The National Development Council (NDC) has for years past been coordinating a solution to the problem of inconsistency between the numbering of Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs) and the numbering of citizens’ ID cards. Now, at last, this problem will be solved with the introduction of a new uniform identity number (UI No.) format for foreign nationals, consistent with the format of national ID cards, marking a new milestone in creating a friendly environment for foreign nationals in Taiwan. The Ministry of the Interior’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) will start to issue the new UI No.’s from today – January 2, 2021 – and Taiwan’s foreign residents will in the future be able to use the new numbers to smoothly conduct all kinds of daily transactions such as booking public transport tickets, shopping online, and applying for certifications.
Taiwan’s foreign residents and organizations representing them, including AmCham and the ECCT, have long expressed concern at the inconveniences caused by the inconsistency between ARC and ID card numbers. To better serve the lives of foreign nationals in Taiwan, the NDC set about actively pursuing a solution to this problem. As the first step, it requested the NIA to set up a platform for solving the various problems encountered in using ARCs, to identify these problems (such as booking tickets for public transport, buying things online, and using digital kiosks in convenience stores), and to press all major platforms to enable access with ARCs.
Furthermore, in the past foreign nationals were frequently required to provide double identification to utilize services such as opening a bank account or applying for a mobile phone contract. To make ARCs better recognized and more widely accepted (without requiring presentation of a passport), the NDC requested the NIA and related agencies to amend relevant regulations to prescribe that ARCs and APRCs be deemed equivalent to passports for proof of identity. By enabling ARCs and APRCs to be used together with another sufficiently identifying document – such as passport, driver’s license or NHI card – for transacting matters requiring double ID, this substantially reduced the difficulties faced by foreign residents in everyday life.
The aforementioned initiatives have already made life more convenient for foreign nationals in Taiwan, but have not fundamentally solved the difficulties stemming from the different UI No. formats. With the aim of enabling foreign nationals to integrate into life in Taiwan and consider this land as their second home, the NDC has over the past two years coordinated a number of meetings with other government agencies to pursue making the ARC/APRC format consistent with the national ID card format. After conducting numerous meetings and discussions, helping to secure funding, and asking private organizations to evaluate planning and scheduling, this much anticipated change has at last come to realization.
The new UI No. is consistent with the national ID number. The initial English letter, the area code, remains unchanged. The second English letter of the old format is replaced by a number 8 or 9, indicating gender. The eight digits that follow are the identity code and serial number. This change of numbering format will surely make living in Taiwan more convenient for our foreign friends. (See attachment for related information.)
In the future, the NDC will continue promoting policies for a foreigner-friendly environment, such as the bilingual nation policy and the active recruitment and retention of foreign talent. We hope that, by giving foreign friends a stronger sense of belonging in Taiwan, we can make our country a gathering hub for global talent.
Contact person: Lin Gyh-mei, Director of the Department of Human Resources, NDC
Office phone: (02)2316-5379