Friday, October 17, 2014
How To Apply for Passport in the Philippines
The first time I applied for a passport nine years ago, I found the process to be too complicated. Passport application was done at the DFA Office in Pasay where I was greeted with numerous fixers and legitimate-looking passport processing offices just outside the gate. There were too many people outside the area that I had a hard time finding the main entrance. I actually had the experience with one person who was clad in an office uniform but I had no idea whether she was from DFA or not. When I asked her where the entrance was, she told me to get in one of the kiosks to have my picture taken even if I said that I already had the requirements with me. Geez...they screened my documents, led me into their booth, took my pictures then asked for payment. :-) After payment, only then I was told what gate to enter and it finally dawned on me that I was actually scammed. That was because I was clueless of the process that time.
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Anyway, that was years ago. Today, the passport application has dramatically improved. Thanks to new developments in information technology that we can now set an appointment at the DFA for passport application using the internet at the comfort of our own home.
Whether you are applying for new or renewal of passport, DFA now requires an online appointment. Applicants will not be admitted at the entrance gate without valid appointment and application forms. This online appointment is free of charge. Here is a step by step guide to help you through it.
1. First determine the nearest branch to you where you want to set an appointment, (you can choose whatever branch that is most convenient to you).
(a) DFA Aseana in Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City
(b) DFA NCR West located at the 5th floor of SM City Manila, Arroceros St. (just across the Manila City Hall)
(c). DFA NCR Central at Robinsons Galleria in Pasig City
(d). DFA NCR East at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City
(e). DFA NCR South in Metro Alabang Town Center Muntinlupa City
(f). DFA NCR Northeast in Alimall Government Center Cubao Quezon City
2. At the DFA Website Branch Selection page (http://www.passport.com.ph/choose-branch), select your preferred branch. You will be taken to the instructions/reminders page. Go through it agnd read carefully.
3. If you have already read the instructions, click the "Set an Appointment" link. That will take you to a new page where you will again be reminded of important pointers in applying for passport. If you intend to apply only for yourself or for one person, click the "Start Individual Appointment Process" button. If you are applying with your family, click the "Family Application Form" link.
3. You will be directed to the passport application form. Fill in all required information, be sure that all information provided are true and that it can be sufficiently supported by your documents which you will attach with your application such as birth certificate, identification cards etc. If you are applying for renewal of passport, you need to provide your old passport number so be sure to have that with you. Also, ensure that the email address you provide is your own working email since all communications related to your online appointment will be sent to this email address.
4. Review all the information that you provide before you click the Submit button. Any false information you supplied could be grounds for non-issuance of passport.
5. You will be asked for the date and time that you preferred when to visit your selected branch for the personal appearance. All passport applicants of 0 age above are required to have a personal appearance since biometrics information such as photo will be taken.
6. Check you email from DFA Consular Office. It contains your passport application reference number and a link to print your passport.
7. Print your system-generated application form on a Legal Size paper and complete all the required documents stated in the email. Do not sign on the passport application just yet, you will sign on the document personally before a DFA Officer once you visit the branch.
8. Photocopy all the necessary documents before proceeding to DFA Office because applications will not be processed if you do not have complete set of photocopies of your documents (at least two or three sets of photocopies will be fine plus your original papers).
8. At the date of your appointment, be at your selected branch at least thirty minutes prior to your appointed time. Be sure to have the required amount for the passport processing fee and delivery fee if you opt to have your passport delivered to you. The processing fee for rush/passport is slightly higher than for regular passport (at the time of this writing 950.00 for regular processing).
9. Once inside the DFA Office, you will be directed by their friendly staff on the step by step process such as the following:
a. Get your queue number at the Information Counter and sit on the waiting section of the Processing Area.
b. Wait for your queue number to appear on the monitor indicating what processing window you will go to.
c. After processing, proceed to the Cashier's area. Pay the applicable passport processing fee
d. After payment, proceed to the Encoding Section for data capturing.
e. After your photo is captured, personal details and biometrics are encoded
f. If you opted for delivery, proceed to delivery counter to pay for delivery fees, the expected date delivery will be recorded on your receipt so you only need to wait for your passport to be delivered to your designated address.
g. If you opted to pick up the passport at the claim counter, just present the claim stub on the date indicated at the same branch where you made your application.
There goes the very easy process of passport application. You now have less worries of being scammed or annoyed by fixers as what I experienced before.