16/12/2009: Holders of the Green Philippine Passport Encouraged to Apply for the Machine Readable Passport
-as the 1 APRIL 2010 ICAO deadline for issuing MRPs approaches
The Philippine Embassy in Washington DC urges all Filipino citizens to apply for the machine readable passport (MRP), before the deadline 01 April 2010 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for all countries to issue their citizens machine readable passports.
The MRP is up to global standards and is inter-operable with all participating countries, providing benefits to travelers, airports and airlines, primarily in document security and ease of travel. Those who have used their MRPs have been pleasantly surprised that they are now able to just swipe the machine-readable portion of their passports at check-in kiosks at various airports. Since June 2008 the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, and all the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States have been issuing the new machine readable Philippine passport.
While bearers of the green Philippine passports are assured that these will still be recognized as bonafide travel documents until the passports expire, after 1 April 2010 those using the green Philippine passports may experience some delay at international ports of entry while their data is being manually encoded by inspectors.
In view of this, the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC advises all Filipino citizens to apply for the MRP, if only to avoid inconvenience. Applicants may renew their current passports even if these are still valid for some time. As all applications are sent to the main office of the DFA for printing, processing takes approximately six (6) weeks. For those who wish to replace passports that have been “lost”, in addition to the resubmission of documentary requirements in compliance with the Passport Law, a clearance period of 15- working days is imposed for a total of nine (9) weeks processing.
All Philippine passport holders are advised to check the expiration of their passports before planning any travels out of the country.
Personal appearance is required for passport application, except for applicants 8 years old and below (represented by either parent, provided that thumbprints are affixed on the application form, and an affidavit of support and consent is signed by at least one parent) and adults 65 years old and above (may be represented by an immediate relative - son or daughter - provided that the form is fully accomplished before a notary public, with prints and signature, and accompanied by a notarized Letter of Authority appointing the representative). Strict photo requirements for the MRPs are imposed, to ensure that all photos are accepted in Manila, so as to eliminate the time-consuming back-and-forth of rejected applications. The MRPs are issued at no additional cost to the applicant, as the new passports, with all the security improvements, still cost USD $50.00, the same as the green-colored scripted passports.