How to change your Chinese name

How can a Foreigner change its legal Chinese name?

Change it the next time it renews its ARC?


Are you married?

From Art. 1 of the Name Act:

If an ROC national marries a foreign national or stateless person, the spouse and all children, if any, must take a Chinese-language name that conforms to ROC practices. This shall also apply to a foreign national or stateless person applying for naturalization.
Those who have taken a Chinese-language name in accordance with the preceding paragraph may apply to alter the name once.

Soon to be divorced, hence the reason I want to change my Chinese name

I think you just need to ask the Household Registration Office for a form.

Has anyone actually changed their Chinese name successfully, and could elaborate on how it was done?

I’m engaged and plan to marry again very soon. I want to change my Chinese last name to a different Chinese last name, because for my current Chinese last name I took my ex-wife’s family’s name. I don’t remember how I did this exactly, I guess I did so when I registered that foreign marriage here in Taiwan. During divorce (done in Taiwan) I don’t think I was asked whether or not I want to change my name. The new name I plan to use for the future is chosen by me, it’s not related to the last name of my fiance.

So, I guess it’s a similar situation here as above.

Thus I went to the closest household registration office, which happens to be the same place where I did my divorce. They told me that since foreigners don’t have a household registration, they can’t help me. They were not sure who could, but guessed I should go to the NIA.

Since the NIA is quite far, I called them first and they told me to go to the household registration office…

So I’m wondering now what I should do:

  1. Just go to the NIA personally and ask again what to do… or simply apply for a new ARC with a new Chinese name?

  2. Maybe there is an easy way to change the name during my upcoming marriage?

  3. Go back to the household registry and show them this thread, convincing them that they are responsible :wink:

Do you have to pick a Chinese name when you get a ARC/APRC? How did you guys pick it?

I’ve named a couple of my friends lol. I usually just try to approximate their first name best I can, and use the initial sound of their last name to choose a 姓.

The simpler the better, I think. It’s a little embarrassing if you have trouble pronouncing/writing your own name.

But that’s so boring. The surname sure. But they can pick something cool for the rest.

Maybe so, but at least it’s safe and easy. You can’t really trust a foreigner who hasn’t studied Chinese to pick a name for themselves since it can be kind of hard to figure out what’s “cool” in a non-native language. Makes me think of how some Taiwanese locals choose strange or downright stupid English names for themselves or their children. He might name himself 便當 or something. :rofl:

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Like 你笨蛋 for Brandon Knee? :grinning:


I’ve changed mine to take my wife’s surname. And I did do at the Household Registration Office, when registering our marriage.
The officer there just asked if I wanted to adopt another name after the marriage and I had to sign a document declaring my wish to do so. All went as regular after that.
Once the registration process was finished, I took the documents to NIA and updated my ARC.


A post was split to a new topic: Ministry of Silly Names

Interesting, thanks a lot. I guess I’ll ask again at the Household Registration Office. Maybe they feel more responsible for my wish of a name change in case I do it together with marriage…

I asked again (same the Household Registration Office, other clerk) if I can change my name there while getting married: yes, you can, they gave me a form to adopt a Chinese name. Cool.

Then they explained I can do this any time, not just while getting married.

OK, I’ll try and report back. But why they told me before “we can’t”, I will never know :roll_eyes:


And another twist: yes, I can do “this” any time. But: “This” refers to “filling out the form”. Using this form to change the name can only be done at the time of applying for marriage. :man_facepalming:


I did and was told that I had to think it over carefully as you can only change your ‘Chinese family name’ once. I just went to the local Household Registration Office.

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Ok, here’s the update:

  • I got married
  • With the provided form, I changed my Chinese last name at the same time
  • With the marriage certificate, I went to the NIA and applied for an updated ARC

Unfortunately, regarding the original question in this thread: I still don’t know how to change one’s Chinese name in case one doesn’t happen to get married. If anyone can confirm for sure, please post here.

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I know this thread is old but I’m going to bump it. I’m in a similar situation. Recently divorced to a Taiwanese national and I want to get rid of her family name on my APRC. I’m not ready to get remarried but…it’s just weird to keep it. I’m actually surprised it didn’t get removed when I divorced. Anyone know how to do this?

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