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PIA Press Release

Machine-readable passports available in provinces by October

Tacloban City (September 10) -- Applicants in the provinces may apply for the new machine readable passports at the Regional Consular Offices starting October 2007.

This was emphasized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as it announced that from September 17 onwards, the new Machine Readable Passport will be available to applicants for Philippine passport for the first time.

Currently, the Department of Foreign Affairs issues the Machine Readable Passports to those renewing their passports, to senior citizens and OFWs.

Under the new system, applicants have to personally appear, sign and affix their thumbprints on their application form before a consular officer at the Department.

Furthermore, applicants are now required to submit three (3) copies of passport-sized photographs taken against a royal blue background, instead of the customary white background. The photograph, signature and thumbprints of the applicant are stored in the passport database.

Also, under the new system, a machine generated application form is printed with the personal details of the applicant. The applicant has the responsibility to verify the accuracy of the data printed on the form.

The signature of the applicant on the form indicates that he has read and verified the contents thereof. Any misprint on the passport due to the fault of the applicant shall be to his or her account.

DFA informed that other requirements remain the same. For first time passport applicants, they will have to submit their NSO birth certificates and their documents of identity. For those renewing their passports, they have to bring the old passport for cancellation.

Moreover, efforts are underway to reduce the application procedure from three steps to two steps processing and payment.

Despite the implementation of the new system, the passport fee remains at P500.00 for regular processing and P750.00 for expedited processing, the Department said.

Because of the shift to the new system and the expected surge in the number of applicants, those who intend to secure a passport are advised to apply for or renew their passports way ahead of their expected date of travel.

Applicants who apply for regular processing can get their passports after fourteen (14) working days while those who apply for expedited processing can get their passports after seven (7) working days. Once the flow has normalized, the processing time will be reduced accordingly.

The Department also clarified that Green or manually scripted passports shall remain valid until their expiry date. (PIA 8) [top]

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