DFA Assigns Priority Lane for OFWs, Extends Passport Validity

Good news to all Overseas Filipino Workers: the DFA has just announced that they can go directly (walk-in) to DFA Aseana or to any regional consular satellite offices to renew their passports.

Office of Consular Affairs Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca announced on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 that OFWs do not need to set an appointment online for their passport renewal.

OFWs do need to set up an appointment for passport application. ©Eusebio Barrun, Jr./Flickr

Priority Lane for Passport Application and Renewal

The Department of Foreign affairs has set-up priority lanes in its main office and satellite offices to cater to OFWs who need to renew their passports within their short period of stay in the country.

Upon opening the DFA website for passport appointment, this NOTICE will appear on the screen for everyone to know. And it states as follows:

OFW with sufficient proof of status such as iDOLE Card, valid employment contract, and      work visa may avail of the OFW lane at all consular offices.

NO APPOINTMENT IS NEEDED for the following:

  1. Senior Citizen with Senior Citizen ID
  2. Person with Disability (PWDs) with PWD ID or visible disability
  3. Solo Parent with Valid Solo Parent ID
  4. Pregnant women with medical certificate
  5. Minors seven (7) years old and below

You may avail of the PRIORITY LANE at DFA Aseana or at any DFA Satellite Office or Regional Consular Office to apply for your passport.

Secretary Cimafranca said that they are doing their best to make it easier for Filipinos looking for jobs abroad to avail passport at the soonest possible time. Aside from setting-up priority lane, the DFA is also creating a portal.

“We are also trying to accommodate first time OFws by creating a portal for them. This portal can be used by a recruitment agency. They will have to go through a special portal para mabilis sila (for faster processing of their passport).”

Passport Appointment

With the agency receiving backlash on their Facebook page from applicants who failed to set an online appointment on their website, Cimafranca is trying to appease the public by saying that they are trying to address the congestion on the online application for both passport renewals and first time applications.

The passport applicants are complaining that there are no available slots within the next three months which means that the soonest available schedule one can avail will be in April. Complainants further add that this may be due to fixers and travel agencies getting the priority in applying for their clients. The agency is yet to comment on these allegations though.

It is estimated that about 12,000 to 15,000 passport applications are being processed by the agency on a daily basis. “We have only an ideal number that we can process daily,” Secretary Cimafranca added.

Photo credit: DFA Website

In 2017, DFA has recorded the most number of Filipinos wanting to apply for passport, both renewal and first-time applicants, so the agency is asking for the public’s understanding if they cannot accommodate all applications.

Photo credit: DFA Website

And to avoid adding to the congestion on online appointment system, the secretary advised the passport holders to start processing the renewal of their passport if its validity less than one year.

Passport Application and Renewal

In order to accommodate more passport applicants, the agency will open additional consular offices outside Metro Manila as stated on their website:

Photo credit: DFA Website

And to further make it easier for Filipinos to apply or renew their passport, the agency even simplified the requirements:

Photo credit: DFA Website

And for the information of OFWs and the general public, the processing of passport renewal application for walk-in applicants is only from 8:00 am to 12:00 in the afternoon.

10-Year Validity of Passport

The Department of Foreign Affairs also delivered the good news this Monday, January 15, 2018, that it is already releasing its first batch of passports valid for ten years.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano himself presented the passports with 10-year validity to applicants at the Office of Consular Affairs Building at the Aseana Complex.

Photo credit: DFA Website

“The issuance of passports that will be valid for 10 years is among the passport reforms in consular services that we are undertaking in line with the President’s commitment to improve the delivery of services to the public,” Secretary Cayetano said.

Under Department Order No. 010-2017 (Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10928 (2017), Secretary Cayetano said Passports valid for 10 years will be issued to Filipinos 18 years old and above. He said Filipinos under 18 years will still be issued five-year valid passports.

Even with the extended passport validity, Secretary Cayetano wants to assure the public that the 10-year passport will still cost Php950.00 for regular processing of 10 working days, and if you want the express processing, the cost will be Php1,200.00 within 7 working days.

The DFA is also planning to introduce e-payment within the first quarter of 2018 which means that passports applicants can pay the processing fee through banks and other and other modes of payment.

“The setting up of an e-payment system is expected to streamline the application process, increase show-up rates, and defeat fixers,” Secretary Cayetano added.