Not able to convert visitor visa into marriage-based ARC due to name change

I married my Taiwanese wife 2 years ago in Hong Kong. After that I got a marriage-based ARC without any problems. As my ARC was only valid for 1 year it expired last year and I didn’t renew it. The reason why I didn’t renew it is that my daughter was also born at that time when my ARC expired and I thought that our family could relocate to my home country Thailand as soon as my daughter got her Thai passport. Another reason is that my old passport expired last year and as I changed my surname from my father’s to my mother’s surname 6 years ago as my mother’s surname sounds much nicer. Therefore my new passport would have my new surname. My old passport I used for another 5 years after my name change until its expiry date in order to save money for a new passport. So I thought that maybe some extra documentation would be needed to renew my ARC. My parents registered their marriage only partially as there were no computers in use when they married they don’t show up as married in current Thai computer databases. So my mother could keep her maiden name like this. If somebody asks my parents if they are married they could still show documents to prove that they are married. So my parents don’t have any problems. But I thought that I could benefit from the fact that they don’t show up as married in computer databases and changed my surname.

So as the Thai passport for my daughter seems to be much more difficult and takes much more time than I thought due to Taiwan’s unclear political status I’m still in Taiwan. Me and my wife contacted the local immigration office in Kinmen about 3 weeks ago to ask if my 180 days visitor visa which is a visa label could be converted into a marriage-based ARC. They initially said that it would be possible. But 1 week ago they called my wife and said that it won’t be possible to convert my visitor visa. The reason is that they won’t accept any name change documents even if they would be correctly legalized by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwanese embassy (TECO) in Bangkok. They also stated that my name in the Taiwanese household registration can’t be changed. 2 years ago I still had my old passport therefore I married under my old name.

As I can’t get an ARC anymore even though I’m married to a Taiwanese woman and at the moment they don’t allow any tourists in both Thailand and Taiwan this would mean that I would be effectively separated from my family as soon as I would leave Taiwan. As I entered Taiwan on 8 March 2020 I would have to leave on 4 September 2020. Thailand restarts international flights on 1 July 2020 so this means that I would have to go to Thailand into quarantine at the end of my 180 days without any chance to see my family again. I think that it’s a human right that I could stay together with my family and I would like to ask if it’s possible to escalate the refusal to convert my visitor visa into a marriage-based ARC to higher-ups in the Taiwanese immigration office system?

Just a temporal solution, but this rule may be applied to you. You may be able to extend your visa while the border is closed.

For permanent solution, you may need a lawyer. Your spouse could consult with legal aid foundation, if money matters.

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She could also visit representatives’ offices in her area to ask for their help. Both of city council and parliament.

Watching this one intently. Best of luck OP.

by which name did you register your marriage in Thai? Could you register it by your old name or did Taiwan accept a marriage certificate with a different name from that on your old passport?

I married under my old name 2 years ago as I still had my old passport at that time. Therefore I also registered my marriage in Taiwan under my old name. After talking to the local immigration office in Kinmen again they said that I could come a few days before 4 September 2020 to extend for another 30 days only with my old and new passport combined with a Taiwanese household registration not older than 30 days. No additional documentatation needed as they already know me as I applied for an ARC before and now due to the coronavirus pandemic all the NIAs in Taiwan are giving out extensions more easily to most nationalities who are having problems to go back home due to either the lack of flights or due to flights which get cancelled often.

I could repeat this 30 days extension every month until either Taiwan or Thailand opens up to tourists so my family wouldn’t be separated. In case Thailand opens up to tourists I would then relocate with my family to Thailand. Of course the Thai passport of my daughter should also be finished in order to relocate to Thailand. I don’t think that the Thai passport application process takes more than a few additional months but you never know. By the way Thailand has postponed the start of international flights by 2 months from 1 July to 1 September 2020. But it’s still unclear if either in Thailand or Taiwan tourists would be allowed by 1 September 2020 again so extending my visitor visa for another 30 days would still be the best solution in case Thailand or Taiwan still won’t allow any tourists.

Taiwan is a great country and I love Taiwan! I knew that in Taiwan they are always finding a solution for any problem when you only politely ask for help when there is really a problem. Taiwan is not separating families. Jiayou Taiwan! 謝謝

if you don’t mind let me ask just from curiosity.
You changed your name 6 years ago, and married 2 years ago. To register your marriage in Taiwan and get an ARC, iiuc you need a family registry issued within a year. Was it issued with your old name too?

My expired ARC card had my old name. Also my Taiwanese household registration is still under my old name. I married 2 years ago in HK so they took my passport which had my old name as I didn’t change my passport until its expiry date last year. The last 6 years my new name was on my Thai ID card though but unless I would have married within Thailand I could only marry under my old name as I didn’t want to renew my passport early.

if you married abroad, can you register the marriage in Thailand under your old name? but wasn’t the name different from the new name on your record of family registry (ทะเบียนบ้าน) in Thailand? Taiwan authority didn’t care about it?
Or name change is not recorded on family registry in Thailand?

I didn’t register my marriage in Thailand.

How could you register your marriage in Taiwan without registering it in Thailand? You are Thai, and your spouse is a Taiwanese citizen, and your marriage is registered in Taiwan, right?
Is there any situation that a marriage between Thai and Taiwanese doesn’t need to be registered in Thailand before it is registered in Taiwan? Except for you have an APRC.


I’m sorry I’m like catechizing you, but your case seems to be atypical for a marriage between Thai and Taiwanese, so I’m curious what is the situation.

On the other hand, if you just used a fake nationality to get a general information, I understand it, and all of my questions are solved.

Thai is my native nationality as I was born in Thailand. However I didn’t register my marriage in Thailand as they were saying that I need to register the marriage in Taiwan first. After registering my marriage in Taiwan I didn’t register in Thailand as I thought that registering the marriage in Thailand is completely unneceesary and won’t help my wife for getting a Thai visa. In case if my wife needs to have a proper visa in Thailand I will just buy her a condominium for THB 10 Mio. and register it in her name so she can get an investment visa. It is how it is. I was never planning to register my marriage in Thailand at all and I already made sure in the preparations of my marriage that there won’t be the need to register my marriage in Thailand at any point.

Then, I wonder what is your special conditions that allowed your marriage registered without registering it in Thailand, because that is what is required to register a marriage between Thai and Taiwanese… Unless you already had an APRC at that time. But then it doesn’t make much sense that you converted the APRC to the 1-year ARC.


After marrying I was contacting the Thai government if it’s possible to register my marriage in Thailand and then they said that it has to be registered in Taiwan first. So I registered in Taiwan first. Is this so difficult to understand? I could repeat this again and again. However after registering my marriage in Taiwan I didn’t register my marriage in Thailand as there are no benefits to register a marriage in Thailand. I met my girlfriend the first time when travelling from Xiamen to Kinmen at the harbour in Kinmen as she was the only employee in the harbour who wasn’t afraid to talk English to me at all. Before that I was in Mainland China very often. I always had back-to-back multiple entry L visas for Mainland China before and never had the idea to go to Taiwan until they opened the Xiamen-Kinmen ferry to foreigners. I travelled with my then-girlfriend who is my wife now to China many times but I never went to travelling with her to other parts of Taiwan outside Kinmen. So we always used Kinmen as our base for travelling to China. So how could I have a Taiwanese APRC before when I always was in Mainland China and almost never in Taiwan?

yes, what you are saying is simple, but what’s puzzling me is Taiwan says the opposite that it has to be registered in Thailand first. So, I’m wondering if there is some special condition.

Is it because the marriage was done in a third place, HK?

To get a marriage base ARC in Taiwan you need to register your marriage in your home country. As said your case is just strange.

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and this.

I thought you might be able to change your purpose of ARC without registering it in your home country, but it doesn’t sound so in your case.

Original and one photocopy of marriage registration issued by competent authorities of the applicant’s country are required to get a resident visa and ARC.

I know that both countries said that my marriage has to be registered in the other country first. So when both countries are saying this there must be a consensus after some arguing found. For my resident visa I applied in Ho Chi Minh City. It would have been impossible to apply for it in Bangkok as I found out that they need some documents more compared to when applying in another country due to the simple fact that I’m a local in Thailand and they know the local Thai documents much better than outside Thailand.

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