Double passports?

Apparently Taiwan has a peculiar new proposal, the likes of which I have never heard before-to allow second passports. Upon seeing the headline, I assumed at first that this was about some change to the laws on multiple citizenship (which have been hugely controversial in Taiwan recently, at least regarding politicians such as Diane Lee) but it is actually something completely different.

He said many businesspeople had been lobbying for a second passport as their travel documents were sometimes held up at travel agencies or embassies during the visa application process, which prevents them from traveling abroad during the waiting period.

I can certainly understand how this might be useful, as I had to be without my passport for well over a week when getting a tourist visa to enter Kazakhstan, and could have serious problems if, for example, I had to rush home to the US for a family emergency.I have simply never heard of such a thing before. Would this system be entirely unique, should Taiwan implement it?

8 thoughts on “Double passports?”

  1. Wikipedia seems to say no but doesn’t cite any sources.

    It’s usually possible to get an emergency passport from an embassy or consulate if you need to travel in a hurry but don’t have your passport for whatever reason. See, for instance, the scoop from the US embassy in Tokyo. I have no clue how long this actually takes, although I’m pretty sure it’s either a same-day or overnight operation (which makes me wonder why it takes 3-4 weeks otherwise).

  2. I’ve had a couple of friends who are U.S. citizens mention they obtained a second passport for the purposes of getting multiple visas at once. I’m not sure what they had to do to do this, but unless I’m confused, the U.S. already does this.

  3. This move would have the added advantage that people visiting Israel could still have a passport without any Israeli visas or stamps for using when they visit the rest of the middle east.

    Which then would raise the question: Could any government have any objections to not knowing which countries you’ve visited when you send your passport to their embassy for a visa application?

    My guess is “no”, but it’s an interesting question.

  4. Chris, that was actually mentioned in the article. I’ve heard that Israel will agree to not stamp your passport if you ask them not to at immigration, but for someone from a country who needs a visa I guess that wouldn’t work. After all, ripped out pages would be kind of suspicious looking.

  5. Re what Chris said – I would think in thise age of RFID chips and the like that a passport will be increasingly just a terminal to register changes – that is, you can have as many physical passports as you like, but each one is linked to the central database on your movements each time you use it, and that is what keeps track of you. So it’s perhaps only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia can tell if you’ve been to Israel or not….

  6. Probably less of an issue if you have a EU/US/Japanese passport since there are far less places where you need to get a visa before travelling….

  7. “I’ve heard that Israel will agree to not stamp your passport if you ask them not to at immigration, but for someone from a country who needs a visa I guess that wouldn’t work.”

    I’ve heard that several dodgy countries (North Korea, Cuba, etc) issue American citizens with visas which are essentially tickets separate from your passport. If so, couldn’t Israel simply do this if it was concerned about the policies of its neighbours.

    I got the NZ authorities to issue me with an emergency passport once. It took a grand total of about 90 minutes and $300, although I had rung in the day before. Of course, I the reason I applied was not because I wanted multiples.

  8. To my knowledge, many European countries have been doing this for decades now.

    For example, French and Britons travelling a lot for work (merchant navy, some types of businessmen etc.) can put in a request to their respective authorities for a second passport (identical to their first one).

    This is/was indeed particularly useful in order to visit certain sets of incompatible countries (US/Cuba, Israel/the-rest-of-the-arab-block etc) without having to do with cumbersome “temporary pages” attached to the original passport…

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