British not getting married in Taiwan

Have any British had recent experiance of getting married in Taiwan ? The BTCO had told me to go to HK and get a “declaration of freedom to marry” as to get a certificate of no impediment I would need to be resident in the UK for a total of 42 days (of course I am in Taiwan).

Been to HK, got the declaration, got it authenticated by the TCO in Hong Kong, and then finally again by the foreign affairs dept.

Now the registry office says they will not accept the document and I need a different document…

BTCO says “Sorry we can’t help you!” What a farce!! Any ideas or any positive experiences in this matter??


Don’t know if 7 years is recent enough…

Getting married in Taiwan is apparently a bad idea, they will let you marry, but when you come to register they will ask for a certificate to prove you weren’t married, which you can’t get because you’re now married so you have to divorce and do it again…

But if you get married in the UK, no (certificates needed) you just have to get your marriage certificate translated in London and they accept that in Taiwan quite happily. You don’t necessarily have to wait 42 days, When my wife came to the UK to marry me, we paid more for a red piece of paper, and only had to wait a week or so.

The real frustrating thing is the BTO (British Trade Office) said go to HK get this ‘declaration of freedom to marry’ as an alternative to a ‘certificate of no impediment’ so we could marry here.

Wanted to marry here so could invite the Taiwan family. It is true that my girlfriend would only need to be resident in the UK for 7 days… but we had no plans go back this year…

I am wondering what to do next, without wasting more money and time and still comming up blank!!

BTO what a waste of space…


Let that be a lesson for believing anything those bozos at the BTCO tell you!

The document you need is a Certificate of No Impediment. However, you DO NOT NEED to return to the UK to get it.

You CAN get a PROXY certificate. Ask one of your parents to go to a notary public and get a notarized letter that says you are not married. The parent can sign this as your proxy. He then sends it – along with an envelope addressed to you in Taiwan – to the ROC rep office in London, who for 10 pounds will authenticate it, affix their own stamp on it, and forward it to you.

This is what the authorities here are looking for.

Remember, the twits at the BTCO are not your friends!

Actually the proxy thing seems not work either these days (may have a few years ago), as this is only a letter stating i am ‘single and free to marry’ no different to what i got in HK.

The TRO (Taiwan rep office) in London said they want a search completed by the General Registra Office or cert of no impediment, the GRO in turn say i need to contact the registra in my local parish and they say they can only issue a certificate of no impediment… so back to square one…

I have also heard in exceptional circumstances the GRO can issue a letter, but no one there seems to know about it…


I had similar problems 8 years ago when I got married here - but managed to do it by begging the notary public to accept my “declaration of freedom to marry”. All I had was an affidafid from a law company in Taipei saying that I had sworn I was single. At first, the notary public refused to accept it, but he eventually relented after I pleaded to his better nature. If your local registry office are stubborn - try going to another one (Taipei County instead of Taipei City?).

I really feel for you, but be thankfull you are trying to get married here and not in Beijing.

I spent 11 months getting married,

I even needed my mother and fathers fingerprints, then one day after eleven months and more than 20 visits to the marriage office we were presented with our Marriage certficate.

re: your situation

the 7 day rule still applies in the UK, so fly home and do it.

Then have a fake taiwanese kitsch ceremony with the family when you get back !!!

In regard to the full legality of a marriage performed in Taiwan (between a Taiwan national and a foreigner), many people have been complaining about this for years.

In other words, people are not satisfied that a foreigner has to get married in his/her HOME COUNTRY, in order for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider the marriage valid.

Well, my friends, I say “Stop complaining and start taking legal action.” If you want to get married in Taiwan and have the marriage recognized as 100% legal by the Taiwan authorities, I estimate that the legal maneuverings would need one year or so.

The sooner one gets started the better.

I don’t get it, Richard. I was married here in Taiwan and am named on my wifes ID as husband, as well as on various other official documents.

Why would they do this if my marriage is not accepted as valid?

Does this also mean that I cannot get a JFRV based on my marriage?

According to the current MOFA regulations (which I feel are invalid according to ROC law), the foreigner (married to an ROC national) must produce evidence that the marriage is registered in his/her home country in order to obtain a JFRV.

For those countries without any Household Registration system, this is simply not possible unless one gets married in the country of the foreign spouse.

Hence the problem.

Note: it is my understanding that USA nationals can get certification from AIT to satisfy this requirement. However in the present thread we are primarily talking about UK nationals, so that is not directly relevant.

So… are there any Brits out there in my position – married to a Taiwanese woman IN Taiwan?

Do any of you have a JFRV and if so, how did you get it?

Richard, you say that you estimate taking this matter through the court system would take around a year. How much do you estimate this would cost?

Perhaps it would be cheaper to just get a divorce here, then travel to UK, get married there, come back here and register the marriage here (all the while spitting on the ROC officials’ desks, commenting on what asshats they are, etc., Of course).

I ran into the same problems some years ago when I married, and all the headaches involved drove us to get married in a third country; America would you believe. (I am a British national).

In Taiwan the marriage ceremony is the bride leaving her house, the banquet and so on. Signing documents is often done later. So, we took our ‘honeymoon’ in the US, and got legally married there.

I since have obtained a JRVC and OWP on the strengths of this marriage certificate (witnessed by the Taiwan office in San Franscico), which of course did not take place in my home country.

(it was over five years ago though…)

The BTCO would be the last place in the world to go for advice. They don’t give a monkey’s about British citizens. I often wonder what the hell all these embassies etc around the world paid for by the British taxpayer are for. F**k all use to any British citizen when push comes to shove.

Does anyone know what the BTCO does ? I must ask my MP…

[QUOTE]Originally posted by sandman:
[QB]So… are there any Brits out there in my position – married to a Taiwanese woman IN Taiwan?

Do any of you have a JFRV and if so, how did you get it?

Yes, I think I am. I have an ARC with ‘joining spouse - wife - …’ in the reason for residence section. Is this a JFRV?

Tonyc, that sounds like you have a JFRV (Joining Family Resident Visa), but Richard H. would need to confirm that, I think.

So, how did you deal with the requirement that you need to provide proof that the marriage is recognized in the U.K.?

I look forward to your answer.

I can’t remember exactly how because it was 3 years ago - but I think I qualified by being married and resident in Taiwan for a year. I just needed my Taiwanese marriage certificate, health check report, household report, financial records, etc… I even got the clean criminal record done in Taiwan because I persuade the foreign affiars police that since I’d been living here pretty constantly for 5 years if I’d committed a crime, it would have been in Taiwan.

That’s interesting, Tony, many thanks for the info.


I am in the process of changing my resident visa based on a working permit to one based on marriage. The authorities here said that I only needed the marriage certificate, criminal record from holland and a medical exam. They said nothing about the marriage needing registration in Holland.

I know I can have it registered there by just sending passport copies, birth certificates, marriage certificate and a request letter to the civil servants in the Hague. However, that process would take a few months to complete.

Are you sure I need this for the visa change?

What about a proxy marriage?

It seems that a few countries will do this marriage licensing in absence including the USA in Texas and Montana. If so done, that state licensing would cause either legalization or certification with AIT under their legal authority of the TRA. Proxy marriage might not always work as wished for the US federal immigration laws but it might perhaps work for ROC immigration, especially if the proxy marriage license is then consummated:

Multilateral Convention on (Proxy) Marriage

Signed by the ROC in 1962 but PRC accension on the basis of One China and by the joint notices of the PRC and UK in 1997. Perhaps a tacit treaty validity of One China policy for the UK and ROC on Taiwan as proxy marriage is valid under this ratified treaty. The USA has signed but not ratified.

Marriage laws are a state jurisdictional issue in the USA, not federal. An interesting website to look at perhaps for even US citizens considering using the new K-3 Spouse Visa with their still unconsummated, proxy marriage.

Early days yet as I’m still jumping hoops… but… I had an interesting encounter after marrying here and checking the list to see that I’d have to register my marriage in my home country. I called the New South Wales (Australia) registry of births deaths and marriages and this total git with no sense of irony told me I’d have to get divorced here first and then re-marry in Oz. “Just been married a week, mate, but I’ll run it past the missus and see if she’s up for it then eh?”

I then fronted the Foreign Affairs visa mob on Chi Nan Road Taipei and related my tale with the humour it deserved and in the process raisied many a smile. I was told it wasn’t necessary for obtaining the JFS ARC - (yi qin zhu you zhen). But this appears to be because I have a current work related ARC with time up my sleeve. Consequently it’s merely a case of changing it over: Police check; health check; marriage cert.; (Taiwanese) household registry; and a form. I’m waiting on the police check and medical but quietly confident things will flow. Mind you after reading many of the tales of woe I must say I’ve never had a problem with visas here. It always seems impossible/improbable, nears the wire and wham…it happens.

Good luck… good planning?