Stuff you need to do after you get the new format UI ARC

After you update your ARC to the new UI format (one letter nine numbers) there are a certain number of other agencies you need to update information with, as cross-ministry communication does not seem to have been very broad:

  1. If you have a work permit (APRC holders/students with internships or part-time jobs) you NEED to apply to the Work Development Agency for a new one. You need this form and a photocopy of it, a one inch photo, a copy of both sides of your OLD and NEW ARC/APRC and a copy of your passport.

(NOTE/UPDATE: I previously posted that you needed to hand in NT$100 or a postal order of an equivalent amount, as this is what they told me over the phone, but when I received my new work permit, it had a letter attached saying that the NT$100 postal order that the person on the phone had insisted was necessary, was not required, along with a complex form on how to get this money refunded.)

If you want to go in person and are registered in Taipei, the address is:
10F, No. 39 Zhonghua Road Section 1, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 10042
10042 台北市中正區中華路一段 39 號 10 樓

This is also where you post your material.

2. You or your employer should fill out the form here to ensure your labour insurance contributions are still registered to the same person, one copy should be sent to the Ministry of Labour (勞動部勞工保險局,臺北市中正區羅斯福路一段4號) and the other should be forwarded to the National Heath Insurance Bureau in your region (see form for addresses). Despite the claims that you don’t have to update your NHI card, I don’t really see how this is going to be possible, given that on the bottom of the form it says that your original NHI card will be cancelled when the new data is received, hence:

3. NHI card renewal (purportedly optional): This is relatively pain-free, simply go to the Post Office and ask to renew your NHI card, with your ARC and a photocopy of both sides, one photograph (most machines have a special setting for NHI card photos) and NT$200. You should receive your new card in 5 working days. And after you receive it, you can switch your NHI app card to the new one.

4. Alien Digital Certificate: You can apply to update this at the same time as you apply for the new UI format, with the same material and you shouldn’t be charged.

5. If you have a post office account, you have to inform them of your change of ID.

Other issues: Despite assurances that banks would be automatically informed of changes, people on Facebook have been describing demands to close and reopen accounts at banks, issues with motorcycle licenses/test applications, property deeds, mortgages, car loans. With hospital appointments, many clinics and hospitals will still have your old number in their systems, even though with your new NHI card, doctors should still be able to access your previous publicly held records.

I will update if I find anything else and I have to say I’m yet to find anything easier because of the new format. Please do let me know if there are any benefits to the new format.

Shout out to Slawa who made this call for names of websites where the new ID number does not work towards the end of last year.

If you have more specific queries about particular ministries, I suggest having a look at the Q &A on this page.

7-11’s OpenPoints in Taiwan and how to use them (to buy books)

You might have noticed an uptick in 7-11 attendants asking you if you’re a member in Taiwan. This is because the chain of stores has expanded it’s app membership from just iCash card holders to everyone (copying the success of FamilyMart).

By purchasing things at 7-11 you can save points which you can use for a variety of offers and to exchange for goods, but more interestingly, you can tie the points to your Books.com.tw account and get cash off book orders.

You can also avoid queues for the Ibon machine to collect your NHI masks by doing the heavy lifting on your phone!

Registering for the app

You’ve probably already been cajoled by a hard-working 7-11 clerk into providing your phone number at the cash register. In this case, you’ve probably already been unknowingly been collecting points.

Apologies for the shoddy quality, the app doesn’t allow screencapture

When you log into the app, you’ll be asked to register by filling in your mobile phone number (會員帳號-> 請輪入行動電話) and creating a password (請設定密碼&再次確認密碼). They will send a text to your mobile, for you to confirm your ownership of the phone number. The process is pretty simple and they let you fill in your personal details later, to login, you just enter your phone number, your password (密碼) and a captcha code, as below:

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Applying for the new format UI number in Taiwan

I applied for the new format UI number, unfortunately the application process was a bit rocky, as the officer who served me didn’t seem to have a clue what he was doing.

Maybe he was super busy, but with no-one in the queue ahead of me for UI renewal (don’t click the normal button on entering the NIA, but the one to update your UI number) I saw him dander around laughing with colleagues and looking bored at his desk for a good ten minutes before he eventually pressed the next number button.

Finally get called up and tell him I’m applying to update my UI number. He tells me I need my passport to update it. Thankfully I’ve had some experience with NIA agents before, so I’d printed out the list of required documents for each category of foreign national:

Resident foreigners do NOT need their passport or a photocopy to apply. I told him I’d read the regulations and they said residents don’t need their passport to apply, and he eventually conceded.

I told him that I’d like to apply to update my Alien’s Digital Certificate at the same time. He tells me that I can’t apply for that until I get my new UI number. This also is incorrect, I inform him, according to an email from the Ministry of the Interior:

您好,因應政府機關將於110年1月2日實施「新式外來人口統一證號專案」,您的外來人口自然人憑證可能會受到影響,相關說明如下:

一、110年1月2日以後,您的自然人憑證可以繼續使用,不會受到影響。

二、如果您有申請換發新式統一證號(1英文+9數字),您的自然人憑證也需要申請換新,才能繼續使用。

建議您在申請新式統一證號時,同時在移民署服務站辦理新的自然人憑證申請(不須要支付費用,但須主動表明並填寫「外來人口重製卡申請書」)。

另外,在移民署核發新式統一證號及本中心核發新的自然人憑證之期程中,您原有的自然人憑證將無法使用,敬請留意。

如有自然人憑證相關問題請電洽內政部自然人憑證客服中心(0800-080-117)。

內政部資訊中心  關心您

Greetings,

Since the government will launch the “New UI No. for Foreign Nationals” program on JAN/2/2021, your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate may also be affected:

After JAN/2/2021, you may continue to use your current Digital Certificates normally. However, if you have applied for the New UI No. (1 Letter+9 Numbers), your Citizen Digital Certificate must also be exchanged and renewed.

We advise foreigners to apply for both “New UI No.” and new “Citizen Digital Certificate” simultaneously at NIA service stations. (No extra fee will be charged. Please declare to NIA officers and fill out “Certificate Re-issuance Application Form for Foreigners.”)

Please also note that, during the issuing process of New UI No. and new Citizen Digital Certificate, your original Citizen Digital Certificate will not be available for use.

For any Citizen Digital Certificate related inquiries, please contact MOICA’s customer service: 0800-080-117.Information Center, Ministry of the Interior


Eventually he realizes that I can apply for both, but he struggles with the forms in front of him, and occasionally calls out slightly unnerving questions to colleagues, like, “Do I delete all his National Insurance Data?”

After a considerable amount of fiddling around, and the help of two colleagues, he eventually prints out a receipt with which I can receive my new ARC in two weeks. On closer inspection, however, the name on the form (and presumably the ID) is not mine. It’s some random American that the guy had been using as a reference for how to fill out my form.

Another ten minutes or so fumbling and then I eventually get a receipt with my name on it (time will tell if it’s actually my ID number), and he recruits another staff member to help him do the Digital Alien Certificate bit.

Will update if I’m successful, and will see if foreigners can now register for stuff that was impossible before.

You can check your UI history at the NIA website here.

Note: Employment Gold Card holders can apply for the new UI number online here, but the process is all in Chinese (even in the English section of their website).

There’s more information here (in Chinese) on what impact applying for the new UI number will have on other ministries.

What you have to do after applying for the new UI number:

Among the most important is to report the change in your ID number to the company which is providing you with labour insurance (your employer) or send this form to the Labour Insurance Bureau.

You also need to report the change to the post office if you have an account with them.

You can opt not to update your NHI card with your new number, but if you do wish to update it, you’ll have to pay a NT$200 fee.

You don’t have to tell your bank, as they will get the information directly from the MOI.

UPDATE: When I looked at my application to remake the Citizen Digital Certificate, contrary to the email I received from MOICA stating it was free of charge, it prompted me to make a payment. I called the helpline (you have to pretend to be Taiwanese to get through to a customer representative) and they changed my status so that I no longer had to make a payment. The customer service lady and her manager were quite helpful, and said that you have to make sure you emphasize “free-of-charge” when applying at immigration, and adjusted the form so that the fee was no longer required.

UPDATE 2: Have received my Alien Digital Certificate, so far have only had trouble logging into the Health Ministry website and the other government websites do not seem to have access to my data held under the previous ARC number. Will see if this changes once I receive the new APRC and send a copy to my employer.

UPDATE 3: Have received my new ARC with all information present and correct and the old number on the back.

What is it good for?

So far the new format isn’t even recognized by the Ministry of Health’s online services.

Registration on the Chinese version of the TRA website is also limited to Taiwanese nationals for some reason. Foreign residents can book tickets online using their passport number, but not create accounts. Not sure what the reason behind this is?

It seems, “format and compatibility issues” was a cover for, many services are not granted to foreign residents of Taiwan. The TRA and the HSR have a workaround with passport numbers being an alternative for foreigners regardless of residency, but only the HSR allows you to register as a member. But the real question seems to be why we’ve switched one incompatible ID number for another at presumably great cost to the taxpayer, without any real benefits.

If you’ve found an elusive benefit to the new UI format please let me know in the comments!

Join the National Central Library with your EasyCard!

Do you feel like subtweeting your arch enemy isn’t quite enough for you? The solution may be going through their master/doctoral thesis to point out minor spelling errors and format issues (if it’s good enough for the KMT it’s good enough for me). Now you don’t even have to squeeze your National Central Library card into your already overstuffed wallet to gain access to the ivory tower and your enemy’s vulnerable sentence structures.

All you have to do is bring your ARC or passport and your EasyCard (including virtual Easycards) to the registration counter with an application form (available in the registration area). They’ll take a quick photo and tie your library card account to your EasyCard. You’ll also get a library card, but you can use your EasyCard in its place for all functions. They’ll give you a small sticker for your EasyCard to remind you about your library membership:

The library card has been updated from the laminated one of old, and now looks like this:

And away we go…

(Love you really)

But… more seriously, if you need access to a doctoral or masters thesis and it’s not online, you can click 點閱 beside the paper thesis listing and a number will be assigned to your query. You can then check your collection number by swiping your EasyCard on the computer beside the collection counter and a screen will tell you when it’s ready for collection:

BTW President Tsai Ing-wen’s thesis is real.

Postcode Changes in Taiwan 3 + 2 -> 3 + 3

Postcodes in Taiwan changed in Match of this year from a 3 + 2 format (eg. 10058) to a 3 + 3 format (eg. 100013). If you want to make sure to get your parcel, make sure you find out your new postcode on this site:

The site has pretty simple pull down options (in Chinese) to select your city/county and district/township. You’ll have to find your street in the pull down menu, or if you use the second box, just type in your street and select the section.

The results will look something like this:

「雙」 refers to even numbers, 「單」to odd numbers and 「全」 is all numbers (both even and odd), 「以上」 is above and inclusive of, while 「以下」 is below and inclusive of. So for example, the first entry is “even numbers 96 and below on Yanping South Road”. If you’re road has sections, this will be listed under 「段號」 (section no.), while the third is “odd numbers from 87 to (至) 117.

Trash in Taiwan

If you don’t live in a swanky apartment complex that does your garbage for you, then you might find yourself racing home from work/the bar/a date at the most awkward time just to throw your rubbish in the truck whilst being judged by and simultaneously judging all your neighbours for the small size of their recycling bag or their oversized and unsorted garbage (judge first, lest the first stone hit you in the eye (paraphrased)).

Well – there’s an app for that! For those of you in Taipei it’s the one below:

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.admin.claire.garbag_truck&hl=zh_TW

Most other cities now have similar apps though.

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Apply for your Stimulus Vouchers to be Deducted from your Credit Card Bill with your APRC

So, it’s happening, a limited group of foreigners (APRC holders) can now access stimulus vouchers (振興券 zhènxīngquàn / 三倍券sānbèiquàn). Here’s how:

Go to the Executive Yuan Triple Stimulus Voucher website:

You can pick different options, apparently if you want the printed vouchers you can go to a Post Office branch with your APRC, NHI card and NT$1000, but I’m going to do the Credit Card Link for the purposes of this post. (Beware, going the credit card route is not Instagram friendly, but you can just type #TripleStimulus on any major social network and nab someone else’s photo for some physical voucher sheek on your timeline, without the hassle of having to carry around and spend physical vouchers.)

Once you click, you’ll see a list of banks and pick the one you have a credit card with:

In my case, I have a card with E Sun, so when you click through on their site, you’ll come to a page in Chinese, with several options. What you want to do is tie your digital vouchers to your credit card account, which is the option below in the case of E Sun:

You’ll be asked to enter your ARC number and your date of birth (ROC style, so subtract 1911 from your birth year, eg. 1985 – 11 = 74 and format is YYMMDD) and a captcha code.

They’ll then ask you to fill in a code sent to your phone and the following options will come up>

The first option in the list is to have the vouchers subtracted from the balance of your next credit card bill, which is what I want.

So, just click 送出 and it will check your info and if successful you’ll get the following message:

OK! Job done! And well done you for stimulating Taiwan’s economy like a good little consumer!

Let me know if you have any know-how to share with other readers on other ways to exchange your vouchers or experience with other banks!

UPDATE: I applied to link my account on November 16, according to E.Sun the eligibility started for purchases made after November 23, so for most people the money will be deducted from December’s bill. I also received a text from my bank giving me notice that I’ve already spent enough from my next bill to qualify:

Go gadget economy!

Applying for quarantine subsidy in Taiwan

Photo by Kalyan Chakravarthy under Creative Commons 2.0 license

A friend recently came to Taiwan and completed their quarantine without a hitch. They were a little confused by the conflicting information about the NT$1000/day subsidy though, whether or not they were eligible and how to apply.

Eligibility requirements:

  1. In receipt of a quarantine notice
  2. Applications must be made AFTER completing quarantine
  3. No rule breaking during quarantine
  4. Not in receipt of salary or other compensation during quarantine period
  5. Have not departed Taiwan on an unnecessary trip* to another country or region with a level 3 warning from March 17 onwards. (necessary trips include siblings weddings and funerals of relatives to third degree (incl. aunts, uncles, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren) and business trips.)
  6. Filled out your quarantine notice information accurately and completely.
  7. Taiwanese nationals and ARC/resident visa holders can apply for the subsidy, while foreigners without residence cannot (from June 17 onwards).

Note: If you enter on a resident visa that you subsequently swap for an ARC and your period of quarantine overlaps with the period of residence with the resident visa you can still collect the subsidy.

If you’re still not sure, you can check your eligibility by calling the 1957 hotline.

Applying in person:

To apply in person you need to go to the counter of the District Office (區公所) of the district in which you completed your quarantine. If your quarantine hotel was in Wanhua, for example, you’d have to apply here:
10-12F, No.120, Sec. 3, Heping W. Rd., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 108, Taiwan (R.O.C.).
Tel: 886-2-2306-4468 https://whdo.gov.taipei/

You’ll need your ARC, your passport and evidence of no income (unless you’re a student).

Applying online:

You can only apply online if you’ve already got a Taiwanese bank account. You should have your passport and ARC handy.

Open this website in Chrome:

Click on the green box 「隔離檢疫者防疫補償申請」 (apply for quarantine subsidy).

On the next page, it will ask you to tick a box, showing that you’ve read the terms and conditions and that you will provide accurate information. Then you follow the remaining prompts to fill in your personal info (maybe get a Taiwanese friend to help if your Chinese isn’t up to it).

If anyone has more accurate information on this process, feel free to send it to me so I can update the post!

There are six stages and once you’ve submitted your application, you can click the yellow box above to check on your application status or make alterations.

Renewing a UK Passport from Overseas during COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Home Office

There has been quite a lot of news coverage (update here) recently about passport application/renewal delays in the UK due to staffing shortages at the passport office as a result of the pandemic.

Many people overseas have to have a valid passport as a condition of their residence in their second country, so I thought it would be handy to post this to give people an idea of turnaround times, especially as the passport office will advise you to come back at a later date due to COVID-19 if you are not travelling during the summer.

The passport renewal website is pretty easy to use and states what you need quite clearly. I would advise going to a photo booth that allows you to save the passport photo online as taking a good photo with a mobile phone is pretty difficult. The cost of the passport is £86 plus a £19.86 courier fee, as well as whatever it costs you to mail your passport to the UK office (I spent NT$390 or roughly £10 for signed delivery of my old passport and a colour-photocopy of my other nationality passport).

Passport renewal website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport

July 18, 2020: I filled in the online form with a digital photo.

July 19: Email prompting me to send my documents.

July 20, 2020: I mailed my old passport and a colour photocopy of my second nationality passport.

17:00 July 28: Parcelforce stated that the parcel arrived at the Liverpool HMPO.

July 29: Email prompting me to send my documents and notice informing me that due to COVID-19 I should receive my passport in 8 weeks.

August 2: Email prompting me to send my documents.

August 14: The office acknowledged receipt of my documents.

August 16: Notice of application being processed.

October 19: Application approved and passport ready for printing.
(9 weeks and 1 day from notice of application being processed; 11 weeks and 6 days since Parcelforce delivered the parcel to Liverpool HMPO).

October 21: Notification that passport has been printed and sent.

October 26: Received old voided passport in the mail.

October 30: Received new passport in the mail.

That’s 3 months and and 11 days (104 days) from filling in the online form and posting the documents to receiving the passport, and 3 months and 2 days (94 days) from when ParcelForce stated they delivered my documents to receiving my passport and 2 months and 16 days (77 days) from acknowledgement of receipt of documents to receiving my passport.

Use your Citizen Digital Certificate to View your Labour Insurance Data on App

Another day another government app. Unlike the NHI app, you need an Alien Citizen Digital Certificate to authenticate the Labour Insurance Mobile Services App ( Google Play / Apple Store ) where you can see how long you’ve been covered under government labour insurance and if you’re registered under the government pension scheme (APRC holders).

It is likely more use to citizens than to foreigners, as I only had data listed under one field (labour insurance coverage) but useful to know how to access as legislation continues to change.

So if you’ve already got your Alien Citizen Digital Certificate and a card reader installed, navigate to the Labour Insurance Bureau’s e-desk website, which looks as below after you close the pop-up on the initial screen:

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