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Pinoy Abroad

Non-machine-readable passports still valid

January 2, 2010 6:01pm
Filipinos can still use their old green or maroon non-machine-readable passports for foreign travel until their expiry.

This was clarified by Philippine Vice Consul to Dubai Edwin Mendoza in an interview with Khaleej Times after receiving queries from members of the Filipino community whose old green passports are valid beyond April 1, 2010.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), of which the Philippines is a member, has mandated its member countries to issue at least Machine-Readable Passports (MRP) by April 2010.

A brown MRP has since been issued by the Philippine government, but existing green and maroon non-machine-readable passports are still in circulation and can still be used for travel.

"Bona fide travel document"

The Philippine Consulate General in New York City has in fact released an advisory as early as February 2009 in response to circulating e-mails that green passports will not be honored starting January 2010.

The advisory said that the “green passport will be honored as a bona fide travel document issued by the Philippine Government until it expires, even if the Machine Readable Passport is already in circulation."

The advisory also said that passport renewal is not mandatory as long as it is not expired yet, though the consulate advised passport holders to renew their passports at least six months prior to a travel to avoid any travel glitches.

Public warned against false e-mails

The consulate also stated that the false e-mails may have been circulated by travel agencies in the Philippines who are accredited to process passports for individuals for additional fees.

“In our estimation, this email was created by one such agency, in an effort to profit from those alarmed by their message," the advisory said. - NC/TJD, GMANews.TV