TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the ending of COVID-19 border restrictions, the number of daily passport applications has surged to 10,000 a day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday (Dec. 15).
The nationwide figure amounted to a doubling of the level in early October before Taiwan ended the three-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving from overseas. In early December, the government also announced an end to the cap on the number of passengers allowed to enter the country.
At the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) Taipei office, the number of desks in operation had been increased from eight to 13, with staff working an extra three hours per day to handle the daily volume of 6,000 passport applications, the Liberty Times reported.
As overseas trips have declined since the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, an estimated 3 million Taiwanese passports had expired. In preparation for post-COVID travel, BOCA launched online application forms last June. Since October, the daily number of applications at its Taipei office rose from 5,000 in November to 6,000 in December.
On Wednesday (Dec. 14), 11,400 visa applications were submitted nationwide, including 6,800 in Taipei, a rise from the previous day’s 10,400 and 6,400 totals respectively. Average waiting times could run from two hours and 30 minutes to four hours, MOFA warned.
Officials said people who were not planning foreign travel in the near future, such as during the Jan. 20-30 Lunar New Year holiday, should wait before applying for a new passport.