Guide: How to register a 'real' English name for your Taiwanese child

Today I registered my Taiwanese daughters English name, not using a transliteration of her Chinese name, but using a ‘real’ English name. The English surname I registered is also different to the Chinese surname. The Chinese surname matches my wife’s surname, and the English surname matches mine. I hope that in this post I can explain how I did it, as many parents have posted that they were not allowed to do it or met resistance.

As far as I know, there are two ways to register an official English name with the Taiwanese government:

  1. Apply for your child’s first passport
  2. Apply for your child’s first English language household registration transcript (戶籍謄本)

If you have applied for either of these two before, and did not use your child’s ‘real’ English name, you are out of luck and as far as I know you can’t change the name. Your best option is to have your child’s ‘real’ English name listed under ‘Also known as’ on their passport.

If your child is still an infant like mine, I would recommend applying for the English language household registration transcript, as you do not need to bring your child to do this, unlike a passport, where the child needs to be present during the application.

In order to register an English name that is not a transliteration of the registered Chinese name, you will need to supply the Household Registration Office with a document, either from Taiwan or abroad that has the child’s ‘real’ English name printed. Officially there is a list of documents that they will accept, but in actuality, any official looking document is likely to be accepted. If your child was born in Taiwan, try to get your hospital or clinic to issue an English birth certificate listing the child’s English name. Not all hospitals and clinics issue English certificates. If yours doesn’t normally, you may be able to get them to issue one by saying that your home government requires it for the registration of the birth, and a translation of the Chinese one isn’t enough.

Officially, the following documents are accepted:

  1. Identity certificates or official documents issued by the ROC government in a foreign language
  2. Identity certificates or official documents issued by foreign governments in a foreign language
  3. Birth certificates issued by domestic or foreign hospitals
  4. Diplomas and certificates issued by public or private schools established with accreditation by competent education authorities

This is according to the ‘Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act’ on the official BOCA website:

If you decide to apply for the English language household registration transcript, tell the staff that you don’t need to translate every household member, only the child. This way you won’t need to prepare proof of English names for everyone on your household registration. As the English language household registration transcript will state the mother and father’s English name, you will need to prove that both the mother and father have official English names by showing their passports. If they do not have a passport or an officially registered English name, then they can pick one based on their Chinese name, or supply proof of a ‘real’ English name, in the same way as the child.

If your local Household Registration Office refuses to let you register your child’s ‘real’ English name, send me a message and I will give you the details of my application so your local office can consult with the people who processed mine. If you are in the Taipei/New Taipei area I would also be happy to go with you and show them my daughters own documents, proving that this is possible.

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Thank you! This is useful information.

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On Monday me and my wife applied for our daughters national ID card, and passport at the Household Registration Office. The national ID card was ready in ten minutes and cost NT$50, and the passport took almost a week, costing NT$900 for five years of validity.

Her ID card only has the Chinese name. Only aboriginals can have non-Chinese names on their ID cards until the new design is released in 2021 which will have both Chinese and English names printed for everyone. The passport has her Chinese name, and non-transliterated ‘real’ English name listed under the ‘姓名 Name’ section.

I will use this passport as supporting evidence for her British passport and 台胞證 Mainland Travel Permit. I have no doubt that the British passport will use the ‘real’ English name, as it is listed on her birth certificate, passport and English version household registration transcript. However, I am not yet sure whether China will issue the Mainland Travel Permit with a non-transliterated ‘real’ English name. I have found no cases of other people with non-transliterated English names applying for the permit. I will keep this thread updated.

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Did you apply the ID for a specific reason or just for fun?

It is a useful document for proving parent-child relationship. In fact, it is the only photo ID available which can prove such a relationship. Having the ID card also allows you to apply for things without bringing the Household Registration Certificate. It costs NT$50 and takes no time at all, so it is a no brainer in my opinion.

Unfortunately the new ID will likely remove the parents’ names, but it will still save me from taking the HRC everywhere when I need to do stuff related to my child.

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Good to know. The clerk told us that it’s, in her opinion, not worth it as it’s valid for just three years. Do you happen to know if I need to go to the HHR-Office where the child is registered for that or can other offices in other counties issue them as well?

I would imagine it has to be the child’s local office.

We weren’t told about an expiry date, and there is no expiry date on the card itself. It is exactly the same as any other adult ID card, just with a baby photo instead.

That’s the reason for the three year validity, the clerk told us. I check with my local office next week. Ask three clerks - get four answers XD

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Next year they are rolling out the new ID, which will have both the Chinese and English names listed. When I am able to, I will apply for that too, which should give me an additional three years of validity, if that is actually a rule.

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I’ll keep you updated on what my local clerk says. Maybe there’s no expiry date.
As for the beer mentioned in the other thread, I’m living in Taichung. Feel free to hmu if you’re in the area :slight_smile:

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In my experience they gave us two birth certs from the hospital one in Chinese one in English. On the English one they recorded the ‘real’ English name and then we had it notarised by the local city gov with no hiccups. And it worked for all purposes so far including passport

Same as us then, but we didn’t need to have it notarized. Did they ask for you to do that or did you do it yourself?

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Yea we perhaps didn’t need that step, but it was easy in any case so no major worry

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We had to do it for the GIT. Other than that, no-one else has asked for it.

What’s that ?

It’s the German Institute Taipei.

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@Myn’s experience, posted in the household registration thread may also be of use to those here.

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Today I tried to apply for the 台胞證 Mainland Travel Permit at two travel agencies. They were happy enough to do it (with an 11 or 14 day turnaround), but I as a foreigner with an ARC can’t help her apply. China needs to see the parent’s national ID card and the Taiwan parent needs to sign the application form. I will take the form home and get my wife to sign it, as well as take a copy of her ID card which I am told is enough. Who knows what would happen if your spouse died, as then the foreigner would be the only parent alive and no Taiwan parent could sign.

Today I picked up the Mainland Travel Permit 台胞證, they issued it no problem and did not ask any questions about dual nationality or my daughter’s non-transliterated English name. However, the English name they wrote on the permit is a slightly different format to the Taiwan passport English name. On the Taiwanese passport the English name is wrote as Surname, Name Name but the Chinese permit writes it as Surname, Name-Name. They added a hyphen between the first name and middle name. I guess this is because this is how they print romanised Chinese names normally. I’m sure it won’t be a problem, but technically they turned her first and middle name into a single first name.