learned this the hard way and it cost me an afternoon.
    Last: Remember this process because you will need to do this again.

HOUSEHOLD REGISTRY OFFICE:
Take this back to that office along with all of your other documentation (don’t forget a lot of pictures, your passport, and ARC). Their eagle eyes will scan it and if everything’s OK, they’ll send it off to the City office you live in and then to the MOI. They will eventually call you “in a month” (but it’s actually 3 weeks) and tell you to come get your document. This is “preparation for ROC naturalization.” (Zun Gui Hua Zhong Hua Min Guo Guo Ji Zheng Ming). This says that within a year, if you cancel your original citizenship, you will become an ROC national. This can act as a sort-of ID card, should you be stateless.

CANCELING YOUR CITIZENSHIP:
Do this at your orignal countrys’ office in Taiwan. I was a US citizen and did this at AIT Kaohsiung and my story is posted under “Dual Nationality and Dual Citizenship”. When you receive a document of cancellation of your original citizenship, you will have to go through the same process as your police report. Once you do this, give it to your local Household Registry Office and wait “a month” (not really–3 weeks) and you will receive your diploma-looking document that you are now a Taiwan national. However, not a citizen yet.

Take this back to the MOI office (or entry/exit office if you prefer) and fill out a form. You willl need to translate your parents’ names into Chinese. This was a tough, time-consuming process for me. With much help from the friendly staff and loads of liquid paper, I finally got this done. They even made an extra copy for me, knowing that a year from then when I apply for my “real” ID card I’d need to write this the same way. In a week I got registered mail, went to my local police department, gave them the letter, they searched in a drawer and gave me my Taiwan-national, but not citizen card. I will carry this for a year.

Also, I was instructed to go to my very local police station and sign up for “dong ren Kou”. This means that I virtuallly moved out of my house with an English name, turned around, and moved back in with a Chinese name. With this card, you need to do this every 6 months, so don’t forget. (When I went, they were in shock for about 5 minutes before they agreed to do it for me. However, the officer I met was very friendly and filled out the whole thing for me.)

I’m at this point now. I’m a Taiwan national, but not yet a citizen. I have a card that says the equivalent of “Republic of China Taiwan Area Residence Card”.

Forumosa’s “Satellite TV” is a much better resource than I am for what happens after this process. If you’re interested in this process and/or curious about the documents, tell me privately and give me your email and I will scan those and send them to you.

I want to hear what you think AND I want to help anyone as much as I can, so let’s keep this going.

Coolingtower
(Tainan)[/quote]


#1175

I never would have considered doing this, even a year ago for many reasons. Why give up my US citizenship? My years of rolling my eyes at people who have done it are over. Several things have changed. First, it seems like the requirements are not as difficult as before. Second, the US is about to start investigating any US citizen who has an account with more than $10,000 USD, according to my accountant (Taiwan is going to participate in the FATCA). I’ve been here a while and saved-doesn’t make me a criminal. Apparently, if you don’t comply (on purpose or on accident), the fine starts at US$10,000. WTF. :loco: Third, Taiwan’s passport is now much more accepted. I could go anywhere I would want to go…not sure if other countries would scrutinize me as a cracker with an Asian passport, but that’s secondary. In short, it doesn’t seem as stupid to me (and definitely not for me) as it used to. I’m earning more and probably going to pass the mark where I fall under the US foreign tax exemption soon. My accountant is actually the one who suggested I look into this, so here I am.

The one thing that has stopped me from considering it is the background check. I’m not sure what mine shows, but I had 2 or 3 (I forget) “consumption of alcohol by a minor” charges when I was 19 or 20. They might not even show up, but I’m wondering if those who are in the know think this would be an issue? I’m guessing no, as Taiwan’s drinking law is 18 and they might just shake their heads and think it’s silly. I drink less than anyone I know (2-3 drinks a year), so it would be a shame if that stopped me.

Second, I really worry about renouncing citizenship and THEN applying for naturalization. I don’t want to become stateless-I like to travel and this island would feel (more) like a prison than a home if I were stateless.

Third, it seems to me I might be missing something. People’s reaction is always “that’s nuts”, “don’t do it”, etc. But I’m to the point where I see no real personal benefit to staying American. After DOMA passed, my partner and I said “Wow, we can get married.” But then he would be American and also subject to all the bullshit I am subject to. His life would actually become much more complicated. Am I missing something? Is there some benefit to being American? (and I don’t want to hear about how Taiwan isn’t a country-I don’t think China will take over in my lifetime and that’s not a concern for me)

Fourth, to the Americans, how hard was it to renounce? I’m seeing so many different things. Some people say it’s a matter of filling out a form, paying $250, and waiting. Others talk about so many years of tax returns and paperwork. Experiences?

Sorry if I’m asking things answered, this thread is long and I did my best with the search function.


#1176

Well, you wouldn’t necessarily be investigated, but you could avoid that possibility by becoming compliant. There’s a program where you can do that in tax year 2013 by filing three years of back taxes and six years of FBARs: taxesforexpats.com/services/ … taxes.html
As long as you owe less than $1,500 for each of those three years, you should be fine. Of course, being treated like a criminal by your own government for living in another country does leave a bad taste in your mouth.

A few petty misdemeanors as a minor? Not a problem. As long as you didn’t commit any felonies as an adult, you’re good to go.

Getting married wouldn’t make your partner American in any sense unless he took steps to immigrate to the U.S. As long as the two of you are living here, this isn’t something you’d have to worry about.

I’m not trying to discourage you from giving up your U.S. citizenship, as that could be a perfectly valid choice for you–it’s certainly something I’ve considered. But I don’t think your situation is quite as dire as you may think it is.


#1177

Well, you wouldn’t necessarily be investigated, but you could avoid that possibility by becoming compliant. There’s a program where you can do that in tax year 2013 by filing three years of back taxes and six years of FBARs: taxesforexpats.com/services/ … taxes.html
As long as you owe less than $1,500 for each of those three years, you should be fine. Of course, being treated like a criminal by your own government for living in another country does leave a bad taste in your mouth.

A few petty misdemeanors as a minor? Not a problem. As long as you didn’t commit any felonies as an adult, you’re good to go.

Getting married wouldn’t make your partner American in any sense unless he took steps to immigrate to the U.S. As long as the two of you are living here, this isn’t something you’d have to worry about.

I’m not trying to discourage you from giving up your U.S. citizenship, as that could be a perfectly valid choice for you–it’s certainly something I’ve considered. But I don’t think your situation is quite as dire as you may think it is.[/quote]
I didn’t mean to make my situation sound dire-it’s not. AFAIK, I’m already compliant with everything. The problem is, no one is very clear right now on what compliance is going to look like in the future. The most dire part is that some of my business accounts are going to be shut down unless I change my entire company structure. Many overseas banks no longer want to work with people from the US because of the requirements. With my businesses, I have money all over. Americans doing international business are about to be faced with a big headache, if they haven’t already noticed.

As far as my partner becoming a citizen, I didn’t write that clearly. We had thought about moving back so he could get citizenship, but when we looked into the details, it seemed like a dumb idea.


#1178

Some useful links about FATCA inside my two threads:

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtop … 9&t=126132
and
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtop … 9&t=119423


#1179

Please delete, duplicate post…


#1180

Just took the plunge myself and started the process last Thursday to get my Candidature certificate…I’m going via the APRC route (自願歸化) so I didn’t need the Police Clearance Certificate from home country ([color=#FF0000]Edit: The Police Clearance Certificate from your Home Country is required so make sure you get it before renouncing…I found it the hard way [/color]) or financial records ([color=#FF0000]This is definitely not required for APRC holders[/color])…Documents I provided were:

  1. Certificate of Residence in ROC (居留證明書) - 2 days to process
  2. Proof of Chinese Language ability. I used my Shida’s record of study - Paid NT$50 at the vending machine in Shida and got it immediately.
  3. APRC
  4. Passport
  5. NT$200 Postal Order to be made out in the Ministry of the Interior’s name (內政部)

Submitted everything on Tuesday at my local HHR. While typing out the application for the Candidature certificate (準歸化證明書), my processing officer asked if I needed the Certificate in both English and Chinese, to which of course, I replied “Yes”, seeing as this will save me the trouble of translating and notarizing it myself. He then said I will receive a notification letter from the MOI in a few days time acknowledging receipt of my application and he will call me in a month’s time to pick up my certificate. So for now, I wait …