How I became a Taiwanese citizen, part 1.5

Happy new year from Taiwan! I’m glad that my first post on becoming a Taiwanese citizen has been helpful to some readers. This post covers my experience with an intermediate step before what I would consider the second phase because it was enough of a hassle to call out specifically.

Step 1.5: Preparing documentation

You’ll need to get the following paperwork together before you head to Taiwan:

  1. FBI Identity History Summary
  2. Other documentation

FBI Identity History Summary

Prior to moving to Taiwan, I would recommend that you request an Identity History Summary (IHS) from the FBI. You don’t actually need to produce it until you reach the second step, but the FBI takes US$18 and 12-24 weeks to process these requests. Be aware that the IHS is only valid for six months from the date of issue, so don’t get it too much earlier than when you plan to enter Taiwan with your no-ID passport.

Personally, I had to submit my application twice because the first time, the FBI complained that my fingerprints were too light to be able to pull my identity history. (Yes, that meant I had to pay the application fee again the second time.) :disappointed:

  1. Print and fill out the application form.
    1. Applicant’s home address: I used my parents’ address and skipped the “mail results to address”
    2. Payment enclosed: Make sure the payment method you circle matches what you use. If you choose to pay with credit card, print and fill out a credit card payment form and include it with what you send to the FBI.
    3. Reason for request: I picked “Live, work, or travel in a foreign country.”
  2. Get your fingerprints taken on a standard fingerprint form. According to the fingerprint technician I spoke to, both pages need to be printed onto the front and back of a single sheet of paper, not two separate pages. If you have access to a US police station, they should have these forms on hand: ask for your fingerprints to be taken on the standard fingerprint form (FD-258). This step didn’t cost me a dime.
  3. Residence of person fingerprinted: Again, I used my parents’ address here.
  4. Reason fingerprinted: This should match what you put for “Reason for request” on the application form, so write in “Live in a foreign country.”
  5. Place of birth: If you were born in the USA, put the state where you were born. Otherwise, fill in the country name.
  6. Skipped fields: I omitted responses for these fields since they’re irrelevant in my case. But make sure to fill in all of the remaining ones if you have them! 1. Employer and address 2. Your No. 3. FBI No. 4. Armed Forces No. 5. Miscellaneous No.
  7. Mail the above paperwork to the FBI:
FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Rd
Clarksburg, WV 26306

The FBI takes its time to prepare your IHS. An encouraging sign if you pay with credit card is when you see a charge from the FBI. After you finally receive your IHS from the FBI, you’ll have to send to the TECRO Headquarters in Washington, D.C., for authentication:

  1. Application for authentication with your Chinese and English names, passport ID, phone number, date of birth, gender, mailing address, purpose of authentication, and type of document that needs authentication. Sign and date it, too.
  2. The original and a copy of your IHS
  3. A copy of your photo ID (e.g., driver license, passport)
  4. Authentication fee of US$15**
  5. One self-addressed stamped priority mail envelope, large enough to hold all of your original documents

** Make all payments using a cashier’s check or money order to Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States
4201 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

Call their authentication services department if you have any questions between 9:00am and 5:00pm (EST) Monday through Friday: (202) 895-1815.

Other documentation

In addition to your authenticated IHS, make sure you have these documents handy to continue the process in Taiwan:

  1. Original paper proof of your measles vaccination history: This document will come in handy after you arrive in Taiwan and get your health check.
  2. Original copy of your parents’ household registration booklet or Taiwan national IDs
  3. TECRO-notarized English and Chinese birth certificate
  4. Your US passport
  5. Your Taiwanese no-ID passport with entry/exit permit inside

It’s also time to contemplate and pack what it is you want to bring with you for your year (or longer) of residency in Taiwan. But hey, I won’t judge you for bringing your bunny slippers.

Written on December 31, 2017