Starting on July 1, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) will issue a new edition of the international driving permit that highlights the word “Taiwan” on the cover.
The highway authority redesigned the cover of the permit after complaints from Taiwanese tourists that they were often mistaken for Chinese when driving overseas.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chu-yin (林楚茵) told a news conference on May 7 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since last year issued a new passport highlighting “Taiwan” and there is no reason the highway authority should not be able to do so, too.
The new permit cover features the word “Taiwan” directly above the title “International Driving Permit” to better distinguish Taiwanese driving permits from those issued by China, DGH Deputy Chief Engineer Lin Yi-sheng (林義勝) said, adding that nothing else has changed.
“Our international driving permit was designed based on the [Vienna] Convention on Road Traffic [of] 1968. Except for adding in Taiwan, we have not changed other items on the cover, which should not affect the validity of the permit,” he said.
The agency has consulted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the matter, he added.
Photo courtesy of the Directorate General of Highways via CNA
The new edition of the international driving permit is to become available on July 1, he added.
“Current international driving permit holders can continue using their permits until they expire,” Lin Yi-sheng said. “Even if their permits have not yet expired, they can still apply for the new design.”
When applying for an international driving permit, applicants should bring their national identification card, local driver’s license, two passport-size photos, their passport and a photocopy of the passport, he said.
The permit is valid for three years, and the application fee is NT$250, he added.
Taiwan’s international driving permit is recognized by 95 countries and territories, agency data showed.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency received about 160,000 applications for international driving permits per year from 2017 to 2019, the agency said.
The number of applications has dwindled to 30,000 per year since 2020, as the pandemic has disrupted international travel, it said.
Taiwan’s embassies and missions abroad will help explain the main difference between the current and new editions of the permit to law enforcement authorities in their respective countries, the agency said.
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