In just six months more than 300,000 Republic of China citizens have applied for their first passports in person, with the new biometric passports contributing to Taiwan’s inclusion as a candidate for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), according to The China Post.
In addition, a total of 3.88 million Taiwan passport holders have changed their passports to biometric electronic ones embedded with a chip that contains a person’s personal information and photograph. The 3.88 million biometric passports constitute 35 percent of all valid Taiwan passports in circulation
Taiwan has made several agreements with the United States to qualify for the U.S. VWP program, including a U.S. Taiwan information-sharing agreement on counter-terrorism in August and another on lost or stolen passports in May, which mandates that all lost or stolen Taiwan passports will become invalid, even if the passport is recovered within 48 hours.
The American Institute in Taiwan, the quasi U.S. embassy in Taiwan, recently announced on Taiwan’s candidacy for the VWP, although the U.S. has set no timeframe for when Taiwan might actually qualify.
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