Everything is easier and more convenient these days, especially in obtaining important documents, thanks to the internet and other technological innovations. Gone were the days when you have to haggle with photobooth operators, queue up and roast under a covered basketball court, and spend endless hours, or even days, to submit a Philippine passport application to DFA.
Last year, I had my passport renewed for the second time. I had my passport in 1997 and I still remember those excruciating hours with my father, I was a minor then and my first time to travel out of the country. The first time I renewed was in 2007 and I had someone renew my passport. That’s the time when personal appearance is not yet a requirement for application. It was convenient, especially for those who are working for the government or know someone inside the department, but a lot riskier when it comes to border security.
It is important to check this link first. You will find a more comprehensive information there. I am just summarizing the requirements and process here and at the same time sharing my experience in getting one.
For both new and renewal application, here are the basic requirements:
1. Set an appointment here and print the application form as instructed. Don’t forget to sign the form. You can cancel your appointment online. In case you decide to cancel it a few days before your appointment, the system won’t allow the cancellation. You can set a new appointment then which cancels your previous one. A valid e-mail is important!
Tip: Based on my experience, appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, around 5:00-5:30pm have the shortest queues. Arrive at least 30 minutes before appointment. My schedule was 5:30pm and they entertained me even before my appointment time. How to get to DFA ASEANA?
2. Enter thru Gate 2 of Aseana building (the new building for the DFA’s Consular Affairs).Warning: Don’t deal with fixers! The guards will direct you where to go and signs are located everywhere. Don’t hesitate to ask around.
3. Present your documents to a staff stationed right before the entrance of the processing section located at 1st floor. You will be given a number upon appointment confirmation.
4. Head to the processing section still on the 1st floor where you will present your form and other documents once your number has been called.
5. Pay the processing fee (P950 for 15 working days/REGULAR and P1,200 for 7 working days/RUSH). The cashier is located at the second floor.
6. Present your receipt and have your photo taken at a designated computer. This is the reason why personal appearance is required. No accessories, or any kind of head gears except for religious purposes and no smiling please!
7. Pay a P120 delivery fee if you opt to have your passport delivered instead of picked up. Keep your receipt!
That’s it! All you have to do is wait for the release of your passport. Make sure that on the expected date of delivery, you have a signed authorization letter for someone to claim it on your behalf when you’re not at home or at the office. You will be issued a biometric passport valid for 5 years. Its security features include a hidden encoded image, an ultra-thin, holographic laminate and a tamper-proof electronic microchip. The Philippine government started issuing biometric passports late 2009.
Outside the Aseana building, vendors are selling passport covers for only P40. Of course, you could haggle! I find no harm buying from them.
TIP: Other things you need to bring with you: bottled water if, unfortunately, the queues are long, a pen, and lots of patience!
A passport is a valuable identification document. I suggest securing one even though you have no plans of leaving the country in the near future. And for those who were bitten by the travel bug, it is important that your passport is updated and validity is at least 6 months before you travel.
Don’t hesitate to pitch in your comments, tips and questions. Good luck and have safe travels!
Was this article helpful? I would highly appreciate a Like on my Facebook page as a token of gratitude :) Please hit the button below.
Please make sure that you read all the comments and visited the links before posting a comment to avoid redundancy. I apologize but I will no longer answer questions that have been previously raised or those which answers can be found on the official website of DFA. Thank you!
1. Can I renew a passport that is still valid?
Yes! If you want to change your surname or update your signature or just to make sure that your passport is valid for travel at all times, you can do so. I renewed mine even though it is still valid for the next year and got it in 7 days.
2. What should I do if I want to use my married name or revert back to my maiden name?
Similar requirements and procedure for renewal will apply. Proof of change of surname (e.g. marriage certificate) should be presented.
3. I want to renew my passport but I will be traveling soon and I’m afraid I won’t have my renewed passport on time.
When you apply for renewal, tell the official who will check your requirements that you will be traveling in a few days so that they won’t punch holes into your current passport and have it invalidated. If your new passport becomes available before you leave Philippines, they will invalidate your current passport before giving you the new one (because you can’t have 2 valid passports in your possession). This will ensure that you can still use your passport in case your renewed one won’t be released on time.
4. Do I still need to submit a birth certificate for passport renewal?
It depends on what type of passport you are currently holding. Check this list of requirements for renewal.
5. I am out of the country. How should I renew my passport?
Please refer to the nearest embassy or consulate.