Taiwanese nationals can now travel abroad using a newly designed and "more identifiable" Taiwan passport without impediment, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳 釗 燮) said Monday during a press event for the launch.
"We have notified other countries of our passport's new design and requested the International Air Transport Association (IATA) help us inform airline companies," Wu said at the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) head office, which was full of people applying for the passport.
"There will definitely be no problem for us to travel abroad using this new passport," he stressed.
The passport which has a newly designed cover was formally introduced on Monday, four months after Wu first unveiled the new design in September 2020.
According to a sample presented by Wu, the newly designed passport cover significantly reduces the size of the words "Republic of China," which is the formal designation of Taiwan, and places them inside a narrow circle that goes around the national emblem.
In contrast, the word "Taiwan" is magnified, printed in a bold font and prominently located, based on the sample passport.
"While generally keeping other elements on the passport, we magnified the word 'Taiwan' on the cover to enhance Taiwan's identifiability," Wu said.
Wu clarified that old passports can still be used until their expiration date.
The plan to modify the passport cover design stemmed from concern in some quarters that Taiwanese travelers might be mistakenly identified as coming from China because of the name "Republic of China" on their passport.
Meanwhile, a BOCA official who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak with reporters, said he expects the immigration authorities of other countries to recognize Taiwan's newly designed passport.
"Changing the elements in a passport is the right of any country," he said. "As a practice, countries only have to notify other countries and airlines about the changes and do not need approval from others."
He added that the main purpose for such notifications is merely to inform other countries about changes in anti-counterfeiting features.