23 December 2010

Taiwan moves to in-person passport applications to meet US ESTA requirements

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Starting next year, Taiwan nationals will be required to file their passport applications in person to confirm their identity as part of the country’s efforts to be included in the US Visa Waiver Program.


Taiwan hopes to be included in the US Visa Waiver Program in the near future.

Deputy Foreign Minister Shen Lyu-hsun said the new procedure will be introduced on a trial basis between March and June 2011, and if it works well, it will be implemented officially in July.

Inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program will enable Taiwanese to travel to the US with the online ESTA  application rather than the more lengthy and cumbersome US tourist visa, which requires a trip to the US Embassy.

Before a country can be admitted to the program the US requires that certain security measures are met and that the country has a very low US Visa refusal rate and number of overstay cases.

The United States has expressed concern over Taiwan's passport application and issuance procedure as it does not require applicants to appear in person, which creates serious risk for forgery of Taiwan passports.

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