DFA will soon issue passports valid for 10 years, but minors still need to renew every 5 years

Filipinos traveling abroad will soon have the privilege to get passports valid for 10 years. This will replace the current validity period of five years granted to Filipino passport applicants. But for minor applicants or those under 18 years old, the five-year validity will be retained. The proposed new Philippine Passport Act which is expected to be enacted into law will give mandate to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to start issuing Philippine passports with 10-year validity. The House of Representatives approved on its third and final reading the proposed new Philippine Passport Act on February 13. The Senate is set to approve the bill on third reading on Monday.

“Hopefully by January 1 at the latest, everybody can start getting passports that are valid for 10 years,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, one of the principal authors of the bill, said in a statement. Newly-appointed DFA Secretary and former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has pushed the 10-year validity of passports in his capacity as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. “We are counting on the designation of Sen. Cayetano as the new Secretary of Foreign Affairs to help ease the transition to longer-lasting passports,” the Surigao lawmaker added. The Senate has approved the bill on its third reading on Monday (May 15) after passing the measure on second reading last week. Sen. Cynthia Villar expects the bill to hurdle the bicameral conference committee, as the version passed by the House of Representatives in February is the same as the Senate’s. Villar said the five-year validity of passports of minors or those under 18 years old will be retained. “A minor’s passport should be renewed every five years because a minor’s facial features changes while growing up,” she explained. “Much relief will be provided to our overseas Filipino workers once the need to renew their passports every five years is removed. There will be less need for them to be subjected to the cumbersome and time-consuming process of applying for renewal,” Villar said. The 10-year validity is also in keeping with the standard practice in other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
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