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Pinoy Abroad

DFA allows passport extension for delayed releases

April 24, 2011 9:59am
The Department of Foreign Affairs has authorized all foreign service posts to extend the validity of machine-readable passports if there is a delay in passport delivery.

An article posted on the website of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) said the policy took effect last April 19.

"Effective 19 April 2011, the extension of the validity of Machine Readable Ready Passports for free, if there is a delay in passport delivery and the delayed passport has not arrived at Post within (30) calendar days from date of passport application and data capturing," it said.

It said the extension is a temporary arrangement in view of technical adjustments in the implementation of the Philippine ePassport.

Such adjustments have led to delayed passport deliveries to the foreign service post, it added.

Philippine Charge dā€™ Affaires Ezzedin Tago advised all Filipinos who have travel schedules to take note of this announcement.

Last March 14, the DFA Office of Consular Affairs said maintenance work and equipment upgrades in the ePassport Personalization Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility are ongoing and may delay passport releases.

"As a result, delays in passport releases are to be expected, especially in Regional Consular Offices (RCO) and at various Embassies and Consulates General. The delay could last for a few more weeks," it said at the time.

It also said the adjustments coincided with the seasonal increases in passport applications as a significant number of Filipinos are travelling abroad for the summer season.

At present, it said applicants would have to wait an additional 10 working days before their passports could be released.

"The DFA will work hard to ensure that those with urgent travel, especially overseas workers, are accommodated," Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Jaime Victor Ledda said.

"We would like to request those without immediate travel plans to defer their applications until the situation has normalized. Those with expiring passports who cannot forego their travel may opt to apply for an extension of the validity of their existing passports instead of applying for renewal," he added. ā€” LBG, GMA News
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