Thursday, November 23, 2006

Getting married in Taiwan as a Foreigner 101

I haven't posted in (gasp!) over a week as I've been busy moving (a subject deserving of its own post). Anyways, after checking several resources I now have all the steps:

  1. Get proof that you are single from your local embassy-equivalent (AIT has a comprehensive page on obtaining a "Affidavit Regarding Marital Status" for American citizens). The cost was NT$1980 total for us at current exchange rates when we went.

    At AIT, you must make an online appointment for notary services in order to get it done. The link to the online appointment system is hard to find on their website, but the actual process itself is very quick - about 15 minutes.
  2. Take the notarized affidavits (a.k.a. single certificate) to Consular Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it authenticated. After you get off the escalators at their Taipei Office, you turn 180° and get a number for counter 28. Each person wanting their affidavit authenticated must also bring:
    • their ARC,
    • a copy of both sides of their ARC.
    Both people must be present if you want it to be done in one trip, or you can take the form, sign it, and return it on another trip. The cost is NT$400 per affidavit.

    Then, after the forms are filled and money owed is paid at the cashier, you're given the option of either paying extra for delivery or to come again another day (I opted for receiving the forms by post, an extra NT$98).
  3. The authenticated forms take about 2 business days to process. Then, take those forms, along with both people's passports, and a photocopy of both sides of two witnesses' IDs (should be Taiwanese citizens over 20 years of age), and go to the district court to schedule an appointment.

    The district court in Taipei that handles marriages is located in Hsin-tian (xin-dian):
    Taipei District Court
    248 Chung-hsing Road, Section 1
    Hsin tien, Taipei County
    8:30am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday

    Bring to the court:
    • both authenticated copies of the singles certificates
    • each persons' passport
    • photocopies of both sides of the two witnesses' IDs (should be Taiwanese citizens over 20 years of age)

    Apparently both parties do not need to be present to make an appointment. You must make the appointment at least 1 week in advance of the date you want to marry. Apparently auspicious dates (it's a superstitious country) get booked weeks in advance. Ceremonies on weekdays cost NT$1,000, and weekend ceremonies cost NT$1,500.
  4. Return for the actual ceremony on the scheduled date, this time bringing your witnesses. Apparently marriages at the District Court get Chinese certificates with an official English translation - the Chinese one being legally recognized in Taiwan, and the official English one required for recognition in the U.S. The U.S. recognizes legally conducted marriages conducted abroad.
The process may be slightly different if you are a national of a different country (regarding the single certificate part). The British Trade and Cultural Office has it's own page on marriage in Taiwan.

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