Beginning today, July 5, 2021, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will officially open five locations for the Temporary Offsite Passport Service (TOPS) to respond to the shortage of available passport application schedules exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
DFA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Consular Affairs Brigido Dulay said these locations are at SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM Aura, Robinson’s Place Las Piñas, and Robinson’s Place Magnolia.
Appointment slots for all these five TOPS locations are available and open to the public through the DFA’s online appointment system (www.passport.gov.ph).
Each TOPS site will have a capacity to receive 500 appointments daily and will operate from Monday through Saturday.
Through the pandemic, the DFA is swamped with complaints of the lack of available online slots for passport applicants, many of them venting their anger via social media.
With the additional temporary sites, Dulay said this will add a total of 177,500 appointment slots until the end of September. This, he said, is on top of the regular appointment slots that are already available in the DFA’s Aseana office on Macapagal Blvd. and in other consular offices all over the country.
The scarcity of online passport schedules also gave rise to a number of online scams offering passport appointment slots for a fee.
“With these TOPS, we hope now to dramatically reduce the high demand and the clamor for passport appointment slots particularly in the NCR Plus area where the demand for passports is highest,” Dulay said in a virtual press briefing.
Even with the opening of additional slots, the DFA official advised those who have no immediate travel plans to just wait for the situation to stabilize before booking an online passport application appointment.
For those with urgent travel such as overseas contract workers with valid contracts, or senior citizens, pregnant women, children below seven years old, or persons with disabilities and solo parents, they can email the DFA via [email protected]