Regaining Taiwanese Citizenship. Too Complicated or Too Late?

Hi. This is probably a long-shot, but still hoping to post this out there to see if anyone can help or provide some thoughts.

Probably one of those stories you hear about but never really thought happens. Long story short, Father born Taiwanese, born in Taipei back in the 1950s. Things back then were not as organized (or at least that’s what I’ve been told), hence, my dad himself is not even sure if he was given a birth certificate or not. At a very young age, my dad eventually left Taiwan with his parents and siblings to (apparently illegally by boat), Hong Kong. Somehow, someway, Hong Kong authorities back then gathered these Taiwanese illegals and registered them as illegals from China (I suppose back then most were in fact from China during the cultural revolution). They got Hong Kong residency permits. Fast forward 20+ years, my parents moved to Canada during the great migration years in the late 70s, settled, got Canadian citizenship and lastly had us. Fast forward another 40+ years, both my parents are now retired, traveling back and forth from Taipei-Hong Kong-Canada, and enjoying their retired lives.

My brother and I have been back in Taipei for the past few years. Our family has a place (purchased) in Taipei where we reside now, but yet, because we hold Canadian passports, we stay in Taiwan as Canadians under employer-sponsored ARCs. This is getting troublesome now with the annual renewals, but more importantly a “dependency” on our employers, which puts us at a disadvantage in case we become unemployed (will then have to leave Taiwan). Even with a ARPC, there is a minimum stay requirement, otherwise lose that as well.

Asking our friends here, they say we simply need to demonstrate to government authorities that if at least one of our parents were born Taiwanese, we can also apply to regain our citizenship as well (ignore issues regarding giving up Canadian citizenship). Our dad thinks he can find his birth hospital and re-obtain his birth record. Does he have to reapply for an ID number, to be a Taiwanese national first before we can submit our applications for an ID number? Since he was born Taiwanese, assuming he does not need to give up a secondary (Canadian) citizenship. Since we already have a place here too, is that the same as a Household Registry?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Not even sure if this is possible, or already too late since we have already passed 18 years of age. Or if this is too much of a long-shot, then maybe its not even worth the effort to regain Taiwanese nationality. But it would make life so much more easier. Appreciate any points. Thanks!

Any thoughts anyone?

I know this post is a bit old, but if you’re still researching this, I’m pretty sure you can get nationality (without giving up your Canadian citizenship). It will require your dad to renew his shenfengzheng (does he still have his original?).

My mother was born in Taiwan then went to the U.S. in the 1970s. For me to start my nationality process, she had get a new passport (she had her old one) and then get a new shenfenzheng (she lost her original one). After that, I could apply for my own overseas passport, then come to Taiwan and get a TARC. Once my residency requirement is completed, I will apply for my shenfenzheng and new passport (soon!).

This requires a ton of paperwork, but it’s all very doable…

Hope this is helpful!

Doesn’t this require military service? You could alernatively work at the same job for 5 years and transfer to an APRC.

I’m a woman, so I don’t need to worry about military service.

However, I’d look into what military service would actually mean for you. Depending on your age and abilities, you might get off pretty easy. A colleague of mine reclaimed his nationality a few years ago, resigning himself to serving in the military. He was well past 30, however, and wasn’t completely literate in Mandarin. In the end, he only had to serve 11 days.

Another friend is doing his military service now and he told me they put all the foreign-born Taiwanese together during training. (He said it was ridiculously uneventful and all they did was run a bit and complain to each other in English.) He’s 25 and bilingual and they’ve just assigned him to a rural school near Hsinchu to teach English for an academic year. (It actually sounds alright and all his expenses are covered.)

But yes, you could wait it out and apply for an APRC, or you could wait until you’re too old for the military before you apply.

I think another option might be for you to get an overseas Taiwanese passport, then apply for a TARC and work permit (which is what I have now). The TARC is good for three years and the work permit will allow you to work where you want. I could be wrong, but I believe you can maintain your overseas status this way and avoid military duty.

If you do, however, want to get your nationality at some point, you might want to get moving on your dad’s paperwork, as it sounds like it’ll require some effort to get everything sorted.

Do not get an Overseas Chinese ID. If you do and if you stay in Taiwan for more than 183 days (whether you enter with with a Taiwanese or foreign passport, it’s all the same), then you have to serve.

In OP’s situation, if you want to avoid military service, stay in Taiwan using your ARC and just renew every year. This is a good deal. Go through the Household Registration process (getting a Taiwanese ID and full citizenship status) only after you turn 37.

Are you sure that people with a TARC must also serve in the military? It’s not the same as a national ID number.

Right, my bad. If you have a TARC, it doesn’t mean you have to serve. Just don’t apply for Household Registration when you qualify (I believe 0.5 or 1 year later?). Once you are registered and of draft age, you have to serve.

Yes, this is also how I understand it. The TARC is good for three years and it can be renewed up to three times (this needs to be checked, though I’m sure it’s at least twice).

And it’s a full year before you can get the ID number AFTER the TARC. In my case, a very LONG year. :wink: