“Unclaimed passport will be returned to Philippines
and may cause inconvenience to OFWs”
Philippine Vice Consul Josel Mostajo announced the launch of Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) for renewal of Philippine passport in addition to the service presently provided for by the Embassy’s consular section. The service additional service facility expects to accommodate passport concerns of 250,000 Overseas Filipino Workers currently employed and residents of Kuwait.
Vice Consul Mostajo in an exclusive interview with The Times explained that VFS has been commissioned by the Philippine’s Department of Foreign Affairs to provide appointments for processing of passport renewal to further accommodate the number of passport renewals.
However he explained that VFS is restricted to provide solely passport renewal but other concerns and issues such as change of names, status, wrong spelling, and application for children’s passport, loss and other related concerns must be addressed in the consular section of the embassy. “Let me reiterate that VFS and Embassy consular section both provide passport renewal but other concerns on passport issues must be raised in the embassy for assistance” explained Vice Consul Mostajo.
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with VFS provide more appointment options for OFWs to choose as to where they can renew their passports. Philippine Embassies and Consulates in the Middle East have also assumed services of VFS to assist and provide convenience to OFWs.
“At present VFS accommodates 50 to 60 passports renewal per day as it is on its test period and by this month, we expect up to 200 passport renewals per day” added Vice Consul Mostajo. The Philippine Embassy consular services offer 100 appointments per day including processing of other related documents.
There are different fees or charges on passport renewals between both sites. Additional KD 10 is required when appointment is made with VFS, as more available hours of appointment are provided including courier service to pick up the old passport from home and delivery of the new one in addition to a more spacious area while waiting for the processing of their passport. Vice Consul Mostajo added that the courier service is optional for OFWs and that release of new passports can be availed as to where the renewal was made.
Vice Consul Mostajo urged OFWs to claim their new passport as soon as their names are posted in the social media sites of the Philippine Embassy. A duration of one year has been allowed by DFA for unclaimed passports and that such passports will be returned to the Philippines after a year.
“Unclaimed passports will be returned to the Philippines and OFWs who failed to collect their new passport will have to secure cancellation of passport prior to application and this can cause inconvenience as such process may take a while” explained Vice Consul Mostajo. Furthermore, he advised all OFWs to check the validity of their passports and not to wait till last month before they renew. Validity of 18 months is required by Kuwait government to be able to issue new or renew visas. “Extension of passport can only be availed if renewal of passport has been completed and that extension can only apply for the purpose of visa renewal” added Vice Consul Mostajo.
VFS is located in the mezzanine floor of UTC building in Kuwait City and the new Embassy of the Philippines is located in Villa 15, Masjid Al Aqsa Street Block 1 Salwa.
– Ricky Laxa