Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chinese Lamb Restaurant



This is a very tasty and inexpensive Chinese restaurant. Their specialty is a spicy lamb dish served with either noodles or rice. They have indoor and outdoor seating.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Taoyuan County


Apparently there is more to Taoyuan than the airport and betel nut girls. I haven't been here, but it certainly looks nice in the pictures.

It’s on the edge of a resevoir in DaXi township (大溪鎮), TaoYuan

http://www.lakesidecoffee.com/Page1.html

Monday, May 07, 2007

Japanese Hot Pot


This is a Japanese hot pot, sushi, and seafood restaurant. They keep bringing food until you are ready to burst, but it tastes so good you want to keep eating. The cost for dinner is NTD 500. The price includes coke and sprite, but beer costs extra. Taiwan Beer is available for NTD 80 per bottle.

Located in the same building as The Living Room and across the hallway from the Brazilian BBQ Restaurant.

Marriage in Taiwan

In order to be married in Taiwan and added to your spouse's household registry you will need documentation from your home country that you are eligible to marry (not currently married).

This will vary by country. The process is very straight forward for Americans, since the US does not keep a central marriage registry. All that is required is a notarized sworn statement that you are eligible to marry. AIT can notarize this for you. For looking at your passport and stamping a document they charge USD $30, but you get a discount if they notarize a second document at the same time (this includes notarizing a duplicate document, which may or may not be required depending on who you ask). They have a sample Affidavit Regarding Marital Status document on their website. You will need to make an appointment online in order to have the affidavit notarized.

Now take this to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be authenticated.

Once you have your documents in order, you need to bring them to the Taiwanese courthouse where you will apply to be married, and set a date for the courthouse wedding ceremony. You can get official English language translations of the marriage certificate, which is a good idea, as you never know when you will need it, and it is not expensive.

After the wedding, you will need to go to a different office to register with your spouse on the household registry. If you are applying for a JFRV, make sure to get 2 notarized copies.

Applying for a JFRV (Joining Family Resident Visa):

Why apply for a JFRV:
With a valid JFRV ARC you are exempt from work permits under the Employment Services Act, Article 48, Paragraph 1. You can also have up to 3 years before renewal is required. Your ARC will now be tied to marriage, not your job, and for most people that will be a more stable and secure situation.

I was married in Taiwan and already had an ARC through work when I applied. I have heard of some people being required to leave Taiwan for this. I assume that they entered with a visitor's visa. This is what was required of me:

1. Criminal record clearance from home country/state. This was the only document which I needed to have sent from the US. This step will be different for everyone based on their citizenship. Since this document comes from abroad, and documents are only valid for 3 months, you are advised to get this first, before you go for your health check.

If you are a US citizen, it is probably easiest to receive clearance from your home state, but you can also check with the FBI. I chose Minnesota as it was the last state I had residence in. Be sure to request that this document is notarized, or it will not be accepted by the TECO office. After you have received this document, you must send it to a TECO office for authentication. This must be done at the TECO office which services the area where the document was issued.

I applied for this clearance from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The cost is USD 8.00 and may be paid by check or money order. Make payable to BCA. You must also enclose a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Elephant). Be sure to request that this document is notarized. Mail your request to:
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Criminal Justice Information Systems - CHA
1430 Maryland Ave. E.
St. Paul, MN 55106

Minnesota is served by the TECO office in Chicago. You need to include US$15, return postage, a copy of your passport, and the notarized document to be authenticated.
Address: Two Prudential Plaza, 57th & 58th Floor , 180 North Stetson Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
TEL: (312) 616-0100

When you receive this, it must be authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is also where you will apply for your JFRV once all of your paperwork is in order.

2. Health Check

3. Household registry (in Taiwan) with your name and spouse's name. Your spouse can help you with this. The cost is minimal. If you are registering for the first time bring your marriage certificate and passport. You will need 2 original documents.

4. Wedding Certificate, if married outside of Taiwan you will probably need to go through the authentication process . If you were married in Taiwan, your wedding certificate does not need to be authenticated.

5. Documentation that you have registered your marriage in your home country. If your country does not have a central marriage registry you will need a document from your pseudo embassy. Americans will need to waste a few hours of their time and USD 30 (approx. NTD 1000), by going to AIT and receiving a notarized Affidavit of Marriage in Taiwan. You must make an appointment. This can be done online. The document can also be downloaded from their website.

6. Go to MOFA with all of your documents. Fill out the visa application, take a number at the visa counter. In addition to all of the original documents, you should have your passport, your spouse's Taiwan national ID card, and your ARC (if you already have one). You will need at least 2 photos. A photo copier is available, but if you want to be prepared, have copies of all documents and IDs.

7. Return to MOFA at the appointed date to pick up your passport with your new residence visa. This will be 10 days after you applied.

8. Now go to the branch of the National Immigration Agency that services your area of residence. Bring your passport, spouse's Taiwan national ID card, photos, household registry, your existing ARC (if you have one), all of the other documents that MOFA required just in case they ask for them, and finally you may need to have your spouse present. My spouse was not present, but I did have her ID card. The cost was NTD 1000. This is per year of validity. I was only given one year, but I understand that renewal is a simple process of bringing an updated household registry. You will have to wait 2 weeks for your ARC card to be processed. My spouse was able to pick up the card for me, with my receipt and passport.

Here is an overview of the estimated costs:
  • Criminal History Check: USD 8.00 (This depends on the issuing authority.)
  • Criminal History Check Authentication by TECO Chicago: USD 15
  • Criminal History Check Authentication by MOFA Taipei: NTD 400
  • Affidavit of Recognition of Marriage in Taiwan at AIT: USD 30 (NTD 1000) For citizens of other nations, the cost will depend on the issuing authority.
  • Health Check at Renai Hospital NTD 1000
  • Visa Application Fee at MOFA Taipei: NTD 5100 (This cost may vary depending on your nationality due to reciprocal visa fees.)
  • Household Registry in Taiwan: cheap (make sure to get 2 originals)
  • Marriage Certificate: Received when married, cost unknown
  • ARC processing fee: minimum NTD 1000
  • Misc. fees: Taxis, postage, unpaid leave from work, etc.

JB's Bar and Restaurant

JB’s Bar and Restaurant
148 Shida Rd., Taipei (北市師大路148號)
02 2364 8222

They have a nice selection of beers including a locally made microbrew. They have a menu with pub food featuring some British favourties such as Bangers and Mash. The downstairs is non-smoking but is always deserted. The smokey upstairs has a bar and a projection TV. They are located just down the street from the Taipower Building MRT Station Exit 4.

Taxes


If you've planned ahead then you have spent at least 183 days in Taiwan last year, so you know you will be getting a refund, because those first 6 months you are taxed at 20%. After reaching the the magic number, you qualify for a lower tax rate including a refund on the extra tax you paid in. For information on tax brackets check out Tealit or check out the Tax Administration's Official Site.

Where you file your taxes depends on where you live (or where your ARC says you live). Attached is a list of tax offices.

For Taipei City Residents, Taipei's Main Tax office is located within walking distance of the Ximen MRT Station at Zhonghua Rd. Sec. 1, No. 2 / 台北市中華路1段2號 on the corner of Zhongxiao W. Rd. The nearest MRT station is Ximen Station.

Foreigner's service is located on the first floor on the left hand side. Be sure to bring your passport, ARC, tax statements, and bank book for direct deposit or a mailing address for notice by mail that your refund is ready.

For Xindian (Taipei County) Residents the tax office is across the street from Carrefour on Baoqiao Rd. The nearest MRT station is Qizhang Station. Foreigners need to go to the second floor.

Be sure to bring your passport, ARC, tax statements, and bank book for direct deposit or a mailing address for notice by mail that your refund is ready.