Thursday, May 9, 2013

ROC Taiwan Male compulsory military service myths debunked

Taiwan Compulsory Military Service Myths Debunked
Please note that these myths debunked are persuent to the information from government websites from 2012 which can vary for different individuals and may change without notice please check and inquire about the regulations relevant to your situation to assure their accuracy and to keep updated on any changes that may occur.   It is wise to call or otherwise have direct contact with the Department of Compulsory Military Service as well as the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission and the National Immigration Agency before entering Taiwan even for a short visit. 

Myth: All Males with ROC passports within Military age, which is 19 to 40, will be subject to the draft 
Fact: Yes and no, there are several yet crystal clear factors that will determine the answer. One is whether the ROC passport holder has direct relations with Taiwan or in short with household registration. Technically ROC Nationality is granted to all those who live in any area once considered the Republic of China including what is now claimed by the People’s Republic of China according to ROC legislation. Though people from mainland China or Hong Kong are only entitled to ROC passports if they possess Nationality of a country other than PRC. However they are not automatically entitled to right of abode in the Taiwan area unless they go through process to establish household registration which can be similar to getting a green card in a foreign country. This issue will be too long for this page so let’s get to the basics. The military service draft only applies to those with relations to the Taiwan area with residency id number or born of persons of such status. For example if the individual is born in Taiwan with parents who are ROC Nationals with residency id in Taiwan area may be subject to the draft or even if born in another country but with parents with ROC household registration and is registered in Taiwan by their parents may also be subject to draft rules. On the flip side those who obtained ROC passports under the ROC Nationality law but does not have residency in Taiwan nor have parents of such status would not be subject to the draft at all unless they establish residency(household registration) in Taiwan.

Myth: Not possessing another nationality or passport will lead to draft immediately following entering Taiwan in any circumstances
Fact: The answer is no. While many people believe that there are quite a number of circumstances that will results in or exempt immediate draft. Actually the possession of another nationality or dual nationality is not considered the factor in determining whether the individual will be drafted. The circumstances that affect draft is whether the household registered national of draft age is currently living abroad outside of Taiwan. In most cases one who emigrated before he was 15 and is currently living abroad under permanent residency or citizen status of another country would not be drafted until at least 365 days after landing in Taiwan although in some cases they could be detained and prevented from leaving until they complete their military service. The Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission has a more detailed explanation regarding how to qualify for Overseas Chinese Identity Visa or Overseas Chinese Identity certificate for Military Service purposes. Generally the rules according to the Overseas Compatriots Affairs Commission states to qualify for the Overseas Chinese identity Resident Overseas Stamp in terms of military service one would need to depart Taiwan on or before Dec 31 in the year which he turned 15, hold a valid ROC passport, hold right of permanent residency in the country he is currently residing (holding permanent resident green card, or citizenship), have resided for at least four years and have documentary evidence showing that they have resided overseas for a period of at least six consecutive months or for a total of eight months in the last two years, not spent more than 183 days in Taiwan in total between January 1 in the year in which they turned 16 and December 31 in the year in which they turned 18. Under limited circumstances would overseas status be granted to those who emigrated at 16-17 and having permanent residency in another country at age 16 ROC passports of males would often be "marked military service not completed." Those who departed Taiwan at age 18 or above under draftee exit rules however would not be eligible for overseas stamps even if they become permanent residents or citizens of another country as under the conditions of their departure they are committed to return to complete military service overstaying outside Taiwan constitutes draft evasion and would result in draft upon return. In short those who possess Dual Nationality do not automatically qualify for Overseas Status it is more of a residency requirement as in whether the person currents resides overseas rather than citizenship factor. 

Myth: Dual Nationals or those possessing other Nationalities will not be touched by conscription as long as they use their foreign passports instead of ROC passports to enter Taiwan
Fact: This is something that a lot of people are not aware of and often lead to surprises. Be aware that the truth may be shocking for most of you. Many of you might think that you can only be drafted by using your Taiwan ROC issued passports or travel documents and can escape detection by using your “other” passport/travel document here is something the affected individual should better should pay attention to. As mentioned on the previous paragraph possession of another nationality is not a factor determining whether a person would be drafted. According to Articles 14 of the Regulations for Exit of Draftees stipulates that an individual previously registered as resident in Taiwan and holding dual nationality should use their Taiwan ROC passport to enter and leave Taiwan. If an individual of this type uses their foreign passport to enter Taiwan, they are legally liable to be called up to perform military service and should be prevented from leaving the country.  There are relevant rules regarding who will be drafted in what conditions as well as exemptions that one should check with the relevant authorities listed on the first paragraph. While there are those people who are successful playing hooky and getting away with this mandate repeatedly there are also those who are unlucky thus prevented from leaving and/or arrested for this violation. In this case even if they are otherwise exempted from the draft if they followed procedures and can proof via their ROC passports they may still be prevented from departing solely due to the violation of the rule and may have to stay until they complete their military service. The American Institute in Taiwan and TECO offices often has warnings that those of military age may be drafted even if they are also US citizens and enter Taiwan using US passports. The Taipei Economic offices overseas also has notices explicitly showing the requirement that males of military age are to use only ROC passports to enter or exit Taiwan and may be subject to draft if using foreign passports.

Myth: One can renounce ROC nationality to avoid military service
Fact: Under ROC conscription laws males are not permitted to renounce ROC citizenship until there are past draft age, which is currently set at 36 or have completed their military service. The American Institute in Taiwan has this warning in addition to the warning above. 

Myth: If the male with ROC household registered national is born in foreign countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and etc one would be completely exempt from compulsory military service
Fact: Here is something that these individuals should be aware of. Those who are born outside Taiwan who have fathers who happens to be ROC National and registered resident of the Taiwan area and since year 2000 to those born after 1980 who have either parents who are ROC Nationals and registered resident of Taiwan area may be subject to the draft if they settle or establish long term permanent residency in the Taiwan area although they are unlikely to encounter problems for short visits. These individuals are advised to check with local Taiwan Economic Offices TECO as well as the agencies above for further information

Myth: Those with Overseas Chinese status will never have to worry about being drafted for compulsory military service

Fact: There are relevant rules regarding this in Item 1 of Article 3 of the Conscription Regulations for Naturalized Aliens & Returning Overseas Chinese which stipulates that in the case of male individuals liable for military service who were previously registered as resident in Taiwan and holding Overseas Chinese status, the individual will become liable to be called up for military service 366 days after the day which he return to Taiwan. Item 1 of  Article 4 stipulates that one year shall be considered to have elapsed if any of the following apply (1.) If the individual has been continuously resident in Taiwan for at least one year.  (2.)  If the individual was born in 1984 or earlier, and has been resident in Taiwan for at least three period of four months or more each.  (3.) If the individual was born in 1985 or later, and there have been at least two years in which the individual was resident in Taiwan for a cumulative total of at least 183 days (between January 1 and December 31). Item 2 of the same Article stipulates that, where a male Overseas Chinese individual liable for military service returns to Taiwan for the purpose of study, provided that the individual conforms to the relevant requirements, the period of deferment in which they are studying in Taiwan will not be included for the purpose of calculating the period of one year as described above. With respect to an individual of ROC nationality whose passport has “Residing Overseas” stamped on it, once such an individual has been resident in Taiwan for a period of one year or more, the provisions of the Conscription Regulations for Naturalized Aliens & Returning Overseas Chinese shall apply with regard to issues relating to military service. Such individuals will also need to follow the regulations of exit of draftees stated in the Article 48 of the Conscription Regulations” and “Article 4 of the “Exit Regulations for Draftees-to-be,” which requires those exiting the country who are between the draft ages of 19-35 including those with Overseas status to obtain an exit permit at the Bureau of Entry and Exit.

Fortunately Taiwan has finally adopted a fully volunteer military service, which will be implemented at 2014 although those who don’t volunteer may still be subject to a three month military training. More information can be found later. For now it is best to know what your situation is and act appropriately according to your needs. Check with the relevant authorities and explain to them all your situations and they would give you the most up to date information. For those willing to do military service or happen to have to return to Taiwan for the long run (more than 365 days) and therefore subject to the draft it is best to know what kind of services is available and what is your physical conditions and get to know and adjust to the environment and language of Taiwan.

PLEASEdo  make sure to do a reality check before you depart for Taiwan if you believe you are affected by compulsary military service. I cannot guarantee my information is completely correct all the time as these legislation change overtime. Contact the nearest Taipei Economic and Culture office and the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commissions before you depart.


American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)

Department of Compulsory Military Service

Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission

National Immigration Agency

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office or TECO

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis what many people don't know

Nationality Laws are something that most of the population overlook. Many don't know what rules apply to them under nationality laws. This is especially true for those that migrate between countries and give birth to children in different countries. There are two principles that determine the nationality and citizenship of a person, these principles are often written in Latin: Jus Soli and the other is Jus Sanguinis.

Jus Soli & Jus Sanguinis

What does these two Latin words mean?

Jus Soli is essentially stands for the right of the land. In countries with Jus Soli Nationality laws generally implement citizenship or nationality to all those born within that country's territories often with little or no conditions may be excepting birth given within a diplomatic family under diplomatic immunity. 30 of the 194 UN registered countries in the world practice Jus Soli though at least eight countries practicing Jus Soli has certain restrictions i.e one of the parents needs to be at least a legal resident in the country.

Jus Sanguinis on the other hand stands for the right of the blood. Which means a person is a citizen if his parents or sometimes grandparents happens to be a citizen. Pretty much all countries in the world practice Jus Sanguinis as it is recognized as a basic human right in the International community. However while most all Jus Soli countries also has Jus Sanguinis entitlement laws the reverse is often not the case as many Jus Sanguinis countries tightly limit citizenship entitlement to those who has a parent a father, or a mother, or either with citizenship or permanent residency depending on government legislation which changes from time to time and can apply differently to those born in different years regardless of one is born within or outside the country. Though most Jus Sanguinis countries (i.e China) will generally confer the principle of Jus Soli to infants born in its country whose nationality is unknown or parent's nationality is unknown and therefore risk been stateless to be its citizen or national.

Immigration and giving birth abroad
Migration between different countries and giving birth abroad can bring confusing claims to the child's nationality especially if the child is born in conservative Jus Sangunis countries. This might be more complicated if the one of the parents(particularly in the event the father) is not a citizen or status of resident of such country eligible to transmit nationality through descent.  Usually the child's parents' particularly the father's nationality(s) would pass unto the child. The child may or may not inherit the citizenship or nationality in the country of birth depending whether the country operates on Jus Soli(birthright citizenship) and/or whether he/she qualify for birth nationality which can be affected by parents residency status in the country. In almost all cases if one of the parents is a citizen of the country the child is born the child is a citizen by birth.  There are cases where the child's nationality is uncertain or unknown. The danger of having an unknown nationality is greater if the one or two parent(s) facing this situation have difficulty granting citizenship by descent due to the complicity of their former country's nationality laws.  This happens particularly if one of the parents happens to be a citizen by descent of the country. This situation actually occurred to a child born in China to a father who is a Canadian citizen born outside Canada, The Vancouver (2009-09-25) due to the timing of the child's birth and the trouble with the legitimacy parents marriage certificate thus preventing the mother from passing her citizenship down to the child as well. As Canada had a signed new nationality law in 2009 that limited citizenship by descent by one generation only the child happens to be child of a Canadian by descent or born outside of Canada. Formerly the citizenship can be transmitted down multiple generations however one big catch is that Canadian's of the second generation by descent would need to register to keep their nationality at age 28 or they will lose Canadian Nationality which can result in statelessness if they were born in a foreign Jus Sanguinis country. Therefore the new nationality law eliminated that risk however it prevents automatic citizenship more than one generation abroad.

Fortunately incidences of children being left stateless due to conflicting nationality laws are pretty rare. Most people however are not aware of the nationality legislation of their old country and the their new country which can affect the nationality status of their children. Therefore most country's embassies recommends all births abroad be registered in the nearest embassy this applies even those children who received the country of birth citizenship. Registering birth in the nearest embassy would answer the question of nationality claims the old country is to the child. It also reduces the confusion of the proof of family relationship of the child to the parent for authorities of the old country.  However many parents giving birth abroad might not be aware of this procedure. Some might not even know where the nearest embassy or consulate office is located. However it is really important for parents to do so as different countries have different requirements for those considered its nationals and some can be rather confusing and can cause problems if not settled first. For example children born abroad to Chinese Nationals who are not citizen residents of that country by the time of his birth would become be considered a Chinese national to chinese authorities even if the child receives foreign nationality at birth therefore the child would be subject to exit restrictions in China which can be tough as China requires exit permits and there is also a need to prove that the child can be admitted to the country he is traveling which involves a additional proof as the child has citizenship for  his "other" country would not have a visa for the country. Though children born after the parents becomes citizens or permanent residents of he other country and receives foreign nationality at birth would not be considered Chinese nationals in this case there would be issues of siblings with different status being treated differently by China when they have to reenter China for any reason.

Registering birth in many cases also gives the child proof of right of abode or right to land in the parents "parent" country as the child would easily be identified as a citizen or even if not a citizen a family member of one to reduce confusion if something did arise.  One thing to remember in the event one of the parents "parent" country is different from the other parent one might need to bring proof of relationship to the child such as the parent's marriage certificates. This is particularly true to prove relationship to the child's mother as the child would usually inherit the father's last name.

What many people don't know

As mentioned above virtually all countries in the world apply Jus Sangunis to its citizens. Though many people immigrating might not be aware of this issue. Most people would think the child would automatically inherit the nationality of the country in which he or she is born in but not the parents nationality. However the truth most would not know is that children of parents immigrating from most countries would inherit the nationality of their parents under Jus Sanguinis(Right of the blood) principle even if he or she is born in a Jus Soli(right of the land) country.  Inheriting nationality by descent often entitles the child right of abode(The right to reside without restrictions as well as seek employment, benefits, and to vote) in his or her parents original country.  Children born in Jus Soli countries by immigrant parents often but not always automatically become dual citizens by birth and are subject to the duties and benefit of citizenship in both countries. Therefore the children usually would not need visas or subject to immigration restrictions to enter, live, or work their parents country. To get documents proving citizenship entitlement to parent country the child would go to an embassy or consulate office to get their birth certificates registered.

Though there are times when Jus Sangunis can result in problems if it is left undiscovered. Some countries such has Poland requires all citizens to only use the country's issued travel documents to depart the country use of other country's documents are prohibited as they are considered exercising foreign citizenship which can carry penalities. The issue is what Poland considers as its "citizens" that would catch many off guard. Poland's Jus Sangunis nationality clause considers descendants of citizens to be considered as its citizens for unlimited generations unless the citizenship is voluntarily relinquished. That means if ones great grandfather has citizenship he is officially a citizen even though he may seem to have no known connections with Poland. If they enter Poland with a non Polish passport which they would usually do as they have no Polish documents they might face being detained and might face a fine or made to take the time consuming process of obtaining Polish travel documents before being allowed to exit the country. The situation is not just limited to Poland there are many countries in the world that require multi nationals enter and depart the using the passport of that country if they are a citizens of that country for example the US department of state requires US citizens who hold other passports to enter the US using US passports even though the US recognizes dual citizenship exists. Countries with similar rules and require dual/multi citizens to only use that country's travel documents to enter include Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, and many other countries in the world. For example a dual US Canadian citizen would need to represent himself to the Canadian border officers as Canadian citizen when entering Canada and to US border officers a US citizen when entering the US. Another situation to be aware of is that some countries such as the Republic of Korea requires men to undergo compulsory military service. There are stories those who never thought they would be considered Koreans and never held any Korean documentation that had received draft notices when they enter Korea or prevented from leaving the country. The culprit is that they have a Korean parent or sometimes grandparent and their somehow name gets registered in the Korean family registry known as Hoju (Hangul: 호주, Hanja: 戶主)   The good thing is most countries either abolished compulsory military service and replaced it with voluntary service and most of the ones that still practice compulsory draft nowadays usually exempt men who have proof they are living overseas longer than they live in within the country. However this still requires the person to go through a certain procedure to obtain this proof such as getting a stamp of exemption in their passports. Though this can be an issue for those who are born abroad and not realize that they might be considered citizens and be under the military service draft radar when they return to the country. Also many people mistakenly believe they can mask themselves using their other country's passport to enter and leave the country however there are increasingly nightmare incidents when those using their "other" passport had been booked for draft dodging. Countries with compulsory military service often require those who are subject to the draft to use the country's own passport to enter and depart the country to prove that they are permitted to leave the country and are not draft dodging.

While there are things to beware of that can feel like a hassle for those with children born in different countries knowing what ones rights are can be very beneficial in the long run. In the event the parents have to move back to old country with the children it would be easier for children to be proven they are entitled to live in the parents old country and partake in education or other benefits. Each countries nationality legislation is different so the best way to find out is to register the baby in the embassy to get to know what the child is entitled to and what are the needs to know such as entrance and exit requirements and military service. Also some countries like Japan requires children with dual nationality to choose what nationality one is to be when a person reach a certain age. Though the catch I heard the trick for Japan is that Japan would not know the persons other nationality as they have no jurisdiction over it if one chooses Japanese Nationality however the person should then be careful to only represent themselves as Japanese to the Japanese authorities as countries like Japan do not "recognize" dual nationality though it is important for one to choose otherwise the country would get to choose for the person.


In additions to the information I wrote above about these different scenarios regarding how new borns should be registered with birth certificate and parents marriage certificates. If you are headed to a country in which you have anyone with immediate family or blood linerage who are nationals of that country you should travel to the country's embassy or nearest consulate office in the country you are residing now to see if you have any military or other obligations to that country before you set off the enter the country. Most likely you would just find out you need to apply for a passport of that country instead of a visa which can save a lot of money and hassle in the long run.a

These contents are based on research of documents for informational purposes only. Affected individuals please do a reality check with the relevant authorities some affected individuals might need to consult a lawyer to seek legal advice about their situation.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The master Nationality law

Nationality laws are something that affect virtually all individuals living on this planet yet can be the  most misunderstood topic to the majority of the individuals. A person's citizenship or nationality can either be acquired by birth in such country or jus soli(Right of the land)though the practice is rare among countries, by being a descendent of someone who is a citizen of such country even if born in another country jus sanguinis(right of the heritage)(most countries run under this principal), going through the naturalization process of a given country, and/or in a few countries cases  marriage to a person with such citizenship or nationality.

While nationality laws can be rather straight forward to those who lived in their native countries and never emigrated it can be confusing to those whose families had emigrated to different places over the generation or in a few cases those who marry people from different countries.

What many are unaware of is that there is something under International treaties called The Master Nationality Rule. It is listed under Article 4 of The Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws of 1930.  In terms of practical effect, it means that when a citizen is in the country of one of his two or more nationalities, that country has the right to treat that person as if he or she were solely a citizen or national of that country. This includes the right to impose military service obligations, require the person to enter and or exit the country using the country's documentations, or to require an exit permit or other restrictions to leave the country. If any of the above is an issue there is little if anything the consulate of the person's other country of citizenship can do as the Master Nationality Rule states that "a State may not afford diplomatic protection to one of its nationals against a state whose nationality such person also possesses.The UK Home Office explains this rule as "the practical effect of this Article is that where a person is a national of, for example, two States (A and B), and is in the territory of State A, then State B has no right to claim that person as its national or to intervene on that person's behalf. 

The nationality rule can be an issue as a person might never know that he or she possess a said country's nationality as some countries Jus Sanguinis(right of heritage) clause in their nationality laws causes citizenship by descent to pass along for unlimited generations for descendents of citizens. One example is some one traveling from England or Canada might have no idea that their great grandpa somehow got Polish citizenship hundreds of years yet when if he or she enters Poland for any reason he might unexpectedly find himself be detained by Polish officials who would force them to complete certain procedures before allowing him to depart. According to free encyclopedias and US department of state website on the Internet Polish Nationality laws passes citizenship under the principal of Jus Sanguinis down an unlimited number of generations no matter where the "citizen" were born or lived unless one voluntarily apply for loss of nationality. This has caused problems for those who had even a great grandparent who got Polish citizenship. These people might not even know one of their ancestors had Polish citizenship. What happened is while the travelers may seem to have no known ties to Poland the Polish officials might somehow still find out that they are citizens when they enter the country and there had been many cases in which that they are detained or not permitted to depart with the passport of another country they carried in and have to obtain Polish passports in order to be permitted exit the country as Polish nationals are not permitted to exercise foreign citizenship which according to the Polish government includes using a non Polish passport to exit the country. This does not just happen in Poland there are other countries that do the same thing and visitors are often caught off guard. The worst "procedure" for exiting the country would be having to complete compulsory military service if military service happens to be mandatory for citizens of such country, fortunately this is rare nowadays as many countries either made military service all volunteer or for countries that still practice compulsory military service they often will exempt nationals that live overseas who only return for short amounts of time. There has also been cases when young men visiting, studying, or working under work visa in the Republic of Korea got a nasty surprise of getting a draft notice for compulsary military service even though they never thought they could be considered Korean. The culprit is that they had a grandparent who might have obtained Korean Nationality in one way or another and or had somehow got his or her name registered into the Hoju or what is known as Korean Family Census registry.  With Japanese colonization in the past there must be plenty of Japanese citizens who might be faced with this issue. Some resources also state up to thousands of US citizens had been caught with the nasty surprise of being drafted to the Korean army in recent years which might means the last ten years or so these include but not limited to those who were born to US military fathers and Korean mothers or descendents of those born with such status as the US has a military base presence in Korea.
Nationality laws, therefore, can be a blessing or a curse. It is not all bad however some people actually have advantage due to automatically operation of nationality laws granting citizenship and opportunities that help them fulfill their dreams. There are plenty of people that don't know what they are entitled to without much further action than to go to the embassy with birth certificate and proof of relationship to a parent and obtain the documents necessary to exercise the privileges of citizenship of that country. For example a person who grow up in a country that have very little visa waiver treaties and great difficulty traveling or applying for immigration in other countries might be in luck if he is automatically entitled to citizenship by descent off a parent or grandparent who happens to be a citizen of a country that have a long list of visa free access for citizens such as one in the European Union which also allows citizens right to live and work in other union member countries. Though it is  important that before one travels to a country for any purpose they should check to see if they happen to be considered a citizen, national, or resident of the country even if they had never set foot in the country or know to have any ties to it. If one have a parent or grandparent who may have such status it is best to contact the embassy of such country to see if they have any thing to beware of such as needing to obtain proper travel documents and in some countries for males whether there are compulsory military service issues which usually for those living out of the country can be exempted for males with document proof of living overseas.Whatever you do just don't have the belief that just because you use another country's passport to enter a country that recognize you as its citizen or national that country would not recognize you and will cut you slack. Remember this is particularly true for countries that you had residence or domicile in the past.

The contents of this page are for informational purposes only. Please contact the relevant authorities if you are an affected individual which most people are.