February 4th 2005

So I went out to apply for a resident visa today…finally, the law upgrades me from a foreign visitor to a foreign resident as long as I pay my tuition and keep on paying it every three months (…which means that nothing changes). So I thought I would have the paper and office work done, paid my tuition, got my school registration certificate, filled out the application form, attached two passport pictures (…I made two dozens of it before I went to Taiwan, since you can’t have enough of them), took my passport, took 2200NT in cash and went to the Bureau of Consular Affairs. So far, so good.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is a large office with 40 or more counters, from which the half seems only to be for issuing passports for Taiwanese citizens…I guess they are waiting for the day they can issue 1.3 billion new passports, otherwise I cannot explain that number 😉 However, the place looks more like a Turkish bazaar than a government organization. I had to think of „The Terminal“. What will happen if my home country breaks down at the day I go there and apply for a resident visa? Would the policeman (yes, they have policeman standing next to the counters) arrest me or would I also have to live there like Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) at the airport? And could I decide to live at the airport and not there, please?

Probably I wouldn’t write about this if everything went well, but it didn’t. They told me that they also need a document which proves my financial solvency. I didn’t have one so I could go back home with nothing. Ok, stupid me, next time take a closer look to the rules…but the question is: whose rules? Taking a look at the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs they write about „other documents“ which may be needed, as far as I know I also could sign a sheet of toilet-paper and declare it as(s) a document. Taking a look at my students manual they write about the prove of solvency.

The result is: Don’t trust the official authorities website. Okay, so you might think this is not a big deal, however I think it’s important. If they want a prove of financial solvency they should write it and not generalize it to „other documents“. If I have other information (…my students manual) or not, I think there is a lack of authenticity if they don’t give you the RIGHT information in what exactly you have to do…so whoever wrote the information on the visa part at www.boca.gov.tw…guy, very lousy job!!

So I have to try again tomorrow, although the website tells me that they don’t open on Saturday’s but they told me I can come back in the morning. Another top-rocking event in my career as a foreigner in Taiwan. Hopefully I will find out what a valid document looks like (….no, I won’t take my signed toilet-paper with me, although….). They suggested a bank statement, I would suggest the same if the next printer of my bank wouldn’t be 6000 miles away, hello? A definition of „foreigner“ could be „not a resident“, which includes „not having a local bank account“, coz opening a bank account requires to have an ARC, getting an ARC requires to have a RESIDENT VISA for which I just try to apply for……

Ok, another idea. Asking them about a print of my financial stats I can access online they said it would be ok…..so what???? Sorry, coincidentally I was a bank official for three years and I can tell you that THIS never was and never will be a valid document, even the toilet paper would be better, however, they wanna accept it, so I will look forward to it tomorrow.

The whole thing is: it makes no sense, it makes absolutely no sense. Or would I register for another three months at the university without having the money to buy my next dinner? Probably they just wanna make sure I’ll be able to pay the application fee. 3000NT for printing a paper! I would suggest to invest this money in a better, more detailed website, i.e. a better webmaster…what about me, for example? Maybe I can do it when I move to my home at the Bureau of Consular Affairs 😉


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