Regular Application

If you have spent at least five years in a row living legally in Taiwan (or three if you are married to a Taiwanese citizen), and have studied a bit of Chinese, you can apply for Taiwanese citizenship. You must renounce your existing citizenship as part of the process.

Process Overview

Application for citizenship is submitted at your local Household Registration Office. You will first need to meet the residence requirement, prove your language ability, clean criminal record and proof of funds. With this you will be able to initiate the citizenship applicaiton process and if successful will be issued a Certificate of R.O.C. Naturalization Candidature.

You then have one year to renounce your original citizenship and provide certified and formal proof of this (or certified and formal proof it is impossible) to the Household Registration Office.

Once approved, you will receive a Certificate of Naturalisation. You are Taiwanese at this point, but do not yet have residency rights or ‘citizen’ status. You will first apply for a Taiwan Area Residence Certificate (TARC) that functions similar to an ARC and then live in Taiwan for an additional:

  • one year, without departure
  • two years, for more than 270 days a year
  • five years, for more than 183 days a year

After this time is completed, you may apply for Household Registration, claim your ID card and full ‘citizen’ status.

Residence Requirement

In general, you must be resident in Taiwan for more than 183 days a year for at least five continuous years, or three if you are married to a Taiwanese citizen. You do not need to hold permanent residence (APRC), but this does waive certain requirements, as does spending more than 10 consecutive years resident in Taiwan.

It is crucial that:

  • You are legally resident in Taiwan, with an ARC, for this time
  • There are no gaps in your residence (even a single day without ARC can render you ineligible)
  • The purpose of your residence is for professional work or as a spouse - time spent as a student, ‘blue collar’ worker, medical treatment, visa exempt etc does not count
  • You have not broken the law in relation to visas and residence (eg overstaying your visa)

You may apply at the National Immigration Agency for a “Certificate of Residence” that will provide the necessary details for your application.

Language Ability

You must prove a basic level of Chinese language ability in order to qualify for naturalization. You have two options: take a test, or study a certain number of hours in a recognised school.

The test can be of multiple choice written form in Mandarin or in oral form in Mandardin, Taiwanese, Hakka or an indigenous language. Either option is 20 questions, selected at random from a pre-defined pool of around 200. You must score:

  • 70% for a standard application
  • 60% if your spouse is Taiwanese, have resideded in Taiwan for more than 10 years, or were born here and one of your parents is Taiwanese
  • 50% if you are aged 65 years or older

Information about the test, including the bank of potential questions, is found on the Department of Household Registration website.

The alternative is to study a certain number of hours in a government recognised school and present a certificate to validate your attendance. You need:

  • 200 hours for a standard application
  • 100 hours if you were adopted by a Taiwanese citizen, were born in Taiwan, are the guardian of a Taiwanese national, or have spent more than 10 years in Taiwan
  • 72 hours if you have a Taiwanese parent, married a Taiwanese national(including if you are divorced or your spouse died), have Taiwanese children or are aged 65 years or older

Proof of Funds or Ability

If you already have Permanent Residence (APRC) in Taiwan, you are exempt from proving your personal finances. For everyone else, you must gather documents such as tax records, pay slips and bank statements that show you have one of:

  • A salary above twice the minimum wage (i.e. >NT$47,600 as of 2020)
  • Property or funds worth more than NT$5 million
  • A Taiwan-recognised professional/technical skill certificate or license
  • Proof you are employed in the high-tech industry

If you are married to a Taiwanese national or have Taiwanese children, requirements are lower.

Criminal Record Check

You must have a clean criminal record in both your existing country of citizenship and Taiwan.

You must apply for a criminal record check in your existing country of citizenship and:

  1. have this certified by the Taiwanese diplomatic mission responsible for that country/state
  2. translate the document into Chinese
  3. have the translated document certified by a Taiwanese notary public
  4. have the certified document notarized by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Taiwan

Once your criminal record is issued by your existing country of citizenship, you cannot leave Taiwan, otherwise it will be deemed invalid.

Health Check

In most cases, you must pass a health check in Taiwan. Allow for up to two weeks to receive the results.

You can ask your local Household Registration Office for their recommended hospital, or check the list of designated hospitals.

Large hospitals in city centers are likely to have a dedicated health check area that is accustomed to performing the requisite tests for residence. Many hospitals only offer the service at specific times or require appointments, so calling ahead to check is recommended.

A specific form is required to be filled out and covers up to five examinations depending on your passport country. The CDC website has details of the required tests.