Indonesian man legal resident after 2 decades


TAIPEI — A former Indonesian national who has lived in Taiwan without any form of identification for over two decades was given a resident certificate yesterday, allowing him to register his marriage to a Taiwanese woman.

The National Immigration Agency issued a resident permit to the Chinese Indonesian man surnamed Cheng, who came to Taiwan on a tourist visa 23 years ago but did not return to his country and never extended or renewed his visa.

His visa status did not become a problem until 2000, when he fell in love with a Taiwanese woman he wanted to marry. They were unable to legally register their marriage, however, because of Cheng’s unresolved status.

To sort out the problem, Cheng reported to the immigration agency’s Specialized Operation Corp. in Hsinchu to get permission to return to Indonesia to renew his visa for Taiwan.

But he soon found out his Indonesian citizenship had been automatically revoked, because he had been abroad for more than 20 years without returning to his country, according to the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei, the country’s de-facto embassy in Taiwan.

This left him without any nationality. Immigration authorities treated him as a dependent and finally granted him legal residency after confirming his relationship with his daughter, who was born in Taiwan in 2006.

Cheng said the first thing he wanted to do after being granted residence was to register his marriage because he had long felt he had let down his partner by not being able to legalize their union.