The Philippine Passport Renewal: Steps, Price and Reminders

Planning to go abroad, but your passport is about to expire?
Let’s get your passports renewed and ready.
 
Since I have some countries that I would like to visit this year, I decided to renew mine early before it expires this coming June and so that I can already apply for a visa, where it is needed.
 
When I applied for my passport for the very first time back in college in 2007, I can still remember the long waiting hours and the slow pace of each stage of the application plus not to mention –  months of waiting for it to be released.
 
In 2012, I renewed my passport in Vienna, where I used to study and live. The process was already better – no long queues. But, I was thinking back then, “maybe this is just because I am in Vienna and there are fewer Filipinos applying for a passport here.”
 
Fortunately, this process has really improved over the years. I can attest that it has indeed become faster and smoother.
 
The new (not sure what year it went live) DFA website for setting an appointment is actually easy to follow but just in case some of you need an overview, here is a step-by-step process to guide you :

SETTING AN APPOINTMENT

 
2) On the menu located at the upper part of the website click on Schedule an Appointment
 
 
3) Read and Accept the Terms and Conditions
 
 
4) Enter the following information:
 
 
For the Site Location, I personally chose NCR East (SM Megamall). 
 
5) Review the details of your application
 
6) Confirm
    A Confirmation Notification will be sent to your e-mail. You have to click on the link to confirm within 120 hours to secure your appointment. 
 
 
THINGS TO BRING
 
– Your old passport and a photocopy of the page with your personal details
– Two (2) Government IDs (original and a photocopy)
        I presented my driver’s license and UMID (Unified Multi-Purpose ID)
-Application Form (sent to you per e-mail)
        Fill-it up but don’t sign it yet. This shall be signed on site and in the presence of a DFA representative a.k.a “passport agent”.
 
REMINDERS
 
– No to fixers
    Aside from it not being permitted by law, with the ease and simplicity of the process there is no need to go the extra mile of having someone else do it in your stead.
 
– No Food & Drinks
 
– No Taking of Pictures
   I had to learn this the hard way. I wanted to take pictures of the whole process and I got told off by an officer while doing so. He even asked me to delete the photos I have already taken. I understand why they don’t allow it – security purposes. It was mega embarrassing to gain such attention, so just don’t think of doing it at all.
 
– Bring Cash
   I am not sure if government agencies do not accept credit or debit cards in general, but yes, only bring cash with you when renewing your passport.
 
– Beautify yourself
  This is something I always remind myself but was just too lazy to do so. I then regretted it the moment I saw the picture on my passport 😜. So guys, do prepare for it since you will have to stick with it for 5 long years.
 
On the Day of the Appointment @ SM MegaMall (NCR East)
 
 
On the day of my appointment, I saw to it that I am 30 minutes early.
My appointment was for 5:00 p.m. and I came a little before 4:30 p.m.
 
I was surprised by how organized it all was. When I came in, the line was long but I waited in line while being seated in less than 15 minutes in the processing area. I am guessing that this can be quicker if you choose an appointment in the morning or mid-afternoon because lesser people will set an appointment at those times.
 
Verification
I showed my filled-up (unsigned) application form to the “receptionist” right at the entrance of the branch. Here I was also given a checklist of each step of the application.
 
Processing
There were about 6 counters open that day, which made the process faster. At the counter, I was asked to submit all the documents I have with me including my old passport for identity verification. I was also asked to sign the application form in the passport agent’s presence. He then asked me to proceed to payment.
 
Payment
So, you ask, “how much does the renewal cost?” Here it is:
 
PHP 950.00 – Standard  (15 – 20 working days)
PHP 1,200.00 – Expedited (7 working days)
 
I chose the standard one since I don’t need it that soon anyways.
 
Encoding
After payment, I presented my receipt and signed application form to one of the counters in the encoding area. My photo was taken and I electronically signed the encoded details.
 
Courier (Optional)
If you happen to be busy or just too lazy to come pick-up your passport, you can also have your passport delivered right in front of your doorsteps for an additional fee of PHP 150.00.
 
That was it.
I was done in exactly an hour from the time I came in.
I just had to wait for the pick-up date.
 
Pick -up Date
Please bear in mind that there are fortuitous events (e.g. natural calamities) that can cause delay to the processing of your passport. In which case, instead of giving me an exact pick-up date, they advised me to come over between Jan. 4-9, which was about a month after my application. Just to be sure that I don’t have to go back there again should it not be available yet, I went there on the last day of the advised date.
 
Getting my passport only took me around 5 minutes. I went in, presented the receipt and had holes “punched” in  my old passport.
 
And as easy as that – I am officially and globally travel ready! 
[Oh! Please do not forget to apply for a visa – if needed 🙄.]
 
So what are you guys waiting for?
Go get your passports ready and make your #travelgoals a reality.
 
Please do head to the comment section and tell me your thoughts about this post.

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