Dubai: The long commute to the Philippine consulate in Al Qusais to book an appointment for passport renewal is finally over.
Filipinos booking an appointment to renew their passports can take advantage of the new 24-hour service Passport Appointment Portal launched by the consulate on Tuesday.
“We want to enhance the experience of our clients by providing more efficient services. The main advantage of this new portal is clients can choose the date and time for their appointments at their convenience,” Vice-Consul Geronimo Suliguin told Gulf News.
“The service is available 24 hours giving them real-time confirmation unlike before when we had to confirm their appointments manually.”
In the past, applicants used to request an appointment through the consulate’s official Facebook messaging service. After sending the request, they needed to wait for the administrator’s response in order to confirm their booking.
Suliguin said they stopped issuing appointments through Facebook on February 17. Hence, applicants needed to visit the consulate to book appointments after then.
He said appointments previously issued through Facebook will still be valid. However, the applicant has the right to re-apply for an appointment through the new portal.
The portal allows for the applicant to cancel and rebook their appointment. But only one appointment can be made. Duplicate bookings for one person will be detected in the system and will automatically be cancelled, he said.
“We want to make the process more dynamic for our clients as they engage with us. The portal is still in its test phase but it’s already live and anyone can book appointments as we speak,” Suliguin said.
Suliguin said the portal is secure as it is the same portal that is being used in Saudi Arabia. They have not experienced any glitches so far.
Applicants are advised to be at the consulate at their scheduled time. But they will be entertained on a “block time basis,” meaning, all applicants with bookings of 8.15am or 8.30am will be served between 8am to 9am only.
Suliguin said newborns, people with special needs, senior citizens and women in the late stages of pregnancy are exempt from the booking system. They can go to the consulate for passport renewal any time and will be prioritised.
During the launch of the portal, Gulf News tried the system and it worked well on Firefox but failed on Internet explorer. Suliguin said they will work on this matter.
The consulate processes up to 250 passport applications from Dubai and the northern emirates per day or 5,000 per month.