I’m not saying that Taiwan’s immigration process is unnecessarily difficult, but it is.
In Taiwan’s defense, I’m sure most countries make it pretty difficult to become a resident. I’ve heard pretty rotten things about the United States’ process, which at some point involves recitation of everything we learn in civics in fifth and eighth grade. Colin and I had to look a few of answers up, but I’m sure we would be able to get the 60 percent required to pass. Not for Taiwan, though.
I’m of course not applying for citizenship of Taiwan, just alien residency. Last Monday I went, health certificate in hand, only to be turned away after being told they could deny my application without telling me why and without giving me a refund of the ~US$150 processing fee. Gives you that warm fuzzy red-tape feeling.
The rest of the morning was spent trying to contact everyone I know in Taipei so they could be my reference in Taiwan (thanks, Andy!). I also needed a study plan and a financial statement proving I had a minimum of US$2,000 in some account I could access from Taiwan.
Tuesday morning I returned, but alas, hit another snag. The woman helping me was perplexed that my December bank statement didn’t show anywhere on it the number on my debit card or any number on the receipt I had just taken from an ATM. Also a point of confusion was why one was in USD and the other in NTD. And why doesn’t this receipt show your account balance?
“How do you know this money is still in your account?” Ready to sass back, I remembered Lali and Megan commenting that Mandarin doesn’t allow for much sarcasm, and that the man assisting us was probably being sincere.
“You should go to your bank.” Really not an option right now…
Ultimately, they decided I needed a more current statement. December 22, less than 30 days from the day, wasn’t recent enough. Fine, you want an unofficial print out of my transaction history that no other official organization would accept? You got it. See you tomorrow.
But then Colin and Pascal convinced me getting this settled Tuesday was more important than class (running out of days on my visa—and it’s so unlike me to leave things to the last minute), and I skipped the first two hours to finally have the Bureau of Consular Affairs to accept my paperwork. I pick it up this Thursday; fingers crossed everything is A-OK.