How to figure the seven years?

I was at the office today with all my paperwork and the officer was looking over my stuff and said that he doesn’t know if I qualify for the APRC because there seems to be a break in my seven years. I, of course, asked for clarification, and he told me that I need seven years continuous.
"What is continuous? I asked.
Blah Blah Blah. “I need to check this documentation with your passport.” (he was looking at a printout that told him when I was granted a visa and for what.) He, honestly never gave me a real definition.
I told him that a previous officer told me that my time was sufficient and I should go ahead and apply.
He said, “If she told you that she’s probably right, but…(insert the same monologue and pointing to the same break in time on the printout.)”
“So I can’t change schools?” I asked. (That’s what seems to be the problem)
(I changed schools a year after I was here, but never had to leave the country.)
“No,” He said. “You can change schools.”
“So…?”
-Silence-
We went over this same conversation four times, before I finally said, “I’ll be down here Thursday, why don’t you check my info thoroughly, and we can talk then.”

So? What does “continuous” mean? I thought I knew, but after today, I don’t have clue.
I’ve been here on a working visa since March of 1999. I’ve changed schools once, after I’d been here a year (which is the break the seems to have a problem with). I didn’t have to leave the country and my visa was switched to my new school without a hitch. So, what gives? Why is there a break? I didn’t leave the country. Why is he pointing to this 1-week absence like I’m doomed? For that matter, why is there a one-week absence? Does it matter that there is a break? I’ve been in country for 183 days every year for the past seven, why is he sweating me?

if there was even one day where you were without a resident visa, such as an overstay, or switching to a visitor visa, that might do it. Continuous means that you always had a resident visa during the seven years. If you had any kind of overstay, the police computer records might delete any dates from before the overstay. You can go to the “visa” office (sorry, I’m just waking up and can’t remember the proper name of the place) and apply for a printout of all your entry and exit dates, which should show very clearly if you qualify.

That may have been what you were told, or what you have heard from the grapevine, but I cannot see that this type of “legal logic” is based on any written provisions of the Immigration Law.

Exactly right, no logic whatsoever.

I had an accidental overstay last year, of one day. When I went into the FAP to apply for my APRC they had no computer records of me being in Taiwan from before my overstay, and said I couldn’t qualify. The officer said they automatically delete records if there is an overstay, “to keep things simple for them”, whatever that means. I have been outside of Taiwan less than 3 weeks out of every year, and always had residency. The officer told me none of that mattered. So I went to get a printout of all my entry and exit dates, and gathered up all my old passports, took them back, and then the officer said I could qualify. I’m just waiting for my criminal record check, and I’ll be done. I guess he just needed some extra proof.

DA

Sounds like you may well be eligible. They don’t like to give these things out and one favorite tactic is to fuss about the meaning of ‘consecutive’ and overstays. The law is quite clear and several people have won administrative appeals on these points. Be polite and get your pieces of paper together and insist on applying even if you are told you are not eligible.

No gaps or overstays. I’ve only had two ARC’s and I still have them both. The first issue date was 3/16/99 and it has been renewed every year without pause. The expiration date has been the same for the past seven years. The only reason I have a new ARC is becuase there was no more room on the back of my old one. I wish I would have had them both yesterday in the office to show him. He had some printout he was looking at that had dates (he wouldn’t let me really see) and there were two places that had a two week gap. He told me that there “might” be a problem and he would have to check it against my passport. I just wish I knew what he was looking at so I could understand what he was having an issue with. Though, looking back on it, it just seemed that he really didn’t know what he was talking about. Any question about what continuous means or how it is defined was answered with “You must be here continuously.” And how do you qualify? “You have to be here for seven years continuously.” Anyway, I have to go down there Thursday to pick up my Taiwan Police check and hand him all my documents so I’ll know more then.

For example, suppose you are discussing continuous residence for seven years, with 183 days or more per year inside Taiwan.

(Look at [color=red]Article 23[/color] of the Immigration Law, and that is what it says.)

If you can show during an eight year period that your days inside Taiwan on a resident visa were 179, 200, 199, 185, 322, 315, 285, 294 … then the stretch of “200, 199, 185, 322, 315, 285, 294” is continuous seven years residency.

If however, you had a stretch of “200, 199, 185, 179, 315, 285, 294” that would not be continuous, because in the fourth year you did not meet the requirement of 183 days per year.

The “continuous” doesn’t apply to the time spent inside Taiwan in any one particular year.

Ask yourself this question: In terms of qualifying for permanent residency, when counting the days in any one particular year, why would a continuous stretch of January 1st through mid-July be “better” than three sixty-five day stretches, with 30 days absences in-between???

The law says continuous residence for seven years, and 183 days or more per year inside Taiwan.

It doesn’t say “183 days or more per year of continuous unbroken residence, repeated for a period of seven years in a row.”

All went well today. Showed him my paperwork and previous ARC and he said there should be no problem. The printout and dates he was looking at were my re-entry permit dates. A couple of my re-entry permits were applied for a few days after I got my ARC renewed so there was a “gap”. I don’t know why he was looking at these dates in particular and not my ARC, but he was. Anyway, I am fairly optimistic that I should have my APRC in about two or three weeks.

Would you say this failure to draft coherent law is deliberate (any half-decent law firm can write unambiguous law) or true incompetence?

The Taiwanese Legislators whom I have met over the years are not interested in writing laws that are “comprehensive.” They are happy with leaving out a lot of details. According to their logic, the administrative agencies can interpret everything and supply the missing details.

However, in my experience the administrative agencies often come up with bizarre interpretations with no legal basis, moreover those interpretations tend to change day by day, week by week, and indeed are different in different cities/counties in Taiwan.

It might not be so bad if the Legislators were willing to coordinate with affected parties to get these things straightened out … which would mean stepping forth to say what the “actual intent” of the law was when written, but in the typical Taiwanese fashion, no one wants to offend anyone else, so of course they are not willing to do that.

I think all legal systems have some degree of interpretive room/ambiguity built in. The reason for this is because of unforseeable circumstances and because the legislative branch can not step on the judiciary’s toes. Taiwan level of legal ambiguity is somewhat looser than what many Forumosans are used to back home.

Dangerousapple, I’m interested in your point that being in Taiwan on a visitor visa is a break in “legal residence”. Do you have a link for that, because I can’t find anything on the iff.npa.gov.tw/ website. Thanks.

Dangerousapple,

Yes, please. It that were so, I might be able to get an APRC.

A visitor visa does not count for residence as there is no ARC for that. So as you must have a continuous ARC plus the mandatory number of days per year to meet the requirements then having a break in your ARC by using a visitor visa will mean starting over from the time of your latest continous ARC issuance.

Thanks. As I suspected! I foolishly took time out to study Chinese which meant I had to end my ARC and come back in on a visitor visa. That’ll teach me! Still, that was 2002. Only another three years till I’m eligible again! :wink:

Thanks. As I suspected! I foolishly took time out to study Chinese which meant I had to end my ARC and come back in on a visitor visa. That’ll teach me! Still, that was 2002. Only another three years till I’m eligible again! :wink:[/quote]

Ah well the time will pass quick enough… :smiley: :smiley:

Won’t it!
However, what does this mean?
iff.npa.gov.tw/enfront/faq.php?tr_id=2&id=736
[url]
You won’t get an APRC if:
“V. Legal consecutive visit or residence period not exceeding the required residence days each year.”
What’s a “legal consecutive visit” compared to residence if not time on a visitor visa? I’m so confused! :s

A visitor visa does not count for residence as there is no ARC for that. So as you must have a continuous ARC plus the mandatory number of days per year to meet the requirements then having a break in your ARC by using a visitor visa will mean starting over from the time of your latest continous ARC issuance.[/quote]

This is misleading. Yes, the police may try to tell you this in an effort to persuade you not to apply. But it is not what the law says, and it will not hold up if you apply, are denied, and sue in an administrative court. This means that if you insist on applying, you stand a good chance of getting your APRC because they do not want to lose another case on this. If you need legal help, try one of the free legal aid centers now being run in Taipei

What the law says is that if you are a legal resident for 153 days or more in seven consecutive years, you may apply. The definition of being a legal resident means holding an ARC. There is nothing in the law about having to start over simply because at some point you held a visitor visa. The interpretation is total nonsense as they well know.

Yep. Every FAP branch interprets that law in their own way, and it usually takes a little pushing to get them to see the light. I brought in all my old passports to show my entry and exit dates, and they were happy with that.

Thanks feiren and dangerousapple. I will post back here with updates of (any) progress!