A little while back my son was born and I have some advice for parents in Taiwan. Considering that I’ve been a parent for less than six weeks you might wonder what credentials I have for giving out advice. The reason is that me and my wife messed up right at the beginning and I really wish someone given us this very piece of advice.

If you are a foreigner and you or your partner is going to give birth in Taiwan, chances are high you are going to apply for some kind of paperwork in your home country such as registering your child with the authorities or applying for a passport for your child. To do this you will almost certainly need a birth certificate in English with the child’s full English (or other language) name on it. By far the easiest way to get one is to apply for it while you are still in the hospital, because once the mother and the child are out of the hospital it becomes a lot harder to get. This means two things: first, you must decide on a name for your child which can understandably be difficult, you might want to see the child before you decide. Second you must remember to bring both your and your partners passport to the hospital. The hospital administration staff can then help you get the English birth certificate, with the correct name, using the passports for the two parents as the only supporting documents.

For whatever reason, once mother and baby are out from the hospital, the hospital staff will require a lot more supporting documentation in order to give you the birth certificate. We found that if you want an English name rather than a transliteration of the Chinese name on the birth certificate you end up in a kind of Catch 22 situation where you need certain support documents to get the birth certificate, but you need the birth certificate to get those support documents. We managed to find a sort of workaround but that’s already a lot more complicated and really not ideal so I can’t recommend it. Just get it done while still in the hospital and save yourself a lot of trouble.