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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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