The issue of new identification cards was officially launched yesterday, with the government anticipating a volume of 18.8 million applicants.
The new cards are similar in size to credit cards with a pinkish-purple background, and carry a photo of the cardholder, the cardholder's name, ID number, gender and date of birth and date of issue, on the front.
On the back, there is an anti-forgery bar code, the name of the cardholder's parents and spouse, the cardholder's birthplace, address and military service information.
All words on new ID cards are printed horizontally instead of vertically and aborigines may have their ancestral names (if fewer than 15 words) included on the cards.
Since the new cards are made of plastic, a replacement will be required if there is a change of address, marital status or other relevant information.
The new ID cards are designed to with 21 forgery-proof features, instead of the six on the old ones.
Minister of Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) has advised that citizens should take their old ID cards, personal seals and a color photograph to the household registration offices to apply for new ID cards, which will be issued until December 31,2006.
Su also urged that, in order to shorten the waiting time, citizens should renew and collect their ID cards at times and places stipulated by local household registration offices. He added that the most convenient time for renewal of cards is on Sundays between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
According to the MOI, citizens should write their names, ID numbers and the date the photo was taken on the back of the picture before submitting it.
The ministry also stated that applications for new cards do not have to be made in person but the new cards must be collected in person. Upon collection, applicants must present their old ID cards and personal seals, the MOI said.
Su said citizens from low-income and lower middle-income families may apply to have their photos taken for free and disabled persons can apply to have their ID cards issued at home.
Deputy Taipei Mayor King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said that over 2.23 million people in Taipei City are required to renew their ID cards, but noted that there are only 729 workers in the city's household registration offices. Therefore, household registration offices in the city will open to allow people to renew their ID cards between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, King said.
According to the MOI, the government issued new ID cards in 1947, 1954, 1966, 1976 and 1986, which means that the current version has not been updated in 19 years.
At yesterday's launching ceremony two centenarians, Chang Chu-hua, 101, and Lee Tung Ssu-mei, 102, were the first to receive new ID cards.
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who also at the ceremony, issued a new ID card to the famous entertainer, Sun Yueh.