Can't get dual citizenship because mom died?

First time poster but I’ve been reading the forums for a while. Lots of good information but my situation is somewhat unusual.

I’m 18, a US citizen, with no Taiwan passport or any identification. My mom was born and raised in Taiwan, and maintained her passport, hukou, health insurance, owned property etc because we traveled to Taiwan once or twice every year. My parents never applied for my citizenship when I was younger, because they figured I could always do it later. However, last year, my mom died from cancer.

I asked at TECO about this, and they said it’s easier to get citizenship while I’m under 20, so I gathered all the documents and tried to apply over the summer. When we showed up at the government agency, they said that I have everything needed - except that my mom has to be physically present. Somehow, because she’s not alive, they couldn’t confirm that I was her daughter. They said to go back to the US and ask TECO to try something else.

I went to TECO yesterday, and this “something else” seems to be the passport without ID number method. They said that I need the original copies of my birth certificate and mom’s hukou, even though the agency in Taiwan accepted and stamped copies of both. They also said that they have no idea what the next steps are, once I have the passport, just that I should ask in Taiwan. From my research, I think I would need a TARC, then a work permit, followed by a year of stay.

I’m concerned that I will run into the same issues again when I try to apply for a TARC in Taiwan. Is it necessary for my mom to be there when I present the documents? What documents do I need that are different from the under 20 method? I think the only thing is the FBI background check - is that correct? Is there any difference by my age now?

I am planning to live in Taiwan for around three months beginning in January, but won’t be able to stay a full year. I’m not sure if I can get everything done by then. Can I stay in Taiwan for more than 90-days on a passport without ID? Am I allowed to volunteer or take random classes (say, art classes) with just the passport?

It’s been an incredibly frustrating situation for me, so any advice would be appreciated.

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Very sorry you lost your mom while you are so young still

Keep working on it a way should find itself to you

Any relatives in Taiwan or Taiwanese relatives in the USA could be a big help

Hi Paperclip,

As per understanding base on your situation - you’re Mom is Taiwanese and you are born overseas and I believe you are entitled or eligible to apply for Taiwan passport first although having Taiwan passport doesn’t mean you are “Citizen”.

Taiwan passport as I remember you can stay 3 months then you can extend and they will give you another 3 months (That was I remember not sure today) please check with Teco website.

My opinion you get Taiwan Passport first - if you have all documents such as:

  1. Your birth certificates
  2. Parents marriage contracts
  3. Mom’s household address + Mom ROC ID + Mom Taiwan Passport + her death certificate.
  4. Photo
  5. All related documents should be authenticated.

You go submit first for Taiwan passport.

You can get a Taiwanese passport quite easily as described, just not full citizenship.

Why do you want full Taiwanese citizenship of you do not plan to live here? -> (male?) You will be drafted if you did not serve in the US army.

I’m sorry for your loss at such a young age.

If the immediate purpose of your trying to get a citizenship is the coming 3-month stay, I think a visa exempt entry by your US passport could be an option. You can stay here for 90 days without a visa, and you need a visa run to stay for more than 90 days. Or, if your ralatives are here, you can apply for a visitor visa too, with their corporation. A visitor visa may be extendable once.

You can take short term classes of language, art, culture, etc, without a visa or TARC. Though you cannot enroll in regular schools,such as university, without a visa, it can be a reason to get your TARC.

I think most of volunteers may be allowed too, but this need to be checked.

If you understand Chinese, here is the instruction to apply for TARC.

If your mom’s parents still live in Taiwan, you can get TARC based on your relationship with them.


If your mother was a Taiwanese national with the full benefits - hukou, ID etc. you should also be entitled to one. As you don’t mention your father’s citizenship I assume he is not Taiwanese.

Do you know if your mother registered you for hukou when you were born? (the below only applies if you are not on hukou.) I’m in a very similar situation - my mother was Taiwanese but passed away a number of years ago, and I’m just about to apply for my Taiwanese ID card.

Depending on when you were born, you might fall into a special category. Persons born in Taiwan between 10 February 1980 and 9 February 2000 whose mother is a Taiwan national with a household registration in Taiwan and father is a foreigner.
A person falling within this special category can waive the residency period requirement and file for “registered permanent residence (定居)” and Taiwan ID application directly.

Your first step is to get a Taiwanese passport - you should be able to do this from the US. However your passport will just be one for 'Nationals without Household Registration" and therefore missing the ID number. This passport is pretty useless - you can’t travel with it (even into Taiwan you will need to apply for a pass), but it is the first piece of paperwork you will need to apply for your residency pass (get on the hukou register) then ROC ID.

You’ll need a bunch of paperwork (I’m still going through this process myself so don’t have all the details), but it would include your birth certificate, your parent’s marriage certificate, and your mother’s hukou details. When my mother died we also went through a “chu hu” process, where they removed her name from the register. if you haven’t done this, you’d have to complete this first - as chu hu is similar to probate in other countries (you’d need to declare death with certificate, liquidate her assets [or put them under your name, problematic if you’re a foreigner depending on what they are], pay the inheritance taxes and then remove her from the household register.)

Ours is a pretty unusual situation, and without knowing your specifics I can really only help with the details from my particular circumstances. I’ve found it really helpful getting a Taiwanese lawyer involved - it costs a bit of money but saves me trawling the websites to understand all the ins and outs and potentially getting it wrong. It’s something you should consider - they can look through the laws and even fill out the forms for you. Plus it’s one less thing to handle while you’re dealing with your mother’s passing.

One last thing to note - while a lawyer can help prep the filings etc for you, you will need to submit the documents in person and you physically MUST be in Taiwan when this happens (for the residency and ID). You should be able to apply for the passport from the US - you must enter Taiwan using the Taiwanese passport if you’re doing this. The process of filing in Taiwan will take around 12-15 working days, so you’ll need to allow time to be in Taiwan for up to a month. During this time, you cannot leave the country or the clock resets.

Hope this helps - I’m sorry for your loss. Know how it feels as my mother passed away under similar circumstances (although I’m a bit older). PM me if you have other questions and I’ll try to help where I can. And good luck!


Thank you everyone for your advice.

I think I will go ahead and try to get the passport. Will this passport allow me to work or volunteer? I understand that there has been some change in the volunteering laws recently. Or will I need a TARC for this? (I’m female so I don’t need to worry about conscription.)

@tando Thank you! I can’t read Chinese but will forward the link to my aunts. They have tried to work with the offices in Taiwan but are convinced that after this summer, I can’t get citizenship because of my mom’s death. The government workers have told them a lot of conflicting information. I’m glad to hear that I can get a TARC through my grandparents instead.

@XLB My mom didn’t register me when I was born, because she figured she could always do it later - it wasn’t a priority. :frowning: I am born between those dates, and the estate issues have been resolved - the taxes filed, and inheritance split up. Is there a website or something where I can find information on avoiding the residency requirement? I haven’t found anything about this in my research. I would like to get a lawyer to figure out all this paperwork, especially since I can’t read Chinese myself, but my dad isn’t helping and I don’t know where to begin to look for one. How did you find yours? Thank you so much for all the helpful information! It’s been so difficult trying to figure this out myself when the TECO people don’t even seem to know what to do.

Your grandparents and aunts in Taiwan make the process much easier than you do everything by yourself just based on your mom’s nationality.

The passport and TARC don’t allow you to work. You may need a work permit.


Employment Service Act
Article 79



The above is direct advice i got from my lawyers, so you should be able to bypass the TARC and get the ID directly (per the process I mentioned above).

I found Teco to be unhelpful as this is one of those ‘exception to the rule’ pieces of legislation that they just don’t know the details of.

With regards to eligibility now your mother has passed away, this shouldn’t be an issue as she was a citizen at the time of your birth. This is typically the test for citizenship. Your age should also not be an issue - I’m older than you and I’m eligible.

For your plan to go to Taiwan for 3mths beginning Jan - you’ll definitely want to get your Taiwan passport before this. You then apply for a visit pass using your Taiwan passport, and enter the jurisdiction using the TW passport. The rest should then follow the process I outlined in my previous post.

If your family are helpful you can ask them to check around for good lawyers. Otherwise I’m happy to give details of the firm I’m using. They’re a big firm and their advice has been spot on (perfect match for my own research), and super prompt. They’re also fluent in English so should make things easier for you. PM me if you’d like the details.

If you were born in Taiwan, you can follow @XLB’s info. Bypass TARC.

The following links are for your aunts, providing the same info with XLB’s posts in Chinese.

from New Taipey City Government

from a site of a law firm

I was born in the U.S. - does this info still apply?

Thank you for all the advice. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. That’s not easy for anyone.

I think you’re in an unusual situation, as XLB has already said. The reason it’s supposed to be easier to get your ID before you’re 20 is that in Taiwan, people under 20 are still minors. BUT that might also be why your Taiwanese parent must be present to register you, because you are NOT sui generis. Have you asked about whether a close family member (such as a grandparent or one of your mom’s siblings) who is Taiwanese can write an affidavit on your behalf?

My mom is Taiwanese, but I did not qualify for nationality when I was born (the law changed in 2000, I think). When I did finally start the process–I applied for an overseas passport (no ID number) in the US–my application hit a snag because I was born 6 months after my parents married, which meant I was illegitimate, according to Taiwanese law. The solution to this was that my mother had to write an affidavit stating I was indeed her daughter, despite arriving 6 months after her marriage to my father, instead of the morally and legally acceptable 9+. I wonder if there might be a similar solution like this for your case.

While Taiwanese immigration laws can be ABSURD, it has been my experience that the staff workers WILL FIND A WAY eventually to help. It’s usually a question of patience, gentle persistence and asking enough people before you get a good response. Very often, the person you deal with first doesn’t really know all of the details of every procedure, so you have to keep asking different people.

As for your stay in Taiwan, you have a couple of choices. You can either come on your US passport and stay 90 days without a visa, or get your overseas passport (without ID number) and when you apply for it, ALSO apply for an entry/exit permit at the same time. This will allow you to arrive in Taiwan on the overseas passport and stay 90 days with the option to renew (another 90 days, I believe, though you might want to double check).

Now, if you cannot, in fact, register yourself directly because of your mom’s absence–if there is really no solution to this problem–then you might want to go ahead and get the overseas passport so you have it ready for when you are ready to apply for a TARC.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck everything!

If you were not born in Taiwan, this may not be applied.

You are absolutely right! I did not read this carefully! I will correct my post. Thanks!

My aunt was helping me prepare materials, and included a statement from her and hukou from my grandfather, and uncle. (I would be registered under their household.) The government official insisted that my mom’s nationality lineage ended when she died though…

Just wanted to update you all on the situation.

I’ve been trying to apply for an overseas passport without ID and entry permit. After two more visits to TECO and help from my mom’s friend (since I can’t read Chinese), I think there’s finally improvement in the situation. Most people were either confused or stated that since my mom passed away, her nationality ended and I can’t get an ID through her - even though all my relatives still live there and I have her hukou (from before she was taken off), my grandfather’s, and my uncle’s (all at the same place).

This time however, there was someone who had come from the Taipei office, and after a TON of begging, he said that he will send my documents directly to Taipei and call them to make sure it goes through. He said that I should be able to register directly without an overseas passport since I’m still young and my documents are in order.

It will take 5 weeks, and I’ll receive a call if there are any issues. It’s somewhat frustrating because it would have just taken one week if things had gone through in Taiwan, but the Chiayi office refused to send to Taipei without my mom being physically present.

If I’m lucky, I’m told that I will get a letter-sized visa document. Does anyone know what this is? Is it an overseas Chinese document or something? He said that I will enter Taiwan with my US passport and get the document stamped. After that, I can apply for an ID directly.

Here’s to hoping it all works out.


Fantastic. Good luck!

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Wow! That’s great news! Good for you for being persistent.

Never heard of this document. I guess you’ll see what it is when it arrives. I know 5 weeks seems like a long time, but it’s much less time than what it would have taken to apply for the TARC and wait a year for the ID card… Once you get this ID (it only takes about 15 minutes if all the right papers are in order and you have the right kind of photo), you’re basically Taiwanese for life. :blush:

If you haven’t already done so, try to get the name and contact number of everyone you’ve dealt with to be sure you can reach them if something goes wrong along the way (entirely possible that during the process, you might hit a snag with a bureaucrat who is unaware of what someone above them has decided). It sounds like the person from Taipei really wants to help you, so that’s a good thing.

Good luck with everything!

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I finally got the “visa” today. It’s been delayed for a while so it took far more than 5 weeks.

I now see that it’s an “Exit & Entry Permit Taiwan Republic of China”. From looking at other threads on the forum, it seems like this is normally accompanied by a NWOHR passport. However, I do not have this passport. TECO told me that I should present this permit when I enter Taiwan to get it stamped, and then go to the Immigration Office. After 3-5 business days, I should get another document, which I should then take to the Household Registration Office, who will issue me an ID. I can then apply for a real passport.

Do I need to present my US passport at entry as well, since I have no NWOHR passport? Or is this permit enough? I assume that I only have this document because I am still officially a minor… and thus don’t need a NWOHR passport?

I will be flying to Taiwan in a few days so I’m not sure what to do. There is also a chance that I will leave Taiwan for a short time - maybe a week - for a trip with family. But that hasn’t been decided yet. Is it okay to go in on the entry permit and exit again? Even though it will then be stamped once already?

Thank you for all your advice.

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It all worked out! I am officially registered, with an ID and a passport.

I entered on the permit and had it stamped at the airport. On the same day, I visited the Chiayi office. The office had never seen the permit before, but eventually decided to follow the written instructions on their database. After one week, they issued me a new stamped version. I took this to the household registration office, and they gave me my ID on the same day. Yay!

I then went to the passport office, bringing my ID along with my US passport (to use my English name - otherwise they would require me to have a Pinyin hyphenated version of my Chinese name). In another week, I received my ROC passport. Since I do not have NHI, my ID and passport are my two forms of ID for official things like opening a bank account or cell phone.

I’m now in Taipei looking for a job and trying to learn some Chinese.

Thanks for all your help! I couldn’t have done it without this forum.