Taiwanese who do not have a passport or whose passport is invalid will be able to have it renewed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as long as they have paid their flight tickets and their flight takes off within 12 hours, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.
The announcement came in the wake of an incident in which Vice President Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) daughter was able to get her son’s passport renewed just before boarding a flight on Friday last week. Since the incident, the ministry has received an increasing number of complaints as netizens recounted their experiences of being sent to the Bureau of Council Affairs in Taipei to renew their passport after they discovered at the airport that their passport was invalid.
Some criticized what they said was the special privilege with which Wu’s grandson was able to get a new passport in just an hour’s time.
The ministry has said that the service has long been available to the general public, but that the service was usually only extended to people who needed to go abroad to help their family members in an emergency.
Wu’s daughter left for Palau for a family vacation.
Due to the limited resources at the ministry’s Emergency Contact Centers at the airport, passengers might not get their passports renewed before scheduled departure time if too many people need the service at the same time.
The two Emergency Contact Centers at the airport are staffed by four people, who have to deal with other services — mainly calls through a 24-hour help line for Taiwanese who encounter emergency situations — and only have one passport printing machine, the ministry said, urging people to check their passports before leaving for a trip to ensure that they were valid for at least another six months.