Romanisation of Chinese names in passport

For Taiwanese nationals, are Chinese names in passports romanised using Pinyin, Wade-Giles, a modified version of Pinyin or some other system altogether? My wife’s uses Pinyin without tones.

You have a choice of names.
When our children were born here and went to get their ROC passports, we could choose from some assortments of English spellings that matched their chinese characters.
Some others may chime in with whether in fact you can spell your romanized Chinese names any way you like, but I distinctly remember the missus giving me a few choices from the gov’t and I chose the cooler-looking spellings for their names.

Hence, why you’l see Hui, Hwei, Huei for ㄏㄨㄟ, as an example.

Awesome. Thanks! Just asked my mother in law who told me you can pick anything you want, but last time she would of done that was 20 years ago, so she could be wrong, or things might have changed.

Does anybody know exactly which systems of romanisation are available?

Of the top of my head, I imagine that the following would be available:

  1. Pinyin
  2. Tongyong
  3. Wade-Giles
  4. MPS II
  5. Yale
  6. Gwoyeu

There is likely a document which shows the acceptable romanisations, but I can’t find it.

Read down to Article 14. Says nothing specific about your queries of 1-6 above.
What difference does it make, if you can spell it any way you want?
Why do you want to have it written in concrete about what possible types of romanization that MOFA allows on passports?

  • 本系統可翻譯「漢語拼音」、「通用拼音」、「國音第二式拼音」及「威妥瑪(WG)拼音」結果。
  • 護照外文姓名拼音對照表
  • 姓氏在前、名在後,姓之後加逗號(以利區分姓氏及名字)。另外文名字音節中間之短橫,係為便於名字斷音,易於辨識之用,倘外文名字之間不加短橫,本局亦尊重申請人意願,可於申請護照時免繕。
  • 曾領護照者,外文姓名應與舊護照一致,姓氏拼音應與親屬一致。


I’m getting a new passport from my origin country soon, and I’ve been told I should add a “Also known as” with the romanisation of my Chinese name. I have an official Chinese name (due to marriage), which is on all of my Taiwan documents (ARC, NHI Card, Digital Citizen Cert card), but I’ve never had a romanised version, and I won’t until I get my Taiwanese passport after naturalisation. Since I’ll get my new origin country passport before naturalising as a Taiwanese, and that passport will last ten years, I want the “Also known as” text to match what will later be on my Taiwan passport.

@tando is the man when it comes to finding these archaic gov’t sites. Nice

I agree, your the man Tando!

Thanks a lot.

For those who are also wondering but cannot read Chinese, you can use:

  • Hanyu Pinyin
  • Tongyong Pinyin
  • MPS II
  • Wade-Giles

*Translated from Tando’s original post in Chinese.

I’m off topic, as usual, but the variations in romanization standards are obvious by comparing street signs. In Tainan (albeit a few years ago), I observed 西門路 labeled as “Ximen,” “Hsimen,” “Shimen,” “Shemen,” and (much to my amusement) “Semen.” That’s why I caution my 英教 students concerning KK, IPA, or variants. For foreign friends, I let them know that 注音符號 (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) is optimal for Chinese learning.

Yes, street signs are often romanised differently, even on the same street. Check out this one:


Can you spot the inconsistency?

哈哈, directly across the road. That could be the worst I’ve seen!

When the national government officially adopted Tongyong Pinyin in 2002, local governments were to make their own choices. Consequently, Taipei, adopted Hanyu Pinyin. Taipei replaced its earlier signage, most of which had used a modified version of Wade-Giles influenced by the Postal Office. Elsewhere in Taiwan, signs tend to a mix of systems, with Tongyong being common, but still having many signs left over from the MPS II (or even the GR) era.

How about this one?


Whatever you come up with seems OK, it’s just an arrangement of roman characters!

When I went in to apply for my Taiwanese passport at the HHR, I had to fill in a form with all my details (Chinese Name, Romanised Chinese Name, Also known as etc…)…One of the characters in my Chinese name is “” and I put “Kwai” in that field as this is the way it is spelled in all my Original documents from my home country (i.e My old passport, My birth certificate, my College degrees etc)…A few days later I got a call from my HHR asking me to come in to “clarify” something…they then gave me a printout of their processed application form which they will be sending to the Ministry of the Interior and asked me to “consider” changing my “Kwai” to “Guei” or “Kuei” as this is what “their computer” was recommending them to do. I refused as obviously this “new name” of mine will not match with any of my old documents. In the end, after some brief consultations with colleagues and walking into a closed room and chatting with someone higher up, she came back and told me to bring in some proof that your name should be “Kwai”…I said I have my old passport and give it to her the next day…10 days later I got my passport with “Kwai” on it.

So in your Taiwanese passport, you have an “Also known as” field stating your original name from your home country?

Yes! Since my Original Passport has my Alias, we can choose to use that alias in our Taiwanese passport under the field “Also known as (外文別名)” …

Thanks for the info.

In an ideal word I’ll be able to have my origin country passport have “Also known as” with my Chinese name, and my Taiwan passport have an “Also known as” with my origin country name.

I’m able to have both since I’m from a country where one can get a renounced citizenship back.

That’s only because Hsinchu (like Taipei, Hualien, Kaohsiung and other municipalities and counties) was allowed to keep its Wade-Giles spelling as its official spelling.