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Over 70% of Taiwan people use e-passports: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than 70 percent of Taiwanese passport holders are now using biometric e-passports instead of traditional ones, more than five years after the country first issued the new form of travel document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

  Michael Yiin (尹新垣), deputy head for MOFA's Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA), said yesterday that Taiwan began introducing biometric e-passports that contain chips to store their holder's personal information on Dec. 29, 2008.

Five years after the introduction of the e-passports that come with additional security features to make them hard to forge, Yiin said there are more and more R.O.C. passport holders using e-passports instead of traditional ones.

Among the 11.46 million valid passports currently in circulation, about 71 percent of them are e-passports, Yiin noted, showing that nationals are more inclined to apply for e-passports that provide more security measures and travel convenience than their traditional counterparts, he noted.

The official added that BOCA has issued more than 830,000 passports in the first five months of this year.

The record number means that BOCA could break its previous record set last year of 1.85 million R.O.C. passports issued in 2013, he noted.

To better promote e-passports among Taiwanese people, Yiin said his bureau has recently made a promotional video to encourage more nationals to apply for e-passports.

The promotional video comes in three different dialects — Mandarin, Hokklo Taiwanese and Hakka — and two different lengths — 30 second and three minutes — and provides information about how to keep the passport safe and how to use the online appointment system for passport applications, according to Yiin.

Check Passport before Traveling Abroad

Meanwhile, due to the upcoming summer vacation break that will begin later this month, the official called on Taiwanese nationals who wish to travel abroad to check their passport validity. He reminded travelers that their passports must have six or more months before expiration.

For those who need to renew their passports or apply for a new one at BOCA, he urged against visiting BOCA offices around the country on Mondays and Wednesdays because these two days are the peak times for the bureau and one may need to stand in a long line before completing their application procedure.

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