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MOFA to launch online reservation passport services

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it will soon launch a new service to allow nationals to make online reservations before visiting MOFA's Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) to file passport applications.

BOCA Director-General Kung Chung-chen (龔中誠) said yesterday that the bureau will launch a website in Dec. 24 to allow those who wish to apply for a passport to first make reservations before visiting BOCA's headquarters in Taipei.

Currently, one must visit one of BOCA's offices around the country if one wishes to apply for a passport renewal or a new passport. The process is rather time-consuming and very often one has to stand in a long line without knowing when the application procedure may be finished.

With the new service, applicants will now able to know the exact time when they have to visit the BOCA office to file their passport applications, Kung said.

The online reservation service will kick off Dec. 24, and applicants will be able to file their passport applications at BOCA's Taipei headquarters starting Dec. 27.

A trial run on the new service will first take place at BOCA's headquarters.

“If everything goes well, we will expand the range of the service to BOCA's other offices around the country,” Kung said.

A BOCA official told local media yesterday that to make use of the service, an applicant will first have to log onto the website to fill out all necessary information in applying for a passport.

After making an online reservation and choosing the time period during which one wishes to apply for the service, the applicant will then visit BOCA's headquarters in Taipei with their ID card and required documents.

At BOCA headquarters, an applicant will then scan his or her ID card at a kiosk machine that is designed to handle passport applications before printing out the required application form.

The applicant can then bring the printed form to a counter at designated time to apply for his or her passport, the official said. 

Checking Passport Validity

Meanwhile, Kung yesterday urged Taiwanese travelers who wish to travel abroad during the upcoming New Year and Chinese New Year vacations to check their passport validity.

  Travelers must hold R.O.C passports with six or more months before expiration or they may be denied entry by foreign countries, he noted.

  Kung also called on nationals to watch their belongings as well as travel documents at all times when traveling abroad.

  According to statistics, 62 percent of Taiwanese nationals who called MOFA for help over the past year when traveling overseas had asked for assistance over lost passports or money, Kung said.

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