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Nationality Law of the Republic of China

Nationality Law of the Republic of China

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The Nationality Law of the Republic of China

defines and regulates nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan). It was first promulgated by the Nationalist Government on February 5, 1929 and revised by the Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

-based Legislative Yuan
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

 in 2000, 2001, and 2006.

The Act, like the Constitution of the Republic of China
Constitution of the Republic of China
The Constitution of the Republic of China is the fundamental law of the Republic of China . Drafted by the Kuomintang as part of its third stage of national development , it established a centralized Republic with five branches of government...

, makes no provision regarding citizenship. Citizenship rights in the Republic of China are currently restricted to persons with household registration in the Taiwan Area. The Act sets to define persons in terms of nationality (國籍), terming them as "nationals" (國民) rather than "citizens" (公民), a term that does not appear in the act.

Nationality


Republic of China nationality generally follows jus sanguinis
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

. The law spells out four criteria, any one of which may be met to qualify for nationality:
  1. A person whose father or mother is, at the time of his (her) birth, a national of the Republic of China.
  2. A person born after the death of his (her) father or mother who was, at the time of his (her) death, a national of the Republic of China.
  3. A person born in the territory of the Republic of China and whose parents are both unknown or are stateless.
  4. A naturalized person.

In the original version of the law nationality could only be passed from father to child. However, the law was revised in 2000 to allow citizenship to be passed on from either parent, taking effect on those born after February 9, 1980 (those under age 20 at the time of the promulgation).

Dual nationality and naturalization



Article 9 of the ROC Nationality Act requires prospective naturalized citizens to first renounce their previous nationality, possibly causing those persons to become stateless if they then fail to obtain ROC nationality. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

 has noted that this has caused thousands of Vietnamese women to become stateless. Article 9 does not apply to overseas Chinese holding foreign nationality who seek to exercise ROC nationality. Such persons do not need to naturalize because they are already legally ROC nationals.

The Act does not restrict ROC citizens from becoming dual nationals of other countries. Dual nationals are however restricted by Article 20 from holding most public offices in Taiwan. Indeed many immigrants to Taiwan give up their original nationality, obtain ROC citizenship, then apply again for their original nationality—which some countries will restore, some after a waiting period. (Notably, the United States government has no such procedure.) This entire process is fully legal under ROC law, though statistics are not available regarding how many people do this. The Act also permits former nationals of the ROC to apply for restoration of their nationality.

Status of Mainland Chinese and Overseas Chinese


The Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

's official borders encompass all of territories governed by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and persons of these territories are legally nationals of the Republic of China. Thus, residents of mainland China must enter Taiwan using the Entry Permit of Mainland Residents to the Taiwan Area and residents of Hong Kong and Macau must enter using the Entry Permit of HK and Macau Residents to the Taiwan Area
Entry Permit of HK and Macau Residents to the Taiwan Area
An Exit & Entry Permit for the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China , more commonly known as Exit & Entry Permit is a document issued by the Immigration Office of the National Police Agency of the Republic of China, for Hong Kong and Macau residents holding PRC nationality for entry to...

. PRC passports, HKSAR passport
HKSAR Passport
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport is issued to permanent residents of Hong Kong who are citizens of the People's Republic of China...

s, Macau SAR passports, and BN(O) passports are not stamped by Taiwan immigration officers. Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 is also within the ROC's official borders, but since 2002, the government has extended recognition to the Mongolian government and permitted citizens of Mongolia to use their passports to enter Taiwan in lieu of an entry permit. After gaining permanent resident status abroad, or otherwise establishing a period of residency defined by the regulations, residents of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau become eligible for a Republic of China passport
Republic of China passport
The Republic of China passport is the national passport issued to nationals of the Republic of China with household registration in the Taiwan Area and certain Overseas Chinese...

 but do not gain benefits of citizenship.

Residents of mainland China who seek to settle permanently in Taiwan and gain citizenship rights do not naturalize like citizens of foreign countries. Instead, they merely establish household registration, which in practice takes longer and is more complicated than naturalization.

Republic of China passport
Republic of China passport
The Republic of China passport is the national passport issued to nationals of the Republic of China with household registration in the Taiwan Area and certain Overseas Chinese...

s were issued to overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

, irrespective of whether they have lived or even set foot in Taiwan. The rationale behind this extension of the principle of jus sanguinis
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

to almost all Chinese regardless of their countries of residence, as well as the recognition of dual citizenships, is to acknowledge the support given by overseas Chinese historically to the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 regime, particularly during the Republican Revolution of 1911
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

. See the passport
Republic of China passport
The Republic of China passport is the national passport issued to nationals of the Republic of China with household registration in the Taiwan Area and certain Overseas Chinese...

 article for more information about this practice.

Citizenship


In practice, exercise of most citizenship benefits, such as suffrage, labour rights, and access to national health insurance, requires possession of the Republic of China National Identification Card
Republic of China National Identification Card
The National Identification Card is an identity document issued only to citizens of the Republic of China that have a household registration in the Taiwan area...

, which is only issued to persons with household registration in the Taiwan Area
Free Area of the Republic of China
The Free area of the Republic of China is a legal and political description referring to the territories under the control of the government of Republic of China , consisting of the island groups of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands...

 aged 14 and older. ROC nationals who do not hold household registration in Taiwan have no automatic right to stay in Taiwan, nor do they have work rights, voting rights, etc. In a similar fashion, some British passport holders do not have the right of abode in the UK (see British nationality law
British nationality law
British nationality law is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship and other categories of British nationality. The law is complex because of the United Kingdom's former status as an imperial power.-History:...

). Nationals without household registration in Taiwan (referred to as "unregistered nationals" in statute) can obtain a Republic of China National Identification Card only by settling in Taiwan for a period of time. However, children born abroad to nationals who establish household registration before turning 14 automatically become eligible for a ROC ID when they turn 14.

Post World War II Controversy


The nationality law was first promulgated by the Nationalist Government on February 5, 1929, when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. The book On Taiwan's Status and Relations, edited by National Chengchi University history professor Hsueh Hua-yuan, points out that the ROC government announced in January 1946 that the people living in Taiwan had "regained" their status as ROC nationals, which gave rise to diplomatic protests from the UK and the US. Up to the present day, this Nationality Law has been revised by the Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

-based Legislative Yuan
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

 in 2000, 2001, and 2006. The inclusion of native Taiwanese people within its scope of application has been controversial, with some opponents of Republic of China rule over Taiwan arguing that the law has "forced" citizenship onto Taiwanese people. These opponents generally are supporters of Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

.

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