The Philippine embassy in Doha inaugurated the Passport Renewal Centre (PaRC) in Doha yesterday, further enhancing passport services for Filipino expatriates in the country. PaRC, a standalone facility established by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) with BLS International, is located on the 17th floor of Al Shoumoukh Tower, which is close to the Al Sadd Metro station.
The newly opened facility provides Filipino expatriates in Qatar with another accessible and convenient option, apart from the embassy, to renew their passports. “Despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs remains proactive in finding solutions that would continue to improve its services, whatever the challenges may be,” said Philippine ambassador Alan L Timbayan, who was joined by BLS International Regional (Middle East) head Anne Kurian for the inauguration of the facility.
The envoy noted that the embassy “implemented an online appointment system for passport renewal applications to ensure that health protocols will be strictly observed on its premises."
“Although the embassy accepts and processes an average of more than 200 passport renewal applications per day, the need for passport services remains significantly high,” he stressed.
The PaRC in Doha has a reception, five processing counters, a section for biometrics and a passport collection area. It will be open for 12 hours a day, from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week except during holidays in Qatar. Applicants must visit https://qatar.blsphilippinepassport.com/book_appointment.php to book an appointment.
The total cost for passport renewal is QR331, which includes the usual application fee of QR240 and a ‘convenience fee’ of QR91 collected by BLS International for the use of the PaRC. Processing of the passports will take at least four to six weeks, and an additional fee may be collected by BLS International for home delivery to the passport holder’s preferred address.
“We are honoured to serve the Republic of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs and confident that our tech-enabled ePassport renewal services will be faster and convenient for the Filipino diaspora in Qatar. We will simplify the application procedure and shorten the application processing time, which will, in turn, contribute to overall improved customer service,” said BLS International joint managing director Shikhar Aggarwal in a press statement.
To ensure data privacy and security, the embassy noted that PaRCs use DFA propriety ePassport System only in processing all personal information. It also stressed that the PaRC in Doha “only caters to simple renewal of the passport, and not those requiring any changes in the biographic details of the passport holder”.
“The department ensured that the employees of BLS International working in the PaRC and involved in passport renewals are properly vetted, subjected to thorough background checks, and are bound by Philippine data privacy and confidentiality rules,” the embassy said.
Besides from the PaRCs in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Jeddah) and the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), the embassy noted that passport renewal centres will also operate in other countries, including the US, Italy, France and Malaysia, aimed at better serving Filipino expatriates.