Moving to Taiwan with Chinese wife - what are the laws?

Hi Forumosa. As the title says, I’m looking into moving to Taiwan, but my biggest issue is the fact that my wife is a PRC national. The only information I can find is a bit outdated related to this; what are the laws around this? Will she get a residence permit? Will she have any working rights? What else is important to know?

Thanks in advance.

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First thing we need to know is what your status in the country will be. Do you plan to get a work visa yourself? If so, she could probably get a dependency visa, but she wouldn’t be able to work.

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Oops, sorry, should have mentioned. I do plan to get a work visa, probably working at a buxiban. Is the only way she’d be able to work to find a company to sponsor her?

If you were a Taiwan national, she would get work rights, but since you would only have a work ARC, sponsoring her would not give her work rights, but only the ability to live in the country. After 5 years on your work visa, you could naturalise and become a Taiwan national, which would give your wife open work rights as the spouse of a Taiwan national. Other than that, she would need a company to sponsor her in order to work legally.

In my opinion, it will be hard for her to get a company to sponsor her unless she genuinely has something special to offer. If you really want to make Taiwan your long term home, your wife could study in Taiwan instead of working for the first few years until she is able to secure a position at a local company who will sponsor her work permit.

Alternatively, she could find a way to work from home on her computer, I believe that’s allowed.

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She’s been wanting to get her degree anyway, so that might be a good idea. I’m assuming Taiwanese universities are friendly to Mainland citizens. I’m guessing it’s the same kind of situation as elsewhere in the world: they won’t sponsor her for a FamilyMart job, but maybe for a bilingual position or a skilled worker position?

I know 5 years to a green card is the case in the PRC, but unsure about the Taiwanese situation. (I have no Chinese ancestry, if that matters).

Thanks for the help, by the way!

On a side note, will she be able to accompany me as soon as I have to depart for Taiwan, or will she be delayed in the PRC?

It’s still not that easy to get a Chinese green card, even with the recent news touting relaxed procedures for obtaining one.

If you or your spouse read Chinese,

I don’t know whether the above document is still valid or outdated, though, according to it, she needs to wait in the PRC, until you get your ARC in Taiwan.

I found it was posted on the site of TECO in Japan on Mar 14 in 2016. So, I think it may be still valid.

is it really allowed?

Doesn’t she have to get approval from China to study here? I heard that they do and have made it harder. Also heard of that some students who studied in Taiwan are often not able to get jobs, especially in public service as recent anti Taiwan sentiments grow.

Taiwan gov has offices and programs to assist spouses with acclimating and integrating into Taiwan. Many have came from China over the years. Not sure of the names or internet sites. Maybe have a Google and could find some useful info. It’s mostly for Taiwanese sponsors but also has info for any status.

Taiwanese National immigration Agency doesn’t have much information on mainlanders on their English site.

fyi in Chinese

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I found no info on a chinese spouse of a foreigner here, though. The only info I found is the link in my previous post.

if she is thinking on taiwanese uni., some info on this site may be useful.


Thanks for all the info, everyone. It’s all proven very helpful!

Confusingly, I’d emailed HESS about this last week, and their reply said they “cannot provide a spousal visa so they cannot move forward with my application”, which seems… wrong.

I’ll look into Taiwanese university for her regardless, as I don’t think it’s on my employer to provide anything for her. I’ll also try clearing things up with the immigration office for her student status and whatnot.

I think they were honest. A foreigner with a chinese spouse seems to be a rare case, so, there is no info as an independent category for that case on taiwanese gov. sites. They must have no experience of the case.

And it is true that mainlanders cannot get visas. The documents that Mainlanders need to stay in Taiwan are different from foreigners.

If coming to Taiwan as a spouse to you only, i.e. not to a pre-arranged job or as a student, your wife will be given a multiple entry visa on the Taiwan side with no limit on length of stay, she will not get an ARC or any resident permit.

You will need to get your ARC first and then she can use this to apply for a visa to leave China and come to Taiwan. Where her Hukou is will have a big bearing on how difficult this process will be and if it is even possible. She may only get a single exit visa for the first time so consider the time needed to get a new one during any visit back to China for her, particularly at LNY.

You’ll also likely need to involve the cross straights foundation to cover some of the paper work, again it depends on where her Hukou is in China.

Do they really give residency out to PRC nationals? I thought they’d be limited to short term student visas or tourism?

Her hukou is from Changchun so I think it’s not an issue. Interesting how they only give her a visa and not any sort of residence permit, but such is life.

Hoping that they’ll still consider me anyway. :thinking:

It’s certainly looking much more difficult than we envisioned originally, but assuming we’ll make enough money to survive, it should be worth it. Whether we end up going or not, I appreciate all the help from you all!

Spouses of Taiwanese citizens are given ARCs and a route to citizenship, spouses of ARC holders are not given ARC’s.

It won’t be an issue, they are quite used to the process.

My wife was born in China but gave up her Chinese citizenship 20 years ago. She has been an American citizen for the majority of her life. I got my ARC without a problem because I’m an American citizen by birth. Getting a spousal visa for my wife and kids has been a nightmare.

When doing paperwork for my kids, my wife never comes along. I do everything by myself. Because she has a Mainland accent, as soon as she shows up, they’ll check the “place of birth” section of her US passport and give her a lot of trouble.

When my wife must be present (when processing her paperwork), I act as her interpreter. I speak Chinese with an American accent. If she says one word in Chinese, they detect her mainland accent and check her place of birth and reject her application.

Showing proof of my wife’s American citizenship is not enough. We’ve needed to prove to them that my wife renounced her Chinese citizenship (doesn’t everyone know you can’t be a US-China dual citizen?). We’ve even needed to show them every expired passport my wife has ever held. Fortunately, my wife’s mom is a packrat and managed to find my wife’s old passport that expired when she was ten years old.

I’m not familiar immigration law. But I have a hard time believing that these officials have the legal right to do what they have demanded. But I do want to tell you to be prepared to face a lot of discrimination. It’s going to be a long uphill battle.



I went through the process of moving here with mainland Chinese dependents four years ago. It was a tricky process - no doubt about that - but the people in immigration in Taipei were very nice and actually went out of their way to help us get over the obstacles. In the Taipei city immigration department in Guangzhou Jie there is a counter just for mainland applications. The people there are processing exit entry permits for mainland spouses all day Monday to Friday, and like I said I have found them to be helpful and got through the process without any major glitches. Still took a coupe of months to the all the papers in order.