LOS ANGELES/PASAY CITY – Good news to Philippine passport holders in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.
An alternative off-site passport renewal center will soon open in Los Angeles, California to address the huge demand for e-passport renewal applications in areas under the Philippine Consulate General’s jurisdiction, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos said the opening of a VFS Global Philippine Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) in Los Angeles is a continuation of the DFA-VFS Global Agreement that began in 2019.
“The DFA reached the agreement with VFS Global in line with President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s directive for Philippine agencies to streamline procedures and to make ePassport renewal services faster and more convenient, especially for overseas Filipinos,” Badajos said.
Having consular jurisdiction over Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona, the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles serves an estimated 1.3 million overseas Filipinos.
Since May 2021, the Consulate General has been processing the maximum number of passport, dual citizenship, and other consular services applications that its limited office space and personnel can accommodate and process daily.
With the demand for passport renewal services surpassing the operating capacity of the Consulate by a wide margin, DFA said “it was felt that the opening of a VFS Global PaRC in Los Angeles will help address the problem”.
In addition to its regular weekday services, the Consulate has been conducting consular services on Saturdays since March 2021. It has also resumed its post-pandemic consular outreach missions in May 2021 and has so far visited Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and San Diego, California.
Despite these extra services, DFA said the huge demand for passport renewal applications still cannot be fully met.
The new PaRC, which is also present in Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, will be operated by private outsourcing company VFS Global.
VFS Global will be tasked with processing passport renewal services, specifically, those with non-complex, non-sensitive, and non-discretionary elements.
But as a third-party service provider, VFS Global will charge an additional fee for its services.
“Passport renewal through the VFS Global PARC is not compulsory. It is up to the applicant to decide whether to apply through VFS Global or through the DFA-Global Online Appointment System (GOAS),” Badajos said.
Appointment slots to be rolled out by VFS Global for passport renewal will be separately announced through its website, with a link to be provided on the Consulate General’s own website.
The DFA advised the public to visit the Consulate General’s website and Facebook page