It is a crazy undertaking: Driving with cars through all streets of the world, taking photographs and putting them on the Internet.
Since a few days, Google Street View covers most of Taiwan, so enjoy:
The apartment building we are living in
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The company I work for
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Our favorite breakfast place
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Germany (my native country) isn’t on Google Street View yet. Google is already taking pictures, but there are some issues with stricter German privacy laws which need to get resolved.
My wife recently received her “Alien permanent resident card” (APRC) for Taiwan, which is pretty much the same as a green-card for the USA. Compared to a standard “Alien residence card” (ARC), it is unlimited in time and independent of employment or family relationship. For us this is kind of an insurance: If anything would happen to my employment, we still have legal right to stay in Taiwan.
Condition to get an APRC is a 5 year continuous residency in Taiwan, an income of twice the Taiwan average (which is not too much) and a clean criminal record. The main challenge is to get all the documents to prove this. Here is what you need:
- A criminal record from your home-country (in Germany it is called “Polizeiliches Führungszeugnis”). This needs to be translated into Chinese and the original document as well as the Chinese translation have to be certified by the Taipei institute (similar to embassy for “normal” countries) in your home-country. At least in Germany, the people at the Taipei Institute are quite helpful, they gave me even a sample of the Chinese translation. If you pay the postage, they send the document right away to your address in Taiwan.
- A criminal record of Taiwan (良民證). You have to apply this in person at a large police station. We went to the Taoyuan County police (桃園市縣府路1號) – you need to fill out a form, show your passport and they also send the document to your home.
- Two documents from the tax authorities. The first document is a proof of yearly tax payment. The second document is a daily list of all payments done (e. g. by your employer) to the tax office.
- A health certificate. The large hospitals offer special health examinations for foreign workers. Purpose is to prevent that you spread infectious diseases over Taiwan. So it includes an HIV-test, a stool-test for parasites as well a chest X-ray (for TBC).
- A proof of income. For my wife, her employer took care and certified the income.
- Fee: 10.000 NT$
The main challenge is to get all the documents in one time. For example, the Taiwan criminal record is only valid for one month. Best strategy is to get all documents from abroad and once they arrived to apply for the Taiwan documents (which you can get quite fast).
I hope this gives you an idea in case you have similar plans. There is one catch: The APRC becomes invalid if you are in a given calendar year less then 180 days in Taiwan. It is possible to apply for an exception of this rule, but I have no idea what the conditions are.