The first batch of 500,000 passports with a new design is ready for distribution from Monday, and foreign governments, airlines and government agencies have been notified about the change, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
The new cover design, announced on Sept. 2, highlights the word “Taiwan,” while retaining “Republic of China” in Chinese and in small English print around the national emblem.
Preparations for the rollout are complete, with 500,000 passports ready for distribution, Bureau of Consular Affairs Director-General Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) told a regular news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Su Chin-feng, Taipei Times
Those who apply on the first day at the bureau in Taipei or a ministry office elsewhere in the country would receive either a luggage tag or a Lunar New Year couplet, Yeh said.
Anyone who applies before noon would have a chance to be issued one of the first 100 copies, she said, adding that the ministry would hold a raffle to determine the winners that afternoon and announce the results on the ministry and bureau Web sites.
To ensure that holders of the new passport do not run into any issues, the ministry has informed foreign governments, customs and immigration authorities, the International Air Transport Association, airlines and other groups of the change, she said.
People can apply for the new passport no matter where they are or when their current passport expires, she said.
Application requirements and fees remain the same, with a NT$1,300 fee for applicants aged 14 or older and NT$900 for children under 14, she said.
However, the application process has been further simplified to allow for online registration and eliminating the need for copies, Yeh said.
Applicants only need to fill out a short form and bring it to a service counter, where staff would photocopy their identification card directly onto the form, she said.
The bureau on Monday launched a pilot version on its Web site and plans to soon extend the change to all offices, Yeh said.
In anticipation of more online appointments, the bureau has dedicated two additional service counters for such applicants, while other offices are also considering adding more, she said.
Passport applications were down last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, totaling only 370,000 compared with an average of 1.7 million in previous years, she said.
This means that about 1.3 million passports have expired or are set to expire in less than a year, Yeh said.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
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