12/04/2011: ePASSPORT PROCESSING EXTENDED TO 10 WEEKS
San Francisco, California – In view of the continuing technical problems in the processing of and the worldwide surge in the demand for ePassports, the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco wishes to inform the public that the waiting period presently at 6-8 weeks is further extended to ten (10) weeks.
Passport applicants are advised to allocate 10 weeks lead time for renewal of passports prior to making travel arrangements.
Applicants, who wish to renew their valid passports because of emergency travel, may opt to have their passports extended for a maximum of two years.
Those applicants without immediate travel plans are requested to defer their ePassport applications until the situation normalizes.
It may be recalled that, in compliance with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Philippines started the issuance of ICAO standard Machine Readable Passports and, subsequently, the ePassports. ICAO also mandated that non-machine readable passports could no longer be issued after 01 April 2010.
As the global standard in travel document issuance, the ePassport has enhanced security features, which virtually eliminates the possibility of identity theft and acts of fraud. To ensure this, all ePassports are processed in Manila before they are released to applicants abroad. The current delay in passport releases is primarily the result of maintenance work and upgrade on equipment at the ePassport Personalization Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) facility in Quezon City. This also coincided with the seasonal increase in ePassport applications as Filipinos start making preparations for summer travel abroad.
In appealing for patience and understanding on this matter, the Philippine Consulate General apologizes for the inconvenience caused by the delays, but wishes to assure the public that it is closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs to resolve these technical issues as soon as possible. END