Thursday, 7 July 2011

Waiting time for passports cut to 2 weeks

Eric B. Apolonio
Manila Standard

FOREIGN Affairs has reduced the waiting time for the new electronic passports to two weeks from two months after it hired more people to help verify applications and print the new documents, Assistant Secretary Victor Ledda said Wednesday.

“This is a very welcome development as we continue to work hard to improve the services in our regional consular offices and foreign service posts,” Ledda said.

He said the department reduced the waiting time for the new passports to 14 days in June from 60 days as late as April, and that the passports released in June rose 5.81 percent to 128,000 from 88,000 in April.

Some 7,500 people apply for e-passports daily, and they pay P950 for regular processing (2 weeks) and P1,200 for express processing (1 week). An e-passport may be delivered to any address in the Philippines by courier, for which the fee is P120.

The new passport is valid for five years. Its security features include invisible personalized information and an automatic finger print identification. The passport conforms to International Civil Aviation Organization standards, making it easier for the person carrying it to obtain visas and to be cleared at airports.

Foreign Affairs has so far issued 2,139,081 electronic passports since it started producing them on Aug. 11, 2009.

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