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"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. "

Becoming a Taiwanese national through descent…

Soon enough I will be Taiwanese. I just need to hear back from the immigration officials or foreign affairs office. Once I’m Taiwanese I will be required to serve 12 months as a conscript in the Taiwanese military. Anyways, this blog post is essentially just the process I went through to get all my documents verified by two different authorities from two different countries.

Since I am British and my mother is Taiwanese, I can apply for Taiwanese nationality. Your age factors highly into you claiming for Taiwanese nationality through descent. According to an immigration officer who I was speaking to, he stated that I should apply for Taiwanese citizenship while I was still 19. This is because Taiwan recognises people under 19 as dependents. I did ask if I applied after I am 20 what difficulty I would face and the answer was that “it would be more difficult.” (Not the best answer in the world) Although I still believe it is possible to claim Taiwanese nationality through descent even if you are over the age of 19. However, this blog post is really to help those under 20, as these are my experiences and recommendations.

Obviously to apply to become Taiwanese I required certain documents from the UK, they were:

  • Birth certificate (British)
  • Your parents marriage certificate (British)

Since I am from the UK, these documents are required to be certified by the Foreign Commonwealth Office. They have a special office in the UK setup for this called the “The Legalisation Office”. Per document it cost me £30′s each to get these certified. (Source) Essentially, I needed these documents to prove that I am indeed a child of these two people who are married, and more importantly that my mum is married to my dad. This is proof that my birth certificate is indeed correct and that I am the son of someone who’s Taiwanese. (i.e. my mother)

You also need to fill out their form which can be downloaded from here: (Applicable to those who are British Subjects)

Download (You need to fill in this document and send it off with the rest of your documents. – Your Birth certificate and your parents Marriage certificate)

These documents also need to be verified and stamped by the Taipei Representative Office (TRO) in London. (Sort of an unofficial embassy in the UK or just like a consulate)

Translation of the documents

It cost me £10′s each to get my birth certificate and marriage certificate verified and stamped by the TRO. However I was also required to have these documents translated. (Source)

TIP: It is a good idea to get them translated, just in-case if you need the documents. It costs a bit extra, but the extra effort and money is worth it for any certain amount of scenarios which may occur.

TIP: So, if you are unsure whether you have to get them translated or not, make sure you either concretely find out whether you need translated copies (Of your birth certificate and of your parents marriage certificate) or purely just get a translated copy and that will solve any issues which may arise.

Although, I have heard that English is accepted in some parts of Taiwan, thus a translation is not required, however in Taichung where I live, it was most definitely required. Though as stated, it is always a good idea to get a translated copy. It doesn’t too much to get one and it’s not that difficult to find a lawyer or someone who can do it for you. You can see how I got my documents translated below.

The translations need to be verified by the Taipei Representative Office in London

There is an additional cost of £10′s for each document to purely get them verified; the translated copies. (The TRO does not supply a translation service for your documents, they need to be translated first and sent with the original copy to their offices in London)

However, I managed to simply get these documents translated by an IT company who were competent enough to translate the documents into Chinese from English. I could have done this myself if I knew Chinese well enough to translate the documents. (Via creating a spreadsheet or using Microsoft Word to create a table and to fill it in Chinese, like the same design or aspect as the original English version) – As long as the information is correct, I believe the TRO in London will verify and stamp it. Once that it is done, the document can be used anywhere in Taiwan as an official document.

How can I pay the Foreign Commonwealth Office? (UK Foreign office)

You can pay them via their website; all online.

All you have to include is a print out with proof that you paid them for the documents.

You also need to pay for post and packaging. They also have an option online, whereby you can pay via Fedex to have it returned to you insured. However I will include another option or the option which I took which was much easier, since you still need the documents to be verified by the Taipei Representative Office in London; whom are also located in London. So there is no point them sending the document back to Taiwan, for you to just send it back to the UK to the TRO’s legislation office to get it verified. See what I did below under “How did I send it off via mail?”.

Checklist before you send your documents off to the UK – Legalisation Office:  

  • Your parents marriage certificate.
  • Your birth certificate.
    • A translated copy of your parents marriage certificate.
    • A translated copy of your birth certificate.
  • Legalisation application form for the Legalisation Office (Foreign Commonwealth Office) – Filled in. Download here.
    • You need a bankers cheque addressed to the “Foreign Commonwealth Office” worth around £2 or £3. Personally I sent £3. This was so they could send the verified and stamped documents to the Taipei Representative’s Legalisation Office in London. You must also include an envelope addressed to the Taipei Representative Office in London or their legalisation office including a note directing them what you want them to do. (I.e. Please send this to the Taipei Representative Office in London. (Including their address))
  • Legalisation application form for the Legalisation Office (Taipei Representative Office) – Filled in. Download here.
    • You will need a bankers cheque for the amount £40 to get all 4 documents legalised/verified. (£10 for each document) They will also send the document back for a fee of £8 to Taiwan. So in total you need a bankers cheque worth £48.00 addressed to “The Taipei Representative Office”. You also need another envelope, addressed to your home address in Taiwan. They will stick all the documents inside that, once they place their verification stamp or seal of approval on the documents then send it off to the address on the envelope.
    • You are also required to have a form of identity sent to the Taipei Representative Office. I copied my passport and included it inside the envelope addressed to the TRO’s legalisation office.
I have included in more detail below under “How did I send it off via mail?” how I sent it to the UK via mail to have it also sent to TRO office then back to Taiwan. 
Please also note that you need to send the application form first to the Foreign Commonwealth’s Legalisation Office. It needs their stamp of approval first before the Taipei Representative Office in London can verify and authenticate the stamp as well as the document.

How did I send it off via mail?

Once I had gathered all the required documents, I made sure everything was in functional order. I then packed all the documents that the TRO required into an envelope addressed to them. This included:

  • A photo copy of my passport as proof of identity.
  • The application form the TRO requires you to fill in for their verification service.
  • The two translated copies of your birth certificate and your parents marriage certificate.
After the Foreign Commonwealth’s Legalisation Office verify your documents, they will then pack those verified documents into the addressed envelope to the Taipei Representatives’ Legalisation Office in London. (You need to give them instructions on what to do. Try explain clearly. I included a typed draft letter for instructions on what they should do…) With the £3 or so you send them via bankers cheque [With the rest of your documents], they will use this money to send the document first-class to the TRO’s legalisation office.

So sending it off from Taiwan…

Once I had everything packed and ensured that I had absolutely everything, I sent it all off. I packed everything into an envelope, went to the local post office in Taichung where I live and sent it off to that address in the UK. (To the FCO’s legalisation office in Milton Keynes)
It is as simple as that when posting it. You just have to make sure you have everything, as you can’t go and check again, once you have already sent it off. Just wait for the documents to come back and once they do you have the documents you need to become Taiwanese. I will also write an article on how I applied to the Taiwanese immigration office to be Taiwanese, with the relevant documents I needed for that. Since there are extra documents you need to get to verify your parents marriage in Taiwan. Though this is very easy if you have your mum in Taiwan to help you. It purely involves going down to your local registration office.
If this is unclear and if you need help, feel free to contact me.

2 Comments

  1. I saw your post regarding the application process for your TW passport and have a few questions:

    - after you received your passport, did you travel back to TW on a special VISA? The reason why is because after acquiring your passport, you still don’t have your TW ID.

    - how long do you have to stay in TW before being able to apply for a TW ID? Continuously or did you have to leave every 3 months?

    - what happened to your UK citizenship status?

    All the information answered would help as I am in the process of applying for mine.

    Thanks,
    Wilson

    • Hey,

      - I stayed in Taiwan after I received my TW passport… I didn’t have to leave (No restrictions) and I actually started working for a company that only accepted me because it became legal for me to work without a VISA. At this point, I received my ID (???) as well. (Read about that below) Though when I did leave the country I had to use my TW passport. And since I haven’t completed the Taiwanese military service, I needed to go to the immigration office to get it stamped, which allows me to leave for a maximum period of 6 months. I suspect if I go back to Taiwan on my TW passport I’ll have to do the military service. Though, of course, if I use my (A fresh one) British passport they probably won’t suspect anything. I was keen on doing the military service at first, but they kept extending the dates for when I would have to go in and do it, so I had enough and left. (I was supposed to do the military service, last year) They changed it to the start of this year, and then they changed it to June 2013.

      - I stayed in Taiwan under my British passport for under a year. (I first went to Taiwan in November 2010 and then applied for the Taiwanese nationality in October 2011; just before I turned 20) However, when I first arrived I had not sorted out my documents or anything like that. So I left once to Hong Kong after my VISA expired. (3 months) I stayed another 3 months and I found out I could extend my VISA by another 3 months because I had family in Taiwan (Like a family VISA). After that, I joined a language center, which allowed me to stay in the country as long as I studied Mandarin Chinese at an officially government recognized language institute. At this point I applied for Taiwanese citizenship (at the age of 19); though I was almost 20 at that point. They accepted all my verified documents and issued me my passport in November 2011. (They placed a stamp to void the expiry date on my British passport) I received the Taiwan ID after 3 months.

      - The UK allows dual nationality. When I went to get my ID card the immigration office didn’t even mention my UK nationality. They just needed me to prove that I had at least one Taiwanese-born parent. The only documents to prove that, of course, are my British documents (Birth certificate and my parents marriage certificate). So as long as the country allows dual nationality then you should be alright, or at least on the Taiwanese side of things.

      Hope that was useful,

      Jonny

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