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Philippine Consulate to issue machine readable passports

Los Angeles, 20 May 2008 – The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles wishes to inform the public that effective 2 June 2008 it will be accepting and processing applications for the new Machine Readable Passports (MRP).

A Machine Readable passport is a passport where the personal details of the passport holder are not only printed in a way that can be read by the naked eye, but also encoded in a machine readable zone on the passport where they could be read by a machine or a computer.

The MRP is being issued by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in compliance with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations promoting the safety and orderly development of civil aviation throughout the world. The 188 contracting states of the ICAO, including the Philippines , are required to issue ICAO Standard MRPs not later than 1 April 2010. These global standards are observed and harmonized by its member countries. Compliance will benefit governments, travelers, airports and airlines, primarily in document security and integrity and ease of travel. No longer would Filipinos be segregated and delayed in airports simply for manual processing and close scrutiny of documents. As a result, those who have been issued MRPs in the Philippines have reported satisfaction in the speed of processing when entering a country, and ease of registration, particularly at "self check-in" counters at US airlines.

In addition, the MRP has superior security features compared to the green passports, which virtually eliminates the possibility of identity theft and acts of fraud. To ensure this, all passport applications are processed at the main office at the Philippines International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City ..

Applications received by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts abroad will be sent to the main office in Manila via diplomatic pouch. However, in view of the transit time, it will now take SIX WEEKS for a passport to be released to the applicants, from the time the application is accepted.

PERSONAL APPEARANCE FOR ALL will be required for data verification, finger-printing and signature capture. Applications by mail will no longer be accepted.

In view of this, we urge Filipinos, especially who are not yet in a hurry to travel to start applying for Machine Readable Passports as early as possible. Acceptance of applications will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For appointments, please call Ms. Tess Villanueva at tel. no. (213) 637-3005.

In addition to the transit time, the following requirements are needed for Philippine MRP applications accepted in the United States :


  • Background – ROYAL BLUE
  • Size – 4.5 cm X 3.5 cm
  • Pose – image of applicant is 70 – 80% of the photograph
  • Straight frontal shot (no tilting of head)
  • "Medium" smile is allowed
  • Collared shirt / decent attire
  • Both ears visible
  • Prescription eye-glasses allowed, provided there is no glare
  • Head scarf / veil for religious or health reasons allowed

Photos can be rejected for the following reasons:

  • Distorted image – head is tilted or smile is too wide
  • Women – excessive makeup, large earrings
  • Men – wearing makeup, earrings
  • Colored contact lenses
  • Use of headgear other than scarf / veil for religious or health reasons
  • Use of dark eyeglasses / shades
  • Photos with "red-eye" effect
  • Dirty photos / poor photo quality / poor or uneven lighting
  • Digitally altered photos (rendered with Photoshop or other imaging programs) / unnatural skin tones

The MRPs will be issued by the Philippine Consulate General at no additional cost to the applicants. The new maroon MRPs issued in the US will still cost US$50.00, the same as the old green passports.

Furthermore, even after the roll out of the new Machine Readable Passports, valid green Philippine passports will still be honored as bonafide travel documents until they expire.

Please check the website of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs at www.dfa.gov.ph for the latest information regarding the Philippine Machine Readable Passport.

A Press Relase by the LA Consulate

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