Taiwan: In-person passport application program to begin next week

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Thursday that beginning July 1, all first-time passport applicants, regardless of age, will be required to complete their applications in person at designated MOFA offices.

The policy, now in a trial stage, was introduced to prevent fraud and lift Taiwan’s passport security credentials in the international society, said Thomas Chen, director-general of the ministry’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA).

Passport applicants who are unable to apply in person at one of the four MOFA offices in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, or Hualien can confirm their identity at their household registration office before having a travel agent handle their applications, he said.

In such cases, applicants under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult relative since citizens of that age do not yet have national identity (ID) cards, he said. He added, applicants who qualify for an ID card should obtain one before applying for a passport.

The identity confirmation process at the household registration offices should take less than 10 minutes, Chen said. The procedure includes filling out a form, confirming the identity of the applicant and matching photograph, and scanning documents.

In the trial period for the procedure, which began in March, 2,566 applicants went to household registration offices for identity confirmation, according to BOCA statistics.