Taiwanese Woman Opts For "Stateless" Rather Than "Chinese" On Icelandic Residence Permit - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Taiwanese Woman Opts For “Stateless” Rather Than “Chinese” On Icelandic Residence Permit

Published November 23, 2016

Photos by
Lee Wan-chien

As the Directorate of Immigration refused to recognise a woman’s nationality as “Taiwanese”, she ultimately convinced them to list her as “Stateless” rather than “Chinese”.

Shanghaiist reports that Lee Wan-chien, a 23-year-old Taiwanese woman living in Iceland for a six-month student exchange programme, has spent the past three months of this time trying to get her residence permit to list her nationality as Taiwanese. Posting about the matter in the Facebook group “Taiwanese in Europe”, the process has been anything but simple.

After repeating written requests to the Directorate of Immigration to change her listed nationality from Chinese to Taiwanese, without any response, she arrived at the offices in person. There, she was told that as Iceland does not recognise Taiwan as its own country, she could not have a permit listing her nationality as Taiwanese.

She came back a second time, and another official suggested that one work-around would be to register as “Stateless”.

Strangely enough, the Taipei Representative Office in Denmark told her that in fact Icelandic authorities have been issuing residence permits with “Taiwanese” as a possible nationality since last year. Nonetheless, “stateless” is now her official designation in Iceland.

“At that moment, I really didn’t know whether to cry or be happy,” she posted. “But, this means that I was halfway successful. At least ‘stateless’ means they agree with me that ‘Taiwan is not a part of China.’”

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