Moving family to Taiwan and Applying for Household Registration

@cherrim @scrubolio @tando or anyone else who may have insight…

I’m considering moving back to Taiwan to raise my child for a period of years. I’d like to claim citizenship for myself and my child, and also at least get my spouse an ARC. We would likely register our HHR, at least initially, at the same address that my parents are registered at. I’m already >40 so probably too old for military conscription.

This group has an amazing collective knowledge of residency and citizenship rules, so I wanted to sanity check a few things I’m uncertain about. Very grateful for any analysis/feedback you can share.

My situation is:

  1. I am a US citizen/passport holder by birth
  2. I have an NWOHR passport (expired and needs renewal but I have one)
  3. My spouse is a naturalized US citizen who was born in China but relinquished her PRC citizenship when she naturalized in the US
  4. My child, who is under 20, is a US citizen by birth and currently holds no other passport (but IIUC can get an NWOHR passport and subsequently claim citizenship through her grandparents’ / my parents’ HHR status)
  5. Both my parents are Taiwan citizens with HHR, and I can prove all blood relations / HHR via authenticated birth and marriage certificates, ROC passports, national ID cards, and HHR transcripts

My questions:

(A) My NWOHR passport is expired. If I’m applying for an NWOHR passport renewal + entry permit + TARC (all together) is it possible to apply for ALL three via ONE single application package? Or would I have to apply for each serially, one after the other? i.e. First apply for the NWOHR passport renewal and get the new passport back. Then send it off again to apply for the TARC and get that approved and sent back. And finally, send it off yet again and apply for an entry permit to be affixed in my NWOHR passport.

(B) Related to (A) above, as an NWOHR, when I apply for a TARC from the US via my regional TECO, must I additionally apply for a separate entry permit to be added to my NWOHR passport? Or does the TARC itself serve as my entry permit?

( C ) Is it an “AND” or an “OR”: When applying for a TARC on the basis of my parents’ HHR status, do I need to include in my application package ALL of my parents’ national ID cards, my parents’ proof of HHR, AND my parents’ original Taiwanese passports with national ID numbers in them? Or do I only need to supply ONE of these proof documents, and ANY one of them will suffice?

(D) I know that when it comes to examining the authenticity of passports and national ID cards, TECO officers normally will inspect the original document itself (while you visit TECO in-person), and then once satisfied they will make a photocopy of the document and return/hand the original back to you. However, given COVID and many TECO offices currently being closed to visitors, if I am applying for a TARC via the mail, do I need to physically mail in the original documents for: my US passport, my parents’ Taiwanese passports, and my parents’ national IDs cards? Or is it enough to mail in photocopies of these? (It seems risky to put the original versions of all these documents in the mail.)

(E) When applying for a TARC from the US, did you need to get your health check form notarized and authenticated? Or was submitting it with your TARC application in a sealed envelope with signature/stamp over the seal sufficient? (I assume translating the form (健康證明應檢查項目(乙表)) is not “required” since it is already translated.)

(F) For things like birth / marriage certificates and FBI background check, does TECO’s authentication of those documents have to occur SEPARATELY FROM AND BEFORE submitting the overall TARC application? Or can authentication of those documents be packaged together with your overall TARC application so that all materials only need to be assembled into one single package for one single submission?

(G) For my spouse, assuming full-blown citizenship isn’t practicable (since IIUC she’d have to renounce her US citizenship), what is the earliest time she would be allowed to at least apply for an ARC? Is it:

  1. Once my TARC application is approved in the US, but before we actually travel to Taiwan?
  2. Only after we arrive in Taiwan and I exchanged my carbon copy TARC for the real TARC?
  3. Only after I actually become a Taiwan citizen and claim my national ID card and HHR?

Thanks so much.

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Hi and welcome to the thread, I don’t have direct experience on some of the questions you posed but I’ll do my best based on my understanding/speculation and I’ll indicate so. Hopefully the others who have direct experience will weigh in!

(A)

When I applied for the TARC Copy (aka “Exit & Entry Permit and TARC-Copy 入境證及居留證副本” ) from the US, my NWOHR passport was valid and it already had yellow entry permit taped inside it. That said, I didn’t see in the requirements for the TARC Copy application that it requires a valid NWOHR passport, or an entry permit, for that matter. What it requires is a document that can prove your Taiwan nationality, which according to their list could be a NWOHR passport or any of the following pasted in the blockquote below, but I suspect that it might be possible to start the TARC Copy application with an expired passport as well, because the issuance of the passport itself to you should in my view be sufficient proof of your Taiwan nationality. The TECO officer who handles your TARC Copy application could disagree, of course, and might require you to first renew your passport, but to me there’s no harm in trying or at least asking if you could submit that expired one first to save time while you apply for a renewal (assuming you have none of the other proof documents). I’ve read that in fact, some TARC applicants skip the passport application step entirely until after they’ve entered Taiwan using the TARC Copy. It might be worth noting here that the piece of paper that results from the TARC Copy application process is itself called an Exit & Entry Permit, meaning, I believe, that it could be used to as a one-time entry permit into Taiwan without the NWOHR passport, though for completeness I will also add that if you were to renew and enter Taiwan with the NWOHR passport and the TARC Copy, both your passport and that TARC Copy will be stamped by the entry official.

“The passport of the Republic of China or certificate as sufficient to prove the nationality of the Republic of China, e.g. nationality certificate, certificate of overseas Chinese (excluding the certificate of Chinese ethnicity issued by Overseas Chinese Affairs Council) or military certificate previously issued by Department of National Defense”
三、我國護照或足資證明具有中華民國國籍之文件,例如國籍證明書、華僑身分證明書(不包括檢附華裔證明文件,向僑務委員會申請核發者)或國防部核發本人之前國軍官兵證明文件等。

I did not do this but my guess would be no. The TARC Copy application at my TECO was handled by what TECO called the “Immigration Department” – meaning, I surmised, that it was the side of TECO that had NIA officials staffing it. The passport renewal and visa applications, I believe, were handled by the “Consular Department” – I think that’s the BOCA side of TECO. I believe the yellow entry permit might also be part of the passport side but don’t quote me on that. Also, I am less clear on how the yellow entry permit factors into all this if you are ultimately granted the TARC Copy, because you’d be entering Taiwan initially with the TARC Copy and not the yellow entry permit. The yellow entry permit might not be necessary at all unless you plan to enter and exit Taiwan multiple times before completing the residency requirement to get full nationality with household registration.

(B)

I believe the TARC Copy serve as your one-time entry permit, so as mentioned above, the yellow entry permit might be good to have if you anticipate having to exit and reenter Taiwan before you get full nationality with household registration but probably not strictly necessary. I vaguely recall that when I applied for the passport initially, the yellow entry permit is just a free add-on option – maybe a checkbox to tick on the passport application form. Perhaps the passport renewal application might have that as well?

( C )

Check out this chart if you’re able to read Chinese. Based on what you said, I believe you’d be applying under AF353, which is the lineal blood relations category. On the right column, it clearly is an “OR” – i.e., the original copies of your parents’ national ID or the the original Household Registration Booklet or the Household Registration Transcript issued within the past 3 months. But, to properly set your expectations, notice also that the end of that sentence unfortunately includes a catch-all of AND for any document that will serve as sufficient proof of lineal blood relations.

Sadly, this in practice opens the door for your TECO officer to ask for any and/or all of the documents. This happened to me, and no amount of logical pleading on how difficult it would be to obtain some of those listed documents in their original forms helped. YMMV!

(D)

I agree that it’s risky, and I would not mail the originals of anything unless you’ve absolutely confirmed with the officer accepting your application that they’re required and discuss a plan of how to get those safely back to you. I am aware that some of the TECOs, I want to say SF’s, said on their websites that they’d be willing to take a passport copy instead of the original during COVID, but I am not sure how widely they’re willing to apply that rule so best to ask specifically. I suggest calling your TECO’s info line and ask to speak with someone who can accept a TARC Copy application (僑居國外之臺灣地區無戶籍國民申請在臺灣地區居留). Hopefully they can put you in touch with the specialist and you could arrange directly to meet up with that person. At my TECO, my direct interfacing officer was very helpful and flexible on when I could go back to TECO and supply the various documents that they said I was lacking.

(E)

No need to notarize or translate but yes, it does have to be authenticated (US$15). In order to submit the health check for the authentication step, it has to be sealed with the clinic/hospital stamp over the sealed flap of the envelope. If you’re unable to arrange that, my understanding is that you could in lieu have the health check notarized, but I think I mentioned in a prior post that I don’t understand how that works, because I thought a notary public’s function is there to witness the authenticity of signatures, and in this case, it would be your doctor signing the health check form, not you. So I’m not sure if one would be able to drag a notary public into a doctor’s office to do this, but maybe big hospitals might have notarization departments or maybe if you happen to have a relative who’s a notary public you could bring along or something. The FBI check / birth certificate / marriage certificate for authentication did not need to be sealed, but note too that you’d be authenticating each of these 3 documents essentially twice – because there’s the English original and also your self-prepared Chinese translation.

(F)

Yes. Oh, so I’ll add to the above here that document authentications are handled by the “Consular Department” (at least at my TECO). This was why the documents had to be first authenticated before they could be submitted to the “Immigration Department” and it couldn’t be done in one fell swoop. For me that meant more trips to TECO, and I’m not sure how that would’ve worked for mail-in applications. It’s possible your officer might be willing to liaise with the folks responsible for authenticating, and maybe your officer could just collect multiple layers of fees from you and distribute them to the required departments accordingly, but that did not happen for me and I was required to do the authentication of documents steps first before I was allowed to submit the TARC Copy application. Budget extra time for that, as I believe COVID has significantly slowed down processing times for authentication of documents. When I first started, I was allowed to pick it up in one week, and by the end of my process, it stretched to 2 weeks with pickup hours strictly limited. And this was without mailing delays!

(G)

We’re not at this step yet so I hope others who have already finished can confirm, but definitely not (1) for us, but possibly (2), and we hope it’s not (3). Not sure what your family’s moving timeline is but one big consideration would be entry visas for your US-passport holding spouse and child if you plan to enter while the COVID restrictions are in effect. I laid out how excruciating it was in my last post regarding obtaining a spousal visa just to be able to enter Taiwan together, and unfortunately for us, a Resident Visa was denied as an option, which would’ve made it easier/cheaper to apply for the spousal ARC. Still, from what I’ve read so far, I believe (2) is possible, it will just take longer, as I learned that exchanging the TARC Copy for the real TARC is not a same-day thing and is likely to take up to 5 business days. By the way, I think the TARC Copy must be exchanged for the real TARC within 15 days after entering Taiwan, but I believe the time limit has been extended due to COVID quarantine requirements, and it might now be 30 days. Still, I don’t know how that interplays with the spouse applying for the ARC and if there are timing restrictions for that, too. Again, if anyone else has completed this step recently, it would be valuable insight to add to this thread indeed!

Best of luck! Feel free to PM, too, if anything I wrote above is confusing.

I’ll try to answer the questions that I have dealt with:

I think its just better to provide them ALL of the documents that you can get a hold of, you don’t want any back and forth between TECO, it can be annoying. If your parents are still married, their HHR document should be the same.

I didn’t mail in any originals. But TECO Atlanta did as for color copies, not sure if all TECOs want that. Probably best to check with your TECO.

I assume the birth/marriage certificates can be enclosed together. Not sure if you need the translation already when applying for TARC in the US. However, your FBI will need to have been authenticated by TECRO (yes with an R) in DC, as thats the only office that can do that.

You need your TARC before she can get hers. I think someone else in this thread was unable to get their spouse’s ARC before entering taiwan.

I think the poster’s spouse got a visitor visa to convert to ARC in Taiwan, instead of a resident visa.

Definitely not 3.

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply. Will take it into consideration!

Thanks for sharing this insight.

Hello, this post is a follow-up to my October 5th update above. Summary:

  1. Success converting the “TARC-Copy” issued by a US TECO into a TARC card at NIA in Taipei after completing quarantine, and
  2. Success converting the spousal Visitor Visa (which had a notation as a "Special Entry Permit for COVID-19 Outbreak) to an ARC, although the validity is shorter than 1-year.

Elaboration of each below:

  1. Normally a TARC-Copy holder is expected to appear at the NIA within 15 days after entry in order to exchange it for the TARC card, but due to quarantine requirements, an NIA phone agent said that has been extended to 30 days. The NIA in Taipei appears to be split with the upstairs counters to deal with foreigner and the downstairs counters to deal with nationals and those from HK/Mainland/Macao. I submitted the TARC-Copy to a downstairs agent and was told return after the 4th business day to pick up the TARC card, because the card has to be physically made. Agent provided a pick-up slip. I requested a “Record of ID No. in the Republic of China,” which is a sheet of paper that basically states my ID No. and biographical information, and then says that “This paper is a record for person who has filed his/her registration in the Republic of China.” I figured it might help to have this in the meantime in case someone asked me for a proof of ID during the 4-business day wait. This was optional and free of charge, though I was asked to make a photocopy of my Taiwan passport in order to receive this and photocopies cost NTD 2 per page at NIA. Afterwards, we went to the upstairs section to inquire if the spousal Visitor Visa could be converted to an ARC and was told we had to wait for the TARC card to be done first. No problem picking up the card on the 4th business day and it was successfully registered for e-Gate as well at the Taipei NIA with my Taiwan passport.

  2. With the TARC card in hand from the NIA in Taipei, we tried to submit the application to convert the spousal Visitor Visa to an ARC but was told that NIA in Taipei does not handle applications from those with New Taipei City addresses, similar to scrubolio’s experience above. We schlepped to the New Taipei City NIA, which is difficult to reach by public transportation. The ARC application was accepted there, and as expected, we were charged NTD 2200 + NTD 1000 for it. Other documents scrutinized and accepted were: 1) spouse’s physical examination form performed abroad and authenticated by TECO, 2) spouse’s FBI Identity Summary authenticated by DC TECRO and translated with an authentication on the translation by TECO, 3) a copy of our marriage certificate that was authenticated and translated with an authentication on the translation by TECO, and 4) copies of both spouse’s passports. The sponsoring spouse had to accompany in person and sign the application form. No other proof of address documents were requested, although they did take a copy of the sponsoring spouse’s TARC, which has the address that matches the ARC application’s address. Although not explained, my understanding is that NTD 2200 is to first convert the Visitor Visa into a Residency Visa, and then the NTD 1000 was to apply for an ARC with a 1-year validity. Unexpectedly, we encountered a curveball where we were told that because the spouse’s foreign passport’s remaining validity was less than 1 year, that they could not issue the corresponding ARC for the full 1-year validity because the ARC’s expiration has to follow the expiration date of the foreign passport. The cost was not correspondingly reduced, however. Instead, the agent said that upon the renewal application of the ARC, the “months owed” would be tacked onto the new ARC. So for example, if the foreign passport only has 8 months of validity left, the ARC would be issued for 8 months at first, even though they charge for the full NTD 1000, and then upon the renewal of the ARC where I believe the second time would be valid for 3-years, they would issue the renewed ARC for 3 years + 4 months owed. This was not an ideal situation but not a huge deal. It basically resulted in a less-than-1-year-valid ARC, which will force a further payment for a renewal ARC later even if the TARC spouse might already be done with the 1-year Taiwan residency requirement, but not a big deal if otherwise staying for longer than a year. Just want to flag this unexpected situation for anyone who might have an option to update their foreign passports in advance of this process to avoid this. Also, no foreign credit cards were accepted, only local credit cards or cash. The credit card machine tried to read my foreign credit card and it failed, and the agent explained that it was for national security that they do not take foreign credit cards. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: The pick-up slip was for the 11th business day, and no issues during pick-up.

Relieved that the process is done for now and grateful for this opportunity to be in Taiwan. I hope this helps and please feel free to ask or PM me if anyone has any questions!

Thank you for your detailed update.

Hmmm … I’ve used my foreign VISA credit card all over Taiwan with no problem. Wonder what that’s about?

Yeah, I’d say I’ve had success at most private businesses but this was my first time at a government facility. One notable exception is Family Mart, where neither swiping my cards nor using them via Samsung Pay worked. I opt to give my business to 7-Eleven as a result!

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