Applications for Citizen Digital Certificates (自然人憑證) were opened to foreign residents for the first time yesterday, paving the way for foreigners to apply for a range of government services online rather than in person.
More than 5 million cards have been issued since 2003, but foreign residents were previously barred from applying.
“Today we are opening applications to allow foreign residents to apply,” National Immigration Agency (NIA) information department head Shih Ming-te (施明德) said. “Foreigners will be able to immediately use the card to apply for entry and exit documents, with other functions to be added gradually.”
The National Health Insurance Administration and the Bureau of Labor Insurance are in the process of updating their systems to allow foreign residents to use the cards to look up information filed with the government, Shih said.
There are also plans to allow foreign university professors to use the cards to submit applications to apply for government subsidies, he said.
The additional functions are scheduled to come online by the end of June, he said.
“People care most about paying taxes, but it is already too late this year,” he said, adding that foreign residents should be able to use the cards to pay taxes starting next year.
Shih said the NIA would consider whether to integrate the card’s functions into a new generation of Alien Resident Cards (ARC) after the introduction of the new national ID card with integrated functions next year.
Foreign holders of ARCs embedded with advanced anti-forgery microchips can apply for the citizen digital certificates at NIA offices. Holders of short-term, temporary paper ARCs are excluded.