How to Renew Your Philippine Passport 2019

3:13 PM


I know we're all still trying to get out of the fog brought about by holiday revelries but for all that I am feeling right now, it might as well be Easter. Because at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I feel like Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour!

My dear, I have been resurrected from the dead.

In my hands - right now - is my recently released passport that is valid until the year 2028. This means I could get off this island for the next ten years without having to go back to the Department of Foreign Affairs to apply for a new one. Unless of course - as my friend Joy commented on my fb post -  my passport runs out of pages for immigration stamps. 

So how was the renewal process? Well, let me walk you through it.
1.     
      1. Go online and head to the Department of Foreign Affairs Passport Renewal Website and book an appointment. Specify which DFA branch you prefer to go to as well as the date and the time you’d like show up.

It was in late November 2018 when I was reminded that my passport was expiring in the middle of next year and actually grounded for the next six months. And since this is the Philippine Government I'll be dealing with, it would be best to give it more than enough time to process things so I immediately booked an appointment for December 11 at their SM Megamall office to start my renewal process. 

I figured early December would be a good time to do it. There would still be civil servants showing up for work but the rest of the public would be busy with the holidays. Less people applying should mean less chaos I had to sort through. I also ticked the earliest available slot - 10 am in my case - because chances are even less people would be willing to get out of their warm beds on a chilly December morning. 


2. Pay for your new passport and the processing fee.
On the same day I booked my appointment, I paid the fee of P1,000 at the nearest 7-Eleven Convenience Store. You could also pay via:

Bayad Center
ECPay
Pera Hub
Robinsons Business Center
Robinsons Department Store
USSC Western Union
Villarica Pawnshop
Waltermart


Here are payment guidelines from the DFA: 
  • Pay in CASH only.
  • Appointments are confirmed once paid.
  • A confirmation email will be sent to you once payment is processed.
  • Pay the exact amount. Any excess payment will be forfeited. Payments less than the total amount indicated will not be processed.
  • Total amound due is inclusive of convenience fee. If you are paying for multiple reference numbers, pay separately for each reference number. One transaction per reference number
  • A reference number can only be used once. If you made a short payment by mistake, do not try to correct it by making another bills payment with the same reference number. Please contact our helpdesk immediately at (02) 234 3488
      
    3. Show up for your appointment. 
    Before heading out your front door on the day of your appointment, don’t forget to bring:

     a valid government ID
your receipt
a printed copy of the confirmation email issued by the DFA after you paid the fee
photocopy of the info pages of your old passport – please photocopy both the info page and the page next to it
the passport that you are replacing.
     Also throw in there a book to keep you company while waiting for your turn.

When you're finally at the DFA, find out which door or queue leads to passport application and NOT where people CLAIM their new passports. These are two entirely different halls. We don’t want you to waste your time needlessly.

My application process was rather quick and undramatic which exactly what I was hoping for but didn’t expect. The civil servants were quick and efficient at their jobs so even if there were several windows that weren’t manned, the entire process was painless and was over before the clock struck 11 am.  I was then told to pick up my new passport between 4-9 January 2019 because I opted to pick it up myself rather than having it delivered to me.

4. Pick up your passport when it’s ready.
Picking up the new passport was a swift as it could be. I walked up to the indicated window, dropped my receipt into a tray, took my seat on one of the many benches, and then waited for the lady at the next window to bark out my name. In less than ten minutes – or was it five – I heard my name being called out. 

I approached the window and was handed my new passport. I then checked if all the info was correct because you see, the Spanish Embassy once misspelled my name and so I had to have my visa reissued.  When I was satisfied that everything on the info page was correct, I signed on the list of released passports and then happily walked out of the DFA.


I must say that this swift passport renewal experience at SM Megamall could be described as heavenly and so far removed from my experience at DFA Aseana where I spent basically an entire day sweating in a crowded hall while waiting for my turn at the window.



Now that I have my lovely new passport, my next steps would be figuring out where to head next and how could I afford it.
Image from pexels.com


PS. 
By now you might have read the reports that the passport printer ran away with all of our data and the Foreign Affairs Secretary announced that you need to bring a certified copy of your birth certificate when you show up for your appointment.

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