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DFA allows passport extension for delayed releases

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Due to the maintenance work and equipment upgrades in the ePassport Personalization Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility since last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has authorized all foreign service posts to extend the validity of machine-readable passports if there is a delay in passport delivery.

"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," the DFA Consular Affairs statement 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, the statement added.

"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.

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. (PNA/PIA9-BST)




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