Marriage in Taiwan

I met my Fiancee in Canada (She is from Taiwan and I am from Canada).

I have been informed it is easier if my fiance comes to Canada and we get married here first. But it looks like it will be much simpler for us logistically if we get married in Taiwan instead.

Has anyone been in this situation before and how did you resolve it? If we get married in Taiwan, what are the steps we need to go through to ensure that there are no problems? Thanks for any replies…

According to the newest regulations announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Consular Affairs, in Taiwan, on Sept. 1, 2000, you will need a number of pieces of documentary evidence in order to apply for a “Joining Family Resident Visa” based on marriage to a Taiwan citizen.

The most troublesome are (1) a statement of Clean Criminal Record Documentation (from your Police Station or other relevant local or national authority), with Chinese translation, and certified at the nearest ROC Overseas Office in your country, (2) proof that your marriage is “legally registered” in the country of the foreign spouse.

The CCRD, translation, and certification are much easier to coordinate on the spot, in the home country of the foreigner.

The so-called “marriage registration” is most easily accomplished if the Taiwan citizen and the foreigner get married in the foreigner’s home country. Note: It is also a good idea to get a “single certificate” (certificate of eligibility) before getting married.

All these documents, licenses, etc. should be translated into Chinese, and then the original and the translation should be certified at the nearest ROC Overseas Office, in the foreigner’s home country.

With these documents in hand, the foreign spouse can come to Taiwan on a tourist visa. The Taiwan spouse can of course come back to Taiwan with an ROC pasport. After arrival, the Taiwan spouse should proceed to his/her Household Registration Office, and have the marriage registered there. Then get three printed out copies of this newly updated Household Registration documentation.

The foreign spouse should then get a complete physical examination at one of the larger public hospitals in Taiwan.

With the above documents in hand, in addition to the foreigner’s passport (validity needs to exceed six months), two passport type photos, and NT$ 1800, the foreign spouse should go to the MOFA BOCA, and fill out an application form for a JFRV.
Processing time is about a week in most instances.

After receiving the JFRV, the foreign spouse should go to the nearest Foreign Affairs Police Station with several passport type photos and apply for an “Alien Resident Certificate”. A three year certificate costs NT$ 3000.

After receiving the JFRV and ARC, the foreign spouse should find an employer who wants his/her services, and then contact me again for information on how to apply for a special foreign spouse Work Permit.

Included in Knowledge Base

I overcame this by getting married in HK and then getting the Taiwan office in HK to notarise the certificate.

You need 2 trips. One to book the wedding and one to go through the “Ceremony”

For a foreigner who is living in Taiwan on an ARC and wants to marry a Taiwanese woman, do you think it would be best to get married here or in my home country. Are there advantages and disadvantages (like residency rights) to getting married here or is it much of a muchness as to what country your marriage is registered in?

This question was answered in my reply of 29 January 2001, as above.

I am posting this to say how I did it.

  1. I lived with my wife, pre-marriage, from 1993. I stayed in Taiwan as a visitor since then.

Before marriage, we had two boys. My name was not allowed to be put on the birth certificate. My boys were therfore, in the eyes of the ROC gov, 100% taiwanese.

I registered both births at the UK office on Renai Rd. Very easy - a local lawyer prepared notarised declarations for me for 1,000NT. I have UK birth certificates (and NHS numbers) for both boys.

I married in HK in 1995.
When the law changed last July to allow spouses to easily (?)_ obtain an ARC, I decided to apply. The steps.

  1. Get your wedding cert notarised (with translation in Manderin) in the Taiwan office in the country of issue.
  2. Get your name on the household cert.
  3. If you have spent the majority of time in Taiwan (legal or illegal) go to the office of entry and exit in Guandong St. and apply for a copy of your record of entry and exit.
  4. Take this to the police office (in my case Hsimen) and ask fora police report.
  5. Go to the foreign affairs office and file your application.

I might have missed something, but this worked for me. It may not work at another police station.

Thanks for the info, but I’m still a little uncertain. Do you think there’s anything to loose in getting married in Taiwan rather than going home to do it?

First I would note that tonygo has made no mention of the of the need to submit a “Clean Criminal Record Documentation” from the relevant police authority in your home country.

As I understand, submission of such a CCRD is indeed a requirement for completing application procedures as a “foreign spouse” residency status in the ROC, or for permanent residency status either.

In regard to the question posed by Bu Lai En, as stated above, when applying for residency permission based on the status of being married to an ROC national, proof that your marriage is “legally registered” in the country of the foreign spouse will be required.

Using the example of USA citizen Joseph Perkenstuble from Colorado, marrying Mary Lin from Taoyuan City in the Taoyuan District Court: it must be noted that the ROC authorities are not interested in the fact that the laws of Colorado recognize the validity of ROC marriages. What the ROC authorities want is proof that Joseph Perkenstuble’s marriage to Mary Lin is recognized by the relevant USA government agency.

If you get married in Taiwan, and if you are from the USA, Canada, and many other western countries that do not have the “household registration system”, it will be difficult (or impossible) for you to produce such documentation.

If you get married in the country of the foreign spouse, it will be easy for you to produce your wedding certificate, and that is all the documentary proof you will need.

Of course that wedding certificate must be translated into Chinese and then certified at the nearest ROC overseas office, and then re-verified by the MOFA here in Taiwan, but those details are easily accomplished.

I’m trying to figure out some of the technicalities behind marriage and visas and I’m hoping that Mr Hartzell or someone can help me as I plan for the future.

I’m probably going to get married in Taiwan (to a Taiwanese) for various reasons. If I then go back home at a later date and pick up some proof that my country recognizes my marriage can I get a “Joining Family Resident Visa” in the future?

Secondly, what is this visa? Assuming all the other paperwork is in order does it entitle you to a three-year ARC?


Thanks for the info Richard. Well I checked out the wonderfully clear website of the relevant department in my county and if I get married in Taiwan it looks like they can issue a certificate recognising this marriage, so that would appear to sort out that problem. Now say I proceed to get a JFRV and a 3-year ARC which sounds great, then you’ve got my curious again. What is a Special Foreign Spouse Work Permit? How does it differ from a regular work permit?

See detailed comments under “Work Permit for Spouse with ARC” at

How about getting married in Taiwan and then try to get it registered in your home country as a marriage. Then you could use your registered marriage and the certificate that goes along with it. I am not too sure of the legalities of that. Marriages are usually only registered in the country that they were performed in. This seems to be a standard law

Actually Kippy I just checked that out and if I marry in Taiwan I can get my marriage registered at home. They state on their web page that the main reason for this is that if you register the marriage then you can later apply for mariage certificates if necessary. Don’t know if it’s the same in most countries, but it seems fairly reasonable.

Bu Lai En

I was looking too. I am Irish and I found out that…

Generally, a marriage which is recognised and registered by the civil authorities of the country in which it takes place, is recognised in Irish law. There is no requirement to re-register such a marriage in Ireland or to give three months notice to the Registrar in Ireland.

The law is a little vauge here. It says that it is recognised but not registered, but there is no need to re-registar your marriage, so I guess it is automatically registered.
If you are a UK citizen, the law is probabily the same, as Irish and English laws usually mirror eachother.
However I have no idea about American Law

I understand what Kippy is saying. However, to rephrase some of my earlier comments:

Using the example of Irish citizen Patrick O

What is the relevant government agency ??

Moderator’s reply: As we say in the United States: “That is the million dollar question.”

I had a friend from the state of Nevada who tried to research this topic in the local Las Vegas government offices in 1995 and could never find an answer.

So, it would depend on what country you are from, and how the local government works, and how the local government is organized. In my experience, many foreigners have spent much time, effort, and money on trying to figure out the answer to this question, and most of them have not succeeded.

(Obviously, the situation would be different if you lived in a country like Germany or Japan which has the Household Registration system. Then it would be a simple matter to register the marriage.)

In conclusion, my standard advice is: Get married in the country of the foreign spouse. Then you have adequate official documentation.

[Note: This message has been edited by Hartzell]

So what the ROC want the government of the foreigner’s country to do is not just to say that they recognize ROC marriages and therefore they recognize the marriage of John and Becky, but to say on a piece of paper that they see Patrick and Becky as husband and wife and Patrick and Becky will be treated as husband and wife in their eyes

Can I therefore say this:

ROC (Taiwan) authorities are not interested in the fact that the laws of Ireland/America recognize the validity of ROC marriages, but the ROC (Taiwan) authorities are interested in the fact that the laws of ROC recognize the validity of Ireland/America marriages(marriages that took place in the respective country), and this is the fact that will get the residency for the spouse.
This is a double standard.

I thought from what was said earlier that a marriage can only get registered in one country, therefore if based on the above, and the foreigner first marries the Taiwanese in their home country, the married couple cannot have their marriage registered in Taiwan.
Or does ROC law allow for this. If this is the case, then when the couple register their marriage in Taiwan after registering it in the foreigner’s home country; are they not breaking the law of the foreigner’s country ?

There is a little bit of confusion here, probably because that the concept of “registration” means different things to different people in different fields of activity.

However, first we have to go back to some basic German legal concepts. Taiwan law is based on German law. Germany has the Household Registration system. In many other countries (such as the USA) this is unknown. So, basically, the Taiwanese view of marriage registration is to say “complete the procedure of getting the marriage properly noted in the foreigner’s household registration record in his home country.”

But, for the countries without Household Registration, this type of logic does not lead anywhere.

Thus, for most foreigners from countries without the Household Registration system, the obvious choice for “getting an official piece of paper” is to get married in their home country. Then they can produce the marriage license, receipt of payment, and even pictures if necessary.

In any event, no laws are broken if the marriage is first performed in the foreigner’s home country, and then the couple comes back to Taiwan and registers the marriage in the Taiwan spouse’s Household Registration record, in the spouse column.