State Department Emphasizes “Taiwan” As Correct Name In U.S. Passports And Certificates Of Birth — “ROC”, “PRC” Or “Taiwan, China” Not Allowed

For Immediate Release
Washington DC – September 8, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686

State Department Emphasizes “Taiwan” As Correct Name In U.S. Passports And Certificates Of Birth —– “ROC”, “PRC” Or “Taiwan, China” Not Allowed

In December 2006, a FAPA member in Portland, Oregon who was born in Taiwan applied for US citizenship. During the interview with immigration officials that took place prior to him receiving his Naturalization Certificate, a Portland immigration officer told our member that he needed to change his “Country of Former Nationality” which he had filled out as “Taiwan” to “People’s Republic of China.”

Today, our member is a Taiwanese American citizen. His Certificate of Naturalization though lists as his country of Former Nationality “People’s Republic of China.” (Mind you: NOT “China” but “People’s Republic of China!”)

Upon further investigation, FAPA HQ found out that there have been several instances in which Taiwanese Americans whose place of birth in their naturalization certificates or passports was arbitrarily altered by the Department of Homeland Security to “People’s Republic of China” or “Taiwan, China.”

FAPA HQ therefore contacted the State Department and urged them to look into this matter. The State Department confirmed to us that US policy derives from regulations in Volume 7 of the Foreign Affairs Manual, Appendix D, on Place of Birth in Passports (which is available on the Internet, at:

The US State Department confirmed to FAPA that it is US policy that the US uses “Taiwan” as place of birth for people from Taiwan in official documents such as US passports and naturalization certificates, reports of birth, reports of marriage and reports of death.

The policy specifically states (Appendix D(6)(f)) that such documents may not be issued showing the place of birth as “Taiwan, China”, “Taiwan, Republic of China” or “Taiwan ROC”.

Official documents may — at an applicant’s discretion — also be issued showing only a city (e.g. Taitung) or “China” as the place of birth, marriage, death, etc., provided it is in agreement with the applicant’s proof of birth documentation.

FAPA urges all Taiwanese American whose place of birth in their official documents such as their “Certificate of Naturalization” is incorrectly listed as “People’s Republic of China” or “Republic of China” or “China”  to immediately contact their local Passport Office and ask the office to make the change quickly and proudly to “Taiwan.”

Photo Credit: Damian Bariexca (Flickr)