The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today appealed for the understanding of the travelling public, particularly those in the provinces, as it announced that the delay in passport releases could last for a few more weeks as a result of technical concerns and the surge in the demand for the ePassport. The delays, which started in February, have affected primarily applicants in the 19 Regional Consular Offices Nationwide and Foreign Service Posts abroad.
At present, applicants would have to wait an additional 10 working days before their passports could be released.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delays, especially to our Overseas Filipino Workers, but we would like to assure the public that we are exerting our best efforts to resolve the issues as soon as possible, “Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda of the Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) said.
“The DFA will work hard to ensure that those with urgent travel, especially overseas workers, are accommodated”, Assec Ledda said. “We would like to request those without immediate travel plans to defer their applications until the situation normalized.”
Assec. Ledda said the delay in passport releases is primarily the result of maintenance work and upgrades in the equipment in the ePassport Personalization Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility in Quezon City. This, he said, also coincided with the seasonal increase in passport applications as Filipinos start making preparations to travel abroad this summer.
The DFA has been working closely with the BSP to resolve the issue and that it is confident that it would be able to reduce the waiting period in the coming weeks.
In light of the above, the Embassy wishes to advise Filipinos in Norway, Denmark and Iceland who have expiring passports and are unable to forego their travel to apply for an extension of the validity of their existing passports instead of applying for a renewal.