Philippine passport: Wikis

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The current Philippine biometric passport.
The current maroon Philippine machine-readable passport.

A Philippine passport is a travel document and is a Primary National ID issued to citizens of the Philippines. It is issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine diplomatic missions abroad, with certain exceptions. Besides facilitating international travel and conferring diplomatic assistance to Filipinos overseas, a Philippine passport is considered a primary form of identification in the Philippines, particularly because there is no national identity card system in the country.

The passport is a popular target for counterfeiters, due largely to the relatively liberal visa requirements accorded to Philippine travelers to destinations such as Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and other APEC and ASEAN member nations. Due to this, the Department of Foreign Affairs started issuing maroon machine-readable passport since September 17, 2007. The green colored cover non-electronic passports are still acceptable until they expire. Philippine passports are printed at the Security Plant Complex of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Contents

History

Philippine passports have been issued since the Philippines gained independence from the United States, although their pre and post Spanish history is quite unknown. Passports were ordered to be printed in Filipino for the first time under Diosdado Macapagal, to be subsequently implemented under Ferdinand Marcos. Currently, it is printed in Filipino with English translations.

With the declaration of martial law on September 23, 1972, travel restrictions were imposed on Philippine citizens. A letter of instruction on the implementation of martial law in the Philippines restricted the issuance of passports to members of the Philippine diplomatic service, although this was relaxed starting in 1981 with the lifting of martial law. With the institution of the 1987 constitution, the power of issuing passports was transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the current Department of Foreign Affairs.

In 1983, there were orders from the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports for the Aquino family. Despite the government's ban on issuing him a passport, Ninoy Aquino was able to acquire one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former congressman from Mindanao. It carried an alias, Marcial Bonifacio (Marcial for martial law and Bonifacio for Fort Bonifacio, his erstwhile prison). [1]

On May 1, 1995, green covers were instituted on regular passports for the first time, and barcodes were inserted on passports starting in 2004. The new security-enhanced passport is a prerequisite to the issuance of new machine-readable passports which was issued starting September 17, 2007.[2] The Philippines used to be one of the few countries in the world and formerly the only country in Southeast Asia that did not issue machine-readable regular passports,[3] although machine-readable official passports have been issued since June 18, 2007.[4]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, passports were stamped with limitations prohibiting travel to South Africa (because of apartheid) and Lebanon (because of the civil war). Currently, passports are stamped prohibiting travel to Iraq due to the ongoing violence and because of the Angelo de la Cruz kidnapping.[5]

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Machine-readable passports

In 2006, the DFA in cooperation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas started a five-year passport modernization project designed to issue new Philippine machine-readable passports (MRP). However, an injunction was issued against the project by a lower court, only to be overturned by the Supreme Court and ordering the DFA and the BSP to continue the project.

The new machine-readable passport is designed to prevent tampering through the use of a special features embedded in the passport cover, similar to other machine-readable passports. It will also have more pages than a current passport (44 pages instead of the present 32) and processing and releasing times are expected to be accelerated.

It is also believed that Philippine machine-readable passports will be used in the fight against terrorism. Because of this, personal appearance for applying the new MRP passport is now required and cannot be bypassed. Also, fingerprints are registered into passport and microprinting is found all over the data page of the passport.

It was initially rumoured that effective January 2010 onwards, all handwritten (green) passports will no longer be valid regardless of their original expiration date. Officials from the DFA clarified that the green passports will expire as scheduled on their original expiration dates. [6] However, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires all member states to issue machine-readable passports by April 2010, hence some countries may deny entry to Filipinos still in possession of the green, hand-written passports. [7]

Biometric Passport

In late July 2008, the DFA has announced plans and the possible implementation of a new Biometric Passport System for new passports. It is expected that the government will start issuing biometric passports by the end of 2009. On August 11, 2009, the first biometric passport was released for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The new e-passport has various security features, including a hidden encoded image; an ultra-thin, holographic laminate; and a tamper-proof electronic microchip costing at around 950 pesos for the normal processing of 14 days or 1,200 pesos for the rush processing of 7 days. [8]

With the rise of technological advancements, the DFA has leveraged on the Internet to improve and make passport transactions faster. With its online appointment system, a citizen can be able to transact passport application and renewal in 45 minutes or less.[9] It all starts by filling up the appointment form in their website. Within 5 days maximum, an e-mail will be sent that will request the applicant to be present in the DFA Office on a specified date and time, with the requirements and payment complete. In about two weeks, the passport can either be personally picked up or it can be delivered for an additional cost through various courier companies located inside the DFA compound.

Types of passports

There are only three types of Philippine passports designated by the colors green or maroon (regular), dark blue (diplomatic), red (official) and light blue (SIRB).

Regular passport (green/maroon)

A regular passport is issued to any citizen of the Philippines applying for a Philippine passport. It is the most common type of passport issued and is used for all travel by Philippine citizens and non-official travel by Philippine government officials. This passport has a green cover for handwritten passports and a maroon cover for machine-readable and biometric-passports.

Diplomatic passport (blue)

A diplomatic passport is issued to members of the Philippine diplomatic service, members of the Cabinet, service attachés of other government agencies assigned to Philippine diplomatic posts abroad and Philippine delegates to international and regional organizations. It is the first of two passports issued to the President of the Philippines and the Presidential family. This passport has a dark blue cover and extends to the bearer the privilege of diplomatic immunity.

Official passport (red)

An official passport is issued to members of the Philippine government for use on official business, as well as employees of Philippine diplomatic posts abroad who are not members of the diplomatic service. It is the second of two passports issued to the President and the Presidential family. As such, this passport does not extend the privilege of diplomatic immunity. Government officials are prohibited from using official passports for non-official business, and as such also have regular passports. This passport has a red cover.

Seaman's Identification Record Book (light blue)

The Seaman's Identification Record Book (SIRB) is issued to Filipinos who work as crewmembers on foreign-registered ships, as well as Philippine-registered ships with a weight over 35 gross tons. This type of passport is not issued by the DFA but by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and as such is unavailable outside the Philippines. There are special requirements for this type of passport, including certification by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and other agencies. This passport has a light blue cover.

Physical appearance

The data page of the biometric passport with a machine-readable zone and digitally-captured signature.
The data page of the maroon-style machine-readable passport with a machine-readable zone.

A Philippine passport has a maroon cover with the coat of arms of the Philippines emblazoned in the center. The cover contains the Filipino words "PILIPINAS" on top and "PASAPORTE" on the bottom. Passports issued in the late Marcos era (1980-1986) had the order reversed (strikingly similar to the United States passport), with "PASAPORTE" on top and "REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS" on the bottom. A typical passport has 44 (previously 32 or 64) pages.

Languages

Philippine passports are issued in both English and Filipino, with Filipino preceding English. All text in Filipino in brown passports were written with diacritics included, although diacritics are no longer used in green and maroon passports.

The information on a passport's data page are written in English.

Data page

Philippine passports have different styles of data pages. Old brown passports have both a data and physical description page, with the picture located on the description page rather than the data page, which are separated by the passport note. Green passports issued before 2004 have the data page on the inner cover followed by the passport note page. Passports issued after 2004 have the passport note and data pages reversed, with the passport note on the inner cover page.

The data page contains the following information:

  • Passport type (P)
  • Country code (PHL)
  • Passport number
    • Passport numbers vary with each type of passport. Brown passports have a letter followed by six numbers, while green passports issued before 2005 have two letters followed by six numbers. Passports issued after 2005 (including machine-readable and biometric passports) have two letters followed by seven numbers.
  • Names
    • A bearer's last name goes first, followed by the first names and middle name (mother's maiden last name)
  • Nationality (Filipino)
  • Date of birth (written in the European date format with months abbreviated)
  • Sex (M or F)
  • Date of issue
  • Date of expiry
    • A Philippine passport is valid for five years from the date of issue. Passports issued from 1981 to 1986 were valid for two years and may be extended for another two years.
  • Issuing authority
    • Valid issuing authorities for Philippine passports include the main office of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, branch offices of the DFA located in certain cities around the Philippines, and Philippine embassies and consulates.
  • Signature of bearer (for biometric passports)

With new maroon-covered passports, the passport data page ends with the Machine Readable Zone. This zone is absent in green-covered passports.

Philippine passports are known for having data entries written by hand rather than typed or computerized, although this is common only for passports issued in the Philippines. This practice is called "scripting" by the DFA. Passports issued by Philippine diplomatic missions typically have data entries typed rather than written. Machine-readable passports have their entries entered by computer.

Passport note

The passports contain a note from the issuing state that is addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that he or she be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The note inside all Philippine passports state:

in Filipino:

"Ang Pamahalaan ng Republika ng Pilipinas ay humihiling sa lahat na kinauukulan na pahintulutan ang pinagkalooban nito, isang mamamayan ng Pilipinas, na makaraan nang malaya at walang sagabal, at kung kailangan, ay pag-ukulan siya ng lahat ng tulong at proteksyon ayon sa batas."

and in English:

"The Government of the Republic of the Philippines requests all concerned authorities to permit the bearer, a citizen of the Philippines, to pass safely and freely and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection."

The note is first written in Filipino, and is then repeated in English.

Signature field

A Philippine passport is invalid if the passport is not signed, and normally the bearer affixes his/her signature on the signature field, whose position has varied with various incarnations of Philippine passports. Persons too young to sign a passport may have a parent or legal guardian sign the passport on their behalf.

Brown passports originally contained the signature field below the data page at the passport's inner cover. When green passports began being issued in 1995, a field where the bearer must sign the passport appeared below the passport note.

Machine-readable passports originally had no signature field, a source of much controversy as Filipinos applying for foreign visas, whether for travel or employment, have either been requested to get a copy of their passport application form,[10] or denied altogether. Newer versions of this passport eventually had the signature field at the back cover, below the important reminders for Philippine passport holders.

Biometric passports are the only Philippine passports which do not require the physical signature of the bearer, as an image of the bearer's signature is printed onto the passport data page.

Fees

A regular Philippine passport costs 500 pesos ($10) in the Philippines or $50 abroad. Overtime processing for new passports costs an additional 250 pesos. Persons who take advantage of overtime processing get their passports within seven days, but is only available in the Philippines. Passports previously could amended for 100 pesos ($2) in the Philippines or $20 abroad, although machine-readable passports are no longer amendable.

Lost or stolen passports may be replaced for 700 pesos ($14) in the Philippines, $90 abroad.

The DFA also offers other channels for the public to apply for their passports. Aside from the traditional on site application process, there is also a DFA Express Passport Delivery hotline (02)737-1000 where an individual can call, inquire, and have his passport picked-up, processed and delivered to his doorstep. The third option is an online application process at www.passport.com.ph[1], which has a similar door-to-door delivery feature.

A Seaman's Identification Record Book may be obtained from MARINA for 550 pesos. An additional 220 pesos is added for expedited service. An SIRB may also be revalidated for 330 pesos, with an additional 120 pesos for expedited service.

Visa-free travel

It is estimated that 62 countries and territories granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to Philippine passport holders, while 41 countries and territories are visa free accessible (visa on arrival for free counted). Visa issued prior to arrival or pre-arrangement required for countries or territories not mentioned below.

PhilippineVisaFree.PNG

Africa

Countries and Territories Conditions of access
 Burundi visa issued upon arrival [2]
 Cape Verde visa issued upon arrival [3]
 Comoros A free 24 h transit visa issued upon arrival at the airport. Within 24 hours this must be converted into a full visa at the immigration office in Moroni (fee payable) [4]
 Djibouti 10 days visa issued upon arrival for DJF3,000; 30 days visa issued upon arrival for DJF5,000 [5]
 Egypt (South Sinai only) 14 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge) [6]
 Gambia At port of entry passport 24-72 h transit pass is issued. This must be converted into a full visa valid up to 1 month at the immigration department in Banjul (fee payable) [7]
 Kenya 90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [8]
 Madagascar 90 days visa issued upon arrival for MGA140,000 [9]
 Morocco 90 days [10]
 Mozambique 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$25 [11]
 Saint Helena visa issued upon arrival
 Seychelles 30 days [12]
 Tanzania visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [13]
 Togo 7 days visa issued upon arrival [14]
 Uganda 180 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [15]
 Zambia 90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [16]

Asia

Countries and Territories Conditions of access

ASEAN

 Brunei Darussalam 14 days [17]
 Cambodia 21 days [18]
 Indonesia 30 days [19]
 Laos 30 days [20]
 Malaysia 30 days [21]
 Singapore 30 days [22]
 Thailand 30 days [23]
 Vietnam 21 days [24]

Non-ASEAN

 Armenia 120 days visa issued upon arrival for AMD 15,000 [25]
 Azerbaijan 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$100 [26]
 Bangladesh 90-days visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [27]
 Republic of China (Taiwan) 30 days if holding a vaild visa for Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Schengen countries, United Kingdom or United States [28]
 Georgia 90 days visa issued on arrival for US$10 ~ US$200 [29]
 Hong Kong 14 days [30]
 Iran 15 days visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [31]
 Israel 90 days [32]
 South Korea (Jeju Island only) 30 days [33]
 Macau 30 days [34]
 Maldives 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge) [35]
 Mongolia 21 days [36]
 Nepal 15/30/90 days visa issued upon arrival for US$25/40/100 [37]
 Sri Lanka 30 days [38]
 Timor-Leste 30 days visa issued upon arrival for US$30 [39]

Europe

Countries and Territories Conditions of access
 Kosovo 90 days [40]

Oceania

Countries and Territories Conditions of access
 Cook Islands 31 days [41]
 Fiji 120 days Visitor's Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge) [42]
 Marshall Islands 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge) [43]
 Federated States of Micronesia 30 days [44]
 Niue 30 days [45]
 Palau 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge) [46]
 Samoa 60 days Visitor's Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge) [47]
 Tuvalu 30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge) [48]
 Vanuatu 30 days [49]

North America

Countries and Territories Conditions of access
 Bermuda 180 days [50]
 Costa Rica 30 days [51]
 Dominica 21 days [52]
 Haiti 90 days [53]
 Nicaragua 90 days [54]
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 14 days [55]
 Saint Lucia 6 weeks visa issued upon arrival for US$50 [56]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 30 days [57]
 Turks and Caicos Islands 30 days [58]

South America

Countries and Territories Conditions of access
 Bolivia 59 days [59]
 Brazil 90 days [60]
 Colombia 90 days [61]
 Ecuador 90 days [62]
 Peru 90 days [63]
 Suriname 120 days [64]

References

See also

External links


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