Note: This is for Philippine passport holders renewing in the Philippines.
DID YOU KNOW that you can’t fly abroad with less than 6 months before your passport’s expiration date?
I certainly didn’t. I thought that was a requirement when getting visas. I didn’t know I needed 6 months validity on my trusty passport to be able to go to a visa-free country. With my freedom to fly recently restored, I quickly realized that I might not be able to go because I only had a couple of months left before my passport expires.
Lucky enough, I did a “test booking” back in April, to know how long the queue is for appointments. That time, the next available appointment was already in mid-July, can you believe that? A 3-month queue! Thankfully, I didn’t cancel it like I intended to (because I wanted to set an appointment with my mom, but I have an earlier trip so I went ahead with this).
So how do you book an appointment?
Step 1: Go to the DFA website dedicated to passports and schedule an appointment (click underlined in yellow).
Step 2: Tick the box and proceed to the next page.
If you’re applying alone, click the one on the left. If you’re setting an appointment for 2 or more people, click the one on the right.
Step 3: Select the needed info and choose the branch you want.
Step 4: Choose the date and time of your appointment.
As you can see, as of writing, the next available appointment slots are already in late October. So hurry! You can check the schedules for other branches by selecting them through the dropdown menu (arrow 1). Sometimes, other branches have earlier available slots. Click the day to see the available times. Move forward or backward a month using the arrows beside the month name.
Step 5: Fill in the necessary info. This goes on for the remaining pages.
Please make sure that everything is accurate. Double check for typos before submitting.
Step 6: Download your appointment and application form.
A link for download will be emailed to you shortly after you submit your application. Download and print it. Best make two copies to be sure. Go through the list of requirements so that you can get the ones you lack right away.
Here is the link to the list of requirements for passport renewal.
You will see an overwhelmingly long list of things you need to bring, depending on your status. However, here are the essential things you need to do and bring if you already have the electronic passport (any passport issued after 2007).
- Personal appearance
- Confirmed appointment
- Duly accomplished application form – may be downloaded from DFA Website
- Most recent expiring or expired passport
Valid picture IDs and supporting documents to prove identity.
(Please refer to List of Acceptable IDs and List of Supporting Documents)
Electronic Passport (E-passport)
Bring original e-passport and photocopy of page 2 (data page).
*Copied exactly from the DFA website.
It says that you need at least one (1) valid ID other than your passport. This could be your driver’s license, SSS card, digital postal ID, school or company ID. Then, you need at least three (3) supporting documents, which could be your ITR, SSS pink form, NBI clearance, land titles, TOR, birth certificate, etc.
I was only able to bring 1 ID and 2 supporting documents when I went for my appointment, so I was a bit anxious about getting rejected and having to wait until September for a new appointment. But I didn’t encounter any problems at all!
I chose the Ali Mall branch because it’s the most accessible to me and apparently has the least amount of bookings. Apart from the lining up and waiting for my number to be called, which took about 1-1.5hrs., the process itself was swift and only took 10mins.
On Appointment Day
I suggest you get there at least 30mins. before your appointed time. because sometimes, the guard lets in a batch early. For example, I arrived 1hr. before my appointment, which was at 4pm. The guard let us in about 10-15mins. before time.
Make sure you have all the requirements and a photocopy of each. It’s better to bring more than needed than lack it and have to reschedule.
Step 1: Line Up
I’m not sure about other branches, but in Ali Mall, there are lines outside the DFA office marked with short posts with the appointment time on it. So if you booked a 3:30pm appointment, look for the 3:30pm marker and line up there.
When it’s your batch’s time, the guard will let you in.
The guard will ask for the appointment sheet, which is the page with “Important Notice” and checkboxes. Your appointment time, date, and venue are written here. This comes with you application form, which you should have downloaded when you made your appointment online. This should be printed on long bond paper, as written on the appointment sheet.
Step 2: Go to the Preliminary Document Check
The guard will point you towards a desk where clerks will organize your documents. I handed in everything at once, but my supporting documents (ITR and birth certificate) were handed back to me. Only the photocopies of my passport’s data page, valid ID, and application form were stapled together.
After this, you will have to take a number from a machine. Note that there are options for passport application and passport renewal. Make sure to press the renewal button. Then, you may take a seat and wait for your number to be called. There’ll be a screen to indicate which counter you go to.
Step 3: When Your Number is Called
Go to the corresponding window and hand in your requirements. Again, I handed in everything, but my supporting documents were returned to me. Only the stapled sheets were kept. You will have to sign a log. You will also be asked for fingerprint scanning.
After the clerk has verified your identity and requirements (it took about 5 minutes), you’ll be given a receipt to bring to the cashier.
Step 4: Payment
There are only two options:
- Regular Processing: Php950
- Rush Processing: Php1,200
Tell the cashier which one you’d like, show the receipt from the previous window, then pay. I’m not sure if they accept credit cards, so it’s best to bring cash.
Step 5: Get Your Photo Taken
After paying, you will be asked to sit and wait again for the photo. This is relatively quick. I haven’t even sat for 5mins. when it’s already my turn.
Hand the cashier’s receipt to the clerk. You will be asked to sign another log. The clerk will type down your information and ask you to verify it. Do this carefully, because any typos will need you to go through another process to correct it, as well as another payment. When you’ve confirmed that everything’s correct, you will be asked for your electronic signature.
After this, it’s photo time! Personally, I think passport photos are notoriously unflattering, but hey, as long as it looks like you, right? So, make sure you don’t have eyeglasses on, no jewelry either. Both your ears should be visible, so if your hair is a bit unruly, best tie it back. For guys, you’re required to wear a collared shirt. For ladies, as long as it’s decent (no plunging necklines, sleeveless, or tube tops), you’re good to go.
Only minimal smiling is allowed, so do the best you can. You can politely ask for a re-take if you don’t like the first one. 🙂
You will be handed a claim form stamped with the claim date. Keep this safe because you will need it to get your new passport.
Step 6 (Optional): Pay for Shipping
There should be a courier counter somewhere close by. If you want your new passport shipped to you, you just have to show them your claim form and pay Php150. However, only those who have expired passports can avail of the shipping. If your passport isn’t expired yet when you renew, then you have to personally go back and bring the old one to render it null before you can claim the new one.
I really don’t know why they don’t just punch holes in the old one right then, save me time and energy from having to go back.
Claiming Your New Passport
Officially, it will take 3 weeks for your new passport to be ready through normal processing. If you chose express, then that’s 2 weeks. But sometimes, because of backlog, normal processing could take up to a month. It’s okay to claim your passport after the stamped date on the claim paper, as long as it’s within a year of that date.
This is based on my experience at DFA Ali Mall. Other branches may have different directions.
Step 1: Drop your receipt into the receipt box face down.
There’s a separate door for passport releasing, and the guard pointed me to it. Upon entering, the attendant told me to go to Window 4. There was no one there, so I was confused for a bit. Then, I saw the box that said to drop the receipt face-down, then take a seat and wait until my name is called. So I did.
Step 2: Sit and wait until your name is called.
There were very few people in the claiming area, so it only took 5mins. until my name was called.
Step 3: Verify your information and go.
Check the spelling of your name and your date of birth. Once everything is okay, you will be made to sign a log. The clerk will also ask for your old passport. He/She will punch holes in it to nullify it. This will all take less than 5mins. Then you’re done! You’ve got a fresh passport to fill!
Disclaimer: These tips are based on my personal experience when I renewed my passport. I am also in no way an expert on passport renewal nor application, so please consult the official DFA page linked above for more details if you have a more complicated status. I will, however, help as much as I can.