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Taiwan: Amendments to Immigration Act Proposed to Ease Overseas Nationals’ Obtaining ID Cards

(Jan. 25, 2011) It was reported on January 19, 2011, that the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), an advisory body to the Executive Yuan (Cabinet), has proposed amendments to the Immigration Act, whereby overseas-born Republic of China (on Taiwan) nationals would be eligible to apply in Taiwan for household registration and a national identification card, without having to meet any residency requirements. According to CEPD Minister Christina Y. Liu, “[w]e plan to make it easier to obtain citizenship and work in Taiwan, … . This will also help attract more talented people to the workforce.” (June Tsai, CEPD Proposes Immigration Act Amendments, TAIWAN TODAY (Jan. 20, 2011),; see also History and Mission, CEPD website, (last visited Jan. 20, 2011).)

Under current law, overseas-born nationals who are under 20 years of age must wait only five to seven days when applying for household registration, but those above that age who lack household registration must have resided in Taiwan consecutively for 365 days, for at least 270 days each year for two consecutive years, or for at least 183 days each year for five consecutive years in order to qualify for residency and the ID card. (Tsai, supra; Immigration Act (Jan. 23, 2009), art. 10 [in English translation], National Immigration Agency website,
& Ju ch'u kuo chi yi-min fa (Immigration Act) [in Chinese], National Immigration Agency website,
(both last visited Jan. 20, 2011).)

The ID application procedure for overseas nationals is shorter by three years than that for naturalization applications made by foreigners, but, a Ministry of the Interior official admitted, it was still “rather cumbersome.” The official commented that the Immigration Act, amended in 2009 to extend the age limit from 12 to 20 years of age to ease the citizenship application procedure for foreign-born Taiwan nationals, could be amended to extend that limit even more but not to entirely eliminate it. Nevertheless, Minister Liu indicated that the age limit could be totally removed and the overseas nationals granted the ID cards if their parents had Taiwan-registered residency. (Yu Guo-chin, Official Calls for Ease in Overseas Chinese ID Laws, WANTCHINATIMES (Jan. 20, 2011),

The CEPD plans to discuss the proposed amendments with the Ministry of the Interior at an upcoming meeting, Liu stated. (Tsai, supra.)