Determine Your Immigration Category

Different immigration options are available to individuals in each immigration category described below, therefore determining your immigration category is an important first step to avoid confusion and wasted time.

For immigration purposes, Taiwan law classifies individuals in four distinct categories:

  • “People of the Taiwan Area (臺灣地區人民)” refers to individuals who have valid household registration in the Taiwan Area
  • “People of the Mainland Area” (大陸地區人民) refers to individuals who have valid household registration in Mainland China.
  • “Hong Kong Residents” (香港居民) refers to individuals who have permanent right of abode in Hong Kong and who do not hold a travel document other than a British (Overseas) passport or a Hong Kong passport.
  • “Macau Residents” (澳門居民) refers to individuals who have the right of permanent residence in Macau and hold no travel documents other than a Macau passport or a Portuguese passport obtained before the end of Portuguese rule.
  • “Foreigners” (外國人) Individuals who do not fit the criteria in any of the categories above.

The immigration authorities in Taiwan will sort every applicant in one category and one category only. If an individual appears to fit two or more categories, the authorities tend to place the individual in the most restrictive category. The category with most restrictions is “People of the Mainland Area”, followed by “Foreigner”, and finally “Hong Kong/Macau Residents”.

Please note that having permanent right of abode in Hong Kong or Macau does not necessarily mean you will be classified as a “Hong Kong and Macau Resident”. For example:

  • A person born and raised in Hong Kong who has household registration in mainland China would be classified as a “Mainland China Area” person.
  • A person born and raised in Macau who holds a Portuguese passport obtained after the end of Portuguese rule, or a Canadian passport, would be classified as a “Foreigner”
  • A British citizen who has obtained permanent right of abode in Hong Kong or Macau would be classified as a “Foreigner”

Please refer to the chart below to determine your category.

Determine your Taiwan Immigration Category

 

 

* “Mainland Area Persons” are allowed to apply for temporary residence in Taiwan under certain circumstances, however they are subject to special rules not covered in this article.
Taiwan Area” refers to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and any other area under the effective control of the Government.