Earlier this week, we wrote about getting the new, maroon-colored machine readable passports (MRP) because the old green passports will soon become unusable.
There are a lot of rumors going on about the validity date of the current green passports (including the email currently circulating saying by January 2010, they cannot anymore be used) but unfortunately, we have not heard any official word yet from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
I asked my friend working at the DFA to confirm, once and for all, what the actual rule is. I also called the DFA office in Manila and this is what we found out:
The current green passports can indeed be used until their validity dates but the risk is that by 2010, some countries have the prerogative not to accept the green passport as a valid travel document.
Take note that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) require all member states to issue machine readable passports no later than April 2010. This means that after April 2010, other countries can decide not to accept into their borders any foreigner who holds a passport that is not machine readable.
The DFA representative I talked to advised all Filipino passport holders to always inquire with the embassy or immigration office of the country they plan to go to about the validity of their non-machine-readable passports. The DFA cannot ensure that all countries will accept Filipino green passports after 2010. Some of them might but they also have the prerogative not to, according to the DFA.
For all travels within the Philippines, however, green passports can still be used even in 2011, 2012 or until the passport’s validity period.
Hope this clears up the issue.
Update (January 2014): Green, Maroon MRP Philippine passports valid only until 2015