There was a time when I begin thinking that I am an employee of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. Seriously! Have you seen our entry on How To Renew Your Passports in Riyadh? It has over 100 comments that another page had to be made to accommodate more! Whew! The questions were getting more concrete and my replies are getting more obsolete. Who would have thought consular stuff are that complicated? I salute them who have extreme patience to go through each case/problem in the Consular Services section of our embassy.
Anyway, just to set the record straight, I am not an employee of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. Neither are the rest of The Pink Tarha ladies. I mean I want to just to help our kababayans in Saudi Arabia. Ergo, The Pink Tarha blog. So I am not an expert and feel free to not believe me. I’m quite sure the embassy employees can answer all the questions you have. Sometimes, it’s even in their website. And, you can always call them in their hotline: +966-11-4823559. Oh right, they’re too busy to answer sometimes? Well, that’s what “try and try until you reach your breaking point them” is all about. No, don’t think they’re ignoring you. No really, they are here to serve and help the Filipino people right? Right? 😉
In the meantime, I will unravel the mystery of extending your passports. I’ve received a handful of questions on this and even if I don’t need an extension, I just have to research what this is all about. Just in case.
So, you probably should know that you NEED to renew your passport nine months before its expiry date (quick, check your passports now!) because getting an online appointment is quite tedious. The earliest possible date of renewal might be two months from now. So be as early as possible in having your passport renewed. You cannot travel out of a country into another one if your passport is no longer valid for six months. For example, my passport will expire on October 2014 so I can no longer travel from the Philippines to KSA (or vice-versa) on May 2014. I will have to renew it as early as January 2014 to avoid hassles and stress.
What if you have some emergencies and your passport is no longer valid for less than six months… or worse, your passport is already expired… what will you do? That’s where an extension is granted.
Passports extensions can only be granted in the following instances:
1. Death in the family requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Philippines.
2. Medical emergencies requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Philippines or another country for medical treatment.
3. OFWs returning abroad with valid employment contracts processed by the POEA.
4. OFWs going home on final exit visas.
If you notice, all of the above are kind of in the category of “life and death situations”. Why of course! Because giving an extension should not be as easy as 1-2-3. Remember that a passport is the most important ID you’ll ever have (well, except for the iqama here in Saudi Arabia) and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. So if you’re going to another country just because you’re visiting as a tourist and you handily forgot that your passport is already expired? Well, forget about your travel plans too! They won’t grant an extension for you. (Hello? If you have a plan to go out of the country for leisure and pleasure, check your passport first!)
You need to present proof of urgency when you apply for an extension. For example, for reason 1, a death certificate must be presented. For reason 2, a medical certificate. Valid employment contracts processed by the POEA or POLO, along with plane tickets with confirmed flights should be presented for reason 3.
Reason 4 is what most of our kababayans are asking. Yes, you can go home to the Philippines on a final exit visa even if your passport is already expired as long as you get this extension.
Now, there are conditions that will apply when an extension is granted.
1. The extension shall only be done once and shall not be beyond 31 October 2015.
2. The applicant shall apply for an ePassport at the same time the application for the extension is filed with the Embassy or Consulate.
3. Payment of the consular fees for the extension of the passport and the application for the ePassport (SR 240).
4. The extended passport shall be submitted for cancellation on the date of the release of the ePassport.
*Those who are going on a final exit visa are no longer required to apply for ePassports.
Those who will be applying for extensions of passport must make an appointment in the Philippine Embassy – Riyadh website (http://philembassyriyadh.checkappointments.com/). But if you are on a final exit visa, you do not need an appointment. You can go as a walk-in. I’m not sure for the other reasons but if you see that the earliest appointment available in the system will be two months away, then that defeats the purpose of your emergency need right? So I suggest you call the Embassy and inquire ASAP.
If you’re not residing in Riyadh, what should you do? Well, check the schedule of consular outreach/embassy on wheels in your area. Now na!
Applying for an extension of your passport can also be considered as renewing your passport already (because uhmn, you wouldn’t need the extension if your passport is still valid right?) so prepare the following requirements too:
1. Bring yourself because a personal appearance is required.
2. Original passport for renewal
3. Photocopy of passport (data page only: where your photo and details are)
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh is open from Sunday to Thursday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM.
For general embassy matters, you can call +966-11-4823559, +966-11-4820507, and +966-11-4821577. For Consular Services (meaning passports, visas, etc.), call +966-11-482-3816. (This is the number you will call when the entry above didn’t answer your question. 😉
Some helpful links:
Make An Appointment (Renewal of Passport; both in Riyadh and EOW)
Extension on Passports (where I got the details above)
Philippine Embassy – Riyadh
Ummayah Abu As-Salat Street
P.O. Box 94366, Riyadh
11693 Saudi Arabia
Map (inside Diplomatic Quarter):