How to get Taiwan Citizenship - Primer, FAQ, and Resources


#1

If you want to become a citizen of Taiwan, the following may offer information that will be helpful to you:

RESIDENCE:
Many foreigners in Taiwan have residence in the form of an Alien Residence Card. This green colored card allows you to legally stay in Taiwan based on the fact that you have a legal job (employer is indicated on the card) or that you are married to a local.

CITIZENSHIP:
To be a citizen of Taiwan means that you have an actual ROC ID card. With this, you can get phone numbers easily, own property, own a business, etc. To become a citizen, you must renounce your original citizenship. Your marital status has no effect on your status as a citizen of Taiwan.

Becoming a citizen gives you a lot of freedoms that you will not have otherwise. If you are married and your credit card, car, home, etc. are in your spouse’s name. A divorce can be a severe disadvantage to you. This is eccentuated if children are involved, or if maybe you have moved and changed jobs many times.

GETTING CITIZENSHIP:
To get Taiwan citizenship, you need to go to your District Office (Qu Gong Suo) and find the Household Registry Office. They will give you a list of things you need (written in Chinese). The requirements may vary and this post is biased by the process I personally went through myself. Luckily, mine was comparatively simple since I am single, no children and have kept the same job for 7 years.

You will need to have lived in Taiwan using an ARC for at least 5 years and have not been away from Taiwan for more than 180 days at a time. You will need to produce at least 7 forms of documents in order to complete this process. They are outlined as follows:

  1. An entry/exit document.
  2. A document from your employer(s) (Tzai Tze Tzen Ming).
  3. Proof of residence (Ju Liu Tzen Ming).
  4. Local police report with “no convictions”. (Jin Tsa Ju Tzeng Ming).
  5. A copy of your most recent tax report, if you are a legal worker.
  6. Copies of your current ARC and passport.
  7. A copy of your police report from your original country.

You will also need numerous passport-sized photos, so make sure they’re good ones because these things seem to last forever.

The entry/exit document can be obtained by going to a Ministry of The Interior (MOI) office (bring your passport, ARC, and at least some cash–maybe $400). These exist in at least Taipiei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. (Ask me for directions if you want to go to the Kaohsiung branch). The document from your employer–they should know what that is. (3) and (4) can be obtained from your local police station’s foreign affairs office (a few hundred dollars’ fees for those). (5) tax report–you should receive this from your employer in Jan or Feb of any year*. (6) Easy. (7) Difficult *.

  • All of these documents can not be more than 60 days old, so it’s very unlikely you could apply for citizenship in Jan or Feb of any year, as you have not yet received your most recent tax report from your employer.

  • Your original-country police report needs to be at least A4 or (in the case of US) “Letter”-sized paper. This is because it will need a series of stamps. This document will have to have certain things done to it:
    1 Send it back to your original country’s Taiwan Economics and Cultural Office (TECO) and have them “authenticate it” (by putting a stamp on the back. The purpose of this stamp is to say "Yes, this is really from (your original) country). There is a fee (US$15 for the US) and you can negotiate postage options based on how much of a hurry you are in. TIP: You will need to make separate bank-draft checks for the processing fee and for the postage fee.

  1. Upon receiving your report with the stamp on the back, you can save time by copying the front and giving that to a translation agency. They can work on that while you go for number three.
  2. Take the original document to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office (MOFA). In Kaohsiung at least, these are in the same building. I can’t say the same for Taipei, but I imagine the same is true. The MOFA stamp indicates that “the stamp from (your original country) is really a Taiwanese stamp.”
  3. The translation company will have to have it notarized. You can’t take it yourself unless you translate it yourself. I learned this the hard way and it cost me an afternoon.
    Last: Remember this process because you will need to do this again.

HOUSEHOLD REGISTRY OFFICE:
Take this back to that office along with all of your other documentation (don’t forget a lot of pictures, your passport, and ARC). Their eagle eyes will scan it and if everything’s OK, they’ll send it off to the City office you live in and then to the MOI. They will eventually call you “in a month” (but it’s actually 3 weeks) and tell you to come get your document. This is “preparation for ROC naturalization.” (Zun Gui Hua Zhong Hua Min Guo Guo Ji Zheng Ming). This says that within a year, if you cancel your original citizenship, you will become an ROC national. This can act as a sort-of ID card, should you be stateless.

CANCELING YOUR CITIZENSHIP:
Do this at your orignal countrys’ office in Taiwan. I was a US citizen and did this at AIT Kaohsiung and my story is posted under “Dual Nationality and Dual Citizenship”. When you receive a document of cancellation of your original citizenship, you will have to go through the same process as your police report. Once you do this, give it to your local Household Registry Office and wait “a month” (not really–3 weeks) and you will receive your diploma-looking document that you are now a Taiwan national. However, not a citizen yet.

Take this back to the MOI office (or entry/exit office if you prefer) and fill out a form. You willl need to translate your parents’ names into Chinese. This was a tough, time-consuming process for me. With much help from the friendly staff and loads of liquid paper, I finally got this done. They even made an extra copy for me, knowing that a year from then when I apply for my “real” ID card I’d need to write this the same way. In a week I got registered mail, went to my local police department, gave them the letter, they searched in a drawer and gave me my Taiwan-national, but not citizen card. I will carry this for a year.

Also, I was instructed to go to my very local police station and sign up for “dong ren Kou”. This means that I virtuallly moved out of my house with an English name, turned around, and moved back in with a Chinese name. With this card, you need to do this every 6 months, so don’t forget. (When I went, they were in shock for about 5 minutes before they agreed to do it for me. However, the officer I met was very friendly and filled out the whole thing for me.)

I’m at this point now. I’m a Taiwan national, but not yet a citizen. I have a card that says the equivalent of “Republic of China Taiwan Area Residence Card”.

Forumosa’s “Satellite TV” is a much better resource than I am for what happens after this process. If you’re interested in this process and/or curious about the documents, tell me privately and give me your email and I will scan those and send them to you.

I want to hear what you think AND I want to help anyone as much as I can, so let’s keep this going.

Coolingtower
(Tainan)


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American citizen looking to join Taiwanese Army
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Getting a Taiwanese citizenship
#2

Why would you renounce citizenship in a country which is a member of the United Nations, to obtain “citizenship” in a country which the world community does not recognize as existing ???

Even the Taiwan newspapers are continually saying that the ROC no longer exists . . . . . . the LIBERTY TIMES has had major coverage on this point even in the last week . . . . . . quoting from both local and international experts who attended conferences in Taiwan to discuss these matters . . . . . . .

Or am I mistaken, and in fact you have received citizenship in the Republic of Taiwan?


#3

#4

If I’ve confused some of you, sorry about that!

My new card says (in Chinese) “attained nationality” and the date . I guess I don’t say I’m a “citizen” yet, because I can’t vote or get a phone number using this card. I can work freely now, and I’ve changed my Nat. Health Insurance card so that it has my new ID card number and doesn’t have the two Chinese words below my picture–“foreigner”. (I got lucky that I applied for both my GSM phone numbers many years ago, before they decided that “foreigners can’t get numbers.” It’s possible that when mobile telephones became cheap enough that the laborers started using them, there may have been cases of them calling home to make plans to go back and then not paying. I’m just guessing here, and I’m not saying anything negative about the imported laborers. I’ve heard that laborers are not allowed to keep the same job for more than 2 years or something. Correct me if you know the correct details. I recently applied for 2 PHS phone numbers and I had to use a friend’s ID card. ) :fume:

Why would I cancel citizenship of a country that’s part of the UN? A good reason might be “because that country is a member of the UN.” Actually, I don’t think that the UN really does anything but that’s just my opinion. I imagine in the future that the leader of the UN will be some kind of cyborg and tell the world “All your base are belong to us.”

I love Taiwan, but I only “like” the US and you know how everyone says “love it, or leave it”? Well, I didin’t love it, so I left it.


#5

I’m interested in how this is going.

So you still have to wait a while to get citizenship right?

Once you do become a citizen, do you truly have all the rights and benefits of a ‘normal’ ROC citizen? I’m thinking specificaly of Household Registration here. Will you get HR? Because, when applying for credit etc, the usual reason for denial, if you push it far enough, is “you don’t have household registration”. Also, can you pass on citizenship to your children. I believe in some countries, the children of naturalised citizens are treated differently from the children of ‘born’ citizens.

Brian


#6

coolingtower, that was a very informative post…thanks for the information.
As for…

I fail to see the benefit to the average citizen if their country is a member of the U.N. Could you explain it to us? :notworthy:
Taiwan is a member for WTO and we all know the results…higher prices and ???


#7

[quote=“jimmy”]Why would you renounce citizenship in a country which is a member of the United Nations, to obtain “citizenship” in a country which the world community does not recognize as existing ???

Even the Taiwan newspapers are continually saying that the ROC no longer exists . . . . . . the LIBERTY TIMES has had major coverage on this point even in the last week . . . . . . quoting from both local and international experts who attended conferences in Taiwan to discuss these matters . . . . . . .

Or am I mistaken, and in fact you have received citizenship in the Republic of Taiwan?[/quote]

Took the words right outta my keyboard. I would consider it if it didn’t require the turning over of my original passport (something most Taiwan passport holders won’t do when applying for citizenship in a foreign country).


#8

The benefit is that your President and Legislators can spend their time running the country as opposed to being constantly preoccupied with the questions of (1) How to raise your nation’s international status, and (2) How to get into the United Nations . . . . . . .


#9

Brian,

You said:

Getting citizenship here is a pretty black-and-white issue. Either you have it or you don’t The bottom line is drawn by whether or not you cancel your original citizenship. In that case, it’s called “Gui hua guo ji” in Chinese. I’ll be able to vote, get HR, etc. Some people born abroad of Taiwanese or maybe Chinese parents can get and ID card, but they have a difficult time getting jobs because they don’t have HR. (That’s what Mr. Hartzell had previously referred to as Type 2 citizenship.)

I seriously doubt if my children would be treated any differently than others. Especially if they were born here. I have no plans of having children at this time so that’s one less worry, at least. Are you thinking about getting citizenship?

coolingtower


#10

[quote]Are you thinking about getting citizenship?
[/quote]

I’m probably the same as a lot of people in that if I end up staying here (which is about 50% likely) I would like citizenship, but i’m not prepared to give up NZ citizenship unless there was a way around it. Also I’d probably wait til I was 40 (45?) or military service was abolished (whichever came first). Are you going to have to ‘dang bing’?

Brian


#11

The benefit is that your President and Legislators can spend their time running the country as opposed to being constantly preoccupied with the questions of (1) How to raise your nation’s international status, and (2) How to get into the United Nations . . . . . . .[/quote]
Well that is a choice the president and legislators make…there is no requirement for them to spend all their time trying to raise the nation’s international status…what benefit is that? Is South Africa any better off than Taiwan? Or Rwanda or…? And as I said I don’t any real benefit in being a member of the U.N…oops, except that you are expected to pay towards its programs, peacekeeping missions, and upkeep. How has being a U.N. member helped Afghanistan – (19 Nov. 1946) or Bosnia and Herzegovina – (22 May 1992), just to name a couple of places. It didn’t stop the U.S. from invading Iraq – (21 Dec. 1945)…do you really think it would stop China from invading Taiwan?


#12

[quote=“Bu Lai En”][quote]Are you thinking about getting citizenship?
[/quote]

I’m probably the same as a lot of people in that if I end up staying here (which is about 50% likely) I would like citizenship, but I’m not prepared to give up NZ citizenship unless there was a way around it. Also I’d probably wait til I was 40 (45?) or military service was abolished (whichever came first). Are you going to have to ‘dang bing’?

Brian[/quote]

I think it’s 35 now.


#13

[quote=“Bu Lai En”]I’m interested in how this is going.


Once you do become a citizen, do you truly have all the rights and benefits of a ‘normal’ ROC citizen? I’m thinking specificaly of Household Registration here. Will you get HR? Because, when applying for credit etc, the usual reason for denial, if you push it far enough, is “you don’t have household registration”. Also, can you pass on citizenship to your children. I believe in some countries, the children of naturalised citizens are treated differently from the children of ‘born’ citizens.

Brian[/quote]

  1. He is already a citizen. He is also permitted to reside in Taiwan (some citizens are not).

  2. After you have live in Taiwan for one year, you can obtain household registration.

  3. With household registration in hand, you can get your ID.

At this point he will be the same as any other ordinary Taiwanese in the sense that he will have access to all the services you mention.

I think he has to wait for 10 years before he can run for office though.


#14

coolingtower,

I thought there was a health check for citizenship too? Or is it that you have to be healthy to become a (so-called) permanent resident but not to be a citizen?


#15

kategelan,

Yes, there is a health exam for citizenship. I still have 10 months before I’m eligible to get my “real” ID card. The card I carry now “Taiwan Area residence” says I’m a national and you have to have it for a year before you can get your “real” ID. However it’s valid until 2007. I think next summer I’ll put off getting my real ID card for a couple months because my 35th birthday will be August 4th. Safer for the military situation, I imagine.

coolingtower


#16

Is it 10 years? I didn’t know that…looks like I can finally run for office now, since I got my ID ten years ago.

It’s good to hear about more westerners becoming ROC citizens; the more of us there are the less Taiwanese people of Chinese descent will assume they are they only kind of Taiwanese people. Not that that will happen any time soon, but hey, it’s a start.


#17

[quote=“Bu Lai En”]I’m interested in how this is going.

So you still have to wait a while to get citizenship right?

From SAT TV Yes after having the Taiwan Area RC he must complete 12 months in Taiwan without leaving, then complete another medical and he will then get his own Hu Kou, Household registration documents and ID Card. This is what happened to me.

Once you have a household registration you can then do all sorts of things. Open banks accounts that don’t expire, vote ( well it’s funny being the only white guy lining up ). But loans credit cards and even employment will become easier. He can even teach at local primary schools as he will be a native language speaker with ROC nationality. I got a few rolling contracts that specified a native speaker with ROC Nationality… ruling out the locals.


#18

[quote=“Feiren”][quote=“Bu Lai En”][quote]Are you thinking about getting citizenship?
[/quote]

I’m probably the same as a lot of people in that if I end up staying here (which is about 50% likely) I would like citizenship, but I’m not prepared to give up NZ citizenship unless there was a way around it. Also I’d probably wait til I was 40 (45?) or military service was abolished (whichever came first). Are you going to have to ‘dang bing’?

Brian[/quote]

I think it’s 35 now.[/quote]

I was recently told 40. To avoid serving any military time in my case, it was every 4 months, I had to leave the country. The “leaving” could be a single day. Anecdotal evidence wise, I know that one can “fulfill” the military requirement once a month - day long event. But you had to be of a certain age and well, I’m of that certain age…

Nevertheless, I think I’ll make that trip…


#19

Satellite TV,

Shouldn’t I be able to work freely at this time? I have a card that says “ROC National” on it, but what do you think my chances are of being turned down for a job–based on my lack of HR?

coolingtower


#20

[quote=“jimmy”]Why would you renounce citizenship in a country which is a member of the United Nations, to obtain “citizenship” in a country which the world community does not recognize as existing ???
[/quote]
It’s called COMMITMENT (and I’m not talking about to an assylum). Oh, yeah, must be a member of the UN. I guess that before a couple of years ago when Switzerland joined the UN, all those Swiss were complete chumps for being citizens of Switzerland.

I wouldn’t say that I admire people who apply for ROC citizenship, but I do respect them. I think it can be very difficult to come to the realization that your ties to the country where you grew up are weaker than those you have with the country where you live. I think it also requires a bit of idealism. We live in an age when many Taiwanese can collect passports like baseball cards; beyond waiting the required number of years before applying and paying some lawyer’s fees, there are no real sacrifices or difficult decisions for them to make. They don’t have to make too much of an emotional commitment to the US, Canada or whereever. At most, they will have to file an income tax statement every year, but probably won’t even have to pay taxes unless they are still living in the States.

I imagine Poagao, coolingtower, Satellite TV, et al probably were thinking about more than just ideals when they applied for ROC citizenship. Nevertheless, I think their decisions to take up ROC citizenship were based much more on principle than the decision of a Taiwanese or HKer to take US or Canadian citizenship.

I live in HK. My real and emotional ties with the US are becoming thinner the longer I live over here. However, being a bit of an idealist myself, I can’t imagine myself ever taking PRC/HKSAR citizenship, even if I didn’t have to give up US citizenship. I could never agree with what I think the PRC stands for. The ROC though? Perhaps.