While we anticipate the approval of the proposed 10-year validity of Philippine passports, we should continue to mark our calendars as to when we should be applying for a passport renewal. Currently, Philippine passports have a 5-year validity period and most passengers who have less than a year before their passports expire are no longer permitted to leave the country.
This is a dilemma encountered by most OFWs.
So what happens if your passport expires while you are overseas?
1.Allow a one year renewal period.
Avoid waiting until you only have a few weeks left before your passport expires. The process of renewing your passport from abroad takes at least 8 to 12 weeks.
2. Visit the Philippine Embassy / Consulate General in the country where you are currently located.
a. Bring your passport and other pertinent documents related to your travel or stay.
b. The Philippine Embassy will send your renewal application to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office in Manila.
c. Check online if the Philippine Embassy in your area requires applicants to set up an appointment. Most Philippine Embassies accommodate walk-in applications for passport renewal.
d. All details such as photographs, fingerprints, and signatures will be taken on-site.
3. What are the documents you need to bring?
a. Duly accomplished passport application form, typed or printed legibly on black or blue ink.
b. Latest passport.
c. One (1) photocopy of each of the data page/s of the passport.
e. Proof that applicant has not applied for foreign citizenship, e.g. resident alien card (green card).
These requirements may vary depending on the host country of the Philippine Embassy you will be applying to.
4. But how about if the passport IS already expired?
If your passport got lost or is already expired and you need to travel back to the Philippines, you have to secure a Travel Document from the Philippine Embassy in your host country.
What is a Travel Document?
- Travel documents are issued to Philippine nationals returning to the Philippines, who for one reason or another, have lost their passport or cannot be issued a regular passport.
- It is also issued to Filipino citizens who are being sent back to the Philippines.
- It is valid for a non-extendable period of thirty (30) days from date of issuance and only for a one-way direct travel to the Philippines. It cannot be used for re-entry to the host country.
The travel Document can only be issued when:
- The consular officer determines that its use is warranted by emergency/critical circumstances.
- It cannot be used as a short cut in complying with the requirements for the renewal of a passport or the replacement of a lost passport.
Renewing your Philippine passport abroad may be the last thing you would want to do while on a trip, whether as a tourist or an overseas worker. You can avoid this by simply making sure that your passport is kept up-to-date. Until the law on the 10-year validity period for Philippine Passports has been ratified, we all need to exert a little more effort in making sure that our passports are updated and are not expiring anytime soon.