Child Born in USA to American/Taiwanese: Father/Register in Taiwan


Hi All-

I searched around and couldn’t find a thread with this topic.

My wife (Taiwanese) and I (American) got married in the US a few years ago and just welcomed our daughter into the world last month. We live in the USA. My wife will take our daughter home to Taipei shortly to have our her registered.

Question is: Are there different options to have myself (American with no status in Taiwan) listed as her father for legal purposes. I believe the standard way to do this is for me to register under my wife’s parent’s household. Unfortunately, that is not possible for us because there are some strong issues between my wife’s parents and I-- they wish to pretend I do not exist. My wife told me that I can’t register myself without an address in TW either. Wondering if there is another way to have myself listed as my daughter’s father.

Any advice would be appreciated, Brian


What is the necessity is of going back to Taiwan for any form of registration if you don’t intend to live there?

You can inquire with your local Taiwan rep office about obtaining a passport

This would ordinarily be a sufficient document for demonstrating Taiwanese nationality, unless I’m missing something. Maybe someone can fill in more. Note one of the required documents is her (certified by the rep office) birth certificate. If you are listed as the father on it, this is certainly a form of evidence for that.


This is a pretty interesting question. Have you already asked TECO?

When I applied for nationality, decades after I was born, I had to provide my parent’s marriage certificate, as well as my birth certificate, which listed the names of both of my parents. However, when my mother went to add me to her hukou, she called me very upset and asked if it was OK that I didn’t have my father’s name on my ID. He had already passed away, and the big problem for her was not so much the registration, but that we would have needed to use a Chinese name for him and he never had one. My mom is kind of superstitious and she was on the verge of tears, telling me we couldn’t give Dad a Chinese name without his permission and that naming a ghost is generally a bad thing to do. So now I just have a blank where my Dad’s name should go. (Which I don’t really care about–I had a dad, I knew who he was, and whether he’s on my ID card or not changes nothing.)

On that note, there’s no real rush to register your daughter. I’m pretty sure your wife can do it anytime very easily before she turns 20 (it’s after 20 when things get complicated). My grandfather refused to meet my father until after I was born (and my parents had been together for seven years before I came along), but once he saw my little adorable “thank god, she looks Chinese!” face, all was forgiven. Maybe you just need to wait it out…


My wife wants our daughter to be registered so she could live there someday, have access to the universal healthcare, and also just to establish her Taiwanese Identity.

I was aware that we’d need to bring the birth certificate & our marriage certificate to the local Taiwanese “consulate” to have them translated. We would then bring those back for the registration process.

One friend in TW did tell me that the Tapei City gov can use our translated marriage certificate to officially record our marriage in Taiwan-- which would then get my name added to any registration documents for our daughter. I’m not sure if this is true or not.


This is the situation i was a bit afraid of. Not that I minded being omitted from daughter’s id card-- but that having my name missing might cause a legal problem in the future. If my daugher was in Taiwan could that blank in the ID cause someone (like a hospital) to deny my paternity.

My wife wants to register our daughter now so she can have access (if needed) to Taiwanese healthcare and establish her identity. It is also convenient to go back and do this now because she has several months off for maternity leave.


That I don’t know. A birth certificate is a birth certificate and it will be very difficult to deny paternity, if it comes down to it.

It sounds like it might be one of those wait and see situations. Your wife might have to be the one who convinces her parents to come around on the topic, and this might be doable, once they see their grandchild. Even if they hate you and want nothing to do with you, it would be counter-cultural (as in a failure to live up to their familial duty) to deny their own blood something like that. She could frame it as “Your granddaughter will be a bastard in Taiwan if you insist on not helping.”

Or, if you haven’t approached the topic with her family, yet, maybe she should proceed as if nothing was wrong and have the housing authorities tell her family that the father must be registered, as well, or the baby won’t have a legitimate father listed. Taiwanese people hate embarrassment and they might just go along with it to avoid an awkward situation at the housing office.

Of course, I don’t know your actual situation, so I’ll leave you to take those ideas for whatever they’re worth. I do think there is not much point in worrying about it now, as there is truly nothing anyone can do before the fact. See how it plays out once they have the baby in their arms.

Heads up on one point, though. If you don’t live in Taiwan, your daughter’s ID will lose validity after two years. It doesn’t mean that she will lose her nationality, but if she ever did want to go back to Taiwan, she would have to re-register herself again (unless she was back often enough to keep it valid). The same goes for the insurance (I don’t know how long that stays valid), which must be paid monthly (it’s not a lot of money). She can definitely get into the system, but her account will need to be maintained, even if she’s not there.


Another thought: Does your wife have a landowning friend or distant relative that could help? Your wife could then move her hukou to that person’s address, then register your marriage and then her daughter’s birth there.

Your hukou doesn’t have to be with your family. When I registered, I used the address of one of my mom’s friend. That might be a work around.

Also, you wrote in an earlier reply that your documents had to be translated. They probably also have to be AUTHENTICATED by TECO. I had to do this for my documents and they must be done in the US, by the TECO that administers to the region where the life activities occurred. For example, if you were married in California, but your daughter was born in New York, the marriage certificate would need to be authenticated by the TECO in California, and the birth certificate by the one in New York. This can’t be done in Taiwan, so unless the rules have changed (I got my nationality three years ago), be sure to get this sorted before your wife leaves the US.


This is correct, sort of. If the jurisdiction issuing the birth certificate has two types, assume that you need the long form certificate, and likewise for death certificates.

When you have a situation in which the relevant authorities in Taiwan want to see proof of paternity in a huji tengben, a long form birth certificate will suffice, if it’s authenticated by the embassy or other representative office in the issuing jurisdiction, translated, and then certified by a court notary in Taiwan.


Hi Guys-

It has been a few weeks and I wanted to let you know how things are shaping up. I’m now in Taiwan-- but I am staying at an Airbnb because my Wife’s parents still don’t want anything to do with me. I did think about having us register under a friend’s house-- but my wife didn’t want to do that as her family lives in Da’an which she says is the best part of Taipei. It been a very difficult week because I had no idea what would happen and if i’d have no ties to my daughter here.

In the end- her parents had to choose between having a grandchild with no father listed on her registration OR having my name there which means i’d be officially married to their daughter and registered under their household. I wasn’t sure which one they’d choose as I knew that not having a child not having a father listed was very “diu lian” but they that they also can’t fathom having a non-Taiwanese son-in-law. This morning my wife told me our daughter not having a father was worse in their opinion than having me as the son-in-law. Looks like i’ll be having a Taiwanese wedding here at the city hall this week. :slight_smile: I feel so lucky.

Thank you all for your advice.


I hope you realise that you will not have a wedding at a Taiwanese city hall. Since you are already married, all you can do is register your existing marriage.
Also, your parents in law do not have any legal control over whether your marriage to their daughter is registered in the household registration or not. You wife never needed her father’s permission to do so. All it takes is a walk to the local household registration office. Furthermore, as a foreigner you would not become part of the household registration anyways. Your name would simply be mentioned in an entry next to your wife’s name, i.e. “Married to Jack Smith, a citizen of the United States of America on XX.XX.20XX in XXX”. You better smarten ip and stop compromising over alleged cultural differences that do not actually exist in this context.


Indeed. It is all you playing the good guy, and next thing you know you lose your kid and never see her again. Please be extra careful with everything you sign. It is already tingling my spidey senses that your wife is so adamant on having the kid’s ROC paperwork done her…when that is not required. Something here is afish. This is too risky. Please understand that you are a foreigner and hence on the wrong side of the Law here.You do not have equal rights as a partner nor as a parent. Custody is not enforceable. Please check the waters. You could end up being blindsided any moment. Your Taiwanese partner becomes a different person once unde rthe spell of her relatives. Filial duty and all that jazz. You do not speak the language and hence do not know what kind of pressure they are giving here.