According to the Philippine Embassy Press release:
- The Philippine Embassy’s issuance of the new Machine Readable Passports (MRP) is in compliance with the requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for all countries to issue Machine Readable Passports not later than 01 April 2010.
This global standard is inter-operable and harmonized with all participating countries. Because of this, compliance benefits for the governments, the travelers, the airports and the airlines, primarily in document security and ease of travel.
In response to the ICAO directive, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be phasing-out the green passport and has instructed all its regional passport offices and foreign service posts, including the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, to begin issuing the MRP.
The Philippine Embassy in Singapore started accepting applications for the new Machine Readable Passports (MRP) since 1 June 2008.
All regular green passports earlier issued will remain valid and will be honored by immigration authorities worldwide until their stated expiry date.
If you currently hold a valid Philippine passport (green passport that has not expired), there is no need to worry as the green Passport will still be honored as a bonafide travel document issued by the Republic of the Philippines until it expires, even after the roll out of the new Machine Readable Passports.
Despite having more security features and more pages–44 compared to 36 pages for the old green one, take note: there will be no increase in the passport fee. Like the green passport, the MRP will be valid for five (5) years.
All passport requirements will remain the same except that the applicant will be required to personally appear and submit three (3) passport-size photos (4.5×3.5 cm), which should have a royal blue (instead of the usual white) matte background.
Personal Appearance is required for data verification, finger-printing and signature capture. Applications by mail will not be accepted. This will be easy for us here in sunny Singapore since it won’t take an hour to get to the embassy but it might be a problem to those Filipinos living in other countries where the presence of Philippine consulate is limited.
New Photo Requirements:
· 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
It would be wise to apply for the MRP at least three (3) months before the expiration of your green passport since all the applications received by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts abroad will be sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila via diplomatic pouch. Because 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 at the Consulate General.
So, what does the new Machine Readable Passport look like?