The number of Taiwanese nationals applying for electronic passports has grown 25 percent in October from a year earlier, getting a boost from Taiwan’s inclusion in the United States’ visa waiver program, a foreign ministry official said Sunday.

Bureau of Consular Affairs Director-General Thomas Chen said the bureau issued 96,047 e-passports between Oct. 1 and 24, a 26 percent increase from the same period of 2011.

The e-passports are machine-readable and feature an International Civil Aviation Organization-compliant chip, according to the bureau, and are required to travel to the U.S. under the visa-waiver program.

About 5 million ICAO-compliant passports have been issued by the ministry since the ePassport project was first introduced in the country in 2008. They account for 46 percent of all Taiwanese passports in circulation.

Taiwan’s admission to the visa-waiver program was announced Oct. 2. Under the program, which takes effect Nov. 1, eligible Taiwanese passport

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