Problem with stopping NHI having left/re-entered Taiwan

Some of you may be aware that Taiwanese nationals have to apply for their NHI to be canceled when they leave Taiwan, and upon re-entry, their NHI will be automatically renewed for a period of three months. As foreigners, we need to also apply for the NHI to be canceled when we leave the country, but the (dreadful) NHI website says that foreigners need to actually apply for the reactivation of NHI when they re-enter Taiwan if they’ve already canceled it on departure.

My wife stopped our whole family’s NHI when we left Taiwan in 2017. I briefly re-entered the country for work in April 2018, and my wife went back in August 2018 for a holiday. During her time there, she went to the NHI and specifically checked if my NHI status was still halted - the intent being that she would halt it if it weren’t.

Of course, she was fed misinformation by the person at the counter, and not only was told that my insurance status was “halted” but that foreigners have to explicitly reapply for insurance after re-entering the country. I went back to Taiwan last month and this month my wife’s family has received a bill for 16 months’ worth of NHI.

Does anyone have any solid contacts within the NHI system? I cannot get through to anyone with the authority to waive this bill and charge me three months for each entry. The people I’ve spoken to have basically said they’re not responsible for their staff telling my wife a bunch of misinformation, and the rules say I need to pay for the entire period since my entry last year - never mind that they didn’t send me a single bill until today (which you know, might have alerted me that my insurance had been reactivated).

I have a related question. I see the rules on the NHI website state that ID holders can stop NHI before leaving and not have to pay anything if they’re out for six months but once they return they are forced to rejoin unless they’ve been out for 2 years and lost household registration.

As an ARC holder, if I am out for more than 6 months but less than 2 years (which is my plan), do I automatically rejoin on my return or do I need to wait six months to qualify for NHI again?

I thought they were getting rid of giving ID holders the option to opt out for absences from Taiwan but the instructions on the NHI website seem to be the same, so I’m assuming nothing has changed since last year.

I don’t think anyone here or at the NHI offices is qualified to tell you, quite honestly. You’ll probably get screwed in the opposite way to the way I got screwed - maybe they’ll invent a new reason because you have an ARC rather than an APRC, or maybe because you’re not married to a local (or are you?).

Excited to hear what random result you get!

You don’t need to wait for 6 months, but you have to apply to restore your coverage. If you don’t apply soon after your entry, you are still charged from your entry date. Even if you don’t apply for restoration, your suspension is automatically ended when you enter Taiwan.

Once you restore your coverage, you cannot suspend your NHI for 3 months. If you go abroad soon, yu should apply for suspension starting three months later, otherwise you are charged for the entire period you are abroad until you lose eligibility. You cannot do suspension retroactively.

If you want to avoid the mandatory automatic 3 months following an entry, you should lose your nhi eligibility.



I know…Lost my NHI because I changed my work ARC to a marriage based ARC (!) - #19 by gnaij

That’s why I’m asking here instead of calling an NHI office.

Seconding this info. This is exactly what two agents of NHI told me as well word for word.
Before I think they were lax at enforcement due to not being integrated with immigration but now they know everything about a persons comings and goings.

Does this apply to long term leave from Taiwan or even if we go on say a weeks holiday somewhere ? Does it automatically deactivate as soon as we leave Taiwan for whatever reason?

It should be for more than 6 months, and you have to apply for suspension, if you want to suspend. If you return earlier than planned and your actual absence from Taiwan is shorter than 6 months, you are charged for the period.

How long is it until you lose eligibility? I can see why they are making it difficult for someone in the OP’s situation, it is a form of insurance, you can’t just stop and start it when you decide to fly back in.

But on the flipside what if one was to leave Taiwan, and just keep paying NHI in perpetuity, it seems this is not possible either?

for citizens, the maximum is a consecutive absence for two years, then your hukou will be moved out and you lose your eligibility. For non citizens, it is until your residence permit expires, iiuc.

Of course, you can lose eligibility earlier by actively moving out your hukou or canceling your residency.

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You missed the point. I wasn’t trying to activate when I re-entered Taiwan on a business trip after permanently leaving Taiwan the year prior. I would have been happy to pay the three months “penalty” for accidentally reactivating it but the stupid gobshites at the NHI office first told my wife my insurance wasn’t active, then told her that foreigners have to actively reactivate their coverage.
Then when I returned for a vacation more than a year later, they decided to charge me for fifteen months all at once after I’d left, and it was impossible to convince them not to, despite the fact that according to the letter of the law governing NHI and its application to non-citizens being someone without domicile in Taiwan I am not eligible for NHI coverage.
There was no way to properly appeal their decision because the time limit they imposed on reading appeals had already expired by the time I became aware of the bill and I eventually paid their stupid fees when they sent my wife a court summons in absentia.
I’m still bitter about it. It was $15k NTD that I could have done without paying - and wouldn’t have had to pay if they’d not been utterly fucking incompetent.


it was not completely wrong, though. Your suspension was automatically ended by your entry, and fee was already charged, but, your coverage was not restored (you could not use the nhi card) yet because for it foreigners should actively apply for reactivation. Iiuc

I don’t know how exactly your spouse asked and the nhi person explained.

I’m really struggling to see how they were in any way right, but in case I’ve not been clear through this thread, the timeline is as follows:
Feb 2017 leave Taiwan
April 2018 re-enter Taiwan for 1 or 2 weeks (I forget)
August 2018: Wife and son in Taiwan for over a month, wife goes to NHI office to
a. cancel her own (and our son’s) automatic 3-month reactivation NHI in advance of her departure
b. cancel MY automatic 3-month reactivation in the event that it was activated automatically and not by actively applying for it (which I did not do).
She is told that my NHI is not active, there’s nothing to cancel, and foreigners need to actively apply for reactivation.
August 2019, all three of us return to Taiwan for family trip.
Prior to leaving, wife cancels her NHI (paying the three-month fee out to October for herself). There is STILL no record of my NHI being active, so there’s no question of canceling my 3-month reactivation.
September 2019, wife’s family receive bill for 16 months’ worth of my NHI.

It’s clear that their system was only triggered by my August 2019 trip. At that point, they re-examined my entry records and began billing for the entire period from April 2018 to August 2019. I had no opportunity to deactivate my NHI prior to this because they had no record of it - and as I have already mentioned, misinformed my wife that foreigners need to actively reinstate themselves on the plan (this was also on the website at the time - maybe it’s not now).

By the time my family received the bill in 2019, I couldn’t even appeal the thing, because it was late as of May 2018, and appeals have to be made within 30 days of the initial complaint. When we left Taiwan, my wife’s NHI listed me as dependent (I had left my job some time before our departure so we’d switched my NHI over to hers), so the ultimate liability for the bill lay on her shoulders. No bills arrived for me until September 2019 (and there were multiple bills for my wife and son on the same document, so it wasn’t like the NHI’s letters were being lost in the mail). If the liability had been mine I would have ignored the bill till kingdom come but they sent a summons to her parents’ house and they ended up paying it about a month ago.

Anyway, I made the OP in 2019, it really stands as a warning to other foreigners, married to locals, who will possibly get screwed if they are not aware of how messed up the system is. They will possibly get screwed even if they are - I tried very hard to pay my 3-month re-entry/reactivation/penalty twice, but they couldn’t bill me for something that didn’t exist.

Gnaij should probably start a new thread for his question, as it’s already been derailed by discussion of my situation, but my expectation for him is that whichever interpretation of the rules is least favorable to him is the one he should be expecting.


I think it is clear what happened. I agree the nhi person was incompetent. The person should have tell your spouse that your suspension was ended by your entry and you were supposed to reactivate your NHI on the date of your entry, and reapply for suspension 3 months later, otherwise just the fee would be accumulated on your non active, but no more suspended, nhi card, and you couldn’t apply for reactivation from abroad.

But, the person said your nhi was not yet active is true, because you didn’t activate it.

So how come they were able to activate it themselves in September 2019 without me doing it? Why didn’t it remain dormant? Either it’s reactivated automatically or I have to reactivate it manually. This way I got the worst of both worlds while they got to have it both ways: no automatic reactivation prior to attempting to cancel (and no coverage while I was there) but automatic reactivation after I’d already left the country. Furthermore it contravened the letter of the law because without being domiciled for six months in Taiwan I should not have been eligible for coverage in 2018 or 2019.

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As your guess, they must have noticed in 2019 that you were supposed/obliged to activate your nhi in 2018 but did do it, and there must be administrative protocol what they should do on that kind of cases.

You didn’t have ARC during that period?

I am outside Taiwan on an extended APRC with permission. The law doesn’t care though, the condition is supposed to be residency and by the conditions of Articles 9-1 and 13-2 of the law I’m not supposed to be covered after I’ve left for more than six months (which I had done by the time of the 2018 visit):

第 9 條


第 13 條


Once you become eligible to NHI by fulfilling Article 9, you don’t lose the eligibility by simply staying out of Taiwan for 6 months.

I have to say, it is a BS system where you need to apply to activate it for use while it auto activates by you just arriving for them getting $. Unfortunately it is the way they set it up by the lawbook. If you explain that they didn’t tell you, they will default to sorry , please refer to obscure rule number…

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Except that’s exactly what article 14 (taken with 13, above) says:

第 14 條


My insurance was already 退保 when I left Taiwan in 2017. Until one reestablishes the conditions set in Article 9 there is no mechanism in law to reactivate the insurance of a foreign resident.