Philippine ePassport: Guidelines and Q&A

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued the guidelines for the new ePassport applications, which will be accepted starting 26 August 2009 on a first-come, first-served basis.

1. Only 100 ePassport applicants can be accommodated daily. The ePassport is initially available at DFA Manila, to be followed by Philippine Embassies and consulates abroad and throughout the Philippines through DFA’s regional offices.

2. Only applications for renewal of passports will be accepted until further notice. In the meantime, first-time applicants may apply for Machine-Readable Passports (MRPs).

3. Interested applicants should set an on-line appointment through the DFA website (http://www.dfa.gov.ph). Applicants are requested to fill up the required fields on the online appointment page at the DFA website; otherwise, the online appointment process will not proceed. After internal verification, the DFA will inform prospective applicants of their schedule by electronic mail (email). Applicants will be asked to confirm their availability on the specified date.

4. ePassport requirements:

• Personal appearance. All applications during this period shall be filed by the applicant personally to the exclusion of third parties.

• Old passport with one (1) photocopy of old passport data page

• A valid identification card

• Duly accomplished passport application form. Applicants may use the current MRP application form for this purpose, which is also available in the DFA website

• Passport fee of P950

An ePassport, according to the DFA website, is a “passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip. The chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.”

The ePassport is different from the existing maroon machine-readable passport (MRP). Holders of MRPs (even non-MRPs) may have their old passport canceled and apply for ePassport as soon as the production of the ePassport comes into full swing.

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