I recently went through the process of bringing my wife from the Philippines to Taiwan. Compared with trying to get her a visa to my country, getting a visa to Taiwan was relatively simple. This is what we had to do to get hers.
What Your Wife Will Need To Apply For A Visa
- Get married, preferably in the Philippines. It’s actually easier to get married in Hong Kong, but that could cause problems when it comes to getting documents authenticated. It’s a good idea to get multiple copies because things can go wrong. After the marriage, it can take a month to get the official NSO copy of the marriage certificate. Your wife should request to get it as soon as possible because she’s going abroad. If you’re not American, you need to register your marriage at your embassy in Manila or a consulate.
- The next step is to have your wife apply for a passport or apply to change her last name to yours on her passport. This is a requirement to get a visa to Taiwan. If she doesn’t already have a passport, she just needs to bring your marriage contract and all other relevant documents. If she already has a passport, you’ve got another hurdle to jump through.
- When changing a woman’s family name on her passport to that of her foreign husband’s, there’s an absurd requirement that she first sit through a seminar and interview at the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). Even though she’ll be going to Taiwan, she needs to go to the seminar focused on the husband’s country. This needs to be even if you take her to your own country, so you may as well get it done.
- The only CFO offices are in Manila and Cebu, so if she’s not from there, she’ll need fly there. The seminar and interview only last one day, so if you’re lucky with flights you don’t need to bother with a hotel room. If you do need a hotel, there are several within walking distance of the office. Your wife must make an appointment on the CFO website. There are limited slots, so make the appointment before buying tickets.
- Some requirements are not shown or not clear on the CFO website, but here’s what else you need to know. Your wife needs to arrive at the CFO office between 8am-10am to register. That’s a bit silly since you already registered, but that’s the rule. She also needs to bring proof of your relationship (besides the fact that you’re married), such as photographs and copies of the stamps in your passport showing your visits to the Philippines.
- Your wife will need a medical exam (called Form B) at a TECO Manila approved hospital or clinic. The testing center will know what to do for someone going to Taiwan. The centers are all in Manila, except one which is in Cebu, so she can get this done while applying for some of the other documents. If she has had vaccinations, she should take this information along, otherwise she’ll need to be tested for vaccinations and will need any other necessary vaccinations. The medical test doesn’t take long, but she’s need to stay in Cebu for 2 days if she hasn’t had all the vaccinations. They have to get the results of all the tests before administering vaccinations. The results must be authenticated by the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and that takes one or two weeks. It might be faster if you take the results to Manila and do this yourself, but if time isn’t a factor it will be easier to have the clinic do it for you. They can mail the authenticated results to your wife.
- Other documents your wife will need are her NSO-issued birth certificate and her NBI clearance. Also, an advisory of marriage. This last document is like a CENOMAR and obtained from the same office, but after marriage to prove you have only one spouse. These documents and your marriage contract need to be authenticated at the DFA. This can be done at the DFA office in Aseana Business Park in Manila. Next-day expedited authentication is about 180 pesos for each document. That’s not much, so it’s a good idea to get a couple of extra copies authenticated. My wife ended up going there three times, once because there was a slight tear on one copy. There may be a limitation to the number of documents you can have authenticated at once, though.
- You will need to send your wife the following:
- 2 copies of every page of your passport.
- 2 copies of your ARC.
- 2 copies of your work permit (Chinese version) from Taiwan’s Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).
- 2 copies of your work contract.
- A letter from your employer stating they are your employer, they know of, accept, and support your decision to bring your wife to Taiwan.
- Your marriage registration from your country’s embassy in Manila (non-Americans).
- It’s possible that they will demand some other document not listed on their website. I suggest printing a copy of the website so your wife can show she’s fulfilled all the requirements, but it’s still possible they will demand more. I’m American, and they gave us the extra requirement of having our marriage registered at the American Institute in Taiwan, and having that authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The US Federal Government doesn’t register marriages, so all I could get was an affidavit. But MOFA refused to authenticated because it wasn’t to be used in Taiwan. After begging MOFA to either authenticated or intervene with TECO Manila, they called me and told me to send the affidavit without authentication, probably to save face for everyone. TECO Manila accepted it, and my wife got her visa.
- Before your wife is ready to apply for the visa at TECO Manila, she needs to apply online first.
- Prepare a Chinese translation of your name, your wife’s name, and her parents’ names. You can do this in Google Translate.
- She’ll also need two 1.5” X 2” head & shoulder photos with a white background showing her current appearance.
At TECO in Manila
Once you have all that, your wife is ready to go to TECO Manila. I suggest keeping all the documents in 2 oversized manila (lol) folders, one for the marriage contract authentication, and one for the visa application. Put a tab or sticky note or something to separate each document. Everything at TECO is drop off/apply from 8:45am-11:45am, and pick up in the afternoon 1:45pm-4:45pm. If you arrive in the afternoon, you’ll have to wait until the next morning. She’ll begin by going to the TECO counter downstairs in Tower 1 of the RCBC Plaza building. Lines are very long here and in the actual TECO office upstairs so prepare to wait and budget plenty of time.
The first step at TECO is to have your marriage contract, your wife’s NBI clearance, advisory of marriage, and birth certificate translated. TECO will submit this to a translator for you, and it will cost about 400 pesos for each page and take about a day. Next TECO needs to authenticate your marriage contract. Your wife needs to submit the following: 1. The translated marriage contract authenticated by the DFA. 2. Copies of your ARC, passport, and work permit. 3. Her translated marriage advisory, NBI clearance, and birth certificate. The authentication takes about 2 days if you use the expedited service, which costs a total of 1,050 pesos.
Once your wife has the authentication and translations, she’s ready to apply for her visa. If everything checks out, they’ll let her go to upstairs to the actual TECO Manila office to apply. If they accept all the documents, they’ll give her a time to come back for an interview. In some cases, there may be a follow up interview. If they want any additional documents, they’ll probably ask then. But if everything checks out, they’ll tell your wife when to come back and give her a visa.
When your wife is going to immigrate to your country, she’ll need a stamp from the CFO in her passport. My wife wasn’t asked to show when she came to Taiwan, but if your wife has time she should get it just in case. If she is ever going to your country with an immigration visa through the Philippines, she’ll need this anyway.
Check the TECO Manila website and look for the joining spouse visa link in case any requirements have been changed. The authentication pages are out of date as of the time of this writing, and doesn’t reflect the current requirements which I’ve outlined above.