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State Department has made little progress in renewing passports online over the past decade

Written by Dave Nyczepir

The State Department has made “virtually no progress” on two passport system projects, one of which would allow people to renew their passports online, in the past decade, according to a report from the Office of the State Department. inspector general published Tuesday.

The OIG found that within the Office of Consular Affairs, the Passport Services Directorate (CA / PPT) relies too heavily on the Office of Consular Systems and Technologies (CA / CST) to manage its IT modernization initiatives. .

This over-reliance has delayed both online passport renewal and next-generation passport systems, which are part of the ConsularOne program launched in 2009 and which spent $ 59 million on passport projects in December 2020.

“If the online passport renewal system had been available, CA / PPT could have switched to remote working and retained a greater portion of incoming passport applications throughout the maximum telecommuting orders related to the COVID pandemic. -19 in 2020 ”, we read in the report. “However, as the system was not available, CA / PPT staff had to return to the office earlier than other department employees to clear the backlog of passport applications that had built up over the first few years. month of the pandemic. “

Only 13,002 passports were issued in May 2020, up from 1.8 million in May 2019, and revenues have increased from $ 852 million to $ 646 million.

The system targets for both systems in the passport services strategic plan for fiscal year 2020-2022 were “essentially unchanged” from plans dating back to fiscal 2010, according to the report.

The OIG found that CA / CST had not yet established a “sufficient” test environment that supported multiple scenarios for the online passport renewal system. The office started with an agile development approach before moving back to a sequential, step-by-step process.

Regarding the next-generation passport system, CA / CST struggled to develop software that could interface with new passport printers to print more secure passports. – delay a pilot until March 2021.

Although CA / CST was not part of the OIG investigation, an investigation into the ConsularOne program was subsequently launched in the spring.

For its part, CA / PPT lacked a project management process such as a collaborative performance evaluation plan, a communication plan and a risk management strategy. Senior staff were also not familiar with the project’s communication plans and did not document the contact points for each project, according to the report.

CA / PPT and CA / CST also failed to coordinate on interrelated project tasks, communication and planning. CA / CST was unable to provide CA / PPT with project timelines.

Accordingly, the OIG recommended that CA implement the department’s project management processes.

CA / PPT’s SharePoint site had broken hyperlinks and performance rewards information that hadn’t been updated since 2015. And its FAQ forum, PPT Answers, hadn’t been running since 2018, that’s why the OIG recommended CA to ensure that the content was regularly updated.

Finally, the OIG recommended that CA implement a process for storing archived advisory opinions on citizenship and passport adjudication matters so that they are searchable and easily retrievable.

CA agreed with all three recommendations in its July 29 response.


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PH Passport Renewal Center in Los Angeles Coming Soon – Manila Newsletter

Filipinos living in the United States can renew their passports at an off-site center accredited by the Philippine government that will soon be opening in Los Angeles.

Philippine passport (file photo / Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that the Los Angeles Offsite Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) will be operated by VFS Global, a private outsourcing company, under a 2019 agreement with the government .

The Passport Renewal Center aims to meet the growing demand for electronic passport renewal applications in the United States. The opening date of the passport center has not yet been announced.

The opening of a VFS Global Philippine Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) in Los Angeles is a continuation of the global agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the VFS that began in 2019 “Consul General Edgar B. Badajos said in a statement.

Badajos explained that the Foreign Ministry made a pact with VFS Global following President Duterte’s order to government agencies “to streamline procedures and make e-passport renewal services faster and more convenient,” especially for overseas Filipinos ”.

The official also said that renewing the passport through the VFS Global PARC would not be mandatory.

VFS Global, which has established other passport service centers to serve Filipinos in other countries, will charge additional fees for its services.

“It is up to the applicant to decide whether they wish to apply through VFS Global or through the DFA-Global Online Nomination System (GOAS),” said the Consul General.

The Alternative Passport Renewal Center is looking to increase the work of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles given its limited staff.

The Los Angeles Consulate General, which has jurisdiction over southern California, southern Nevada, and the state of Arizona, serves approximately 1.3 million Filipinos overseas.

“As of May 2021, the Consulate General has been processing the maximum number of applications for passports, dual nationality and other consular services that its limited premises and staff can accommodate and process on a daily basis,” the press release said.

“With the demand for passport renewal services far beyond the operational capacity of the consulate, it was felt that opening a VFS Global PaRC in Los Angeles would help resolve the problem,” he added.



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Los Angeles offsite passport renewal center soon to open: DFA

(photo PPD)

MANILA – Another off-site passport renewal center will soon open in Los Angeles, California to meet the huge demand for e-passport renewal applications in areas under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General, the Philippine Consulate General said on Friday. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos said the opening of a VFS Global Philippine Passport Renewal Center (PaRC) in Los Angeles is a continuation of the global DFA-VFS deal that began. in 2019.

“The DFA has entered into an agreement with VFS Global in accordance with President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s directive for Philippine agencies to streamline procedures and make electronic passport renewal services faster and more convenient, especially for Filipinos at abroad, ”Badajos said.

Having consular jurisdiction over Southern California, Southern Nevada, and Arizona, the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles serves approximately 1.3 million Filipinos overseas.

As of May 2021, the Consulate General has been processing the maximum number of applications for passports, dual nationality and other consular services that its limited premises and staff can accommodate and process on a daily basis.

With the demand for passport renewal services well beyond the operational capacity of the consulate, the DFA said “it was felt that opening a VFS Global PaRC in Los Angeles would help solve the problem.”

In addition to its regular weekday services, the consulate has been providing consular services on Saturdays since March 2021. It also resumed its post-pandemic consular outreach missions in May 2021 and has so far visited Las Vegas, Nevada. ; Phoenix, Arizona; and San Diego, California.

Despite these additional services, DFA said the huge demand for passport renewal applications still cannot be fully met.

The new PaRC, also present in Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will be operated by private outsourcing company VFS Global.

VFS Global will be responsible for handling passport renewal services, particularly those with non-complex, non-sensitive and non-discretionary elements.

But as a third party service provider, VFS Global will charge additional fees for its services.

“The renewal of the passport via the VFS Global PARC is not compulsory. It is up to the candidate to decide whether to apply through VFS Global or through the DFA-Global Online Nomination System (GOAS), ”said Badajos.

The appointment slots to be deployed by VFS Global for passport renewals will be announced separately on its website, with a link to be provided on the Consulate General’s website.

The DFA has advised the public to visit the Consulate General’s website and Facebook page for future announcements on the location of the VFS Global Passport Renewal Center in Los Angeles and when it becomes operational. (ANP)


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Passport renewal deadlines are getting worse: check status, speed up

If you are planning to leave the country this year, be aware that time is running out to renew your passport. The passport branch of the State Department is is experiencing serious delays:

  • Expedited service, which typically takes 2-3 weeks, now takes up to 12 weeks (plus an additional $ 60).
  • Current services can take 16-18 weeks.

Note that these 12 to 18 week deadlines start on the day your application is has received, not the day you mailed it, and the U.S. Postal Service is also experiencing significant mail delays. Amusing! You can pay an additional $ 17.56 for one to two days mail delivery of the completed passport.

If you want to know how much it will cost to renew your passport: here is a expense calculator. An adult passport card and book, shipped with express courier delivery, costs $ 217.56.

If you are in a hurry: You can try to make an appointment at a local passport agency (not to be confused with a passport acceptance center), which may require driving or flying to another city. New meeting times open at midnight online and disappear at 12:01 am. You can also call your local Congress representative for assistance in securing appointments, although they are overwhelmed too.

If you have a life-threatening emergency: Try to get an appointment at a passport agency and bring proof of urgency and proof that you are traveling within 72 hours. Also call your congressional representative for assistance.

If you have children: State Department operates in August and September passport fairs for first-time contestants and kids in Valley Center, Calif .; Punta Gorda, Florida; Middlefield, Ohio; Van Buren, Arkansas; and Weatherford, Texas. It’s a wonderful time for a vacation in Van Buren.

If you want to know where your passport is: You can sign up to receive email notifications that track your passport application as it floats through this clusterjam at passport status portal, but be aware that it takes up to six weeks for your request to appear in the system.


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