Friday, 15 March 2013

Application for a Taiwanese Joining Family Residence Visa (JFRV)

Damn! It's been three years and change since my last update.  There's a reason for it and many things have happened in the interim, including getting my Taiwanese citizenship.  More on all that in later updates.  First I'd like to post on how to get a Joining Family Residence Visa (JFRV) in Taiwan, or commonly known as the "marriage visa".  Marriage visa is a bit of a misnomer, as it can be applied for in any situation where a foreign national wants to stay in Taiwan and live with family members that are Taiwanese nationals, but there are restrictions (No, your third aunty on your great-uncle's side can not apply for one based on your citizenship!), and it is most commonly applied for by a spouse of a Taiwan national.  However, I know at least two people who are divorced and applied for a JFRV based on having to live in Taiwan to support a child who has Taiwanese citizenship, so it can be done.  However, this post will deal with the most common one, a spouse of a Taiwanese citizen applying for a JFRV.

In order to apply for a JFRV based on marriage to a Taiwanese citizen you will have to do two things, at least, before the actual application:
1. Marriage Registration 結婚登記 jié​hūn​ dēng​jì​ (needed to apply for a JFRV)
2. Application for Residence Visa 申請居留簽證 shēn​qǐng​ jū​liú​ qiān​zhèng​ (Application for JFRV)
and finally, once that's done,
 3. Apply for Alien Residence Certificate 申請外僑居留證 shēn​qǐng​ wài​qiáo​ jū​liú​zhèng​ (The JFRV card itself).

Marriage Registration 結婚登記 jié​hūn​ dēng​jì​ (needed to apply for a JFRV)
Applications are to be done at your wife's household registration office (HHRO), or the nearest ROC consular office if you are abroad or got married abroad.

Applicants married in the ROC:
1. Wedding certificate
2. Identification Card of foreign spouse and marital status certificates with Chinese translation and certified (inspected) by R.O.C. foreign missions.
3. household registration
4. R.O.C. Identification Cards and seals.

Applicants who got married abroad:
1. Wedding certificates with Chinese translation and certified (inspected) by R.O.C. foreign missions.
2. Household registration.
3. R.O.C. Identity Cards and seals.
4. Identity Cards of foreign spouses.
5. If the foreign spouses are unable to return to the R.O.C. with their R.O.C. spouses, the foreign spouse is to submit his/ her Chinese name declaration certified by R.O.C. foreign missions.

You take these documents to the HHRO and register the marriage. If you already have a JFRV, this step has obviously already been completed.
Documents from South Africa need to be apostilled by the Department of Foreign Affairs in South Africa, authenticated by the Taipei Liaison Office in Pretoria or Cape Town, and on return they need to be translated and certified by your District Court (The translator usually takes care of that for you) and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung or Hualien.  For more information see the website for the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) - MOFA.

Once your marriage is registered you can move on to the next step.

Application for Residence Visa 申請居留簽證 shēn​qǐng​ jū​liú​ qiān​zhèng​ (Application for JFRV)
If the applicant is not in Taiwan, the application is to be submitted at an R.O.C. overseas mission.
If the applicant is in Taiwan, the application is to be be submitted with the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the MOFA.

1. One set of the original household registration issued in the recent three months (with marriage registration certificate and the name of the spouse in its original/ foreign language).
2. Marriage registration certificate issued by the applicant’s government (marriage certificate for countries without marriage registration system, i.e. if you were married in Taiwan you will have to register your marriage in your home country first!).
3. A criminal record clearance/FBI report from your home country.
4. Qualified health examination certificate issued by the hospitals appointed by Department of Health or foreign qualified hospitals in the recent three months.
5. Passport (with validity for more than six months).
6. Two 2-inch photographs taken in the recent six months.

Again, documents from South Africa need to be apostilled by the Department of Foreign Affairs in South Africa, authenticated by the Taipei Liaison Office in Pretoria or Cape Town, and on return they need to be translated and certified by your District Court (The translator usually takes care of that for you) and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

 Within 7-10 working days the Residence Visa should arrive. Take the relevant document along with the following to your local National Immigration Office (NIA) to complete the final step.

Apply for Alien Residence Certificate 申請外僑居留證 shēn​qǐng​ wài​qiáo​ jū​liú​zhèng​ (The JFRV card itself)
Before you go to your local NIA office, you will need to prepare the following:
1. One set of “Application for Residence Certificate for Foreign Nationals” is to be completed and submitted with two 1-inch photographs.
2. Passport and residence visa (which you applied for and received above) is to be submitted for inspection.
3. Application for residence visa stating reasons such as completion of household registration for marriage registration and certified documents is to be enclosed (Basically the documents you used above, but I didn't need them a second time as the HHRO forwarded them - I asked them during step 2 if I could keep them and they said it isn't necessary. I advise checking with your HHRO during the application process during the previous step on this, but basically all I needed for step 3 was the application form, my passport, the residence visa I had just received and the application fee described below.).
4. Payment of residence certificate fee (NT$1,000, NT$2,000 and NT$3,000 for one-year, two-year and three-year periods respectively).  After one year, when you renew your JFRV you will be given the option for a five and ten year JFRV (NT$5000 and NT$10 000 respectively).

Within in 7-10 working days you will be contacted to go and pick up your JFRV. It looks the same as the ARC/APRC, except that Reason for Residence has marriage next to it, and your address is your HHR address and not your work address.

The JFRV is a very useful document as you are no longer at the whim of employers for your residence and have open work rights, which means you no longer need a work permit and can work anywhere you can get a job, or not work at all (If you want to study full-time or are at retirement age or whatever your individual case may be).  However, the JFRV makes you vulnerable in another way.  It is dependent on your spouse and becomes void should you divorce or should your spouse pass away.

A word to the wise for South Africans, anything that needs to be applied for from South Africa takes much longer than expected or promised.  It took me a few months to get a marriage registration certificate and almost six months to get a criminal record clearance. Apparently, now it takes even longer.  To save yourself time, pain, anguish and frustration, I recommend you apply for all South African documents from one of the following people who will also ensure all your authentication etc needed in South Africa is done before it's forwarded to you.
Khumalo Nomathemba - Docs4expats
Maya DuRand
Both ladies are awesome and will do right by you.

5 comments:

Kenny Paul said...

When last did you renew your JFRV? I went to renew mine and the woman told me that not only did they not issue 5-year JFRVs, but that they have NEVER done that.

So, it would be wise for all the people who have them to return these documents as they don't actually exist.

Bismarck in Tainan said...

Well, if you follow my blog, I am a Taiwanese citizen now. The last time I had a JFRV was mid 2010. I'm not sure where you went to renew yours, but I did mine in Tainan. The first time I applied for it they would only give me a one year JFRV (NT$1000). After a year I went back and I could choose between a 1 year (NT$1000), 3 year (NT$3000) or 5 year (NT$5000) JFRV. I took the five year, but I canceled it in 2010 when I got my TARC leading up to my citizenship.

Anonymous said...

Where do I translate my wedding cert? Mine is in english.

Shaik Imran Ali said...

hi there i am indian my uncle is taiwanese, got married before eight years in taiwan and i want to join him how can i apply to join as a family member in taiwan on his citizenship basis ?

Bismarck in Tainan said...

The best thing to do is to take it to a professional translator. They will translate it and get it authorised by your local district court.

Shaik Imran Ali: Hi, I am not sure if you can apply to stay here based on your uncle's status. You could definitely get a visitor's visa based on that, though. I would suggest your uncle go and speak to the Minitry of Foriegn Affairs or the NIA offices to find out what options are available for you.