California, US

May 30 2019

Same-Sex Spouses from 26 Countries Granted Dependent Status


At a Glance

  • Effective immediately, the same-sex spouse of a Work Permit holder may apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate that will allow them to stay in Taiwan, provided both spouses come from a list of 26 countries that recognize same-sex marriage.
  • A Taiwanese national in a same-sex marriage with a foreign national may also apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate for the foreign spouse provided the latter is a national of one of the 26 countries.

The situation

Same-sex spouses may now apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) in Taiwan if they come from a list of 26 countries that recognize same-sex marriage, and are married to a Taiwanese national or to a Work Permit holder who also comes from any of the countries in the list.

A closer look

  • Countries included in the list. The 26 countries recognized by Taiwan authorities for this purpose include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, part of Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, part of the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. Like Taiwan, these countries recognize same-sex marriage among their citizens. Taiwan does not currently recognize alternative forms of same-sex civil unions that are offered in countries other than the 26 on this list.

  • Eligibility requirements. To be eligible, these requirements must be met by the following categories of same-sex spouses:
    • Same-sex foreign spouse married to a Taiwanese national. The foreign spouse must be a national of one of the 26 countries in the list. He or she and the Taiwanese national should be married in the foreign national's country of nationality and have their marriage registered in Taiwan prior to applying for a dependent ARC sponsored by the Taiwanese spouse.
    • Same-sex foreign spouse married to a Work Permit holder.  (1) Both foreign spouses must be nationals of one of the 26 recognized countries; (2) their marriage must have occurred in one of the spouse's country of nationality; and (3) the marriage must be registered in the other spouse's country of nationality, which again, must be one of the 26 on the list. The Work Permit holder can apply for a dependent ARC for his or her spouse.
  • Dependent benefits. These benefits are granted to the same-sex spouse:
    • Right to stay. Same-sex spouses of Taiwanese nationals are granted the right to stay in Taiwan. Same-sex spouses of Work Permit holders are granted a period of stay that runs concurrent to the validity of their spouse’s Work Permit.
    • Right to work. Same-sex spouses of Taiwanese nationals are granted full work rights in Taiwan, with no restrictions. They do not need to obtain a separate Work Permit. Same-sex spouses of Work Permit holders may only work after they have obtained a Work Permit. They must be paid a minimum salary of NTD 200 (approximately USD 7) per hour and the duration of the Work Permit cannot exceed the validity of their spouse’s Work Permit. They do, however, benefit from the reduced minimum salary requirements and relaxed employer eligibility requirements granted to dependent spouses.


This change will benefit eligible same-sex spouses and grant them rights to stay in Taiwan in dependent status. This can result in a cost and time savings for both the company and the foreign employee. Prior to this, same-sex spouses needed to apply for a separate Work Permit or Student Visa on their own in order to work and reside in Taiwan.

However, same-sex foreign spouses who come from countries outside the list of 26 recognized countries are currently not covered by the new rules and are not able to apply for dependent status.


On May 17, 2019, the Taiwanese legislature legalized same-sex marriage. Taiwan is the first nation in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage. The history of the law is as follows:

Looking ahead

Fragomen is still seeking clarification from the judicial branch and other government entities about other scenarios, such as where a national of a country that does not recognize same-sex marriage marries a national of one of the 26 countries on the prescribed list.

Despite the recent changes in Hong Kong and Taiwan, other parts of Asia still remain conservative in their views with regard to same-sex marriage. Rules governing marriages or civil unions are often entrenched in countries’ constitutions or other laws and can be hard to change. Religion also plays a big part, especially in Muslim-majority countries. In April, for example, Brunei passed a law making gay sex punishable by death. However, there are also indications of greater awareness and acceptance by some governments of same-sex unions which may mean that related changes in immigration policies may be ahead.

Fragomen will issue further alerts on these topics once the information has been confirmed.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].