News update Department of Foreign Affairs to open offices on Saturdays starting July

n a bid to shorten the waiting time for appointments for electronic passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs will open its offices every Saturday starting July.

Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) personnel training for Saturday processing of such appointments is ongoing, according to the DFA.

An article posted on the DFA website said the DFA expects to shorten the waiting time for appointments to three weeks to one month.

OCA is also planning to open more Regional Consular Offices (RCOs) nationwide. The ePassport is already available in 19 RCOs.
Identity and Passport Service: Introduction of Epassports: HC 362, Forty-ninth Report of Session 2006-07 – Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
It also said a number of Philippine foreign service posts are issuing the ePassport so Filipino workers, or migrants need not come home to have their passports renewed.
Identity and Passport Service: Introduction of Epassports
These overseas posts include Agana, Brunei Darussalam, Chicago, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Osaka, Ottawa, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington D.C.

Other foreign service posts are expected to issue the ePassport in due time.

Earlier, the DFA washed its hands off a supposed backlog in its processing of passports, and blamed some applicants’ failure to show up on appointed time for the “delay.”

“It is the waiting time to get an appointment that is longer due to a number of reasons including non-appearance …. Forty percent of individuals who have set appointments do not show up on the designated dates. OCA still accommodates these slots since these were not cancelled by the applicants,” the DFA said.

OCA said passports are released 10 days from application for expedited passports, 20 days for regular processes, and even less than 10 days for emergency cases.

It said the DFA’s processing and releasing time is faster compared to other countries’ passport processes. In the United States, it said passports are released four to six weeks from the date of application.

The OCA urged applicants to appear on their appointment schedules. If unable to show up, they should cancel their appointments earlier so the time slot could be used for other applicants.

Passport extension office

On the other hand, the DFA will re-open the Passport Extension Office (PEO) at the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to address specific concerns of OFWs who are in Manila to renew their passports immediately to comply with their work contracts’ requirements.

PEO will initially accept 200 applicants daily. Those who cannot be accommodated on a particular day will be given on-the-spot appointment for the succeeding days.

“No prior appointments are required for OFWs applying for passports at the PEO,” the DFA said.
PR Newswire : HSPD-12, ePassports Headline Smart Card Alliance 4th Annual Smart Cards in eGovernment Conference.
Those who may apply at the PEO include seafarers and sea-based workers and their family members, land-based Balik-Manggagawa (visiting or returning OFWs and their families, and DFA-accredited manning and recruitment agencies.

As a stop-gap measure, OCA is also extending the validity of expiring passports for a maximum period of up to two years.

OCA also attributed the two-month waiting time for appointments to the peak summer season and the huge demand for the Philippine ePassport.

It said that it has been accepting 3,500 applicants daily. The number, however, is expected to go down by July. — LBG

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2 responses to “News update Department of Foreign Affairs to open offices on Saturdays starting July

  • shely

    The appointment system sounds pleasant to the ears but it is ABSOLUTELY NOT what everyone is expecting. When you say that you have an appointment on that day, you’ll expect that there wont be long lines and what not. But lo and behold, you have to wait for FIVE HOURS to finish your passport application!

    Please don’t go on media telling everyone that it would only take 30 minutes for you to get your passport because that ONLY APPLIES TO CELEBRITIES AND NOT TO THE MAJORITY.

    One more thing about the so called “COURTESY LANE”. It is universally known that courtesy is given to SENIOR CITIZENS, PREGNANT WOMEN, DISABLED AND CHILDREN. My 4yrs old son applied for a passport but he WAS NOT given any courtesy so HE HAD TO WAIT FOR ANOTHER THREE (3) HOURS JUST TO HAVE HIS PICTURE TAKEN compared to those people who were given some courtesy simply because THEY KNOW SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE EMPLOYED AT DFA AND WERE ESCORTED TO THE COURTESY LANE. And the DFA employee wasn’t even patient enough to take a photo of a 4yrs old kid. Whats up with that? The kid waited for that long, you dont expect him to be in a good mood, right?

    I’m sure this feedback will not be given any importance and what not but I hope I was able to send the message across.

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