5/23/2012

Naturalization Process in Taiwan

Let us know how Taiwan Immigration has served you by pressing the appropriate button. 


I went to get my ID squared last week at Taiwan Immigration. I found a feedback machine and poster (above) at the counter where I received service. I decided to put up the shots I took on my iPhone because I have been told the service of our government employees leaves much to be desired. Obviously, the government has heard pretty much the same and has decided to do something about it. At the end of the day, I'm afraid we still have a long way to go. The service is good; the underlying concepts of that service leave much to be desired. I'll get to that in a moment.

In the meantime, I have to say my clerk at Taiwan Immigration, Ms. Lin, was friendly and helpful. When I told her I was curious about naturalization, she made some calls. I was then directed to a second counter for the details. This is something I could see myself looking for online someday, so I'll post what I came away with. Returning to Ms. Lin: I asked her about the feedback machine and she told me I was entitled to press the button that best represented the level of service I was receiving. I wanted to know if officials got a bonus for positive presses: "No," she answered, "but we can get our picture up on the wall for 'Official of the Month.'" I am also guessing a lot of negative presses can lead to, if nothing else, a pretty good finger wagging by someone further up the chain of command.

Before I left Taiwan Immigration, I was given an informative booklet entitled New Hometown New Life: Handbook of Living Information in Taiwan for Foreign Spouses. Here's the "Flow chart of naturalization application" I found inside. It entails the steps you must take to officially become Taiwanese. A complete description is included:

1. Marriage Registration
2. Applying for Resident Visa
3. Applying for Alien Resident Certificate
4. Applying for "R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature Certificate" (with more than 3 years of legal residence and at least 183 days per year dated back from the day of application)
5. Applying for renounciation of one's original application
6. Applying for Alien Permanent Resident Certificate in the R.O.C. (Applicants have to reside for a certain period of time: for one year without departure from the day of naturalization; for two years and more than 270 days per year; for five years and more than 183 days per year) [In other words, get ready to stay put.]
7. Applying for Household Registration Certificate and obtaining ID Card

In other words,

1. Apply for "R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature Certificate"
Agencies-in-charge: Local Household Registration Office near one's domestic residence
Required Documents:
(1) Applying for "R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature Certificate" (two color photographs of the same size of that on ID cards taken less than one year)
(2) A valid Alien Residence Certificate or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate
(3) A foreigner's Certificate of Residence (proving consecutive days of stay) [Hard to say what this is; you'll probably have to get some sort of print-out from Taiwan Immigration)
(4) Proof of properties or professional skills ensuring one can be self-sufficient
(5) To naturalize in the R.O.C., one must achieve the standard of basic ability and understand the basic rights and duties of citizenship. [Pretty vague -- if you are married to a local, you are entitled to seventy-two hours of free Chinese classes which gets you the basic ability part. Taiwan's constitution is straightforward. Read it you will you understand that it is routinely ignored in this country just as constitutions are routinely ignored in other places around the world. The duties of citizenship  probably come down to what you value. If you are male and under thirty-five, you are probably looking at close to a year in the military though.] One must have one of the documents below:
- Study certificate issued by Taiwan-based private or public schools for more than one year
- Study certificate in classes that are conducted by the government or organizations entrusted by the government for 72 hours
- Passing naturalization examination with the score of 60 percent and above
(6) Household Certificate transcript with marriage registration (Applicants do not have to submit this item since the Household Registration Office would check it.)
(7) Certificate fees: NT$220 (please make the postal money order payable to the Ministry of the Interior.)

2. Renounciation of the nationality of the country of origin
Agencies-in-charge: The government of the country of origin or its embassy in the R.O.C. or any representative organizations authorized by the countries of origin

3. Applying for naturalization
Agencies-in-charge: Local Household Registration Office near one's domestic residence
Required documents:
(1) An application form of R.O.C. Naturalization (two color photographs of ID Card size taken within the past year)
(2) Certificate of stateless [if you are stateless, who issues this?] renounciation of the country of origin, or documents certified by agencies of foreign affairs to be true (Chinese translation copy is required and documents need to be certified by the R.O.C. Embassies, Consulates, Trade Offices abroad [not in Taiwan] and re-examined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
(3) A valid Alien Residence Certificate or Alien Permanent Residence Certificate
(4) Foreign Residence Certificate (The duration of residence should be continuous without any disruption) ["should" probably reads must]
(5) Proof of properties or professional skills ensuring one can be self sufficient (Those who have Permanent Resident Certificate or R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature Certificate are exempt from this requirement during naturalization application.)
(6) To naturalize to the R.O.C., the applicant should pass the basic language ability test and have knowledge about the legal rights and duties of R.O.C. citizens.
Required Documents: (Those who have Permanent Resident Certificate or R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature Certificate are exempt from the requirement.)
- Study certificate issued by Taiwan-based private or public schools for more than one year
- Study certificate in classes that are conducted by the government or organizations entrusted by the government for 72 hours
- Passing naturalization examination with the score of 60 percent and above
(7) Household Certificate transcript with marriage registration (Applicants do not have to submit this item since the Household Registration Office would check it.)
(8) Certificate fees: NT$1,000 ([p]lease make the postal money order payable to the Ministry of the Interior.)

4. Apply for Taiwan Resident Certificate
Agencies-in-charge: local service center of National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior near one's domestic residence
Required documents:
(1) An Alien Residence Certificate application form (including one photograph of the ID Card photo size and taken within the past two year). [no s and period now outside the parenthesis]
(2) One duplicate copy of the citizenship certificate (Such as naturalization permit of a list of nationalities issued by the Ministry of the Interior. The original copy will be returned) [no period at all]
(3) Certificate fees [not given]

5. Apply for Alien Permanent Resident Certificate
Agencies-in-charge: local service center of National Immigration. Ministry of the Interior near one's domestic residence
Required documents:
(1) An Alien Permanent Resident Resident Application form (including one photograph with the same size of that of ID Card and taken within the past two year)
(2) Taiwan Resident Card
(3) Taiwan-native spouse's Household Certificate or R.O.C. ID Card (The original copy will be returned and this does not apply to divorced couples)
(4) A qualified health examination certificate issued in the past 3 months
(5) Other relevant certificates and documents, such as an original and a duplicate copy of the Household Certificate of the owner of the resident address (the original copy will be returned), an original and a duplicate copy of the leasing contract (the original copy will be returned), and others
(6) A stamped and self-addressed envelope of registered mail with the receiver's name, address, zip code and telephone number
(7) Certificate fees

6. Apply for Household Registration and ID Card
Agencies-in-charge: Local Household Registration Office near one's domestic residence
Required documents:
(1) The Certificate of "Sefflement" sent by National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior for notifying Household Registration.
(2) A Household Certificate (No need for independent household, but one has to show ownership certificate of the house or other relevant documents.)
(3) One photograph
(4) First-time ID Card applicants need to pay NT$50. Applicants can get their ID Cards after completing the household registration.

Whew! Once you've got all of that straight, there are still a few things to consider.

First off, New Hometown New Life: Handbook of Living Information in Taiwan for Foreign Spouses suggests the following: "Other than the relationship between the husband and the wife, newly-wed couples need to have a good relationship with parents, sisters-in-law and neighbors. Daughters-in-law should respect parents-in-law and treat them as their own parents. Parents-in-law expect filial piety, such as children taking care of, providing money to and maintaining a connection with parents-in-law. Getting along with sisters-in-law and making a peaceful family are most people's expectation of family."

There is no mention of the sons-in-law and their duty. It is as if this work assumes that Taiwanese women do not also marry people from other countries. Needless to say, Taiwanese women do marry from outside the realm. These women work, pay taxes and are citizens. Their concerns should be addressed; this booklet is also on their dime. That they are ignored is problematic and probably speaks to outdated concepts in the face of the transnational world we now live in.

Here's some more: "Therefore, good relationship between parents and teachers may help children adapt to campus lives. Foreign spouses can speak their native languages at home with children [they can bloody well speak their native languages in public too, even if twits in high places think otherwise] while telling stories or illustrated books [or non-illustrated books -- their kids ought to have the same powers of imagination as other kids], or teaching folklore songs in their native dialects. This helps children learn about the culture of their mothers' countries of origin. This not only brings parents-children relationship closer, but also widen children's global horizons."

I don't even know where to start with this sort of b.s. I'm a foreign spouse. I usually speak my native language at home because my wife has demanded it. She figures that if our offspring is bi- or multilingual, this will give her the leg up. My wife cares about our child having  a well-rounded sense of identity; our child is Taiwanese and also not Taiwanese. I should point out when I read stories or illustrated books, or teach folklore songs (Mickey Mouse Club or Paul Bunyan, I suppose), this does nothing in terms of my child learning "about the the culture of their mother's countries [or country] of origin" because, simply put, her mother is Taiwanese. 

To me, there is something going on here that rings of male chauvinism. Ten years ago, Taiwanese women married to men from other countries hit the streets to demand equal rights for their offspring. At that time, the government was incapable of comprehending of their kids as locals: Taiwanese men married to women from other countries could confer citizenship on their children; Taiwanese women married to men from different countries could not. Thankfully, the laws came under scrutiny and were changed.  

Government officials in Taiwan are said to be educated. Wouldn't an educated person have at least some grip on what is going on? Taiwanese women can marry whomever they chose. Those that do exercise this right normally contribute to this society and deserve to be served just like anyone else. New Hometown New Life: Handbook of Living Information in Taiwan for Foreign Spouses is riddled with troublesome advice; I have brought up a couple of brain farts, but could go on all day. It's late and I'm tired, so I'll leave off with the above for the time being. 

5 comments:

James said...

Rather than inherent chauvinism and bigotry, which I think there is, the filial piety crap cracks me up. (It's clearly aimed at Southeast Asian and PRC spouses who should consider themselves privileged to have been plucked out of their potung backwaters and spirited away to the life of riley here; and who, therefore, need to make sure they adopt a suitably obsequious demeanour, work their arses off for elders who look at them as backward yokels, kowtow and speak when spoken to. I don't think they need to be told this in a handout - most in-laws make this perfectly clear!)

Anonymous said...

I understand your comments well...but we've been much luckier and had some really good interactions with immigration types over the 20+ years of wandering back and forth from the US and Taiwan...some really strange interactions, yes, but generally good or at least professional...but we've been in the Ping Tung region so maybe that's different..

Patrick Cowsill said...

Immigration has never caused me any grief. I put the shots up because I thought this was a positive step. The booklet amused me, but it's also a step in the right direction. There is a double standard though. Even Taiwanese people admit they look down on people from Southeast Asia.

Ed said...

I saw that booklet when I was at the NIA in Luodong a while ago to pick up my kid's new passport. Utter bollocks!

On the subject of double standards this whole citizenship deal is also utter crap. Why can my wife keep her Taiwanese citizenship and also be a citizen of my home country while I can't?

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Why can my wife keep her Taiwanese citizenship and also be a citizen of my home country while I can't?"

Because Taiwan has different rules. This one does seem contradictory, especially when we consider how many Taiwanese people are dual citizens (see my daughter for one). Every now and then, it comes out that a politician, meaning law maker, also has a second passport. As lawmakers, in light of this rule, it makes them hypocrites.

Other countries have similar rules though. Taiwan is not the only one. My old roommate had to give up his El Salvadorean passport in order to get a Swedish one.