Different policies for Asians & Non-asians regarding marriage


I’ve heard (and of course I don’t want to rely on rumors) that it’s easier for Asian foreigners who marry Taiwanese to get citizenship than whites. Could this possibly be a fact, and how does such blatant discrimination exist?

Why are residency laws for whites in Asia so much more stringent than residency laws for Asians in America?


Your first paragraph appears to warrant a good discussion.

Your last question makes it evident that you don’t know too much about what Asians have to go through to obtain U.S. residency.

An Asian in America


It does not matter if you are white or Asian. My husband is English so I am familiar with the steps involved with applying for permanent residency. It is the same for everyone. Perhaps you heard it was easier because the Asian in that situation might have had parents who are citizens or was born in Taiwan but did not keep his/her citizenship after moving away while they were still babies. I have friends and cousins who did that, although I’m not sure exactly how easy it is for them to become a resident here. I’m sure it is still quite difficult. I hope that helps you


“Hello” said,
Your last question makes it evident that you don’t know too much about what Asians have to go through to obtain U.S. residency.

Oops, I guess that’s why there’s hundreds of thousands of legal white American residents of Taiwan, and only a handful of legal Asian immigrant CITIZENS of the United States…

You got it, Champ!


I am afraid that I have to agree with EYE OPENER’s comments. Having lived in Taiwan over 25 years, I have met many local Taiwanese who returned from a multiple-year work assignment, or a course of advanced study, in the USA, and were holding a USA passport in their hands. Contrastingly, I know many many USA, Canadian, German, British, Irish, etc. citizens who have lived in Taiwan for decades, but are unable to obtain ROC citizenship due to the unfair restrictions on foreigners here.

As I have previously pointed out in this FORUM, most Taiwanese people are very much unaware of the legal structure of their own country, and rely primarily on hear-say or rumor, rather than getting formal clarifications from the official ROC government departments. With that preface out of the way, I can offer the following analysis and note that it is 100% correct, even though many Taiwanese people will not recognize it as such:

    • The chief restriction which forbids foreigners from easily obtaining ROC nationality is the requirement that they first renounce their original nationality, and produce proof of having done so. * *

There are no such restrictions on Asians who want to obtain USA or Canadian citizenship, etc., so again I, along with EYE OPENER, do not understand what “hello” (An Asian in America) is complaining about.


Sorry Richard, when you refer to ROC nationality there, is that citizenship or just permanent residency? Can a foreigner actually become a citizen?

Moderator’s reply: A foreigner can become a citizen in Taiwan, however the current law requires that his/her original citizenship be renounced first. With ROC citizenship, you are not subject to many types of restrictions on your rights, (the most important of which is perhaps work rights), nor do you have to maintain a physical presence in the Taiwan area for a certain number of days per year in order to maintain ROC citizenship. You can vote, and you (as a male) join the armed forces. (Note: exceptions to the requirement of military service are granted based on over 200 types of physical ailments, and also based on a person’s age.)

While the laws of many countries consider permanent residents eligible for citizenship after a certain number of years, in Taiwan there is no connection between a permanent resident’s years of residence and his/her eligibility to apply for citizenship.

While permanent residency status grants a foreigner the right to reside permanently, it is subject to the stipulation that you be physically present in the ROC for 183 days or more per year. (Note: exceptions to this physical presence rule can be granted if you have a valid reason for your absence.) Also noteworthy is that if you are convicted of committing a “criminal offense” (as opposed to a “civil offense” or “administrative offense”) your permanent residency rights can be cancelled.


I have quite a different situation. I was born here to Taiwan parents, but I was adopted by Americans and left Taiwan when I was 7 months old. I became an American citizen. I don’t speak, write, or read Chinese, however, I came back to Taiwan 1.5 years ago and reclaimed my citizenship and still maintain my US one.

My husband (white American) and I applied for his “Joining Family Resident Visa” and was able to get this and his ARC done within 5 days (we were leaving on vacation). Granted he can never obtain citizenship here, but we certainly didn’t feel that he was being discriminated against then.

But obtaining a “Joining Family VISITOR visa” for my husband is a different story. At that time, I did not have proof of my Taiwan citizenship, only photocopies of my previous passport from over 20 some years ago. I was able to obtain a 5 year multiple-entry visitor visa. I had our original marriage certificate from AZ with us and showed the TECO rep. Unfornately, that was not good enough and they only gave my husband a 60 day visitor visa. Then in HK they did it again. By this time, I had my citizenship and the TECO Honolulu office gave my husband a 5 year joining family visitor visa. After that, we just extended it two more times, before appplying for his JFRV. But now, you don’t have to be married for a certain length of time in order to apply for “JFRV”.

Anyways, to sum it up, getting a JFRV was much easier to do than obtaining a JFVV.


The previous posting, and a number of other postings in this Forum, clearly show that it is possible for a USA passport holding person of “Chinese ancestry” to obtain ROC citizenship WITHOUT FIRST RENOUNCING HIS/HER USA CITIZENSHIP.

However, for those of us from minority races, such as whites, blacks, indians, etc. it appears that this is legally IMPOSSIBLE.

Does this state of affairs indicate anything to you?


It is even easier in New Zealand. You can apply for PR without having lived in the country, and if accepted you will then be treated as a NZ citizen.

This means you can vote etc. Then if you have lived in NZ for a few years you can apply for citizenship (which only gives you a few extra rights, like getting a NZ passport and being able to become a politician).

I definitely think we are too soft and easy in NZ.


If say a white foreigner had more than one nationality, and agreed to give up one of them, retaining the other(s) unbeknowst to the ROC govt, would he then be able to obtain ROC citizenship ? Is the requirement that a/all/any foreign passport be given up ?



Also, there may be a lot of people from countries with “less valuable” citizenship who are willing to renounce that citizenship that people from western nations who don’t want to give up such a valuable thing and are likely to return to their own countries in certain situations. It’s sort of like asking a poor man who has 5 dollars to his name and a rich guy who was born with a billion dollar trust fund to each give up half of their money. Obviously the rich guy will be more reluctant to do it and will protest louder than the poor guy. That’s why you hear a lot about “discrimination” towards white people here than you do about people from Southeast and South Asia or Africa.

The Chinese ancestry guaranteeing automatic dual citizenship without any military obligations, etc., however, is an unfair policy, although some others in this forum, predictably those who benefit from it, disagree.


Mr. Beer has opened an interesting possibility.

  1. add 2nd citizenship
  2. remove original citizenship (they’ll be sure to wonder about that of your country of birth)
  3. Apply and get Taiwan citizenship.

OK, now they find out about #1, can they revoke your citizenship now?

By the way, if step 1 is placed after step 3, there would be no “cheating” involved, a more relaxed route for the same results …


Hey can you still buy Tongan citizenship for US$ 5000? Seriously, that would be an option wouldn’t it?


I thought about that - Tongan Citizenship - problem is I got my first resident visa with a NZ passport - they might smell something fishy.

Also the 5 years would start all over.

I wish I had known about this problem 3 months before I left Australia to come to Taiwan.

I would have obtained Australian Citizenship no problems. Then come to Taiwan on my OZ passport, and, later, automatically lose my OZ citizenship when I applied for Taiwanese - and still be a NZ citizen.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision.


As another thread related to this topic, please see our discussion about
Re-acquiring “Home Country” Nationality,


Back to Hello:

It’s not just Asians. White Europeans are heavily scrutinized before they are granted permanent residency or green cards in the US, and if you’re Finnish, forget it.


I’m curious: If two Westerners in Taiwan get married and have a baby, then would the baby be a Taiwanese citizen, in addition to being able to apply for citizenship of the parents’ countries?

And if the parents come from different countries, then would the baby be able to have all three citizenships simultaneously?

In addition, if the baby is male, then would he be drafted to serve in the military when he becomes 18 years old?


The tri-nationality scenario is usually presented this way, (and I actually believe there are some of these children in Hsin Chu): An ROC national married a German national and had a baby in the USA. The child can apply for three passports, and would thereby have three nationalities. If the child is male and has ROC nationality, then military service would certainly be in the offing. Obviously, the quota of males serving in “alternative service” types of activities (as approved by the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, etc.) is expanding year by year.

The birth of a baby to two “foreigners” in the ROC does not qualify the child for ROC citizenship. Although the child is not (according to the current interpretation of the Immigration Law) considered to have entered the ROC illegally, the parents should still apply for the child’s ARC within 15 days. For those countries without any representative office in Taiwan, this can prove difficult, since the Police normally want to see a valid passport in conjunction with an ARC application, and would like to see a valid “joining family resident visa” therein. If anyone is having trouble in this regard, they should contact me by email promptly.


You never really care about any nationality laws until you live and experience Taiwan. Empathy for “stateless” ROC passport holders and then the disgruntled resentment towards an entire island of ROC bureaucrats indifferent to the plight of those living amongst them.

The flipside of this is that the Taiwan lobby in DC is not even very concerned with the non-Chinese issues in ROC. Highly chauvanistic in practice and even quite hypocritical when it really comes to the aliens in Taiwan. Ugh!!

I’ve complained in the past, but the foreign interests of “their” lobby is really cloaked as Taiwanese-American interests. The two are not always the same as the Taiwanese-American Associations will often attest to at the grassroots level. Under that ROC establishment is a very dynamic bunch of rice-roots voters. Democracy is truly compatible with a free Taiwan society, but is the ROC bureaucrat?


I’m not sure if your accusation about the bureaucrats is true – I too am an ROC passport holder (along with a US one) and in recent years travel has become easier. For example, a visa is no longer necessary to visit South Korea, and for those countries where visas are required, the application process has almost become a formality (except for France, which is a pain in the ass). Here I believe the passport is a reflection of the risk of the holder overstaying or conducting illegal activities. Just look at how easy it is for someone with an ROC passport to visit the US vs. someone who has a PRC passport!