Weird Visit from an Immigration Officer

Last night around 9 PM, a guy called me from the intercom in my apartment lobby. He said he’s an immigration officer, and he asked me if he could come to my place. I was alone at home with my baby, so I said it was not very convenient. Still, he insisted he should come up to see me. Then, I said I was taking a bath of my baby. Then, he said that I had to give him my passport & ARC numbers over the phone.

At this point, I still tried to find my passport, but my baby was crying, and I kinda start doubting his identity. How do I know he is a real officer. And, why does he visit me at night? When I told him he should have called me earlier. Then, he said he came during the day time, but I was not at home. Hmmm. I just took a 30 min. walk with my toddler during the day time. Can he be really telling me the truth?

We have many foreigners living in this region, and according to my husband (later he asked the security guard), the guy just randomly visited this apartment and asked the security guard about foreigners living here. It seems that he did copy some of our residents’ ID.

I feel this is very improper. Working at night? Copying ID’s? Why? I’ve lived here for about five years now, and it never happend before. Should I trust this strange so-called immigration officer? Even if he were real, I felt very offended at his sudden visit.

His English is quite good. His accent is strong, but he can use even forcing tones in English!

I feel very uncomfortable about this. I am thinking to bring my baby back to my county for about a month in a couple of weeks. After all, my parents miss my little toddler…

Does Taiwan government really allow their immigration officers such practices as visiting at night and copying ID’s?

BTW, we live in TaiChung city…

Between you and him you have about four ‘locks’. If he gets to your door ask him what he wants.

You have every right to keep the door closed.

No worries. You’re safe.

DON’T LET HIM IN, of course.

PS. I never got bothered in three years. Sounds shifty.

In Taipei, 2003, I remember there was this round up of foreigners. At the time there were a lot of foreigners getting calls and visits from neighborhood polititions or foreign police. We were supposed to provide information about where we lived, passport info., ARC info., income and where we worked, so on and so forth. The called around my place eventually, but I told them that if they knew how to find me, then they also knew everything else they were trying to ask me and I was not going to be aresed with them. They ran my husband down, eventually, when I wasn’t there with him and questioned him. He confirmed that we were married, but I don’t think he told them much else.

I also had an unannounced visit from an Immigration officer a couple of weeks ago. I live in Taichung as well. He showed up at nine in the morning when I was already at work. My wife was home with our baby, and she wouldn’t let him in until her dad came over to our house and she called the Immigration office or whatever. Then he pretty much demanded that they call me home from work so he could take my picture and make sure I’m really here.

So I got a call at work saying there was an Immigration officer in my house asking for me and I had to come home right away. I work kindie in the morning, kind of a grey area for those with JFRVs, so needless to say I was pretty freaked out. I was pretty pissed off as well, but I just smiled and let my wife and father-in-law do the talking. He just took my picture and let me get back to work. Later my wife told me he had asked about how much money we both earn and where we work. He claimed he was there to “protect us” and it was all routine, and he’s not really worried about “our kind” of foreigners, but mainly SE Asian and mainland spouses. His joke was that he wanted to make sure my wife wasn’t abusing me. Ha ha.

Anyways, nothing came of it and it’s just one of those random Taiwan happenings, but it sure made me feel like I’m not living in a democratic and free country. If he’d simply called ahead and arranged a time it would have been no problem at all. It’s kind of like how you hear foreigners were treated a few years back on the mainland.

Door knockers are just that. They’re on the wrong side of the side of the door. I don’t let them in readily.

In SA/Taichung (although in Taichung I never had this) I know who they are - meter readers. But here - nah, stick whatever notice you have to the door and be gone, thanks.

Safety first. Don’t compromise it.

I’ve never had any but real regular beat cops come to my door, and only to confirm my address. Lord have mercy on any freak coming to my abode, wanting my picture, or a copy of my ID.
At any time of the day.
From any agency, real or imagined.

I see… Thank you so much for sharing information and your precious experiences. I really appreciate a lot.

I think I won’t let this kind of improper immigration officer in my place even in the future. It is very hard to believe that this practice has any good intention.

Thanks a lot, again.

A bloke came to my place in Taipei County a few weeks ago and asked similar questions through the garden gate. Good English. I just told him it was a Tuesday and that I don’t receive visitors on a Tuesday. I suggested that I had no information he could possibly be interested in, told him I couldn’t remember my ARC number offhand and that if he REALLY wanted to know all about me he should contact the immigration office in Banciao, where he obviously got my address from in the first place. I also informed him that he should make an appointment in advance through the immigration office if he wanted to see me. He went away and hasn’t come back.
He did take it in very good humour, though, and actually said: “sorry sir, just doing my job. I already have all your details and now I know you’re really living here.”
I said: “If it’s really me you’re talking to, that is, and not one of his stoner friends come to rip off his DVD player and shag his dog.” (I didn’t really. I never think of little bon mots like that until an hour or two later.)

I had the same thing less than a month ago here in Taichung. He didn’t speak a word of English, but he was friendly and I didn’t get the impression it was anything to worry about.

No taking my picture … unless they pay me as a model … anyways, they have already a box full of my pictures, here, in HK, in Belgium and the Philippines … so, no need for more pictures … oh, and in LA they have some too …

I don’t talk to anyone who says they’re an official until they show me some ID. They don’t even get a name from me until that ID comes out. If they get upset about that I tell 'em there are a lot of scammers around and the cops even say we shouldn’t open doors to strangers without ID.

I had somebody come unannounced to my office a few weeks ago to interview me… said it was a “friendly” visit. Our office manager let her have it, though… told her to call ahead next time and to advise as to what info she wants and for what reason.

I didn’t much care for the visit. Its probably nothing sinister… could be a make-work project… but, I really didn’t like it at all.

As someone else mentioned they did this around five years ago. I was all for giving them the heave ho back then but luckily for them the Taiwan ex took the call and had a lengthy old chat. Simply a case of confirming details, I thought at the time. There was some suggestion that there had been a series of scam marriage, mostly Taiwanese blokes marrying either mainland or Vietnamese women as grist for the sex worker mill.


[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]As someone else mentioned they did this around five years ago. I was all for giving them the heave ho back then but luckily for them the Taiwan ex took the call and had a lengthy old chat. Simply a case of confirming details, I thought at the time. There was some suggestion that there had been a series of scam marriage, mostly Taiwanese blokes marrying either mainland or Vietnamese women as grist for the sex worker mill.


Yes, but that would not explain them rocking up to you menfolk, right? I can’t help it. I think it’s sinister. I felt it was five years ago and I still do. They already have all the information they are asking for. Needing to see you personally, especially trying to take a photo, can’t be for any good cause. Even if there IS some good reason for this round up, not being upfront about it feels like human rights infringement. IMHO, anyway.

EDIT* And I ment not necessarily a personal ill intent, unless they catch you out breaking some law, of course, but more like another bad case of foreigner fobia. I just don’t understand why foreigners can never simply be viewd by the local masses as plain ol’ human with lighter eyes and skin. As long as were “different” we’re “suspect.”

But there have been enough big noses around for enough time that more local folk should have been enlightened, don’t you think? I mean personlly I hate the “us and them” discussions. “Them” are family to me. But if doesn’t matter if them is us to me or not, as long as I’m not us to them. Sometimes it takes four eyes to see clearly.

Okay, sorry, rant over.

While I personally don’t think there is any sinister intent IF you’re playing by the rules, I’d still suggest people not acquiesce too easily to these requests.


It happened to me in Kaohsiung about 10 years ago. I remember 3 or 4 cops knocking on the door. One of them said they were from foreign affairs and wanted to come in. I said no, and he got pretty mad. He started to loudly lecture me that I was breaking the law because I didn’t register my change of address, and he had to spend so much time tracking me down, blah blah blah. I waited until he was really starting to work himself up, and then I pulled out my ARC and showed him my address clearly listed on it. The look on his face was priceless as I told him to check his records more carefully so that he didn’t make these kind of mistakes in the future.

That was a fun one.

my wife has had me locked up in a sex factory, sorry, 'Barber shop", since i arrived five years ago, and i have to service all these damned taiwanese women all night long. but the police have never come to check on me. i guess they have been paid off.

school_newyork, the police have come to my apartment twice in 13.5 years to check my ID and address, basically just to ensure that I was living at the same place where I was registered. Each time it was a single, uniformed police officer. The first time I let him in and offered him tea; the second time I didn’t let him in and just spoke to him through the open door.

Immigration has never come to see me.

If I were you, alone with a baby at home, at night, I would put safety first, and assume that the guy might not be legit. There are lots of scams around, and residential burglary is rampant here. It could be someone scoping out apartments to rob.

Next time, you could try asking for his name and ID #, telling him you’ll call the police and Immigration to find out if he’s legit before letting him make an appointment to visit you at a time when it’s more convenient. If he’s not legit that oughta scare him off. If he’s legit and unhappy about that, well, he’ll adjust. It’s not like you’re breaking the law or anything.

I wouldn’t give anyone info over the phone. You haven’t seen their ID and don’t know who they are.

In any event you could call Immigration now and complain about it. They might be able to shed some light on the situation, telling you that yes, such and such an officer is assigned to your area and may visit, or no, that it is likely a fraudster or robber. :idunno:

Some aspects of Taiwan is still very police state like. LIKe the fact that the police can come calling on you at all times of day and nite.

When I lived in Taichung the building guards took a dislike to me and often
singled me out for a police raid in the middle of the night. I got the soldiers and the heavily armed police with Uzi and M16 knocking on my door several times at bout 3 or 4am. Finally I thought why not give some gifts to the guards at my building (and I lived in a nice part of town in a nice apt complex). After that , never had any visits from the police.

The Taiwan police do go heavily armed in search of gangsters now and then (and of course all gangsters that paid off the police dont get searched) and can bust in at KTVs or NIGHTCLUBS or anywhere they please. No such thing as warrants apparently. And that includes your private residence at all hours of day and night.

Just make sure you ARE dealing with the real police though. If they come armed with Uzi or M16 and uniformed, chances are good they are. If the come in plainsclothes, better ask for ID. And call they local police station before letting them in.

And of course, always give some gifts to your building security. They will keep you from Police Raids.

After all the police do ask them if anyone is suspicious in the building. NO gifts, then of course YOU are suspicious.

I think to remember that police in Taiwan has stopped visiting people to check if they really live where they are registered after moving … I got them check on me many years ago when I was just married, late '90s … uniformed, 2 of them … formality

In Belgium it is still custom, if I’m right, police will check on you … every time you move … just in case and to prevent you try to scam the government … for more unemployment money or some other financial benefit :wink: