Taiwan passport

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Republic of China (Taiwan) Passport
中華民國護照
Taiwan ROC Passport.jpg
Cover of the Taiwanese biometric passport
Issued by  Taiwan
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Republic of China nationality
Expiration 3 years (replacement for a lost passport)
5 years (for those under 15 or for males who haven't completed military service)
10 years (for all others)
Republic of China passport
Traditional Chinese 中華民國護照
Simplified Chinese 中华民国护照
Taiwan passport
Traditional Chinese 臺灣護照
Simplified Chinese 台湾护照

The Republic of China passport (Chinese: 中華民國護照; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó hùzhào)[1][2][3][4] is the passport issued to nationals of the Republic of China, also known as Taiwan passport or Taiwanese passport.

The status and international recognition of the ROC passport is complicated due to the political status of Taiwan. The Nationality Law of the Republic of China considers not only residents of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, but eligible overseas Chinese and Chinese residents of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau to be nationals of the Republic of China.[5] It is worth noting that the vast majority of Chinese-descent residents in Hong Kong, Macau or Mainland China are also nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and do not hold any identification documents issued by ROC. Individuals in the latter two categories may be eligible for a ROC passport under certain conditions, but do not have household registration in Taiwan and thus do not enjoy the right of abode in Taiwan.[a][6] Countries granting visa-free privileges to Taiwan passport holders often require a National ID number imprinted on the passport's biodata page, which signifies the holder's right of abode in Taiwan.

Taiwanese passport is one of the five passports with the most improved rating globally since 2006 in terms of number of countries that its holders may visit without a visa.[7]

Passport appearance[edit]

Cover[edit]

The current ROC (Taiwan) biometric passport has been issued since December 29, 2008, which makes Taiwan the 60th country in the world to issue biometric passports.[8][9] The cover of the ordinary ROC (Taiwan) passport is dark green, with the ROC national emblem – Blue Sky with a White Sun - in the middle. On the top is the official name of the country, "REPUBLIC OF CHINA", in both Traditional Chinese characters and English. Below the national emblem the words "TAIWAN" was printed in English only and "PASSPORT" in both Traditional Chinese and English. At the bottom is the symbol of biometric passport (EPassport logo.svg).[10]

Cover of the official passport is brown and shows "OFFICIAL PASSPORT" on the cover, and diplomatic passport is dark blue with "DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT" on the cover.

Request page[edit]

The first page of the passport is the passport note page and printed the following request, with anti-counterfeiting printing shows the shape of the island of Taiwan at the top and word TAIWAN at the bottom.
In Traditional Chinese

中華民國外交部部長茲請各國有關機關對持用本護照之中華民國國民允予自由通行,并請必要時儘量予以協助及保護。

In English

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China requests all whom it may concern to permit the national of the Republic of China named herein to pass freely and in case of need to give all possible aid and protection.

Request page of a Taiwan passport.
A sample ROC (Taiwan) passport data page
護    照
Passport
中 華 民 國 REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Photo 形式/Type
P
代碼/Code
TWN
護照號碼/Passport No.
300000000
姓名/Name (Surname, Given names)
中文姓名  XXXX, XXXX-XXXX
外文別名/Also Known As
XXXXXXX XXXX
國籍/Nationality
REPUBLIC OF CHINA
身分證統一編號/Personal Id. No.
A000000000
性別/Sex
M
出生日期/Date of birth
01 SEP 2003
Second
Photo
發照日期/Date of issue
29 DEC 2008
出生地/Place of birth
TAIWAN
效期截止日期/Date of expiry
29 DEC 2018
發照機關/Authority
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
P<TWNXXXX<<XXXX<XXXX<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
3000000003TWN0309010M1812290A000000000<<<<00

Data page[edit]

Personal biodata page information for the passport holder and the machine readable zone are listed below.

Data Description
Type P for ordinary passports, PO for official passports, PD for diplomatic passports
Code TWN, the ISO country code for Republic of China, listed as "Taiwan, Province of China" in ISO 3166-1
Passport No. a nine digit number, biometric passports start with 3
Name both Chinese characters and romanization
Also Known As only available for people with alias in other languages
Nationality REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Personal Id. No. Taiwanese National ID number, not available for NWOHRs
Sex M for male, F for female
Date of birth DD MMM YYYY
Date of issue DD MMM YYYY
Place of birth the name of a province or special municipality if born in Taiwan, or a foreign country if born abroad. For example: TAIWAN,FUKIEN, TAIPEI CITY, NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAOYUAN CITY, TAICHUNG CITY, TAINAN CITY, KAOHSIUNG CITY, CANADA
Date of expiry DD MMM YYYY
Authority MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS for passports issued by the MOFA, or the name of the issuing diplomatic mission for passports issued by a Taiwanese mission abroad. All biometric passports are issued by the MOFA in Taiwan regardless of the actual place of application.[8]

The biodata page is protected by a plastic anti-counterfeiting layer with laser holograms of the country code TWN and broad-tailed swallowtail butterfly, an endemic species of Taiwan.

Inner pages[edit]

The inner pages of a Taiwan passport are in light purple. Its contents are:

  • Personal data page in page 2
  • Signature in page 3
  • Amendments and endorsements from page 4 to page 7
  • Visa pages from page 8 to page 47
  • Remark pages from page 48 to page 50

Selected nature hotspots and famous sights of Taiwan are printed in the inner pages, each page also contains a transparent watermark of Jade Mountain, the highest peak of the country.

Page Theme Division Page Theme Division
2 Airport and Taiwan High Speed Rail transportations N/A 26, 27 Alishan National Scenic Area and Alishan Forest Railway Chiayi
3 Electronics industry in Taiwan 28, 29 Rice agriculture in Chianan Plain
4, 5 Yehliu Scenic Area New Taipei 30, 31 Salt evaporation ponds in Qigu District Tainan
6, 7 Guandu Bridge and Bali District 32, 33 Eternal Golden Castle and Fort Provintia
8, 9 National Palace Museum Taipei 34, 35 Port of Kaohsiung Kaohsiung
10, 11 Taipei 101 and Taipei metro area 36, 37 Oil-paper umbrella of Meinong District
12, 13 Suspension bridge of Bitan New Taipei 38, 39 Kenting National Park and Eluanbi Lighthouse Pingtung
14, 15 Tea harvest in northern Taiwan Hsinchu 40, 41 Orchid Island and Tao People Taitung
16, 17 Dabajian Mountain in Shei-Pa National Park Miaoli 42, 43 Taroko National Park and Central Cross-Island Highway Hualien
18, 19 Formosan landlocked salmon Taichung 44, 45 Chingshui Cliff
20, 21 Taichung Park 46, 47 Guishan Island and Cetaceas Yilan
22, 23 Sun Moon Lake Nantou 48, 49 Volcanic geology Penghu
24, 25 Jade Mountain in Yushan National Park 50 Shisa Kinmen

Back cover[edit]

A contactless biometric chip is embedded in the back cover page, with the warning as follows.
In Traditional Chinese:

本護照內植高感度電子晶片,使用上請視同攜帶式電子產品,並妥善保管。為維持護照最佳效能,請勿折壓、扭曲或在內頁穿孔、裝訂;並勿將護照曝曬於陽光下,或置於高溫、潮濕及電磁環境,或沾染化學藥品。

In English:

This passport contains a sensitive electronic chip, and should be treated with great care in the same way as a portable electronic device. For best performance, please do not bend, twist, perforate or staple the passport. Neither expose it to direct sunlight, extreme temperature or humidity. Avoid electro-magnetic fields or chemical substance.

DO NOT STAMP THIS PAGE

Passport regulations for Taiwanese residents[edit]

Old version of a Republic of China passport issued in 1982.

Nationals with household registration in the Taiwan Area may apply for passports from the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Taipei or its branch offices in Kaohsiung, Hualien and Taichung with the following documents:

First time applicants are required to submit their documents in person to the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

  • Processing time: Four working days.
  • Validity period: Starting from May 21, 2000, validity period for an ordinary passport is generally 10 years and 1 day. For applicant aged under 15 is 5 years. For the male citizens who have not complete his conscription duty is 3 years.
  • Application fee: Effective since January 1, 2013, the application fee for a 10-year passport is NT$1,300, for a passport with restricted validity period is NT$900.[11] In comparison, the cost of manufacturing a passport is NT$1,361.[12]

Due to mandatory military service for men, travel restrictions are placed on male citizens from the age of 15 until they have completed their military service. When a passport is issued to a such citizen, a stamp with the following words will be shown on the remarks page, and a sticker which describes the regulation will be attached to the back cover of the passport.[13]
In Traditional Chinese:

持照人出國應經核准,尚未履行兵役義務。
Translation: The bearer needs a permission to travel abroad and has not yet completed his military service.

Before travelling, the holder needs to apply for permission to travel overseas with the National Immigration Agency or the conscription administration near his residence. Permission is granted in the form of a stamp on the remarks page, including the expiration date and the issuing authority.

Passport regulations for overseas nationals[edit]

The ROC passport of a national without household registration does not have an identification card number listed on its data pages in the empty spaces labelled (1).
Entry permit for overseas nationals

Around 60,000 Taiwan passport holders are NWOHRs, accounting for approximately 0.5% of total valid passports. NWOHRs are overseas nationals without household registration in Taiwan, and hence do not have the right of abode in Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other outlying islands.

Application[edit]

Overseas nationals can only apply passport from an embassy, consulate or Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office near their residing country with the following document.

The Republic of China nationality law adopts the jus sanguinis principle. The ancestor's nationality of a person may be a proof of that person's nationality. There are various of documents may applied, see the following eligibility paragraph.

  • Application fee: For a 10-year passport is US$45, for a passport with restricted validity period is US$31.[11]

Travel requirements and limitations[edit]

Unlike residents of Taiwan, NWOHRs do not automatically have right of abode in Taiwan. They are required to apply for an entry permit to enter Taiwan prior to their travel. The application must be submitted to the embassy, consulate or Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office of their country of residence. Once application is approved, a visa-like permit will be affixed on the visa page.

Because of the lack of right of abode, page 50 of NWOHR passports show the following words in ink.
In Traditional Chinese:

本護照不適用部分國家之免簽證計劃.
Translation: "This passport is not eligible for visa waiver programs of some countries."

Unlike passports of Taiwanese residents, passports for NWOHRs contain a special stamp that indicates non-resident status and exempts holders from conscription.

Eligibility for Taiwan passports[edit]

Old Republic of China passport issued in 1946

The ROC was founded in 1912 governing the Mainland China. At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Republic of China was given administrative jurisdiction over Taiwan and maintained control of it ever since. At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the ROC lost its control of Mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party, which established the People's Republic of China (PRC). Henceforth, the ROC has been able to administer only Taiwan and some islands off the Mainland's coast. Maintaining the view that it is still the legitimate government of the whole of China, the ROC does not formally recognize the legitimacy of PRC. It has also constitutionally defined all the territory under its control as the "Free Area" (or the "Taiwan Area") and the territory outside Taiwan Area as the "Mainland Area". The ROC constitution allows the ROC government to make laws for one Area of the country without affecting the other Area.[citation needed].

However, permanent residents in the Mainland Area, Hong Kong or Macau are not generally eligible to obtain a ROC passport [Passport Act, Article 9].[15] Furthermore, Overseas Chinese applicants normally must submit one of the following forms of proof of ROC nationality [Passport Act Enforcement Rules, Article 13]:[16]

  • A ROC passport;
  • A Certificate of Overseas Chinese status, issued on the basis of proof of ROC nationality;
  • Proof of ROC nationality for a parent or ancestor, together with proof of descent. (Those in the chain of descent born before the 1980s must be descended through the male line).

There are certain exceptions to this in certain cases for first and second generation emigrants, but in general an applicant will be unable to obtain a ROC passport unless he already holds ROC-issued nationality documentation for himself or an ancestor.

Therefore, for a person to obtain a ROC passport, one of the following must normally apply:

  • The person first obtained proof of ROC nationality before 1949, when the ROC controlled the Mainland Area; or
  • The person first obtained a ROC passport or a Certificate of Overseas Chinese status before 1 July 1997 as a resident of Hong Kong, or before 20 December 1999 as resident of Macau; or
  • The person first obtained a ROC passport before 2002, as an Overseas-born Chinese, on the basis of Chinese ethnicity, before the Passport Act Enforcement Rules were revised to prevent this; or
  • The person obtained an ROC passport after emigrating overseas from the Mainland Area [Passport Act Enforcement Rules, Article 18];[16] or
  • The person obtained an ROC passport after emigrating overseas from Hong Kong or Macau, whilst not holding a foreign passport other than a BN(O) passport [Passport Act Enforcement Rules, Article 19], or after being born overseas to a parent who so emigrated;[16] or
  • The person has an ancestor in one of the previous categories (i.e. the ancestor actually obtained the ROC document, as opposed to merely having the right to do so), and the chain of descent is through the male line until the 1980s.

The interior is in traditional Chinese characters and English. Until the mid-1990s, the passport also contained an entry for provincial ancestry (籍貫), stating the Chinese province and county of one's ancestral home, but this field has been eliminated. However, the Chinese province or county of birth is still listed in the birthplace entry if the passport holder was born in either Mainland China or Taiwan.

Limitation in usage[edit]

Even though Taiwan maintains official relations with only 22 countries, the ROC passport is still accepted as a valid travel document in most countries of the world. Although Taiwanese enjoy visa-free status in 137 countries, some countries, pursuant to their positions on Taiwan's political status, refuse to visé or stamp ROC passports, and instead issue visas on a separate travel document or a separate piece of paper to Taiwanese travelers to avoid conveying any kind of recognition to the ROC, or to Taiwan as a polity distinct from the PRC. The chart below only lists countries or territories which explicitly state that ROC passports are not accepted, while also requiring a visa or entry permit for ROC nationals prior to arrival.

Country or region Restrictions
 Argentina Visitor permit issued in a separate paper.[17]
 People's Republic of China (Mainland only) ROC passports are not recognized or accepted. ROC nationals with right of abode in Taiwan are required to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents (a credit card sized travel document). For those without right of abode in Taiwan, a passport-like Chinese Travel Document is required.[18]
 Hong Kong ROC nationals with right of abode in Taiwan are required to either use their Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents, or complete a Pre-arrival Registration for Taiwan Residents online. For those with out right of abode in Taiwan, a Chinese Travel Document with a Hong Kong SAR Entry Permit is required.[19]
 Jamaica ROC passports are not recognized. Must hold an Affidavit of Identity issued by Jamaica.[20]
 Mauritius ROC passports are not recognized. Must obtain an entry permit at the Mauritius Passport & Immigration Office before travel.[21]

"Republic of Taiwan" sticker controversies[edit]

In 2015, a pro-independence activist, Denis Chen, designed the Taiwan Passport Sticker (ROT sticker), which are to be placed on the front cover of ROC passports. The stickers can re-brand the country's name as "台灣國" (lit. State of Taiwan) and "Republic of Taiwan" (ROT), as well as replace the country's emblem with the cartoons of either Jade Mountain, Formosan black bear, or pro-democracy activist Cheng Nan-jung.

Although applauded by pro-independence supporters, this move caused controversies of Taiwan's neighboring countries and regions, as well as the United States, since the altercation of passport covers might be a violation of immigration laws in other countries or regions and eventually cause the refusal of entry holders of such passports. Singapore was the first country in Asia to deny entry to holders of altered passports on 29 November 2015, and deported three ROC nationals for "altering their travel documents".[22] Among the three, two immediately removed the ROT stickers upon the further inquiries by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers, but were eventually deported by Singapore to Taiwan. Another person had refused to remove such stickers and instead requested diplomatic representatives of Taiwan for consular protection, but was also deported in the end by ICA.[23] The two Special Administrative Regions of China, Hong Kong and Macau, soon followed suit and refused to accept holders of such passports for entry.[24][25] A spokesperson of Hong Kong Immigration Department said that any person who "altered the travel document without lawful authority, or, who possess or use altered travel document", is a violation of Immigration Ordinance and can be sentenced for up to 14 years in prison.[26]

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) had, through diplomatic channels, notified the Taiwanese MOFA and confirmed that holders of such altered passports may be extensively questioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and be removed from the United States,[27] and on March 2016, two travelers from Taiwan voluntarily removed ROT stickers because of the extensive questioning by CBP officers. The two travelers were eventually admitted into the U.S., while a CBP spokesperson warned that alterations of travel documents made by any person who is not authorized by the government of a country can render it invalid and will result the holder's refusal of admission to the U.S., and placing ROT stickers on passports is deemed to have altered the travel documents.[28] Similar incident also occurred in Japan when a holder of altered passport was taken to secondary inspection. After being told that he would be deported, the man finally removed the ROT stickers and placed them on his t-shirt and was allowed into Japan.[29]

Supporters of the stickers claimed that passports with ROT stickers were accepted in United Arab Emirates[30] and in Japan. In the latter case, the person who placed ROT sticker claimed that he was simply trying to block the word "China" from his passport.[31] Holders of such passports were also allowed entry in Philippines, although a Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson claimed that the passenger would normally be thoroughly inspected and called the incident "a serious matter", while also said that the government would launch an investigation.[32]

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs of Taiwan, a total of 21 people had been denied entry by Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong since the end of 2015. Also incidents were reported in Japan and U.S. for the use of ROT stickers. The Taiwanese MOFA called travelers to not alter the cover of their travel documents so that they would not be denied entry.[33]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lack of right of abode means that the passport holder cannot be deported to the issuing country of the passport. Similar examples include British Overseas Citizens who do not have the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cheng Hsu-kai (December 2, 2007). "St. Lucia customs woes show utility of new passport". Taipei Times. p. 3. Retrieved September 8, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Taiwanese Passport Move Denounced". China Internet Information Center. June 14, 2003. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  3. ^ "Taiwan passport change angers China". BBC News Online. 13 January 2002. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ "ISECO-Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei". Iseco.org.tw. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  5. ^ Roger Mark Selya, Development and Demographic Change in Taiwan (World Scientific, 2004), p. 329.
  6. ^ Shelley Rigger, "Nationalism versus Citizenship on Taiwan," in Changing Meanings of Citizenship in Modern China, Merle Goldman, Elizabeth Jean Perry ed. (Harvard University Press, 2002), 360-61.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b [2]
  9. ^ 晶片護照來了 12.29發行[dead link]
  10. ^ "台灣新版護照封面 將加註ISSUED IN TAIWAN 字樣 (The new version of the passport cover in Taiwan will be marked with an "issued in Taiwan" remark)". Epoch Times (in Chinese). January 14, 2002. 
  11. ^ a b "Passport Application Fees". Bureau of Consular Affairs. January 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Foreign Ministry opposes lower passport application fee
  13. ^ "Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act". Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  14. ^ travel.state.gov, Taiwan Reciprocity Schedule, US State Dept., retrieved 2016-06-07 
  15. ^ "Passport Act". Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act". Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Visa Information for Argentina: Holders of Normal Passports from Taiwan, Province of China". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA). 
  18. ^ "Visa Information for China: Holders of Normal Passports from Taiwan, Province of China". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA). 
  19. ^ "Visa Information for China: Holders of Normal Passports from Taiwan, Province of China". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA). 
  20. ^ "Visa Information for Jamaica: Holders of Normal Passports from Taiwan, Province of China". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA). 
  21. ^ "Visa Information for Mauritius: Holders of Normal Passports from Taiwan, Province of China". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA). 
  22. ^ 「台灣國」貼紙遭星國拒絕入境 網友:愛貼就要負起責任
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ 貼台灣國遭澳門遣返 他說「不會放棄愛台灣的心」
  25. ^ 台湾旅客持“台湾国贴纸护照”被港遣返
  26. ^ Two Taiwan visitors refused permission to land
  27. ^ 拒絕入境!護照不准貼「台灣國」 連AIT都說要撕掉
  28. ^ 撕下台灣護照貼紙 才獲入美境
  29. ^ 護照貼台灣國貼紙赴日遇阻 台男改貼胸前
  30. ^ 台灣國護照貼紙被禁 可是這國家一口氣貼3張...
  31. ^ 護照貼「台灣國」赴日險被攔 民眾質疑…
  32. ^ 護照貼「台灣國」入境 菲移民局:不宜
  33. ^ 外交部呼籲國人切勿改變護照原狀以確保旅行權益

External links[edit]