Taiwan’s official name, Republic of China (ROC), often confuses those unfamiliar with the country’s history. Taiwanese passport holders have faced unnecessary trouble at international borders. After much debate on the new passport cover design — with one proposal suggesting bubble tea — Taiwanese will finally get a revised passport that emphasizes “Taiwan.”

What changed?

There are three significant aspects to the redesign.

In its design elements and structure, the passport changes have been kept to a minimum, as it maintains the words “REPUBLIC OF CHINA” in English and Chinese, “TAIWAN,” the national emblem, and the green color scheme.


Photo Credit: Executive Yuan Handout

The word “TAIWAN”has been enlarged and placed right above “PASSPORT” to clearly indicate that this is a passport of Taiwan.


Photo Credit: Executive Yuan Handout

Taiwan’s formal English name, the Republic of China, has been placed on the border of the national emblem. It can be seen as a compromise, as the size of the words “REPUBLIC OF CHINA” has been shrunk, but their location has been placed in the center, around the symbol of the nation.


Photo Credit: Executive Yuan Handout

When will the new passport be issued?

January 2021, tentatively.

Taiwan has a travel-friendly passport with visa-free or visa on arrival access in 148 countries and territories, but Taiwanese nationals are often mistaken as Chinese because of the passport design, according to Premier Su Tseng-chang. In the least intrusive manner, the ROC passport keeps its original design composition but emphasizes Taiwan.

The word “Taiwan” was only added to the ROC passport in 2003 under the Chen Shui-bian administration. Here’s how Taiwan’s passport design has changed over the years:



A Republic of China passport from 1982. "Taiwan" did not appear on the passport.

Photo Credit: Shih Yuan/關鍵評論網

The 2003 redesign, adding the words Taiwan, under President Chen Shui-bian.

Photo Credit: 外交部 提供

The 2021 redesign.

READ NEXT: Don’t Blame Jeremy Lin. The Problem Is Taiwan’s ROC Nationality Laws.

TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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