Married but applying for naturalization independently

Some of you may have seen my post in the taxes forum warning married foreigners to ensure that they file taxes as the primary taxpayer rather than the spouse: A warning for foreigners filing joint taxes

Since my wife has denied me the right to obtain tax statements for the last two years, the route to my APRC is now closed and so I have decided to go for naturalization. I have almost all the documents I need since I’d already prepared them for my APRC. Ironically, the requirements for naturalization are actually less stringent than those for the APRC and I more than fulfill them in both categories (spouse and independent applicant).

First, a little background on me. I’ve lived in Taiwan for around nine out of the last 12 years, and I’ve lived here continuously for six years on my current ARC (JFRV). I haven’t lived in my home country (UK) for 16 years. I’m turning 33 years old soon, which if I understand it correctly, means I might still get drafted once I obtain my household registration two years hence… Fair enough. I have a master’s degree from a local university which is acceptable in lieu of the Chinese class requirement and I have a job that pays more than the twice minimum wage that’s specified.

As far as I can tell, the requirements for naturalization are “to have resided continuously and legally for more than 183 days per year over the last five years”. There is nothing pertaining to the type of ARC one has to have held. However, my local household registration office simply doesn’t know if the immigration authorities will treat me as a foreign spouse regardless. This would be disastrous for me, as one of the steps in “naturalization of a foreign spouse” is that childless couples will be visited and interviewed to ensure that the marriage is not merely one of convenience in order to attain ROC citizenship.

So tomorrow morning, I will get the last documents I need from the NIA and BOCA and take them to the household registration office. I’ll then post an update here listing everything I’ve submitted, and as and when I get news, I’ll keep this thread updated.

Wish me luck!

Good luck, I hope things get sorted out nicely for you.

Best luck and godspeed.

Hope it turns out all right, and that you will find a receptive, helpful clerk.

Don’t you have to give up your UK citizenship to do this?

Yes, indeed!

Thanks for the words of support guys!

Yes, I will have to renounce UK citizenship. As I said in my initial post, I’ve not lived there for 16 years. I also have no intention of going back and would much prefer to remain here, so from my present perspective ROC citizenship is of greater value to me.

Secondly, UK law does allow for someone who has renounced UK citizenship for the purpose of obtaining a foreign nationality to resume their UK citizenship (for a fee).

Furthermore, UK law also allows for citizens who have renounced their citizenship to resume said citizenship if their foreign citizenship is not processed within six months. Since ROC citizenship (as in having household registration) takes upwards of one year to obtain, I should be able to get my UK passport back after half a year.

I think that covers all my bases so far. The most galling part of the process is going to be paying the GBP399 that the Home Office requires for me to renounce citizenship.

I guess you have gone ahead and filed for citizenship, but it is hard for me to believe that there is no way around the income tax statement requirement for someone who is not the primary tax payer. Couldn’t you reconstruct your income with withholding slips? You might be able to get those reissued by employers who may ahve copies. Or you could hire a lawyer etc to help you deal with the tax authorities to come up with an alternative way of proving your income. Yes it would be expensive, but in your case might be worth it.

I have all my withholding slips and I even have income tax lists issued by the tax office showing the amount of money I paid in taxes over the last three years. The NIA couldn’t care less; they want Income Tax Statements (綜合所得稅納稅證明書) and were remarkably unhelpful when I told them of my predicament.

A lawyer might be able to help, but I don’t have the time to go the legal route. My wife is somewhat unstable and I would like to be in a position of security the next time she pushes me to sign a divorce paper. Ideally, she ought to think that this will mean I get kicked out of the country as it will make her all the more willing to sign.

The tax laws are shockingly clear on the ramifications of allowing your spouse to file tax on your behalf. I don’t have the appropriate text on hand to quote from, but my reading of it effectively indicates that the Spouse gives the Taxpayer power of attorney in perpetuity over the Spouse’s tax record for the year in question.

[quote=“spaint”]I have all my withholding slips and I even have income tax lists issued by the tax office showing the amount of money I paid in taxes over the last three years. The NIA couldn’t care less; they want Income Tax Statements (綜合所得稅納稅證明書) and were remarkably unhelpful when I told them of my predicament.
[/quote]

A big hmmmm… The NIA may care less, but they are not the final arbiter of these matters. I think you might have a very good case for an appeal if the NIA denied your application for an APRC on these grounds. You have clearly met the substance of the requirement and they are denying you on a formality. The NIA’s decisions can be appealed but only if you file an application and are rejected (you need the rejection letter to appeal). If your appeal fails, you can file suit against them in the administrative courts. The NIA often tells people that they are not qualified to avoid a situation where an appeal might be filed against them.

I think I see what you are saying here but in most cases there can be no divorce without mutual consent.

[quote]
The tax laws are shockingly clear on the ramifications of allowing your spouse to file tax on your behalf. I don’t have the appropriate text on hand to quote from, but my reading of it effectively indicates that the Spouse gives the Taxpayer power of attorney in perpetuity over the Spouse’s tax record for the year in question.[/quote]

Yes but a power of attorney does not mean that the person giving it gives up the power to act on his own behalf unless he is incapacitated. Again though, dealing with government agencies effectively requires a lot of experience that most foreigners don’t have.

Anyway, good luck, and if you run into problems with the naturalization route, maye you should revist the APRC idea.

I agree with Mr Feiren. Do you really want to go to the army in order to be able to vote? Go the APRC route.

There are two elements to the APRC application that refer to finances. One of them asks you to prove financial ability (salary, assets) while the other explicitly asks for the very document that I cannot obtain (in both English and Chinese versions). If I had more time at my disposal I would certainly attempt to appeal as you say, and indeed if my naturalization effort fails I will do the same.

I am the one who wants out of the marriage. Not to rag on about it but I’ve had enough of the abuse and just want to be able to get on with my own life. The problem is that she’ll never sign unless she thinks she can hurt me (and for the same reasons I can’t get my tax statements). I have high hopes that she’ll want to sign if she thinks it means I’m forced to leave the country.

[quote]
Anyway, good luck, and if you run into problems with the naturalization route, maye you should revist the APRC idea.[/quote]

Thank you, and if I do have problems I’ll do just that.

I don’t really care that much about voting, but I would like to be able to live independently here instead of effectively being a chattel of my wife. 20 months of military service will be nothing compared to the last eight years.

My heart bleeds for you, brother. :brokenheart:

Hopefully, by the time -if they have not scraped it yet- you get to serve, it will be shorter -it is actually 18 months already now, and they keep on cutting time every year.

Even more appealing :slight_smile:

I thought that once you renounce, you get a residency card, and then you have 12 months where you can’t leave the country, before you get the household registration and the ID. Surely they won’t draft you before you get those?

There’s a chance that you - even if you apply now - might be over 35 before you actually get the ID.

You can’t leave the country in those 12 months if you want the process to be completed as quickly as possible, and you’re correct in that you can’t be drafted until you have your household registration.

From memory, the three ways of completing the residency requirement for household registration after getting your Taiwan Area Resident Card are as follows:

  1. Remain in Taiwan for 12 months continuously.
  2. Remain in Taiwan for 270 days out of each of two consecutive years.
  3. Remain in Taiwan for 183 days in each of five consecutive years.

You can still get drafted until December 31st of the year in which you turn 36 (2012 for me).

sorry to hear about the mess that u r in…since the situation is not in yr favour I would suggest that your first go the APRC route mainly because of the time factor…naturalisation will take quiet some time and since your wife is already holding a knife to your neck it would be best to get everything done in the shortest possible time…

like someone said in an earlier post she cannot block u from getting the statements also if i am not mistaken u just have to get a letter / certificate saying that you have paid taxes for the past X no of yrs…i don’t think that you have to show the statements from each year…

now the APRC is also not as " good " as it sounds and since you have decided on becoming a citizen then for sure going in directly for naturalisation would make more sense but I think in your case the imp point right now is getting out of your wife’s clutches asap…

I think after you get yr APRC then u can apply for naturalisation after 2 yrs…by then you will be like 35 - 36 so by the time u actually get your id card in hand you will be say @ 37 - 38 and will not have to worry about going to the army…also if you already have the APRC and then apply for citizenship then the no of documents needed also reduces considerably…

anyway wish you all the best!!!

I got my tax docs for the APRC I hold without bringing my then wife.

Also, I am not going to rain on your parade, however I fear that once you got the APRC, you will find your wife impossible to get rid of.

The draft will end in 2013. 35 is apparently now the upper age limit for getting drafted. I’d say that by the time you become eligible to be drafted by virtue of having a household registration in 2011, you will have a pretty good chance of getting out of it. At worst, you’ll do 12 months of alternative service, probably somewhere where they can put your English to use. It won’t be that bad.

IF the spouse is listed as a dependent on his tax records then he can get a copy.

I was able to do so. You do not need tax records for the other partner. In any case for citizxenship other assets also qualify you even if your taxable income is low, as in my case I have zero tax income prior to becoming a citizen as I was listed as a dependent on my wife’s income tax statement.