Filipinos in Bahrain urged to apply for e-passports
Manama, 20 days ago
Filipinos in Bahrain are being urged to renew their passports as their existing travel documents will be phased out next year.
The new maroon-coloured e-passport will have a tamper-proof electronic microchip embedded in it and will replace the Non-Machine Readable Passports (MRPs), which will not be accepted by Philippine authorities starting November next year, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister pubilcation.
Philippine Embassy vice-consul Ricardo Aragon said a notice was sent out to nearly 100,000 nationals in Bahrain in April 2012.
However, many Filipinos claimed they were not aware of the new changes.
"We are aware of some nationals whose nature of work do not allow them free and easy access to e-communications and hence are not aware of the notice," he told the GDN.
"But they have to come to the embassy any time they need to renew the passport and we will help them with it."
Aragon said the move was in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) plans to stop the use of all MRPs.
He said holders of green-coloured Machine Readable Ready Passports (MRRPs) and maroon-coloured MRPs should apply for e-passports early to avoid any inconvenience at international airports.
"(The embassy) deadline has been set as 2014 in order to match the ICAO ruling which has set a deadline of November 15, 2015," he explained.
"Nationals can renew their passports as early as possible and they can reach out to the embassy in this regard."
The new passport has various security features, including a hidden encoded image, an ultra-thin holographic laminate and a tamper-proof electronic microchip, and costs around 950 pesos (around BD27, $71) for the normal processing that takes 20 days or 1,200 pesos (around BD35) for the quick processing that takes 10 days. - TradeArabia News Service