Monday, April 12, 2010

E-passport processing time doubled

The processing time of electronic passports (e-passports) has been doubled due to a flood of applications.

Assistant Secretary Renato Villapando, head of the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs, said regular processing has been extended from 12 to 20 days, express processing from six to 10 days.

The vacation months of March to May are the peak months for passport applications. And coupled with the desire of many Filipino to have e-passports, the DFA now receives some 4,000 applications for the travel document with an electronic chip.

“Everyone is in a hurry to travel. That’s why we have remedial measures, like the issuance of the green (machine-readable) passports for those who are in a hurry,” Villapando said.

Over the first two weeks of March when the e-passport went full blast, the DFA received at least 30,000 applications.

“These are birth pains of a new system. That’s why we adjusted the release of the passports,” Villapando said.

“To cope with the backlog,” he has ordered a 24-hour production of the e-passports in Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Fee for regular processing of e-passport is P950, that for machine-readable passport is P500. An additional fee of P250 is charged for expedited processing.

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