Applicants still need an appointment for either passport of apostille services when going to any consular office and temporary off-site passport services (TOPS) facility in the country, contrary to the old advisory circulating online, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday, Nov. 16.
All consular offices, including TOPS, strictly require an appointment for either passport or apostille services, even for those availing of the courtesy lane privilege, the DFA reminded the public.
The agency said that an old advisory circulating over social media, stating that no appointment is needed for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) intending to renew their passports in Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas Ave., Quezon City, is old and is no longer applicable at present.
The appointment requirement has been in effect since May 2020, it added, while the one circulating online was issued in 2016.
"This is an old advisory issued in 2016, before the pandemic, and is no longer applicable," the DFA said.
The agency also reminded the public that walk-ins are no longer allowed in all DFA consular offices and TOPS facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To avoid any inconvenience, active OFWs are advised to get an appointment through https://passport.gov.ph/ by choosing DFA NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria - Active OFW Lane) site.
"The public is strongly advised to refer only to the official website and social media accounts of the DFA for updated announcements," the DFA said.
Meanwhile, three new TOPS offices at Robinsons Novaliches, Robinsons Lipa, and SM Manila were recently opened to cater to simple passport renewals and ensure faster turnover of passport applicants per day.
Supervising consular offices of these new TOPS will handle the more complicated transactions such as new or lost passport applications and those that require changes in the holder’s personal details.
Appointments to any of these TOPS sites may be booked only at www.passport.gov.ph., Assistant Secretary Senen Mangalile said.