• Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

New international driving license shines a light on Taiwan

ByElla E. Kidwell

May 31, 2022
  • By Shelley Shan / Staff Reporter

From July 1, the General Directorate of Highways (DGH) will issue a new edition of the International Driving Permit which prominently features the word “Taiwan” on the cover.

The road authority has redesigned the permit cover after complaints from Taiwanese tourists that they were often mistaken for Chinese when driving abroad.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lin Chu-yin (林楚茵) said at a May 7 press conference that the Foreign Ministry has since last year issued a new passport highlighting “Taiwan.” and that there is no reason why the road authority should not be able to do this too.

Photo: ANC

The new license cover features the word “Taiwan” directly above the title “International Driving Permit” to better distinguish Taiwanese driving licenses from those issued by China, DGH Deputy Chief Engineer Lin said. Yi-sheng (林義勝), adding that nothing else changed.

“Our international driving license was designed based on the [Vienna] Convention on road traffic [of] 1968. Except for the addition to Taiwan, we have not changed any other items on the cover, which should not affect the validity of the permit,” he said.

The agency has consulted the Foreign Ministry on this matter, he added.

Photo courtesy of the General Directorate of Highways via CNA

The new edition of the international driving permit will be available on July 1, he added.

“Current holders of an international driving license can continue to use their license until it expires,” Lin Yi-sheng said. “Even if their permits haven’t expired yet, they can still apply for the new design.”

When applying for an international driving permit, applicants should bring their national identity card, local driver’s license, two passport-sized photos, their passport and a photocopy of the passport, he said.

The permit is valid for three years and the application fee is NT$250, he added.

Taiwan’s international driving license is recognized by 95 countries and territories, according to agency data.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency received about 160,000 international driver’s license applications per year from 2017 to 2019, the agency said.

The number of applications has fallen to 30,000 a year since 2020 as the pandemic disrupted international travel, he said.

Taiwan’s embassies and missions abroad will help explain the main difference between current and new editions of the permit to law enforcement authorities in their respective countries, the agency said.

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