No ARC in Taiwan. Are You Fucked?

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When it comes to starting a new life in Taiwan, it’s pretty straightforward. Get a ticket, fly here, rent an apartment and find some source of an income. No bureaucracy needs to be done unless you want to have a legal job and get an ARC (a residence permit).

An ARC allows you to stay in the country without doing regular visa runs, you can get a bank account, buy a scooter, get a health insurance and do basically everything that locals do except voting and some other, possibly useless, things. However, if for some reason you can’t or choose not to get a residence permit there’s a way around it so you can still do many of the things mentioned above. The answer is a Uniform ID number.

Getting a Uniform ID

Go to the nearest convenience store and make a photocopy of your passport’s page where your photo, name and the stamp is.

Visit any of local National Immigration Agency (NIA) service centers, grab a number and fill out this form.

Make sure you have a Taiwanese address ready. If you don’t have any or you don’t want to provide the government with the actual place you stay, you can safely come up with a random address. Just use google maps beforehand. The immigration workers don’t seem to check for any proofs that you stay on the address.

Once your number is called give the form to the immigration worker at the counter along with your passport and the photocopy you’ve made. That’s it.

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The whole process from walking to the office to getting your ID doesn’t take more than 10 minutes.

What to use it for?

As I indicated earlier a Uniform ID number is some kind of substitute of an ARC. Though it doesn’t allow you to do as many fancy things, it’s still very useful. Especially if you want to enjoy certain services that can only be obtained with a local ID or an ARC, such as:

  • opening a bank account
  • getting better mobile services
  • registering a smart card for use with a public bike system
  • some claim even registering scooter to your name is possible
  • paying taxes and possibly more

Do you know more places that accept Uniform ID instead of ARC? Please let me know in the comments below.

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