Every Taiwanese has a National ID Card 身分證 with its own unique number, not unlike a Social Security number in the US. The difference is that every legal permanent resident in the US also has a Social Security number, but foreigners living legally in Taiwan are given a different number. Instead of a National ID Card number we are given an Alien Resident Certificate 居留證 number.
This wouldn’t be a problem, except that a large number of Taiwan’s online services require a National ID Card number in order to use the site, and offer no alternative for resident aliens. Foreigners are essentially banned from using such sites. Some sites, like the National Railway Administration allow you to use your passport number, but only if you use a crappy English language alternative website.
I am going to use this post to slowly compile a list of such websites. If you encounter a Taiwanese website which is not foreigner friendly, please post it to the comments and please make clear whether the site offers an inferior English language only website (English only) or bans foreigners from registering altogether (foreigners not allowed).
- National Railway Administration — English only.
- Ruten (Taiwanese eBay) — Foreigners not allowed.
- PC Home Shopping — Foreigners not allowed.
- Books.com.tw — Can only register with passport # using a non-Taiwan address, but can change later.
- Taipei Medical University Hospital — Can only register with a Taiwanese ID Card number or existing patient number, so first time patients must go to the Hospital.
- Hola — Foreigners not allowed.
- EZfly — Foreigners can register with a passport number, but when you checkout it will give you an error message unless you clear the autofill and leave the ID number field blank.
This is just a start, please help add more sites. Eventually we may need additional categories, like sites which only work with Chinese Windows, or sites which don’t allow you to enter non-Chinese names, etc. but I’m keeping it simple for now.