I had no problem getting a land line and ADSL from CHT, although I happened to be teaching at their HO on RenAi/XinYi Rd at the time. My lease was a bit dodgy too, as I was also subletting. It’s in my name now, and the landlord didn’t enquire about whether my ARC permitted me to be in the country until the end of the contract.
DaGeDa needed a guarantor, but then I couldn’t get a mobile account in the USA eithout a credit history and social security number either. The deposit required in the US without a guarantor was immense, US$1000, and bore no relationship to the cost of the handset, or the size of bill I could potentially run up.
In Taiwan I can buy beer without producing my Drivers Licence - a passport has proven unacceptable in several bars in the USA, because the law stipulates that only a locally issued DL is considered proof that a 37 yr old man is old enough to drink. Although the state of Oregon issued my DL over the counter, California took about four months and I was pretty damn thirsty by the end of that time. They had to confirm my residency status with the INS first. Having got it, it’s all I use - the Taiwan police seem happy to accept it on the few occasions when they feel the need to talk to me.
The harbor police also accept my CA licence as ID when I go sailing. It hasn’t been endorsed to show that I’m allowed to be in Taiwan, and their job is to prevent illegal immigration. Go figure.
As a relative newbie (June 2002) I’m fairly happy with how I have been treated so far, but things will change if I’m still unable to get a credit card when I’ve been here for longer. I haven’t got around to applying for a credit card yet, but I opened my first deposit account last year with just a 60-day non-extendable visa. Again, no problem.
I remember not being able to activate my first ATM card in the USA because I didn’t have a social security number at the time.
And obtaining legal residence in Taiwan has been easier than it was in the USA. Have any foreigners here ever tried to go through that particular nightmare?
Neither place compares to Germany, or New Zealand, for ease of living and non-discrimination. Despite large immigrant/transient populations both countries seem to function perfectly well on the basis that everyone is entitled to the same services without unnecessary hassle. I’ve obtained phone lines, mobile phones, credit cards etc. in both countries without legal residence. In fact I maintain CC accounts in New Zealand, which they are happy to service while I’m overseas - see the thread on US policy towards this subject.