DFA rolls out faster passport appointment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 16) — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday announced the waiting time for passport appointments has been cut in half.

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Filipinos can now book their appointment in just six weeks, as compared with the usual three months.

"Go to the DFA website, lagay niyo, 'Make an appointment, start.' Makikita niyo na sa ibabaw, making the website more friendly, 'When's the next appointment available?'" Cayetano said.

Aside from having more a efficient website, the DFA said the processing time will be faster because it is expanding its capacity to make new passports as it plans to open seven to nine new consulates in regions that have no access to DFA's satellite offices.

The DFA is also buying four new vans with mobile passport printing machines, which can each produce up to 500 passports a day.

Cayetano said the department will keep improving services as more and more Filipinos travel abroad.

At the department's ASEANA headquarters in Paranaque alone, the DFA said customers more than doubled from 1,200 to 3,000 in 2017.

Earlier, the validity of Philippine passports has been extended to 10 years, to take effect in 2018.

Individuals under 18 years old, however, will be issued passports valid for only five years.

Cayetano also said a walk-in scheme will be in place for senior citizens; persons with disabilities; pregnant women; first-time and returning Overseas Filipino Workers; and children below 7 years old, together with their parents and minor siblings, so they may apply for passports even without an appointment.