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The New Philippine Machine-Readable Passport (MRP)

Posted by on 29 January 2009

My passport only expires in 2012 but I’ve already used up all pages except for the last one. I’ve already planned to go to the Philippine Embassy in KL at Jalan Changkat Kia Peng but thought of checking their website first, just in case of any changes in application procedures and requirements. True enough, there was a notice about the introduction of machine-readable passports (MRP).

The first change is quite minor — the passport photo now needs to use royal blue or dark blue as the background, instead of white, and “preferably” should be printed using matte (not glossy) paper. But I warn you: for the Philippine Embassy in KL, they’ve made the “preferably” mandatory and won’t accept any glossy photos. If you’re in KL and need to have your photo taken, go to Fotokem at Ampang Park and they’d know what to do.

The fee for the new 44-page MRP “remains unchanged” at RM192.50. No big news for me. But for Filipinos back home, that’s like robbery in broad daylight. Because RM192.50′s equivalent in Philippine pesos is approximately P2,310. Shocking, huh? The same passport only costs P500 if done in the Philippines. Why should hard-working overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and expats be charged exhorbitantly given that they (we) send back so many millions of pesos in remittances every year?

Anyhow, I scrolled down to read the rest of the information… and got the shock of my life when got to the part that said:-

Due to the transition phase in the implementation of the new passport system, the processing period for the MRP, which will be done in Manila, will take approximately thirty (30) calendar days.

Thirty. Calendar. Days. Unbelievable!

So I called up the Embassy (03-21489989) to verify what the website says.

“Totoo po, Ma’am. Minsan nga, hindi lang four weeks. Five weeks. It’s out of our control kasi sa Maynila po ang processing.” (It’s true, Ma’am. Sometimes, it’s not just four weeks. Five weeks. It’s out of our control because the processing is done in Manila.)

Still not totally satisfied, I checked the Department of Foreign Affairs’ official website to find out more information about the MRP if done in the Philippines. Normal processing time is 14 days at P500; expedited processing is 7 days at P750. For applications from KL, expedited processing is not applicable.

Your passport will remain valid while your new one is being processed; once the new passport is ready, only then will they cancel your old passport.

To say that the long wait is inconvenient is grossly understating it. Malaysia also uses machine-readable passports and it only takes an hour to process! I know so first-hand because DH, RoundBoy and I went to Immigration (Malaysia) a few months back to get RoundBoy’s passport renewed. And it took only an hour from the time we handed in the application form until they called my son for this thumbprint until the time they issued his new passport.

[NB: The only difficulty in applying for passports in Malaysia is that the father must be present upon application and every subsequent renewal until the child turns 18. By difficult, I refer to separated couples and for fathers who are always travelling,  like my husband!] So if you’re a Filipino and your passport is expiring soon, better renew it  early, especially if you’re overseas right now.

Click here to see the Department of Foreign Affairs’ step-by-step instructions on applying for an MRP.

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Update: 27 Feb 2011: The Philippines now uses an electronic passport. Once I renew my passport, I shall create a blog post about the process.

67 Responses to The New Philippine Machine-Readable Passport (MRP)

  1. Wayan Christopher Agnabo

    morning maam,

    my kaibigan po ako na nawala ung passport..and my friend is onboard a vessel..ngkataon na liner ang barko namin d2 sa malaysia..kuching and bintulu lng byahe namin..pwede po ba xa magapply for a new passport on here at malaysia at KL? kasi sa isang post mo ng requirments for lost passport..kailngn my proof of residency..eh onboard po xa ng barko..

  2. Mimi

    Sorry Wayan. Hindi ko alam tungkol sa case na yan. Pakitawag na lang sa Philippine Embassy. I’m sure makakatulong po sila. Their number is +603-2148-4233. Good luck po.

  3. sherly santos salvatierra

    good afternoon maam,
    ask ko lang po panu kumuha ng tourist visa para sa sister ko..anu po mga kailangan gawin.. gusto nya po punta dito sa kuching sarawak..magpapadoctor po kase ako at kailangan ko din sya dito para may titingen skin..nakapag asawa po ako ng malaysian..12yrs na..hinge lang po ng advise anu dapat gawin para makapunta sis ko dito…maraming salamat po …and God Bless…

  4. Mimi

    Hi Sherly. Filipino (and all ASEAN) passport holders automatically get 30 days stay in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries. No need to apply for a visa.

  5. arlene dela cruz

    good afternoon.Gusto ko lang pong magtanung kung ilang araw bago marelease ang pagrenew ng passport dito po sa embassy sa malaysia..katulad po sa pinas ng matagal o saglit lang po at magkano po?salamt..

  6. lyn

    hi po!!tatanong ko lang po sana kasi yung visa ko po mg eexpire this nov 2012 tapos i need to renew again for another year.tapos po yung passport ko mg eexpire po next year sa april 2013. ano po bah ang mas magandang gawin mg renew muna ng passport or visa muna at gawin nalang ang pag rerenew ng passport next year?salamat po…

  7. Mimi

    If I were you, I would just renew my visa first and renew my passport later even if it means going again to Immigration to have a new visa sticker for the new passport.

  8. anna

    Magandang araw po,pwede ko po ba malaman if mag kano ang pagkuha ng lost passport?

  9. anna

    mag kano po ang lost passport ?

  10. Mimi

    Anna, I suggest you contact the Philippine Embassy directly.

  11. joy

    Hi, do i have to wait for 6 months before the expiration date of my passport to apply for renewal or i can renew it earlier than that? I read that the passport remains valid while the new one is being processed so let’s say i will renew it next week, does it mean i could still use my passport to travel abroad since i am scheduled to go back to Philippines 3rd week of October this year? By the way, my passport expires in July next year (2013). Thank you so much…..

  12. joy

    ps…I will only be staying in Philippines for 8 days so i can’t process the renewal there also.

  13. ferrerlester

    mam gud am ask ko lng po gsto ko po sana magtanung pwd po ako mag renew kht hnd pa expired ang passfort ko kc po natapunan po kc ng coffee yung buong passfort..ask ko lng po salamat po

  14. annie

    hi,ask ko lng kung pde ba mag renew ng january pero maeexpired passport q ng august ?please reply..salamat

  15. Nestor Nolasco Bumanglag

    May caravan ho Dito ang philembassykl. Sa Bintulu, Sarawak, malaysia sa June 2 hanggang June 6,2014 may passport expires on Nov. 2014 gusto kung magrenew gusto kung malaman ang veneu saan idaraos hindi kasih nila ipinopost on line.. MABUHAY..GOD bless

  16. sarah

    GOOD AFTERNOON…… gusto ko lng po mlaman kung anu-anu b mga requirements pra s lost pasport, kc ang alam ko photocopy of pasport, visa/permit phocopy at police report, pro pgdating m s philippine embassy they will just simply give u a list of requirements about 14-17 on list… nasa sakin p ang list n bnigay ng kl embassy e bkit need pa original birth certificate? nso? etc……. hndi ba tapos n tau jan s pinas kya tau nkapunta dto.sometimes ang embassy din ntin ngpapahirap s s mga laborers, pg ngkaproblema ka lalapit ka dun mapapagalitan ka pa…… well my point is MAGKANU PO ANG RENEWAL NGAUN? MAY GST N KC e bka pti renewal tumaas din…. thanks

  17. Mimi

    Sarah: Sorry hindi ko alam ang procedure. Mas mabuti siguro kong tawagan mo ang Philippine Embassy. Yung GST sa Malaysia only starts April 2015.

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