PH passport renewal center opening in LA soon

Published August 7, 2021, 10:18 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Filipinos living in the United States can renew their passports at a Philippine government-accredited off-site center that will open in Los Angeles soon.

Philippine passport (File photo/Department of Foreign Affairs)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that the off-site passport renewal center (PaRC) in Los Angeles will be operated by VFS Global, a private outsourcing company, under a 2019 agreement with the government.

The passport renewal center aims to meet the rising demand for ePassport renewal applications in the United States. The date of the opening of the passport center has yet to be announced.

“The opening of a VFS Global Philippine Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) in Los Angeles is a continuation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-VFS Global Agreement that began in 2019,” Consul General Edgar B. Badajos said in a statement.

Badajos explained the foreign affairs department forged a pact with VFS Global following President Duterte’s order to government agencies “to streamline procedures and to make ePassport renewal services faster and more convenient, especially for Overseas Filipinos.”

The official also said passport renewal through the VFS Global PARC would not be compulsory.

VFS Global, which has established other passport service centers to serve Filipinos in other countries, will charge an additional fee for its services.

“It is up to the applicant to decide whether to apply through VFS Global or through the DFA-Global Online Appointment System (GOAS),” the consul general said.

The alternative passport renewal center seeks to augment the work of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles given its limited personnel.

The Consulate General in LA, which has jurisdiction over Southern California, Southern Nevada and the State of Arizona, 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,” the press statement read.

“With the demand for passport renewal services surpassing the operating capacity of the Consulate by a wide margin, it was felt that the opening of a VFS Global PaRC in Los Angeles will help address the problem,” it added.