Filipinos in Australia can now apply for renewal of their passports by post. The move came after a number of complaints from Filipinos outside the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) who were required to apply in person to renew their passports. The Embassy required personal appearance for every passport renewal applicant because of “the need to incorporate biometrics in the passport and due to the highly technical specifications” of the new machine readable Philippine passports. Filipinos who wanted to renew their passports spend between Aus$200 and Aus$1,200 to travel to Canberra because of this initial guideline from the Philippine Embassy in Canberra.
The Philippine Embassy in Canberra claimed in its website that “soon became obvious that the requirement for personal appearance when filing applications can be an expensive and time-consuming process for our kababayans.” It announced that it ‘sought’ the approval of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to “allow for personal appearance at Philippine Honorary Consulates/Consulates General in state capitals.”
Filipinos meaning to renew their passports will now have to spend between Aus$95 and Aus$200.
Given these facts, one will wonder whatever happened to the need to incorporate biometrics in the passport and due to the highly technical specifications. If they can authorize the personal application at the state capital’s Philippine Honrary Consulates/Consulate Generals, why not authorize the whole process of applying for passport renewal in the Philippine Honorary Consulates/Consulates General?
I’m also wondering how the pricing of services differs from one Philippine Embassy to another. If you renew your passport in Thailand, you would have to pay between THB2,250 (PhP3,063.52) and THB2,700 (PhP3,676.10). Here in Australia you are poised to pay between Aus$65 (PhP2,065.76) and Aus$78 (PhP2,479.02). If you renew your passport in the Philippines, you will have to pay between PhP 500 and PhP 700. Mailing the application back to Manila is not that expensive but I guess with the quality of postal staff we have back home, paying extra is inevitable.