Friday, October 24, 2014

Passport FAQs


Please be guided by the following answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on passports:

Q: When should I renew my passport?

A: A passport with at least six (6) months’ validity is a standard requirement for international travel and/or work pass renewal in Singapore; in some cases, two-year validity is required. In view of the long turnaround for the manufacture of a Philippine passport (around two months), Filipinos living overseas are therefore advised to renew their passports several months before expiry. We recommend eight months, or preferably, 9 months before its expiration to account for any possible delays in the transmission of the passport to the Embassy.

While the passport is being manufactured, you will continue to hold on to your present passport. This will ensure that you will be able to leave Singapore for any emergency. Your present passport will be cancelled only when the new passport has arrived. When claiming the new passport, please bring the old passport as it will be cancelled in front of you.

Filipino professionals who go on frequent travels are advised to submit their applications even earlier, and have their passport renewed long before all the pages have been used up.

There is no option for an applicant to apply for a passport with more than the standard number of pages under the current Philippine passport system; the number of pages is fixed.

Questions on Urgent Cases

Q: I am in urgent need of a passport and cannot wait for ten weeks. Please “expedite” my passport.

A: The Embassy regrets to inform you that there is no “expedite” process for Philippine foreign service posts. Since all Philippine passports are printed in Manila, the Embassy is unable to accommodate “expedite” requests. In other words, the manufacturing time cannot be shortened on a personal request. However, while the new passport is being made in Manila, you will continue to hold your present passport, which means you can still use it for employment purposes or for travel, if it is still valid. (Note : On your return to the Embassy to claim your new passport, your old passport will be cancelled permanently, so please make sure to bring it with you.)

Q: I need to renew my passport urgently, because my work pass is expiring (or, there is an emergency in the Philippines; or, I have a sudden business travel to another country), and I forgot to check my passport and just realized that it now has less than six-month validity. I checked the online system and saw that the available dates on the online appointment are many weeks from now. Please give me an earlier date. Or, can you just extend my passport’s validity without having to renew my passport?

A: The stand-alone “extension” of passports is not allowed by present regulations. On the other hand, giving you an earlier date in the online system will mean giving you an appointment ahead of those who have applied already using the online system for a given month. Your request will only be considered by the Embassy after a careful evaluation, where you will have to prove that there is an emergency. Please follow this procedure:

1. Using the online system here, please obtain an appointment for the earliest possible date available.
2. Attach the details of this appointment (using the confirmation message that you will receive) to an email message to epassport.sgpe@gmail.com
3.  Title your email message with the subject matter “Urgent Need for Passport” and then indicate your reasons in the message. 
4. Attach the scans of all the necessary documents (passport data page, IC card, and other documents to support your request, such as death certificates, medical certificates, job orders, IPA, etc.)
5. We shall evaluate your request and notify you by email about the result of the evaluation.

Q: I did not realize that my passport has expired; I have not looked into my passport’s validity for many years after becoming a long-term pass holder (or permanent resident) in Singapore. Now I have an emergency in the Philippines and must leave tomorrow. I cannot wait for the ten weeks turnaround of a new passport. How can I go home and return to Singapore?

A: Please apply for a travel document. the requirements are here. At the same time, while still here in Singapore, you can apply for a passport in the Philippines using the DFA online appointment system, here. You will have to set aside the necessary number of days while your passport is being manufactured in the Philippines.  Please note that delays in the manufacture of passport happens in the Philippines. However, turnaround in the manufacture of passports in the Philippine is much faster compared to foreign service posts.

Q: The waiting time for passport renewal in the Embassy is too long for me. Is there another option, because I need a passport quickly whenever I want it renewed?

A: Passport applicants may choose to have their passports renewed in the Philippines, when they visit the Philippines on a sufficiently long vacation. The turnaround for a passport renewal in the Philippines is much shorter, around seven to ten working days, and much cheaper. Unlike in Philippine foreign service posts, the option for rush processing is available in the Philippines. Several locations in malls have also been opened, to make passport renewal more convenient. Appointments in the Philippines may be scheduled online at this website.

Questions on Collecting the New Passport

Q: I cannot collect my passport on the stated date on the claim stub. Can I collect it after that date?

A: Yes, you can collect it on any date after the stated date on the claim stub. Just bring your present passport (which will be cancelled in front of you) and the claim stub, and show both at the Reception Desk. For office workers, please note that you can claim your passport during lunchbreak, as the claiming counters are open from 9am to 5pm. You may also authorize someone else to collect it for you, as long as you issue an authorization letter, with a photocopy of your ID or old passport,  plus your present passport (which will be cancelled).

Q: The claim stub states that I can claim my passport in 10 weeks, and accordingly booked a travel because of this. Now, I have been informed by a text message that my passport has been delayed. What can you do to help me as I need a new passport immediately?

A: Due to technical problems at the manufacturing end in Manila, delays in the transmittal of printed passports to the Embassy occurs occasionally. The Embassy is not  informed by Manila as to the exact date that your (particular) passport will be sent to the Embassy, due to the way the system operates. Rest assured, however, that efforts are underway in Manila to resolve this situation of delay in the manufacture of certain passports.

To assist you with your urgent concerns, please come to the Embassy during office hours, with a photocopy of your present passport’s data page, and we will offer a solution to enable you to use a passport for employment or for travel purposes, while waiting for the arrival of your new passport. Kindly inform the reception desk that you have been informed that your passport collection is delayed.

Q: May I know if my passport has arrived already from Manila?

A: The homepage of this website has a section titled “ePassports for collection”, Check if your passport is among them by entering your surname of your passport application number in the appropriate box. If your name doesn’t appear, we regret to say that your passport hasn’t arrived from Manila yet.  

Using the Online Appointment System

Q: Can I just walk in at the Embassy and apply for a passport?

A: Starting in 2011, so-called “walk-in” passport applications (coming to the Embassy to apply for a passport without an appointment) are not allowed anymore. Similar to the system used in many embassies, and in order to ensure that every one will have a secure chance of application on a given day, you need to present an appointment confirmation printout. If you would like to renew your passport, please go to this webpage to set an appointment. This system was instituted in September 2012, to enable you to select your preferred date and time based on the availability of slots.

Q: I have secured a time slot using the online appointment. Could you confirm if you have received my appointment?

A: The appointment system automatically sends an email confirming the schedule. Please check your spam or bulk folder, as the email may have been sent to those folders. Also, it is possible that you did not input your correct email address during your online registration, in which case, please make another appointment using the online system.

Q: I have booked an appointment and sent scanned documents . Up to now I have not received any reply.

A: You are following the old system of appointments; since 19 September 2012 the Embassy has instituted a new system. Please try to secure an appointment using the automated system, by clicking here, as the old email address is no longer in use. With this new system, there is no need for you to send us scans of your documents; just follow the online system’s instructions to secure your preferred date and time slot.

Q: The online system is not working. I have tried many times to use it but it does not work.

A: Reports of the online system not working are very rare. In most cases it can be resolved by refreshing the page. In some cases, there may be a need to switch to another browser, such as from Internet Explorer to Firefox, Chrome or Safari. If you still continue to find it difficult to use the online system, please come to the Embassy and we will help you secure a time slot.

Q: I do not have a computer and/or internet connection in Singapore.

A: You may request a friend with the necessary equipment to help you, or you may come to the Embassy’s reception desk (at the gate entrance) for assistance in making the online appointment.

Q: I do not have an email address.

A: If you are unable to create your own email address, you may wish to request a friend/relative/employer to use his/her email address, but your own name and details must be used for the online appointment. The email address is the method for transmitting the confirmation message, which must be printed out and shown on the date of appointment.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have decided to quit my job in Singapore, and will be returning to the Philippines for good. But when I checked my passport, is has less than six months validity. Will I have problems at the immigration here in Singapore, and over there in the Philippines upon entry?

A: There should be no problem in your case, as the issue of passport validity is not relevant, since you are returning to the Philippines for good and will not be returning to Singapore for quite some time. We recommend, however, that you renew your passport when in the Philippines, at your leisure.

Q: I will be giving birth here in Singapore. What documents should I prepare for my baby’s passport?

A: The requirements for new born applicants can be found at the Embassy website, here. Please seek an appointment before coming to the Embassy with the baby, to reduce your waiting time. Also, please prepare all the necessary number of photocopies.

Q: I am now married and would like to use my husband’s surname. How can I apply for a passport with a new surname?

A: Please read the guide at this webpage.

Q: Can my children go to the Embassy for passport renewal with a neighbor or friend to accompany them?

A: Minor children must be accompanied by a parent or their legal guardian.Please note that minor children will have to be present at the Embassy, as their pictures will be captured. Their appointments must be entered separately, or one appointment for each child. The parent may use his/her email address, in order to receive the confirmation message.