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New Taipei City can issue passports to citizens

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Citizens of New Taipei City will be able to apply for passports at the city's household registration offices starting on April 1, the New Taipei City Government's Civil Affairs Department (CAD, 新北市正府民政局) announced yesterday.

The household registration office in each district will be taking applications on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said the CAD. After MOFA implemented personal applications for passports in 2011, citizens applying for passports for the first time are required to apply for an “identification affirmation,” which may be completed in the household registration offices or at MOFA.

Applicants filing for an identification affirmation at a local household office are required to submit their passport application forms to MOFA. The two-step procedure was more time-consuming and wasted additional application fees, said the CAD.

The new system is based on the concept of 24-hour convenience stores, establishing single windows that take multiple applications from first-time passport applicants. The household registration offices will notify the applicants when their passports have arrived.

The New Taipei City Government has estimated that roughly 60,000 people will benefit from the new system, and NT$30,000,000 will be saved. Using the city's Gongliao District as an example, each applicant may be able to save a day's time in waiting for the two applications and approximately NT$400 in transportation fees with no need to go to MOFA.

According to the CAD, the convenient system was planned since October 2013, when officials met with MOFA's Bureau of Consular Affairs to work out the details. The plan was approved by the bureau in March after only New Taipei City consented to try the new system.

The household office application procedure would take approximately one week until an applicant is notified to pick up his or her passport, said the CAD

The New Taipei City Government stated that after a cross-department application system was launched in October last year, the city also included the services of the National Health Insurance Administration. Parents of newborns may apply for health insurance for the baby as well through the household registration offices as well.

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