Confused on passport renewal? Read this

Posted at 01/17/2014 5:40 PM | Updated as of 01/22/2014 12:29 PM

No extension for green, maroon passports after October 2014

MANILA – Many Filipinos are still confused about the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) recent announcement on passport renewal as the Philippines complies with the standards set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

For sure, green (machine-readable-ready only) and maroon (machine-ready only) passports holders will no longer be allowed to apply for extension beyond October 31, 2014.

"Ang hindi na po tatanggapin ng International Civil Aviation Organization ay itong green passport or machine readable-ready passport. Ang minimum standard po ay yung machine-readable, yung maroon," said Assistant Secretary Wilfredo Santos of the DFA's Consular Affairs.

He said there are only a few green passports still being used.

Santos clarified that maroon (MRP) passports, which the DFA began issuing in 2007, are still valid until the end of its validity period.

"We stopped producing them in 2010 when we implemented the e-passport. But there are still Filipinos who have this passport. Kung hanggang kalian po matapos yan, valid pa po yun," he said.

He, however, advised those whose passports are about to expire in 6 months to apply for an e-passport. This will prevent them from encountering difficulty at immigration checks when traveling through any ports of entry around the world after October 2014.

The DFA, however, can extend expiring or expired passports under the following instances:

• death in the family requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Philippines;

• medical emergencies requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Philippines or another country for medical treatment;

• OFWs returning to their employers abroad with valid employment contracts processed by the POEA; and

• those going home on final exit visas (for Filipinos in the Middle East).

"In case of emergency travel, pwede namang i-extend yan at pumunta sa Consular Affairs. Kung urgent travel, we will make the necessary action to renew the passport and allow the traveler to continue with his flight," Santos said.

If your passport was issued starting 2010, it is most likely an e-passport as the DFA began issuing it that year. To distinguish the security enhanced e-passports from other DFA issued travel documents, the former has a square logo of ICAO on the front cover. It is also color maroon but in darker shade than the MRP.

"May chip yan sa likod ng cover ng e-passport na yan na nagko-contain ng biometric," said Santos.

Other than the DFA office in ASEANA Business Park in Paranaque City, the public may now avail passport services in Metro Manila through its satellite offices in Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, SM Manila and at the Alabang Towncenter.

"Ang plano pa po namin ay magbukas sa Cubao sa Ali Mall and hopefully, within the year, sa Novaliches. Ang programa po namin dito ay para mapalapit serbisyo sa mamayan," he said.