Am I a Taiwanese Citizen?

Hi all. I’m hoping someone here will be knowledgeable enough to help me out here. I am wondering if I can be constituted as a Taiwanese citizen in order to circumvent the Work Permit issues. My grandparents, as well as my parents, were Taiwanese citizens, and I do have blood relatives in Taiwan. However, I was born and raised in the US.

The sole purpose of this post is that I will be graduating from UCLA in June and will be in Taiwan at the end of July. I have been looking for employment, which has been discouraging because of the economy there and the immigrations laws.

When I move to Taiwan, I want to begin a CAREER, which excludes teaching English IF possible. And if possible, beginning a career entails committing to a professional position which compensates on par with American companies, with a work experience that is transferrable to American companies in the likely event that I return to the US.

Any insight or help would be greatly appreciated! Please email me at if anyone has any leads on the job market, or if you want a copy of my resume for that purpose.


Cool, there’re more lost souls than I thought!

That’s really nice Beaver. It’s not like I was BORN with this knowledge implanted in my skull and it’s not like this topic was a life-long interest of mine. But I’m sure that you were always familiar with these legal issues since whenever.

Anyways, did some digging and found my answers.

Dave (“Emua”),

I’m sure that you qualify for Taiwanese citizenship because my wife gave birth to a baby girl a month ago, and I found out that the only thing I had to do for my daughter to become a Taiwanese citizen was to register her name in my “household registration”, which only took five minutes. I just went to the “household registration office” (“hu4 zheng4 shi4 wu4 suo3” in Chinese) and showed them my daughter’s birth certificate and handed them my household registration document (“hu4 kou3 ming2 bu4”) which used to have only my name and my wife’s name, and then five minutes later, they handed me back a new household registration document which also has my daughter’s name (in addition to my name and my wife’s name).

By the way, I am not Taiwanese myself. I’m an American, but my wife is Taiwanese. The people at the “household registration office” told me that as long as at least one of the child’s parents is Taiwanese, then the child is qualified to become a Taiwanese citizen, and in fact, he/she become a Taiwanese citizen as soon as his/her name is added to the “household registration document”.

They also told me that it isn’t necessary to have a Taiwanese ID card (“shen1 fen4 zheng4”) or Taiwanese passport to have Taiwanese citizenship, but I could apply for an ID card and/or passport for my daughter anytime I wanted. However, if the child is at least 14 years old and currently living in Taiwan, then he/she must have an ID card.

So the answer is yes, you are qualified to be a Taiwanese citizen. But since you’re not currently living in Taiwan, you don’t have a “household registration document”. So the only thing you can do is call (or go to) a Taiwanese de-facto embassy.

I’m curious what the de-facto embassy will tell you to do in order to get your Taiwanese citizenship. If you don’t mind, please post the answer in this thread when you find out.


Awesome, finally someone with something substantial to say. Thank you for the post Mark. I really hate these trolls. But anyways, I did some research on the legal section of, and I’ve found out some interesting things.

Being an American, my loyalty lies with the US. Being as such, I have no desire actually to become a Taiwanese citizen, and run the risk of having to be conscripted. I will serve in no military unless its that of the US.

So I’m resigned to just getting my Overseas Chinese Passport, and that’ll give me resident status. And in order to dodge the Taiwanese draft, I’ll have to exit the country every 4 months - which is a blessing in my eyes since I’ve never gone anywhere outside of the US other than Tiajuana and Taiwan. So I’ll get to take mini-vacations every so often and I plan to visit Singapore, Thailand, Shanghai, Hong Kong, etc.

I’ve been to the de-facto embassy and have met with the Taiwanese “ambassador” to the US (Jason Yuan in the Los Angeles TECRO). I wasn’t able to get any solid leads there, so I’m resigned to going at this by myself, and its got me really stressed because the clock is ticking. So I guess what you’re waiting for me to say is, “its really interesting how bureaucracies work.”

In closing, congrats on your addition and thank god its a girl, so that she wont be obligated to serve in the military.

Actually, they just passed a new law here allowing visitors to apply for permanent residence if they have lived in the country for more than six months. So, one way to avoid the military service is to come to Taiwan on a visitor’s visa, then switch over when the time comes.

Also, the overseas Taiwanese passport isn’t necessary if you want (are forced) to leave the country every six (not four) months. Your US passport will allow you to do that already.

Also, as for jobs, cost of living, PPP is all much lower in Taiwan, so comparable pay will be hard to find without prior work experience (even with prior work experience). I suppose the big questions are, “What kind of field are you looking to start a career in?” and “How much Chinese do you know?” There are a bunch of opportunities over here, and the experience is most certainly transferable, but don’t expect money like in the States.

quote[quote]They just passed a new law here allowing visitors to apply for permanent residence if they have lived in the country for more than six months.[/quote]

Actually, the new law is that a person can apply for permanent residence if he/she has had a Resident Visa and ARC card for six months (183 days to be exact) every year for five consecutive years. Here is the link to the article that explains the new law:

quote[quote]The overseas Taiwanese passport isn't necessary if you want (are forced) to leave the country every six (not four) months.[/quote]

If you have an Overseas Taiwanese passport, then the de-facto embassy will give you a four-month non-renewable Visitor Visa. But if you apply for a Visitor Visa with a foreign passport (e.g., a U.S. passport), then the visa will only last for 60 days.

It’s theoretically posssible to renew a 60-day Visitor Visa up to two times, which means that you can stay in Taiwan a maximum of six months with a 60-day Visitor Visa. However, you have to have a good reason to renew the visa. As far as I know, the only reasons that are acceptable are:

  1. You are a student at a Chinese language school, and you have papers to prove it.

  2. You got a job, and your employer has already sponsored you for a Resident Visa and ARC, but you are still waiting for the paperwork to come back from the government. (Show a letter written by your boss.) However, if you say that you got a job, you can’t admit that you already started working because you aren’t supposed to start working until you have your Resident Visa and ARC.

  3. You recently got married, and you are in the process of applying for your spouse-sponsored Resident Visa (also called a “Joining Family Resident Visa”). (Show your marriage license to prove it.)

  4. You recently got engaged. I don’t know if this reason works every time, but it worked for me when I was engaged. I renewed my 60-day Visitor Visa twice when I was engaged. Each time, I just showed them a short letter which my fiancee wrote, a copy of both sides of my fiancee’s Taiwan ID card, and a picture of our engagement banquet. (I don’t think the picture was necessary, but I’m sure the copy of my fiancee’s ID card was necessary because they asked for it both times.)

And keep in mind that lots of times the de-facto embassy stamps 60-day Visitor Visas with a stamp that says “No extensions will be granted”. If this is the case, then it’s absolutely impossible to extend the visa.

I had about a dozen Visitor Visas before I finally got married and got my spouse-sponsored Resident Visa. And about half of the Visitor Visas had the “No extensions will be granted” stamp on it!

So since it’s so difficult to renew a 60-day Visitor Visa, I recommend going with the four-month Visitor Visa which you can get if you have an Overseas Taiwanese passport. And I’m sure that you won’t be drafted as long as you don’t overstay your visa.

Ahhh Leah, thank you for the post. The thing about the resident visas is new to me, so I’ll look into it.

After doing some research on the Taiwanese job market…I guess I’m gonna be teaching English…gulp

Lord watch over me =P

OMG Mark! I just barely posted and I come back to find this great post. Thank you so much!

Hey, how come the oriented Legal Matters section doesn’t detail this? You should just send it to them and tell them to tack it on. You’d be doing everyone a great service


I know two people that have done what u want to do.

One female - born Canada
One male - born USA

Both managed to get their ID cards. And the male
managed to avoid military service by being considered overseas Chinese and exiting Taiwan
every 4 months.

I know that the female had to stay in Taiwan for 12 months straight without being outside Taiwan for more than 30 days. That says to me that she
was naturalised - as that would be the policy if
I was to apply as an non-chinese for naturalisation. I can only assume that for the male it was the same deal. He just had to use his 30 days to exit 3 times.

Sorry I can’t ask them for you since both have since left Taiwan.


If you want to become a Taiwan “citizen” to circumvent the work permit issue, I believe it will take you a about 5 years. This is because you will need to get a Taiwan ID to avoid needing a work permit and you can’t get that until you’ve lived in the country for 183 days a year for 5 years(under the new law). Avoiding military service is going to be a pain because they’ll keep track of you until you’re past the age of conscription(I think it’s 45).

Depending on what you mean by “[compensation] on par with American companies”, you will find that jobs in Taiwan will be paying less than corresponding jobs in the US. It’s obvious from a simple comparison:
Minimum wage in Taiwan: 65 NT/hour (less than $2)
Minimum wage in CA: $6.25

But as Leah mentioned, the PPP is lower so you shouldn’t have problems living in Taiwan, but don’t expect to be able to save up tons of money.

If you do figure out an easier/faster way to get an ID card, I’m very interested as I’ll be running up against this problem in about 2 years.

This is a reply to “Answerer”.

quote[quote]If you want to become a Taiwan "citizen" to circumvent the work permit issue, I believe it will take you about 5 years. This is because you will need to get a Taiwan ID to avoid needing a work permit and you can't get that until you've lived in the country for 183 days a year for 5 years (under the new law).[/quote]

No, you’re confusing “citizenship” with “permanent residence”. On May 15th this year, the legislature changed the requirements for permanent residency. Now a person who is not a Taiwanese citizen, is not married to a Taiwanese citizen, and does not have at least one parent who is a Taiwanese citizen can get permanent residence if he/she has lived in Taiwan for seven consecutive years (at least 183 days each year), and has had an ARC card and Resident Visa for the whole seven consecutive years. Here is the whole story:

For foreigners who do not have a Taiwanese parent but are married to a Taiwanese citizen, the requirement is that they must have been married for at the last five years and they must have lived in Taiwan for the last five years (at least 183 days a year).

However, if a person has at least one parent who is a Taiwanese citizen, then he/she can apply for his/her “Overseas Taiwanese” passport right away, from any Taiwan de-facto embassy. And this passport allows the person to stay in Taiwan up to four months at a time, and the person will not be drafted into the military as long as he doesn’t overstay his visa.

This is the situation that Dave (“Emua”) is in. Both of his parents are Taiwanese citizens. So he can have dual citizenship, and he never has to get permanent residence.


From what I understand, simply having dual citizenship isn’t enough to allow him to work. He needs to obtain a Taiwan ID before he can work without a work permit. What exactly that involves I’m not quite so sure. If you know any information to the contrary, I would LOVE to hear. I’m dying to find an internship in Taiwan…legally (and without teaching English).

Also, using the Overseas Taiwanese Passport is messy as well. You need to get the passport, which for some strange reason involves getting your birth certificate certified by the Taiwan representative in the area you were born…ie if you were born in SF but apply at the LA office, they’ll send your birth certificate up to the SF office. Then, whenever you plan on entering Taiwan, you need to go to the representative to get a visa. So far, it’s been easier for me to enter on my US passport but that will change soon when my ARC expires…


quote[quote]He needs to obtain a Taiwan ID before he can work without a work permit.[/quote]

This is correct.

quote[quote]What exactly that involves I'm not quite so sure.[/quote]

Sorry, I don’t know either. Probably someone in the Legal Forum would know. Actually, it would be more suitable for this thread to be in the Legal Forum. Jeff (moderator), could you please move this thread to the Legal Forum? Thanks.