WHEN applying for almost all USCIS benefits, the USCIS usually requires a person to have a valid, unexpired passport. This is especially true in connection with adjustment of status or obtaining various non-immigrant visas.

There are also many situations where a person is required to have a government-issued photo identification, such as when they travel on an airplane, etc.  Usually, a person would present a driver’s license. But if they are out of status, they may not be able to apply for one.  Therefore, a Philippine passport would constitute an acceptable government-issued photo identification.

There are many Filipinos in the U.S. who are out of status, and their existing Philippine passport has already expired. Others may have entered the U.S. on a photo-substituted passport, under a different name, and are now applying for U.S. immigration benefits in their own name. They would need to apply for a new Philippine passport, but are afraid the Philippine consulate will report them to DHS. This is simply untrue, false, and the Philippine consulate would NOT report them to DHS!

I recently had the opportunity to meet Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, the Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, California, to discuss passport issuance to Filipinos who are out of status or entered the U.S. under an assumed name. He confirmed the Philippine Consulate does not and will not report Filipinos to DHS when they apply for Philippine passports, whether they are out of status or entered under an assumed name. (This is a standard practice or policy for most countries’ consulates to protect the interests of their nationals/citizens living abroad.)

In the case of renewing an expired passport, the Philippine Consulate’s website would list the various requirements and documents needed, which would, of course, include their old, expired passport.

If the expired passport does not have a microchip, the person would also need to provide their birth certificate from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA, which was formerly called NSO). 

If the person was married in the Philippines, and wants a new passport in their married name, they would need their marriage contract from the PSA.

If the person married in the U.S., they may report the marriage to the consulate, to have a passport issued in their new, married name.

If the passport is lost, it is likely the Philippine government would still have the records of its issuance. 

If a person entered the U.S. under an assumed name, and never had a passport issued in their real name, it would be considered as though they were applying for a Philippine passport for the “first time.” Naturally, they would need to prove their true identity, to make sure they’re not again applying for a Philippine passport in another person’s name. This would include their PSA birth certificate and other possible photo identification under their true name, such as old school cards, etc. And the Con Gen cautions these people not to lie and say they “lost” their old passport, when they never had a Philippine passport in their own name. This is because the consulate will check their records and see that no passport was ever issued in the person’s own name, which would now affect the person’s credibility with the Consulate, as they were caught in another lie.

But the point being is the Philippine Consulate is here to help Filipinos abroad, including assisting them in renewing or obtaining their Philippine passports. And most important, the Philippine Consulate does not report Filipinos to DHS when those Filipinos apply for passports, whether they are out of status, or entered under an assumed name.

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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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Atty. Michael Gurfinkel
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