Dubai: Filipinos may have to wait a few months to get a passport in Dubai as all the slots for passport renewal from now until after Ramadan have already been filled.

The Philippine Consulate-General in February launched its Passport Appointment Portal to make bookings for passport renewal more convenient to Filipinos in Dubai and the northern emirates. Applicants can access it any time, anywhere and can choose a convenient date and time for passport application.

Vice-Consul Geronimo Suliguin said on Tuesday said that due to the volume of applications, the slots for the next three months have been filled. The consulate has 250 slots daily or 5,000 per month.

“The system is self-policing. Whenever someone makes a booking, a slot closes. When someone cancels, a slot is opened, and closes once it’s booked by another user. We advise our constituents to regularly check the system in case a slot opens within this period,” Suliguin told Gulf News, adding that sometimes between one and ten cancellations are made in a day.

An applicant usually waits six to eight weeks for his passport after processing. Newborns, people with special needs, senior citizens and women in the late stages of pregnancy can apply for passports without an appointment and will be given priority.

Those requiring passport extensions may go directly to the consulate after 9am on a weekday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has approved the consulate’s request for more passport encoding machines to add to the three machines it currently has. They are supposed to be deployed this year along with ten additional staff.