Getting Married In Taiwan (not HK) WITHOUT leaving the country (Letter of No Trace)

Thanks for the heads up. I do recall reading this previously. This is another reason I have no choice but to fly back ASAP, once I’ve heard from the legislator. I’ve already got an appointment with the registry office in the UK. My daughter will be born in about 5 months. The process altogether shouldn’t take longer than 4.

It takes 1 month from your appointment to get the certificate of no impediment, then about a week or two to get it legalized or whatever they call it by the foreign office. After that you’ll need to have it verified by the Taipei Office in the UK which will take a week or two. It took me less than two months, but I would schedule two months to get it done. You can leave the UK as soon as you have had your appoint at the registry office though if someone can help you do the rest of the process, just confirm that the registry office can send the documents to a family member, or a family member can pick them up on your behalf. I also translated mine to Chinese and had it notarized in Taiwan, which took a few days, but I’m not sure if that step is necessary.

You’re completely right. I went through a similar process with the no trace document already. I think the core difference is the having to be there in person and then having to wait 28 days.

I managed to get a family member to complete the process for me before, so I’m hoping I can do the same with the no impediment document once I’ve visited the registry office.

If I don’t it will be a bit closer as I have to allow another month and a half or so to leave the country again to update my visa. Should still work out though.

Does anyone know how long the certificate of no impediment is ‘in-date’ for? Is it good for life, or does it have a shelf life? For instance, if I go through all the steps listed here, how long do I have to get back to Taiwan and use the certificate to apply for a marriage? Maybe @meishijia knows

Also, any updates @atmnelson ?

I am not sure, sorry. Call a household registration office and see what their rules are. For some reason 3 months keep jumping out at me but don’t take my word on that. Also, if the certificate has an expiry date, don’t trust that by itself as Taiwan may have their own rule on how long ago it can be issued.

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Cheers, I’ll ask my fiancé to do that. I’d also like to know whether the certificate has to fall within the current ROC year or anything like that. We were given a document stating the accepted documents in Taiwan but there was nothing stating a date-range. Bit concerned that we might waste money and effort only to be told we’re out-of-date.

2021 JULY UPDATE
I just wanted to chime in as I’ve gone through this for over a year at this point and it’s been driving me mental.

As it stands:

••• You cannot use a Letter of No Trace/Single Status, or other “To whom it may concern” documents to get married in Taiwan as a UK citizen anymore. •••

After following the advice of this thread repeatedly (I’m also Scottish) and going to multiple different HROs, then dealing with mangers and their managers, we were informed that the government (內政部) has at some point recently reviewed this situation, reaffirmed the division of the different documents that are provided by the UK and decided that the government will ONLY accept Types 1, 2 and 3 (i.e. the different Certificates of No Impediment) (單身證明 1到3類)
Since ‘Letter of No Trace’ and other “to whom it may concern” letters do not fall into categories 1, 2 or 3, the government will not accept them. (The guidelines they must follow now have explicitly listed the reasons why each document cannot be accepted).

For me, I recently tried for a second time to get a letter from the National Records of Scotland, and the Taipei Office in Edinburgh wouldn’t even stamp it to get it sent over, they outright refused and said they will no longer accept such documents.

The first time we applied, a lot of the people we met in the HROs were mostly just unclear about what to do, but originally our local office here in Miaoli was fine with us using the documents I could provide. They were very understanding about the COVID situation, I haven’t left Taiwan since 2018 so the 18 month discrepancy was accounted for in their eyes, and they were willing to accept the letter as it had been apostilled in the UK and had been translated, no issues there.
We went away, got everything signed and headed back to hand the documents in and were immediately rejected, the Head of the HRO office had joined in and found the reason to reject it.
After a lot of long meetings, both of us arguing with the people in the office and me explaining a hundred times over, we were still rejected.
Offers of affidavits, extra proof, etc, all unsuccessful.
In the following weeks and months we visited other HROs in Miaoli to no avail, called around to other places to ask, nothing.
Although funnily enough a few people from HRO offices in Taipei that we called said they had heard of people using such letters before, but that they wouldn’t be able to help us.

Then today, we tried again.
Went through the usually process of being handed up through the ranks, all of whom are now very familiar with me and my partner, and even had more meetings during which we discussed writing an affidavit or some other form of legally binding letter, which was again very keenly taken, only to be rejected again at the next stage.
Following this (since 12pm until now at 5:30) we have been in meetings and on the phone with, I think, every official in the county and a hundred more around Taiwan and the verdict at the very end is simply, No.

It seems that, maybe, the government has become aware of the situation as there have been I guess so many people trying to use this method and it has been taken to the government 內政部 and they have outlined that they will ONLY accept types 1 - 3 (Certificate of No Impediment).

We were also warned that if we managed to find a HRO that would let us use the letter, if there was an audit or someone went looking, there could be legal consequences for us. I think he was trying to be extra-threatening but, whatever. It’s not a risk we want to take.

The amount of times Ive heard “yous can just go to Hong Kong” in the past year, it’s unbelievable. And since we’re a same-sex couple that’s entirely out of the question anyway. The response when we told people that was “Well, maybe wait for Australia to open up?” lol

This has been our experience going through this for over a year and I’m sure that it’ll end up that someone may manage to succeed where we failed somewhere, but having been in and out of HROs for months trying to deal with this I must admit the system finally broke me, and we’re probably going end up having to wait for a nice trip to Australia. Wedding and honeymoon in one weekend.

The thing that makes it worst is everyone we spoke to was saying that we should ask the UK for leniency with regards to picking up the CoNI in person because “the problem’s with the UK, they’re the troublesome party here.” (「通常馬蘭都是在英國那邊」). Even after I explained that we had asked, it still got us nowhere.

Sorry for the bad news!

Also, since I am also interested in seeking citizenship after marriage I want to add that:

If you have been in Taiwan for the 5 years you need to apply for citizenship regularly, or any amount of time for that matter, the HRO will start counting your mandatory “3 Years” that you need if you want to apply for citizenship after marriage from AFTER you get your marriage visa.
Your initial time in Taiwan is immediately discounted and you will start from zero, and will need to wait another three years to apply.
Just in case anyone else is in the same boat, I don’t want anyone to get caught out by that like my coworker almost was !

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I’m sorry to hear this man - I’m also a UK citizen and this has been grinding me down for the past year too!

Funnily enough, so did we!

This is driving me berserk as well! We were told this too. There’s a LOT of “it’s the UK’s fault, ask them” - if the UK could waive the in-person requirement then it wouldn’t be a CoNI! We tried to explain this again and again. Lots of “your UK embassy can help you” - er, what? They only offer passport services. Everyone we spoke to don’t seem to understand that, by leaving Taiwan at this time to get the letter, I might be unable to come back in.

Anyway, sorry, I couldn’t be any help, just wanted to offer support in a rubbish situation. If you do manage to have any luck then please post in this thread!

Yeah it’s ridiculous how both sides, the UK and Taiwan are both pointing at each other saying “Ask them!”

In all honesty, I had a lot of hope at the start of this. Everyone has been so helpful and willing to work with us right up until the final step and then it fails.

The most annoying thing after all this time (and wasted money sending documents around) was that nowhere we went really ended up finding out just, why the documents weren’t OK until these most recent trips.
It’s such a surreal situation to be in, who really knows how it ended up this way.

I wish you luck as well !

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I meant to type “麻煩”, but “horse orchid” works too I guess…