The Philippine ePassport is a passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.

The chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

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What are Biometrics?

Biometrics are the unique and measurable physical characteristics of an individual that include face recognition, fingerprints, and iris scans.

The Philippine Electronic Passport (or Philippine ePassport) uses the digital image of the passport photograph that can be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport holder.

It captures the fingerprints of the passport holder, for identification using the Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS).

What are the special features of the Philippine ePassport?

The Philippine ePassport allows information stored on the chip to be verified with the information visually displayed on the passport. It uses contactless microchip technology that allows the information stored on the chip to be read by special chip readers at a close distance. It contains an integrated photograph of the holder, a digitized secondary photo, and an electronic print of the holder'Â's signature. It contains overt and hidden security features such as Invisible Personal Information (IPI), letter screen, microprinting, and UV reactive ink, among others.

What is the difference between the existing maroon machine readable passport (MRP) and the ePassport?

An MRP is a passport that contains a machine-readable zone (MRZ) printed in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard. It is capable of being read manually and with the use of a machine.

An ePassport has an embedded IC chip where the photograph and personal information of the bearer are stored in accordance with ICAO specifications. These information can be read by chip readers at close distance. An ePassport also contains a machine-readable zone.

What advantages does the Philippine ePassport offer?

The ePassport is highly secure, hence avoids passport reproduction and tampering. The ePassport database is enhanced with AFIS that guards against multiple passport issuances to the same person and enhances imposter detection.

It facilitates fast clearance of travellers at immigration checks. ePassports provide travellers benefits such as use of automated border clearance or Â"E-gatesÂ", automated issuance of boarding passes, and faster travel arrangements with airlines.

For countries, the use of electronic passport also provides better border protection and security.

Why do we have to use ePassports now?

The MRP has the minimum ICAO standards in travel documents. The ePassport is the world standard in travel documents. As member of ICAO, the Philippines has an international obligation to enhance the security of its travel documents.

The issuance of ePassports will allow the Philippines to offer world-class consular services to its nationals.

Countries have greater confidence and acceptance of the ePassport since it is enhanced with biometric technology.

ePassports are already being used in more than 60 countries worldwide. In ASEAN, five countries have already issued e-passports (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia).

Who can avail of the Philippine E-Passport?

Filipino citizens who can comply with the documentary requirements may avail of the ePassport. Regular issuance of the ePassport started at the Philippine Consulate General on 14 June 2010.

How much does an ePassport cost?

The ePassport is available for AED 240.

Why is the ePassport more expensive than the current passport?

The added security features of the ePassport are factored into the production cost. Comparative prices of ePassports from different countries, however, show that the cost of the Philippine ePassport is among the lowest in the world. Note also that you do not have to bring passport-size photos as your photograph will be taken during the Enrolment step.

What other countries use ePassports?

ePassports are already being used in more than 60 countries worldwide. In ASEAN, five countries have already issued ePassports (Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia). In the future, all countries are seen to switch to the ePassport due to the increasing need for efficient and better border security.

What is the ePassport logo and what does it mean?

The ePassport logo which appears on the cover of the ePassport is the international symbol for an electronic passport. It means that the passport has an integrated circuit or chip on which data about the passport and passport holder is stored. The logo will alert border inspection lanes at all airports and transit ports equipped with special data readers for ePassports that the passport is an ePassport.

I have a previously issued passport which is still valid. Can I use it for travel?

It depends, if you have a non-Machine Readable Passport which is still valid for more than six (6) months from the date of your travel, you need to inquire with the Immigration Office of your place of destination if they will allow you to enter their country using a non-MRP. Those possessing a Machine Readable Passport may use the same provided that it is valid for more than 6 months in the date of travel.

What is the procedure for applying for an ePassport or renewing an old passport?

First book for an appointment. Click here.

On the appointment date, bring a printed copy of your appointment, duly accomplished ePassport application form and passport plus photocopies of the first and visa page of the said passport. Proceed to the Processing Section inside the Portacabin. Drop your original passport in the designated boxes indicating your appointment time. Take a seat and wait for your name to be called.

After your application has been processed, proceed to the Cashier for payment and then the Encoding Section for biometric enrollment.

Can existing holders of the maroon MRP simply surrender their passports and have them converted to an ePassport?

Holders of MRPs may apply for the renewal of their passport following the renewal procedure.

How long must I wait before I will receive the new ePassport?

It will take approximately 6-8 weeks from date of application before the applicant will receive the new ePassport. However, this is not guaranteed as there may be circumstances that may arise that will result in the ePassports from being delivered within the estimated time frame. To check the availability of your passport, go to www.dubaipcg.dfa.gov.ph. All applicants are therefore advised to book for an appointment 9 months before their passport expires to avoid inconvenience on their part.