Moving to Taiwan with PRC spouse

I am an Australian citizen considering moving to Taiwan for work. My wife is a PRC national. If I take the job in Taiwan, will she be able to join me?

I believe that the answer to this question will depend on what kind of job you have in Taiwan, and whether the PRC spouse has permanent residency, or a passport from a third country. To my knowledge, there have been a few cases of foreigners working in Taiwan with resident visas where the PRC spouse was allowed to enter the ROC. In each of these cases, the details were as follows: (1) the foreigner was a high-level executive in a very large company which was involved in high technology research or development in Taiwan, and was deemed to be contributing to the overall technology upgrading of ROC industry, (2) the PRC spouse had permanent residency rights in the foreigner’s home country, and/or a passport from that country.

In such cases, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) usually grant a special ruling to allow the PRC spouse to come to Taiwan.

In the case of a foreigner working for a smaller company, or working at a lower level position, or in a field that does not involve high tech, and/or where the PRC spouse does not have such permanent residency rights (or a passport) from a third country, I do not know of any cases where the PRC spouse has been allowed into the ROC.

I am currently handling a case for a German gentleman in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, who has an PRC spouse. He is working in a small company in Kaohsiung, and even though it is involved in high tech development, the MOEA has not been keen on recommending to the MAC that his wife be allowed into the Taiwan area. Another problem is that his wife does not have German permanent residency rights, or a German passport.

We started negotiating on this in July 1999, and still seem a long way from a solution. I would note that I have done extensive research on this entire question, and therefore have a complete file of notes and legal data. Please feel free to contact me if you do come to Taiwan, and we can get together for a chat.

I intend to come to teach English and my wife will be joining me. How long does it take and what are the procedures for obtaining for her a resident visa on the Irish passport ? Am I right in this ? This is what the very helpful Irish ROC Rep Office have told me.



Taiwan has five categories for resident visas: (1) approved investment, (2) approved employment, (3) approved missionary activities, (4) approved student status, (5) joining family.

Which category is your wife intending to apply for? In the case of “joining family”, she (as an Irish passport holder) could get a resident visa to live with you, if you have a resident visa based on investment, employment, or (I suppose) full-time student status at a recognized Taiwanese institute of higher education.

I will give my comments about this entire issue in more detail on March 7, 2004.

You are coming to Taiwan on a foreign passport, and are asking if your Irish wife can work. This is not an easy question. It would depend on her qualifications, and the requirements for obtaining a work permit in her chosen field.

If your wife has only a PRC passport, my understanding is she will not be allowed to enter Taiwan at all.

If your wife has another passport, she will be allowed to enter Taiwan as a tourist, but will have to leave every six months to get a new tourist visa. This is because, in common with the PRC government, the ROC considers all people with yellow skin born in China to be “Chinese” regardless of their actual nationality. Your wife will have no residence permit, no ARC, no Jian Bao card (National Insurance) and will have to get a new visa if she leaves Taiwan and wishes to return. You might be aware (and if you’re not, a couple of days with your wife in Taiwan will be enough to impress this upon you) that mainland Chinese women in Taiwan are universally regarded as prostitutes. This means that you will have to accompany your wife to the visa office each time she gets a visa to pre-empt the sort of crap she is likely to have to put up with were she to go alone. So, holidays become a real pain in the arse involving as they will do, a stop in the nearest city to needlessly apply for a new tourist visa.

If you can prove that your wife has resided (dingju) outside the PRC for four years without spending more than 30 days in the PRC during any of those years, she will be allowed (in theory) to get a resident visa and ARC.

I have been unable to get my head around the ease with with the ROC government defines such people as being (a) foreigners for the purpose of issuing a tourist visa in a non-PRC non-ROC passport; and (b) “Mainlanders” for the purposes of refusing to issue a resident visa. But it does, and is blissfully uninterested in the offence and inconvenience this causes. Naturally enough, those who make these policies are quite happy to accept the citizenship of the USA, Canada, Australia, etc. when it suits them.

It is also interesting to note that the law under which visas are issued states that anyone intending to stay for more than six months should apply for a resident visa. It doesn’t say “except people who were born in China who must apply in perpetuity for six-month tourist visas”.

The British government says my wife is British. The PRC government says my wife is British, and that she is not a citizen of the PRC (and they have issued documents to that effect - in fact they revoked her PRC citizenship). The Taiwanese government appears to say that she is sort-of British, but not British enough to get a resident visa, as well as being a citizen of the ROC (under the Constitution), but not one who can live or work here, as well as being a dalu diqu renmin (whatever that means - as she does not have household registration in China she doesn’t fall under the definition of Dalu Diqu Renmin in the law but hey, who cares what the law says). Of course had she been white (or black) that day when we applied for her resident visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the issue would never have come up. Oh well.

I wouldn’t recommend bringing your wife here unless she has a foreign passport, gets her residence visa before setting foot in Taiwan, and doesn’t mind meeting a significant number of uneducated small-minded fuckwits, who haven’t been further than the end of their own street, thinking that because she’s from China she’s a whore or some social misfit’s mail order bride. You have been warned.

I’m curious. Why did you have to wait until March 7, 2004?

I assume that hexuan felt that waiting for two years would give him adequate time to more fully research this topic.

Two years eh ? Time flies when you’re having fun. And while we’re at it, I’ll let you know about the new streamlined work permit procedures for white collar workers on 31 March. When my ARC runs out ! And then I’ll let you know about Hartzell’s 7 year driving licence fix, because my driving licences run out on that day too ! Madness ! I wonder will I have to get reborn and remarried as well (“I’m sorry sir, you don’t exist any more - your ARC has run out…”)

I know this is a really old post, but I’ve been researching the issue and came up with an update.

Foreign nationals who have Taiwan valid work permits can apply for a visa for their PRC spouse to join them.

It’s going to be an annoying process (ie you have to get the work permit first, before you can apply for the spouse visa), but at least there’s a procedure for it on the Immigration web site. … ?idno=0506 (In Chinese)

However, I haven’t been able to find anything about a PRC spouse accompanying a foreign national for tourist purposes. I remember reading an anecdote somewhere but can’t find it anymore.

If your a foreign national and you want to bring your PRC wife to Taiwan It will be very very difficult. For Taiwanese who are married to PRC residents it take 1 to 2 months to do the proper paper work. But if your Aust, Ger or where ever your from it will be very difficule or not possible at all.

But if your spouse has a passport from your country she will be treated just like you are. If say you are German and she gets a German citizenship she will be treated as a German citizen. And the fact that she is also a PRC national wouldnt matter. It may have in the past, but not today AFAIK>

For the PRC you can not have dual citizenship. Also if your a PRC resident to get a EU passport could take 8 to 10 years. Even if your married. Only if one is Taiwanese can the wife/husband come to Taiwan with no problem. My neighbors wife is from Shanghai. If your an expat your partner needs a passport other than China or he or she will not be able to come to Taiwan.

Yes you are right, I spoke with a Chinese guy in the USA recently and he was contemplating acquiring US citizenship after 8 years here but he was worried about possibly going back to China and now he will lose his Chinese citizenship once he gets something else.

Unlike the Taiwanese who do NOT lose their ROC citizenship upon getting another.