Throughout this guide, I’ll cover what you’ll need and the steps you must take when getting married in Taiwan. I’ll also cover same-sex marriage, changing Alien Residency Card (ARC) status, etc.
Congratulations on getting married.
Despite all the research I did before getting married in Taiwan, I didn’t get enough information. So I compiled everything I’ve learned from my experience into a digestible guide for you.
Throughout this guide, I’ll cover the following areas:
- Registering your marriage
- Dependent ARC
- Marriage visa
- Marrying a Taiwanese outside of Taiwan
- Same-sex marriage
Let’s get that ball and chain ready.
The information I list can change at any time. Always double-check government websites before submitting paperwork.
Registering Your Marriage in Taiwan
This was the most stress-free part of my journey. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need:
- A marriage contract:
- Passport or Alien Resident Certificate (ARC)
- *Single status certificate: only foreigners will need this; you’ll also need to ensure this document has been verified within 6 months of you getting married
- **Chinese name declaration: mentions who’s taking whose last name
- Your partner’s ID card
*I can only provide information in this area for Americans. You’ll need to schedule an appointment at the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) to get the paperwork, swear an oath, and have a notary sign your documents. Took 30 minutes (because of the line).
A notary fee at AIT is $50. You can pay in USD or NT$. They have an ATM by the cashier, so don’t worry if you forget cash.
Once you’re done at AIT, you’ll need to visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA). They handle all the visa stuff. You’re required to have them authenticate your single status certificate.
When visiting BOCA for your single single affidavit verification, you’ll need to bring the following:
- NT$400 ($13): notary fee
- Original passport and a copy of it
- Application, which they’ll provide
You’ll have to come back in a few days to pick up your notarized document, which will take you literally a minute once you reach the counter.
*** Here’s the Taiwan name declaration form (PDF).
Visit your city’s Household Registration Office. Once you arrive, like in any other place in Taiwan, you’ll need to grab a number and wait.
As you reach the counter, you, or your partner, will tell them you want to get married. As long as you hand them the paperwork you need, things should go smoothly.
In my situation, the staff didn’t ask any questions.
The marriage certificate will cost you NT$100 ($3.40).
Your Taiwanese partner will need to get a new ID card. Because the Household Registration Office will need to add your name to it. This ID card will cost your partner NT$50 ($1.70).
If your Taiwanese partner doesn’t have an available Household Registry certificate, have them pick one up while at the Household Registration Office. The registration is only NT$15 ($0.50). You’ll need it for a visa.
If You Have a Taiwan ARC, Don’t Apply for a Visa
I learned this the hard way. I wasted money getting a health check, criminal record check, and other documents only to face the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) with the most stressful message possible.
Anyway, they sent me to Taipei City’s Immigration Agency. Once I got there, they told me that since I registered for my marriage in New Taipei City, I had to visit their immigration center.
A panic attack later, I went to the New Taipei City immigration center, handed them my documents, paid for my ARC, and was on my way.
I don’t know if that’s the case with all foreigners. Ensure you visit the immigration agency where you registered for your marriage in the same city.
What Do You Need for a Dependent ARC?
Don’t hesitate to deal with your ARC. You must renew it at least 30 days before your current one expires.
- 2 visa-sized photos: white background
- Original passport and a copy of it
- Your spouse’s original ARC or ID and a copy of it
- *Marriage certificate and a copy of it
- Taiwan ARC application form (PDF)
- NT$1000 ($34) : for the ARC fee; it’s good for 1 year
*They didn’t ask me for this since my name was on the back of my spouse’s ARC but brought it just in case.
If you’re familiar with signing up for, or renewing, an ARC, the process shouldn’t be hard. Walk into your local immigration center, grab a number, and wait for the intercom to call your number.
You don’t need to go to a special counter.
When filling out your ARC application, ensure you check ‘Change of Resident Purpose’ in the first section.
Since you’re now married, check ‘Married’ instead of ‘Single.’
Once reaching the ‘Reason’ section, place a checkmark by the word ‘Dependent.’
As long as you turn in all your required documents, you shouldn’t have any problems. Just remain polite and let the staff do their thing.
They’ll ask you whether you want to pick up your ARC in a couple weeks or have it mailed to you. The postage fee is NT$28 ($0.96).
Your marriage ARC will last a year. The lady I talked to just said to come back a year later and apply for another extension.
After staying in Taiwan for 5 consecutive years and meeting other requirements, you can get an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC). Then you won’t have to worry about renewing your ARC .
Taiwan Marriage Visa Requirements
If you don’t already have an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), you’ll need to apply for a resident visa. In Taiwan, there’s no ‘Marriage Visa,’ but it’s a resident visa for foreign spouses of Taiwanese citizens.
You’ll need to print a lot of papers. Fortunately, you can do so at any convenience store in Taiwan. Usually black and white copies or prints are at least NT$5 ($0.17) each.
Here’s everything you’ll need for the visa. Requirements may vary by country.
One copy, along with an original health check. These should be issued within 3 months of submitting your application.
Requirements for your health check:
- 3 visa-sized photos
- NT$2050 ($70)
- *A SIM card
- **Vaccine certificate for Measles and Rubella shot
*Having a SIM card and data will make filling out the application easier.
**They didn’t accept printed medical records from my doctors in the US. Taiwanese hospitals will require an actual vaccine booklet. If you don’t have this, they’ll just check your blood for Rubella and Measles antibodies—at no extra cost.
You can do this health check if you’re overseas, but you’ll need your local Taiwan representative office to verify it.
If you’re in Taipei, New Taipei, or Keelung, I recommend going to Mackay Memorial Hospital. When using this hospital, ensure you enter the Children’s Hospital building. You’ll need to make your way to the 16th floor of this building.
For anyone outside of northern Taiwan, Tealit has compiled a list of hospitals throughout Taiwan that’ll perform health checks. Call these hospitals before performing a health check. Ask whether they’ll perform a health check for a residence visa.
Hospitals throughout Taiwan are weird in this area. Even though it lists they’ll perform it on official websites, the hospital may tell you they don’t.
When the receptionist helping you set up your health check asks, tell them the check is for a residence visa. Not a work or teaching visa.
Anyway, here’s what they’ll check for :
- Hansen’s disease: they’ll check your skin
- Parasites: you’ll need to provide a stool sample
- Measles and Rubella: blood test; if you have a vaccination booklet from your country, you won’t need to test for this
- Syphilis: blood test
- Tuberculosis: chest x-ray
When I read the papers for requirements, they said that those applying for resident visa health checks did not have to fast before the blood test. Only those who are applying to work in Taiwan.
Depending on your country, you may be exempt from some of these checks. As someone from the US, I only had to do the blood test and chest x-ray. And because of that, I paid NT$2390 ($81).
Here’s the application to know what you’ll need to test for. If you’re in Taiwan, don’t print the application. The hospital will just give you another health check paper.
Unless there are many people getting health checks at the same time as you, the process should only take you 20 minutes.
They’ll tell you to come back a week or two later to pick up your health check results.
When picking up your results, they’ll give you 2 copies. Keep both.
Taiwan Criminal Record Certificate
Do not skip reading any of these steps. I recommend completing this step at least 2 months before your visa or visa exemption expires.
You’ll need to prove you’re not a criminal. On their application, it doesn’t say whether you’re a criminal will affect the percentage BOCA will accept your application.
If you’re American, you’ll need to get an FBI clearance.
Visit fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks and electronically submit your request. You’ll fill out an application and pay $15 for the clearance and print your application.
Unless you’re in America already, you’ll have to take another step before you can submit your application. You have to collect fingerprints. Here’s the standard fingerprint form.
Print this sheet and take it to your nearest immigration center. Prepare NT$100 (fingerprinting fee) and wear black clothes because they will cover your fingers with black ink.
The fingerprinting service location at each immigration center will differ. Visit a visitor center and show them the fingerprint form, then they’ll guide you to where you should go. The volunteers who took my fingerprints spoke no English.
But they’ll guide you on rolling your fingers across the paper.
Once you have your fingerprints, take the FBI clearance application paper you printed earlier and mail both to the FBI.
Once the FBI receives your request, they’ll email you your criminal record check.
The fun doesn’t end there. You have to have the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) Consular Division authenticate your FBI clearance. As per the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) words, this will take a month.
Taiwan Marriage Certificate
When registering for your marriage at the household registration place, you’ll need an original and a photocopy of your marriage certificate.
It must be in English or Chinese. If you’re applying overseas and submitting a marriage certificate that’s neither language, you’ll need to submit a certificate translated to English or Chinese.
BOCA’s website doesn’t specify who can translate it. They only mention that a Taiwan embassy—or ‘cultural center’—must authenticate it.
Other Requirements for a Taiwan Marriage Visa
Here’s the easy part, the rest of the items you’ll need:
- *Two visa-sized photos: taken within 6 months
- Application: fill out the application, then print it out once you’re finished
- Household Registration Certificate: issued within 3 months
- Passport and one copy of your passport
*When I went to BOCA, they told me I needed to take pictures using a black background. Even though, with past visas, I gave them pictures with white background and encountered no issues. I recommend bringing two of both.
It also states on their website that you need a white background .
Visa pictures aren’t expensive. Most cities throughout Taiwan have visa photo booths everywhere. It’s around NT$100 ($3.40) for 6 photos.
Marrying a Taiwanese Outside of Taiwan
I mentioned all of the documents you’ll need for marrying a Taiwanese citizen throughout the earlier points.
You won’t have the luxury of already being inside Taiwan, so you’ll have to submit the required information to your region’s Taiwan mission.
Regarding the household registration portion of your visa application, you’ll need your spouse to deal with that part in Taiwan. Have them scan and email you the files you’ll need for your visa.
Refer to the section ‘Registering Your Marriage’ to find what you’ll need for the household registration.
Once you receive your visa and can enter Taiwan, you’ll need to visit any National Immigration Agency in Taiwan once you enter the country. You’ll apply for the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC).
You must apply for your ARC within 15 days of entering Taiwan.
To find everything you’ll need for your ARC, refer to the earlier point, ‘If You Have an ARC Already, Don’t Apply for a Visa.’
Same-sex Marriage Requirements in Taiwan
Taiwanese can engage in same-sex marriages with residents from any country, except China. That includes folks in Hong Kong and Macau.
I only found vague information in this area. So you will have to do a bit more research.
While same-sex marriage is legal in Taiwan, same-sex partnership registration doesn’t count as an official household registration. Thus, the partner’s name won’t appear on an ID card .
To register your marriage, refer to the requirements in the earlier section titled ‘Registering Your Marriage.’
They’re the same.
Since the battle for same-sex marriage rights continues in Taiwan, these rules can change at any time.
Everyone’s experience will vary when getting married in Taiwan.
Use what I said as a guide to help you through registering your marriage. Don’t take anything I’ve mentioned as legal advice.
If you have questions, ask your local Taiwanese representative office.
I hope some of the information that I provided helped. Best of luck to you and your marriage.