Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Taiwan will issue a next-generation biometric passport later this month in an effort to tighten security and prevent identity theft, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Monday.
Starting Dec. 25, citizens will be able to apply for the upgraded passports at the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Taipei, its branch offices in Taichung, Kaohsiung, Hualien, and Chiayi, or at Taiwan’s overseas offices, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The application fee for the new e-passport will remain at NT$1,300 for adults and NT$900 for children, the ministry said.
Current versions of Taiwan’s biometric and machine-readable passports will remain valid until their expiry date but passport holders may apply for the new e-passport before their current ones expire, according to the foreign ministry.
Since the introduction of e-passports in late 2008, some 166 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and some European Union states, have granted Taiwan passport holders visa-free entry, landing visa, or related entry privileges, the ministry said
However, those privileges have also made Taiwan passports a target for criminals, it added.
To keep pace with global trends and to prevent identity theft, Taiwan is upgrading its e-passport to include cutting edge security measures, a third image of the passport-holder and a metallic surface relief, the ministry said.
The new e-passports will feature a “ghost image” of the holder, which will be more difficult and expensive to duplicate, a MOFA source told CNA on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
It will be the first upgrade of Taiwan’s biometric passport since it was introduced on Dec. 29, 2008.
Source: Focus Taiwan