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First let me say that I am glad it is all over. It was a very long and drawn out process and you should be prepared for inconveniences and frustrating situations. You need to give yourself enough time to plan your wedding before you even begin many of the things mentioned in this guide.
First you need to decide when you would like to get married so that you can plan everything else. You probably need to give yourself about four to six months. This is just a suggestion as things can go wrong. You can do it in less time, but it's up to you. Remember that all of the documents you are required to have expire within three months.
As has been said by Richard Hartzell many many times, it is best to get married in the country of the foreign spouse. As for myself I went back to the United States with my fiancée to get married, and everything worked out just fine.
Commonly used Acronyms used throughout this explanation are as follows:
The documents that you will need are as follows: (Not in any particular order.)
Here is what we did:
I went to A.I.T. to get a Singles Certificate in order to show I had never been married. The document was quite expensive. My fiancee also went to a court in Taiwan to get one. We found out we do not need them because we went to the U.S. If we had gotten married in Taiwan we would need them. Do not waste your money getting these documents, you do not need them if you are planning to go to the U.S. to get married!
The biggest problem was the Clean Criminal Record Documentation (CCRD). I had called my local police station only to find out they didn't handle it. So I had to call The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in my state Capitol. They told me the only way to get such documentation was to do fingerprints. This was a pain, so I urge you to make sure you call your police in advance so you know how to get it, if it is easy then you won't have as many problems as I did.
So they sent me a fingerprint card to bring to a police station in Taiwan. I was living in Taoyuan at the time, so I went to the foreign affairs police station to do it. Here comes the kicker! I took along a friend to the police station to make sure it got done right. Well can you believe that they made me do the fingerprints myself? If you have no experience to do this, it is quite difficult. A lot of mine were not readable. I called DCI to explain the problem. I am very thankful they were willing to help me. A few years ago I applied for a concealed weapons permit, which required my fingerprints. I told them they should have a copy, they indeed did and were willing to try to match them. So I sent my fingerprint card with a letter stating on exactly what day I wanted them to mail it to me. Remember this document is difficult to get and expires in three months. I had to consider how long it would take to get to Taiwan, and before we left for the US. Well to my surprise everything worked out fine. I was able to get the letter of no criminal activity (CCRD) and I had time to take it to a Taipei translation center to get it translated into Chinese before I went to the US to get married and get it certified by the ROC Representative Office (TECO) nearest my home. Translation is cheaper in Taiwan, I believe I paid around NT$800. Basically by the time I got back from the U.S. I had two months left of validity on my CCRD. Which is enough!
Of course some states will charge to get the CCRD. I paid US$15. Remember some of these agencies only except Money Orders or Checks, no cash.
Overall make sure you check with your local authorities on this document well in advance of getting married, to make sure you know how to get it. Also remember NOT TO get it notarized by the agency giving you the CCRD. If you do the Representative Office (TECO) may not except it. Again we got lucky.
With my CCRD and other documents in hand we got married in the U.S. We spent about 12 days there. You should probably plan more time if you have it. We were rushed because there was a lot we wanted and needed to do. Our wedding was the morning after we arrived, and we arrived very late the night before.
Make sure you contact the County Clerks or County Courts Office prior to going to the U.S. Why? Because you need to check on the requirements for marriage. Such as a waiting period, blood tests for AIDS, etc. We were lucky, there was no waiting period or blood tests required. However, most states do require that! Yet another word of warning. When we went to the County Clerks office to get our certificate of marriage before the wedding there were many problems because Taiwan is not a state. I was lucky that I had an old college classmate working for the IT department who was able to add TW as a state initial. That took almost an hour and we were late to our wedding. There are certain fees required to get married. I think it costed us US$25 just for registration. We got three copies of our marriage licenses at US$7 each.
They also required a passport or ID from both of us, some require a birth certificate and parents' names and birth dates, addresses, etc. These need to be in English. So you need to figure out the Yale, or PinYin, or whatever system you want to use for your spouses Chinese names. After the wedding I believe you are required to go back to the Clerk's office or court to give them the signed documents so that they can register your marriage. Usually they give you 2 pages. One is the certificate itself with just your names on it. The other one is the more complicated; one with names of parents, schools, etc. I believe you need to get both of them translated into Chinese, as we did not, but we got lucky. Make sure you get the more complicated one certified by there office. This makes it official! The ROC Representative Office (TECO) with ask you for it! Make sure the certification stamp and signature paper is stapled to the license! This is very important as otherwise the ROC Representative Office (TECO) will not except it!
Make sure you check with the officials in the state you want to get married in about all the details about getting married to a person who is not a U.S. citizen or resident! Make sure you prepare all the documents necessary to make these processes easier when you get to the U.S.!
Going back in time a little now, we decided we should just go to the ROC Representative Office )TECO) to certify the documents rather than send them. I figured we would already be in the US, so what's another plane trip. Before we left Taiwan I had translated my CCRD. However, I couldn't possibly translate the marriage licenses yet. The nearest overseas TECO (Taipei Economics and Culture Office (ROC Representative Office)) to my state is Seattle. Make sure you know which area yours is in, you can go to the web to find that information. http://www.roc-taiwan.org/ Anyway, so we went to Seattle. I contacted several translation agencies in Seattle prior to leaving Taiwan. I found one that was willing to let me send them the documents by fax and let them translate them before we paid. Though you could probably pay by credit card. Anyway so while I am still at home visiting friends and my parents for 6 days me and this translation company played a fax game. Making sure every detail was okay. They had all of our contact information, hotel numbers, etc. So we could communicate well.
We left my home state for Seattle, the day after we arrived we had made an appointment to pay and pick up our translated marriage certificate. It worked fine. I believe this place had a good deal for those documents, I think we paid $25US each.
After picking up the documents from the lady who did the translation we went directly to the Embassy. Again prior to going there I asked them lots of questions, I even had them send me an application for this certification procedure. They knew we were coming and when. The lady there was very helpful. I gave them our passports, CCRD, and the marriage certificates and certifications. You must give them the original copies! The time it takes to process and certify the documents takes about four days. We left the office and came back four days later and picked them up. They stamped every page. The reason your marriage license needs to be stapled to the notarization is because they put there stamp across the staple so they stamp is on both pages to prove your marriage. Otherwise when you come back to Taiwan the Ministry of Foreign Affairs MOFA will not accept it! Anyway we picked up our documents and there was no problem. Each document you give them is US$23 As I remember I gave them US$46 or US$69, I cannot remember. I think I gave them the Single Certificates, but I cannot remember.
Upon returning to Taiwan we took my wife's Household Registration and her chop and I think the Chinese version of the marriage certificate to the Household Registration Office in her home city. You need to call them to check on which documents you need to bring and where you should take them. We had them print out and stamp about seven copies of the new Household Registration. I am not sure how much the stamped copies cost. You will need the copies at other places.
I also had my health report mailed to my Taiwan address from the hospital because I had it done a few days before I left Taiwan so I would have more time on it. It was waiting for me when I got back. Health tests cost around NT$1600 in Taipei.
Take a copy of the new Household Registration, your passport, your health certificate and the four things you got certified at the ROC Overseas Representative Office (TECO) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to apply for a Joining Family Resident Visa (JFRV). The four things are English and Chinese versions of your CCRD and marriage certificate. There is no charge for this.
There is a 10 day waiting period as they check your documents. They will give you a receipt, don't lose it. They take your passport, this receipt is also to remind them they took it from you.
After 10 days go back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and pick up your passport. They will only give you your passport back with a big Visa sticker inside marked used. You have 15 days to take your passport to the foreign affairs police station to the city or county which you live in to get your new ARC. You need to ask MOFA where you should go. They will give you a little piece of paper explaining what you should do, however all the addresses and phone numbers are in Chinese.
When you go to the police station you should bring your passport and some pictures. You will need to fill out a form. Depending how long you have been in Taiwan will depend on how many pictures you need. Also which county may depend, so call the foreign affairs police station and ask them directly!
Getting your new ARC will take three days. You will get a new ARC which is valid for one year. Yes only one year. The next year you should go to one specific hospital to get another health test. I still don't know which hospital it is, but I am checking. This time you will get an ARC for three years. Yes I agree it is stupid, but it is there policy, so don't complain about it! I asked them to mail the new ARC to me as the police station is not convenient. You need to pay for them to send it to you by registered mail. It was NT$28. The ARC costs NT$1000 per year. And that's it!
Remember all of
the prices I listed may vary
state to state. You should prepare more money than what you think you
For those of you
from other countries or for those of you who got married in Taiwan
instead of in the country of the foreign spouse, I am not very sure on
the procedures, I would contact the National Immigration Agency and ask
I will be updating this page with useful links to help you in the future. If there are any problems or questions about this website I encourage you to contact me.
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