Moving family to Taiwan and Applying for Household Registration

Wow, this thread is really interesting.

My situation: wife (Taiwanese with HHR) and I (American) just had our first kid in TW this year. Of course, our kid has both TW passport with ID number, and HHR, and a US passport. That’s pretty cut and dry cause she was born here.

Here’s what I’m wondering: if we have our next kid in the US, what then? Presumably my wife will still have HHR at that point as her parents are fairly young and will never leave Taiwan (I’m not sure if my wife’s HHR would get “canceled” after some period outside Taiwan?).

So for a hypothetical second kid born in the US, could we get him/her a TW passport with ID number and HHR, or would it just be the “worth less than the paper it’s printed on” version, and she’d have to go through this whole 365 day thing later in life if she/he ever wants to live in Taiwan?


Ya I think this is the main point. its cheap and relatively painless as compared to the US at least, especially given the current virus situation.

Your 2nd kid will need to go through the steps herein this thread that I and my kids born outside of taiwan need to go through. get the “worthless” passport and meet the required residency requirement.

I’d suggest checking the websites for the specific TECOs that might be closest to you, and calling to confirm a contact there who can accept a TARC application, because it seems like each office’s operation is changing on almost a daily basis due to Covid. I’m not sure if a TECO that doesn’t oversee a specific residential jurisdiction will accept it even if it’s otherwise open for in-person services. (For example, the Atlantic TECO said they offers services to Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida.)

Oh and based on casual observations, it seemed like most people visit the TECOs these days for their consular services, like getting a visa, authentication, and passports, but it seemed like the TARC application is submitted via maybe a different department that serves more like an immigration liaison with their Taiwan NIA counterparts. The slightly increased fee for submitting it via TECO (NT$1300, which TECO collected US$45 for) as compared to submitting directly it in Taiwan (NT$1000) supports this theory in my mind that TECO is acting as the mailing/front-facing intermediary and getting slightly compensated for it. Just speculations on my part though!

Yeah, that makes sense on the health check. It’s still pretty confusing honestly. According to Article 11 of the Enforcement Rules, it would seem like the Resident Visa is what the spouse should apply for:

Article 11

The term “long-term stay” as stated in Article 11 of the Statute refers to a planned period of stay exceeding 6 months.
A resident visa issued by overseas mission shall be good for single entry only and its validity shall not exceed 6 months. The visa holder shall apply for an Alien Resident Certificate(ARC) after being admitted into the ROC.
Resident visas issued by MOFA within ROC territory shall be used for applying for ARCs only and shall not be used for entry into the ROC.

But at the same time, the spousal Resident Visa seems to require as part of the application the main applicant’s original TARC. How does that work in practice? Because my impression is that TECO after consulting with NIA will be issuing an entry permit that contains a copy of the TARC and then TARC applicant has to enter Taiwan to retrieve the original TARC at the NIA. Does that mean that they want the couple to separate where the main applicant goes to Taiwan first, retrieves the original TARC, and then mails it back to the spouse in the US to apply for a Resident Visa at TECO in order to enter Taiwan? And then the person already in Taiwan has no TARC in hand for days even though I think the law requires carrying it all the time? Maybe I’m overthinking this but it just doesn’t make sense, and I’m hoping that the visa department (right hand) would just accept whatever document their own TECO’s immigration department (left hand) ends up issuing as the TARC.

On top of this, I’m still confused by how it works in practice if the spouse gets just a Visitor Visa to enter and then applies for the ARC in Taiwan, like scrubolio’s wife did. In the link I shared in my last post on this conversion process, it says:

(7) Certificate fee: NT$1,000 for alien residence certificate per case valid
for one year, however, additional NT$2,200 is required for applicant
entering the State with visitor visa.

Meaning, I think, that if the spouse enters with a Visitor Visa, then the fee would be NT3,200 to get the ARC. Does the NT$2,200 extra fee represent what tando was saying as essentially getting a Resident Visa on top of the fee for the ARC if she were to have entered on a Resident Visa? In practice, scrubolio, do you recall if your wife had to pay this extra fee and did she get issued a Resident Visa in addition to the ARC? (Like, is there anything in her passport or given at the ARC-issuing desk that might support this or is it really just doling out more money for having gone with the Visitor Visa to begin with?)

Lastly, I’m still scratching my head over the concept that the Resident Visa doesn’t actually act like a visa but it’s a one-time entry visa and the spouse is required to in addition apply for another entry/exit permit on top of it in order to enter ROC in the future after getting the ARC. Does anyone have information on this – like, is it the same entry/exit permit as the one the the NWOHR applied for (same form and fees, etc.) initially when they got the initial passport with that sticker inside one of the pages? Scrubolio, sorry for so many questions and it sounds like you guys haven’t actually left/re-entered Taiwan since, but now that your wife has an ARC, is she still planning to enter Taiwan in the future with just the Visitor Visa that the US TECO initially gave her or does she have some other permit to enter Taiwan with?

I realize many of my questions are ticky-tacky on fees but I’m just trying to understand conceptually why this process is designed the way it is and I think the fees shed some light on it. It’s possible that with Covid, we could even be looking at 3 layers of visas/permits just for the spouse-side of things: Resident Visa + Entry/Exit Permit + Covid Special Entry Permit – I fully realize that at the end of the day, we’ll end up just shelling out whatever the authorities ask for in order to get to Taiwan together but it’d just be slightly more comforting to know that at least the fees and rules aren’t being arbitrarily applied. Appreciate any insight and I’ll share mine if this all comes together. Thanks, everyone!

In the sample online marriage cert authentication shared above, the bottom says “請於驗證30日內向戶政機關辦理登記, 以免逾期受處罰鍰.” I had assumed this was some sort of requirement for Taiwanese folks who recently got married outside of Taiwan, where they might be required to then notify Taiwan and register within 30 days, but this sentence showed up on the bottom of my authentication as well. Does anyone know what this requirement refers to and whether it applies to a NWOHR not present in Taiwan?

if TECO doesn’t accept a copy of your TARC, your spouse still can enter with your by getting a visitor visa.


ARC and entry/exit permit are combined. On the application form for ARC, there is a box to be checked to apply for entry/exit permit at the same time. The permit is printed on ARC.

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Thanks, good to know that the ARC and entry/exit permit are combined. So in short, it sounds like if they allow the Resident Visa, that would save NT$2,200.

Answering my own question here in case it helps anyone else. TECO clarified that although the authentication document attached to a marriage certificate indicates a 30-day registration requirement after authentication or else risk a penalty (於驗證30日內向戶政機關辦理登記, 以免逾期受處罰鍰), this does not apply to NWOHRs and those who have not yet established household registration. Makes sense.

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Question regarding applying for the spousal visa/residency:

I am a NWOHR with a TARC and my foreigner husband is here with me in Taiwan on an extendable visitor visa. Do we DEFINITELY need the criminal background check for him? According to the BOCA site it is not on the list.

Not opposed to doing it, but want to double check as it will obviously be a pain to deal with the authentication process from Taiwan.

I don’t have personal experience with this, though I’ve been researching this topic and I believe the answer is yes, unless he or you can fit into a narrow set of exceptions (for example, if you guys are doing this via an investment route, establishing a branch company route, etc. - see fuller explanation below).

My understanding is that there are 2 departments we’re dealing with – BOCA + NIA. I’m sure someone knowledgeable here can provide a more graceful explanation of their differences but in short, I believe BOCA deals with visas for people before they enter Taiwan and NIA deals with immigration + converting visas for people after they enter Taiwan. No criminal background check is required by the BOCA side. The links you pasted are from BOCA, which I believe is for issuing a Resident Visa for the purpose of entering Taiwan. Put simply, this is irrelevant to your husband because he’s already in Taiwan on a Visitor Visa (but put less simply, as pointed out by tando and others above, this is technically still relevant to him because the next step for him actually involves converting his Visitor Visa to a Resident Visa first even though it’s no longer relevant for entering Taiwan, because the Resident Visa is a prerequisite for obtaining the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) that dictates the terms of his stay – note that this conversion part of the process is likely not visible to you other than you having to pay an added fee of NT$2,200 collected by NIA for doing the conversion – see page 10 of PDF document linked below.)

You’ll see on the bottom of each of your BOCA links footnote 6, which says: “持居留簽證入境或在中華民國境內獲改換發居留簽證者,應於入境次日或居留簽證簽發日起15日內,向居留地之內政部移民署各縣(市)服務站申請外僑居留證及重入國許可。居留期限依所持外僑居留證所載效期。” meaning, that your husband, after entering Taiwan or after having his Visitor Visa converted to a Resident Visa, is supposed to go to the NIA within 15 days to apply for an ARC.

On the NIA side when he’s applying for the ARC is when the criminal background check is required:

The narrow exceptions are found on page 6:

and referencing Article 23 of the Immigration Act, these are the categories where a criminal background check are not required:

I hope this helps. If you don’t mind, can I ask about your husband’s process of getting an extendable visitor visa – did you guys get it at a US TECO during covid, and what documents were you asked to provide? My spouse and I are not as far along as you two are and would appreciate any advice on the BOCA spousal visa portion of the journey.

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@cherrim Wow, this is incredibly detailed and clear, and I really appreciate it. I wasn’t clear on the BOCA/NIA difference, and when researching the whole resident visa vs ARC/JFRV vernacular is so confusing, so thank you SO much.

With regards to the extendable visitor visa, my husband has an ongoing pre-COVID research relationship with a university in Taiwan, so they had invited him back and his current visa is unrelated to me. I have also heard that it is possible to get a “visiting relatives” VISA at the moment, which is what many overseas Taiwanese seem to be doing in order to visit their family at the moment. The other route seems to be having a business invite you over.

We did everything by mail (USPS Priority/Express) via TECO in Los Angeles, which is now super backed up due to someone in the office getting COVID.

It is the same process & fees as getting a usual visa.

The actual process went as follows:

1.Fill out Visa Application:

2.For reason (current valid reasons & supporting docs needed)

a) Business: Letter of invitation from Taiwanese company (or university in our case) outlining purpose and length of stay + current bank statements + letter confirming employment from current employer + passport (actual one) + checks for application fee ($160) and postage ($29) + two recent Taiwanese sized passport photos + your proposed round trip itinerary (we just went through with the process of booking online and screenshot the pages from before payment)

b) Visiting Relatives: Proof of relative’s residence in Taiwan and Proof documents for relationship (relative’s name, phone number, address, relationship etc, and documents supporting relationship w/ relative (i.e. your birth certificate & copy of parent’s passport) + checks for fees + passport + recent passport photos + itinerary

3.Pack these all up with the barcoded printed application from step 1, and send it off to your nearest TECO, and cross your fingers! I recommend including a Priority Mail SASE instead of a check for postage so you can track when it is coming back to you.

If you are approved, they will have glued a visa into your passport and it will have a code/note saying “special entry visa during COVID”.

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@cherrim Also, just to add for clarity as I saw you asked on another thread and it truly is a bit ambiguous:

The special entry permit is just a visitor visa that has the wording “special entry for COVID-19 Outbreak on it”. No additional fees or difference in the application otherwise.

You cannot currently come in on a landing visa/visa-exempt—I don’t think they will even let you board the plane.


@cherrim Thank you for your detailed answer! Does this mean that a dependent foreign spouse does not need to provide the criminal check if you are married before residing in Taiwan?

My spouse is an American and we married in the USA years ago. We plan to move to Taiwan and get my spouse a spouse ARC. I thought my spouse would need to get the criminal check, but there seems to be an exemption, unless I am reading it wrong…

@puripara Thanks so much for listing out the detailed visa-seeking steps and also clarifying that the special entry permit is simply part of the visitor visa. That was the exact answer I was looking for, and it’s helpful to know what to expect. We’ll probably first try the spousal Resident Visa. In terms of the Visitor Visa – we have relatives in Taiwan, including grandparents, but not parents, and I’m not sure what documents TECO would be satisfied with because a birth certificate would only show links to the parents. The parents’ household registration 戶籍名簿 lists the grandparents’ names, but we’re not on that yet because I’m a NWOHR. So hopefully they will take the totality of documents into consideration and grant some sort of spouse entry visa. Probably different since your husband’s visa isn’t a visiting relatives one – but just in terms of expectations, do you recall how long it took from mailing out the package to him receiving the visa?

You know, that was what I initially thought too, and I think I got confused reading the BOCA FAQ, which said:

And I was thinking to myself, who are the “foreign nationals” using a “landing visa” or a “visa-free” entry at this point because I thought those are suspended? Or are there countries/categories of people for which “landing visa” and “visa-free” are not suspended during covid? This was also before I learned from you that the special entry permit is not a separate document but is attached to a visitor visa. I had thought perhaps there could be scenarios (maybe emergencies) where one applies for just the special entry permit and then they could still use the “landing visa” or “visa-free” entry to get into Taiwan as long as they can satisfactorily convince the immigration official upon arrival that they have a valid family visiting reason. Anyway, re-reading it and knowing what I know from you now, I think that might just be confusing wording on the FAQ and I agree with you that they might not even let you board the plane without a visa that has the special entry permit language on it. Thanks again!

@ABT Hi, I’ll try to clarify based on my limited research but just a caveat that if you want to be sure, the only way to really know is calling the Taiwan NIA. Here’s my understanding:

Does this mean that a dependent foreign spouse does not need to provide the criminal check if you are married before residing in Taiwan?

No, in fact, I would say that the majority of dependent foreign spouses would need to provide the criminal check even if married before residing in Taiwan. The exemptions that I pasted from the Immigration Act in my earlier post seems to only apply to a small set of people, so unless you or your spouse happens to qualify within those limited exemptions, your spouse would have to get the criminal check (and get it authenticated and translated) to submit to NIA. Doing that before you guys move to Taiwan would lessen the risks and hassles involved in having to mail original documents internationally, and I believe the criminal check is good for 1 year from the date that it’s issued (if it’s used for ARC applications; but for some reason I don’t understand, it’s only good for 6 months from the date it’s issued for TARC applications from NWOHRs).

Just to be clear, the exemptions seem to have nothing to do with whether you guys got married before residing in Taiwan. It has to do with the categories for which your spouse is applying for an ARC. For example, let’s say you’re a Taiwanese national and if your spouse is applying for an ARC because he’s married to you, then I believe he needs a criminal check to submit to NIA. However, let’s say you’re a Taiwanese national, but your spouse invested a billion dollars into a Taiwan company and he’s applying for an ARC using that as the reason (exemption paragraph #4 above), which has nothing to do with being married to you, then I believe he doesn’t need a criminal check. This is just my understanding and I hope it helps!

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@cherrim This is so helpful. Thank you!


For my husband it look about 1.5 weeks, and from a Taiwanese FB group I read, someone’s experience of getting a visiting relatives took about the same. Again, this was 2 months ago in our case and before the TECO in our region was closed and backed up. (I am still waiting on my marriage certificate authentication and it has been over one month.)

I’m summarizing here what another person (not me) said they applied for the visitor visa. Also, I can share the name of the FB group if you want to PM me, this topic is discussed in detail frequently.

  • short letter explaining purpose of visitation
  • for visiting mother in Taiwan, [he] provided a copy of her Taiwan passport, a copy of her Taiwan National ID, and a copy of [his] birth certificate (to prove that we are related)
  • after receiving the application, TECO said [he] needed to either send in the original copy of my birth certificate to the New York TECO office ([he] was born in NY) so that they could verify its authenticity, or provide another official document demonstrating familial relationship.
  • In this case, [he] had an old copy of my Taiwan Alien Residence Certificate (ARC) from when studying in Taiwan as a kid, which had [his] English name, [his] mother’s Chinese name, and it states [their] relationship.

Timeline: 1.5 weeks

If I was going to GUESS, if you were going to see grandparents, you would show your birth certificate (etc) showing your parental relation then in addition the documents that show your parents relation to your grandparents.

Note, I don’t think (but don’t quote me) that the visitor visa would work for the foreigner in this situation because there is no familial relation (but please double check with NIA), so going this route for you may look like the TARC holder first coming in, then the foreigner spouse applying for a VISA to join them. Please don’t quote me on that though, that’s just my inkling. I could be wrong and hopefully am!

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Coming back to update this thread, quick summary:

  1. Success on the TARC applied for from outside of Taiwan,
  2. No Success on the spousal Resident Visa, and
  3. Success on the spousal Visitor Visa (but only because spouse has relatives living in Taiwan willing to supply proof documents).

I’ll elaborate on each of these below in case it helps anyone else.

  1. Following my Aug. 24 update, it took 4 weeks for TECO to call to say that the TARC has been approved by NIA in Taiwan. About 2 weeks into those 4 weeks, they said NIA asked for our marriage certificate (authenticated original with an authenticated English translation, which TECO takes only a copy of each to send to NIA) because a spouse was listed on the TARC application. They said the alternative to not supplying the marriage certificate was that the TARC applicant would need to sign a statement to agree that the spouse’s name would not be listed in any of the TARC holder’s documents. We asked if there’d be ramifications to the spouse’s later applications for ARC or other identity documents, and TECO said they weren’t sure so best to supply the marriage certificate if possible. We supplied it. Also note that the document TECO ended up issuing at the end of the TARC application process is not the TARC itself, but a piece of paper called “Exit & Entry Permit Taiwan Republic of China” where there is a picture of the applicant on the bottom and under the field for Permit Type it lists: “入境證及居留證副本” – so this is probably why this TECO-issued TARC is more accurately called the “TARC Copy”. I believe the procedure is to enter Taiwan with the NWOHR passport and this piece of paper, obtain an entry stamp on it, and then go exchange for the actual TARC at the NIA after arrival. This hasn’t happened yet for us, so I will update again to confirm this is indeed the procedure once the actual TARC is received.

  2. Based on this TARC Copy, we tried to apply for a Resident Visa for my spouse as per the discussions above, because the intent is to stay for more than 180 days and it’s cheaper to get the Resident Visa directly, plus the Taiwan CDC does not require Resident Visa holders to have a Covid PCR test issued 3 working days prior to entering Taiwan. However, the Resident Visa application was not accepted by TECO (as in, they refused to let us pay and said it wouldn’t be approved anyway). They insisted that the TARC holder must already be inside Taiwan for the spouse to be able to apply for a Resident Visa to “join family” by using the original TARC to accompany the visa application. Despite lots of back and forth, where I asked how that would work logistically (i.e., wouldn’t the TARC holder be living in Taiwan then without the original TARC if it needs to be mailed to the US for the spousal Resident Visa application? And isn’t that problematic?) they could not answer those questions and simply refused to accept the visa application.

  3. We were left with the route to apply for a Visitor Visa (which also serves as a Special Entry Permit) in order for both of us to be able to travel to Taiwan together during Covid. This was a difficult process because the spouse would have to prove that there is family to visit in Taiwan. For spouses who are US passport holders but who otherwise have direct family in Taiwan, this is no problem, but we didn’t and for us, we had to chain link multiple times to achieve this – first by linking the spousal connection via the marriage certificate, then by linking the NWOHR’s relationship with family living in Taiwan. The latter link has to be proven first by a birth certificate linking the NWOHR to the parents, and if the parents aren’t currently inside Taiwan, then the a relative in Taiwan would have to produce a Household Registration Transcript issued within the last 3 months linking the parents to their parents, siblings, etc. living in Taiwan. Very burdensome process involving trips to the Household Registry office by family members living in Taiwan. And also, TECO indicated that the more distant the links are and the more levels of links required, the less likely they are to approve the Visitor Visa. We are grateful this came through and it might’ve helped that in our case we had also applied for the TARC Copy recently through the same TECO and we had also tried to apply for the Residency Visa so they knew what we wanted to do – which really just boiled down to a married couple wanting to settle back in Taiwan and quarantine together.

From a policy perspective, we had a tough time understanding why TECO/Taiwanese government due to administrative rigidity would want to separate a married couple by requiring one to first travel to Taiwan, quarantine for 14 days, and then get the TARC first before the spouse can apply for a Resident Visa to join. Like I said, we are grateful we at least got a visa to be able to travel together, but it’s not the friendliest family policy if the goal is to encourage NWOHRs to resettle in motherland. My humble suggestion would be for NIA to try to streamline this NWOHR process by merging it with the Gold Card process, or otherwise cross-using some of the best features of the Gold Card process, where I understand much of the paperwork could be submitted online without interacting with TECOs and high-value qualifications by NWOHRs in their home countries are evaluated for expedited approval.

Anyway, the spousal Visitor Visa aspect of all this is still murky too because the conversion process to an ARC after arrival in Taiwan is not entirely clear. There could be gotchas we’re not aware of, such as the Visitor Visa having markings on it that make it non-convertible. Fingers crossed that the one issued to us is convertible and I will post another update once that is sorted out.

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