If your passport is going to expire soon (within a year), you should consider getting it renewed. You should also know that you do not need to go back to the United States to get it renewed. The entire process will take about 3-4 weeks on average, so you should not expect to need to use your passport for the upcoming month.
The USA embassy’s official website refers you to a private nonprofit corporation to do official services because of the relationship and recognition of Taiwan as separate entity, at this time. This is the link for that: http://www.usembassy.gov/east-asia.html
For more US passport information in Taiwan, you can go here: http://acs.ait.org.tw/passports.html
This is the official information for a regular 10 year renewal for your passport: http://acs.ait.org.tw/10years.html
American Institute in Taiwan
No 7, Lane 134, Xin Yi Road, Sec. 3
Taipei 106, Taiwan
You can only enter the building if you have made an appointment. You can do that here:
HOW TO GET THERE:
To get to the American Institute for Taiwan, you can easily take the MRT and get off at Daan station. You will go to Exit 3, and continue walking straight for about 5 minutes and it will be on your left. Just before the American Institute for Taiwan, you will see a National Health Insurance building on your left. On a sunny day, the American Institute will have retractable blue roofs to shade the building.
-MRT Daan Station (Exit 3)
-Walk straight for about 5 minutes, it will be on your left side on the main street.
What you need to renew your passport (it will be different if you changed your name or your passport has been expired for more than a few years):
-1 US passport sized photo
Passport Sized Photo: 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) color passport photo (head size 1” to 1 3/8” or 2.5 ~3.5 cm) with a white background. Photos must be 2″ x 2″ in square and be taken within the past 6 months. Note: You cannot go to the family mart and click on the passport photo in the photo booth because the requirements are not designed for US passport photos. Believe me, I tried.
-A completed application form (total of 2 pages) I completed the forms by hand. You can find the form here: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/212241.pdf
-$110 USD to pay at the site (They will accept credit card, or cash in USD or NTD at the Taipei branch)
-A photocopy of your information/ID page of your passport
My experience with this service
At the door, they will check to see that you have an appointment. I didn’t print out my sheet, but I took a screenshot on my phone, and they seemed to be okay with that. When you get inside, you will need to give your electronic devices to the security and go through a mini-screening. All cellphones and other electronic devices will need to be turned off before given to security. They will give you a tag to pick up your belongings after you finish.
When you walk into the building, you will need to go to 3F (third floor). Upon entering this room, you will need to go to window #3, and you tell them what time you have an appointment. They will then give you a ticket with your appointment time and a letter/number. For example: 8:15 B1, 8:15 B2, 8:15 B3, etc..
My ticket number was for 8:30 J6. I arrived 5-10 minutes before 8:30 and was the 6th person in line for my appointment time. I didn’t have to wait long to be called, maybe 10-15 minutes. I had all my documents together except the woman working at the counter informed me that my photo was too small. She then directed me to a photo booth on the 1F (first floor). I went down, took a picture (which cost 200NT), and then proceeded back upstairs. The woman held all my documents while I took my pictures. If you must do this, you can return to the same window and just wait behind the person at that window.
After you are done giving them your application and passport, they will give you two receipts. One receipt is for paying, which you can do directly at window #1 in the same room. The other receipt is for the courier service found on 1F. You will need to fill out a form to tell them where to send the passport. Upon delivery of the passport, you will need to pay 185 NTD.
The total time I spent there was about 40 minutes. They tell you to plan to stay for about an hour if they are very busy or if you need extra services. I went and submitted my passport application on a Friday at 8:30 AM.
Ultimately, I had a good experience with this service. I sent my passport on a Friday, and 5 days later was the date of issue. Then, my passport was sent back to me in exactly 2 weeks time. I did not have any special circumstances with my passport, so I believe that could have been a reason for the quick service. Anyways, I believe that is faster than you can get your passport renewed in the USA.
Note: The official information can be found on the American Institute in Taiwan’s website. Their information may change from time to time, so it would be worth double checking.
Had an experience with American Institute in Taipei? Let us know! We would love to hear from you. All types of experiences welcome.