Ministry agrees to reduce passport fee by NT$300

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Page 3

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday agreed to lower passport application fees by NT$300, effective next year, after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers threatened to hold off reviews of the ministry’s budget for next year.

Currently, the fee for an ordinary 10-year e-passport is NT$1,600 for applications made within the country.

However, for young male applicants — those who have turned 14 and applied for an e-passport before Dec. 31 of the year they turn 15, as well as those who applied for an e-passport after Jan. 1 of the year they turn 16 — the fee is NT$1,200 because they are obligated to serve in the army and may be issued a passport with a shorter validity period.

The new, lower fee will take effect on Jan. 1 if the ministry’s budget is approved by the legislature before the end of the year.

A group of DPP lawmakers led by Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) proposed the fee cut, saying it only costs NT$473 to produce a passport.

Kuan initially proposed that the fee be halved two weeks ago when she first raised the issue.

The ministry yesterday presented a breakdown of the costs for producing a passport at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. It said that including expenses for design, manufacturing, personnel and software maintenance, the cost would be NT$1,603.47 per passport.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said the passport fee was not exorbitant and that it was relatively low compared with other major countries.

DPP lawmakers proposed delaying a review of the ministry’s budget until it agreed to adjust passport fees, forcing the ministry to come to terms with a fee cut.