The requirement for travelling overseas is to have a passport. Whether it’s for vacation, business, or overseas work, you have to have a passport to be able to leave the country.
I’ve renewed my passport in 2011 using DFA’s electronic process. I did my research, followed the instructions on the DFA website, and got my passport renewed. I repeated the same process earlier this year and had no trouble.
When I had it renewed last March 2015, I was surprised that a lot of people are still confused with the process. Some just go to DFA, expecting that they can renew their passport within the day like the old times. I wasn’t expecting this because the system’s already in place for a couple of years and people should be informed by now.
So, to help others understand this process better (and also to guide me in my next passport renewal in a few years.. haha), I’ve decided to write this post. May this serve as a guide for a fast and stress free passport renewal!
1) Set your appointment online!
Ahhh, yes. The first step is to set your DFA appointment online. This is the most important step. Do not go to DFA or any of their satellite offices without an appointment. Your day will just be wasted because they do not allow walk-ins. I REPEAT. THEY DO NOT ALLOW WALK-INS.
Reminder: Confirmed appointment is a requirement for applying and renewal of passport. The DFA will not entertain applicants without valid appointments EXCEPT senior citizens, infants and minors below 1 year old, person with disability and OFWs. For OFWs, sufficient proof must be submitted such as a valid employment contract or OEC. (Source: DFA Passport Appointment Website)
To set an appointment, you have to go to the DFA Passport Appointment website (https://www.passport.gov.ph/), answer the the online form, choose the DFA office and the convenient date and time for your appointment.
DFA will send you an email afterwards. You have to confirm your appointment by clicking the link within the email. They will also send you a pdf of your passport renewal for and appointment letter that you have to bring on the date of your appointment.
- Schedule your appointment in the early morning slots, around 7:30am – 8:30am because the line is tolerable during that time. Plus, it’s not so hot when you line up outside the building.
- Before scheduling an appointment, check your documents and see which requirements you still need to acquire. Take note of the timelines in acquiring those documents before you choose a date. Make sure you can complete the requirements prior to your appointment date.
- Don’t cram. Schedule your passport renewal months before your travel date. The earliest schedules available on the site are most likely 3-6 weeks away. If you add the processing period, all in all, the whole process including release and delivery takes about 10-12 weeks. Therefore, you cannot cram.
When I had to print a document I forgot during my appointment date, I noticed some OFWs were being conned by a travel agency in the building in front of DFA Aseana. They were paying the agency to book them an appointment which costs them about Php 300-500 (I don’t remember the exact amount).
These people were rushing and thought that the agency has connections which will allow them to do walk-in processing asap. However, these were just regular appointments with no special treatment and have the same waiting time as others who have booked the appointment at home. You can do this at home for free, guys. Do not be fooled.
2) Prepare your documents.
Once you have an appointment, you have to prepare all the documents needed for the renewal.
If you have a Machine Readable Passport (MRP) like me, you need to bring the original e-passport and photocopy of first (data page) and last page of passport. In addition to this, you need to bring a printed appointment letter and form, at least one (1) government-issued ID, and at least three (3) supporting documents.
The requirements vary depending on the latest passport you hold (i.e. brown and green passport (1995), MRP passport (2007)) and your status/circumstances (there additional requirements needed for married women, minors, Muslim applicants, and DOST scholars). Next time I renew, I’ll have an e-passport already, and will only need a photocopy of the data page as an additional requirement.
More details on the requirements can be read here: https://www.passport.gov.ph/requirements/passport-renewal.
Note: No need submit a passport size photo. Your photo will be taken on-site.
3) Show-up on your appointment date.
You need to be on site at least 30 minutes before your appointment time. If you have an afternoon schedule, there would be a long line. Which is why I recommend to have your appointment in the morning.
4) Go through the renewal process.
Since I had my appointment in the morning, processing was a breeze. I underwent the document checking, payment, and picture-taking in about an hour and a half. I don’t know how long the process takes if you have a later schedule. Maybe 2-4 hours max.
5) Pick-up your passport or have it delivered at home.
The last step, of course, is getting your new passport. I recommend to have it delivered at home to save time and vacation leaves (if you’re working) just to pick-it up. Delivery is less than Php 150 the time I renewed, so it’s pretty affordable. Just indicate that you want it delivered in the form and pay the delivery fee before you exit the office. It will be the last step.
If you still wish to pick-up the passport yourself, that’s up to you. They’ll inform you when it’s ready as they don’t have an exact timeline for this process.
That’s it! Hope this post would help you. Don’t forget to book your appointment months before your travel and have it in the morning for a less stressful experience. 🙂