Marriage & Divorce in Taiwan
Taiwan law regarding marriage is very simple. Effective May 23, 2008, registration of a marriage at the Household Registration Bureau Office (HHR) constitutes a performed marriage. The date of the registration at this office is the effective date of the marriage. The HHR Office’s printed record of the marriage constitutes official evidence of the marriage. However, the HHR office can also issue a “Marriage Certificate” in both Chinese and English for a fee of NT$100, if requested.
You can register your marriage at any HHR office. The couple must go to the HHR office with passports, ARC (if applicable), and a prepared written marriage agreement between the two parties which has already been signed by two adult witnesses (witnesses do not need to appear at the HHR office). Download a sample marriage agreement. (PDF 122 KB)
Foreigners who want to marry in Taiwan will also need to provide written proof from their home government that they are single and legally free to marry. This document must then be authenticated by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Because there is no centralized marriage registry in the U.S. to confirm single status, Taiwan authorities will accept a sworn statement of single status (an Affidavit notarized by AIT) from U.S. citizens. For more information about notarial services at AIT, please visit the “Notary Services” page. Once notarized by AIT, this Affidavit must then be authenticated by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Also effective May 23, 2008, marriages performed by Notaries Public at a District Court are not final legal marriages until they are registered at the HHR Office. In other words, couples who use the District Court must also register the marriage at the HHR office in order for the marriage to be completed under Taiwan law. The Notary Public can only issue a “Certificate of Notary Public,” and cannot issue a “Marriage Certificate.” The official date of the marriage under Taiwan law will be the date that the couple registered it with the Household Registration Bureau, not the date that the couple appeared at the District Court.
Some couples choose to purchase stylized blank marriage certificates from book stores or download them from the internet and complete them themselves. These can be beautiful mementos, but the HHR record printout and/or the HHR-issued marriage certificate are the official evidence of marriage.
For more information visit the Department of Household Registration website. This site lists the addresses of HHR offices by region and city.
All U.S. states have their own laws concerning marriage and all states generally recognize marriages performed outside of their jurisdiction, provided that the marriage was in compliance with the laws of the place in which it was performed. Since the requirements for legal marriage differ from state to state, U.S. citizens should contact their state for more information about how a foreign marriage will be treated in their state.
If you are interested in obtaining a U.S. immigrant visa for your new spouse, Please visit the AIT, Immigrant Visa Section website for more information.
Divorce in Taiwan normally does not require court action. Divorce by mutual consent is made in writing, witnessed by two people, and registered with the Household Registration Bureau.
To apply to a Taiwan court for a non-consensual divorce, the party seeking the divorce must prove the existence of a legally valid reason (bigamy, infidelity, ill treatment, desertion, etc.). U.S. citizens considering divorce in Taiwan are urged to consult with a local attorney. AIT provides a list of attorneys (PDF 134 KB) that have expressed interest in representing American Citizens in Taiwan.