I haven’t travelled abroad lately. Aside from being very busy, the reason is that my passport expires in less than six months which means that I’ll not be able to pass through an immigration counter wherever I want to go (sigh). I really had to exert an effort to find time for my passport renewal. Having successfully finished the renewal process last week, I can now say it was no sweat and am excited to receive my new “biometric” passport in a couple of weeks!
Here’s how to renew your passport if you’re a Filipino based in Manila:
1. Apply online via passport.com.ph and click on “set an appointment.” You will go through a process requiring you to fill in important details like your birthplace and full names of your parents.
2. You will be sent an email confirming your appointment and a confirmation link directing you to the online application form that you have just filled up. Print this to show to the guard and DFA personnel on the scheduled date of interview. It’s also worth noting that while online, you can also cancel your appointment before it’s due.
I familiarized myself with the requirements needed for my new passport application and gathered the documents one by one (yes, even my college transcript of records). But I learned on the day itself that since it’s just a renewal, I only needed to photocopy pages 1 to 4 of my expiring passport. Still I was thankful that I brought more than what was needed because the screening officer later on asked for a copy of my birth certificate and marriage contract.
Passport renewal is now at the new DFA Consular Building along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City which is a lot more convenient than the old location in Libertad. I came early and soon we were ushered in this covered tent for a little orientation by a man speaking through a megaphone (or whatever it’s called). Unfortunately, there’s no signage that says you have to fall in line. I sat in the wrong chair and realized too late that the line in front of me snaked all the way through the back.
In the processing window, I spent some time discussing with the officer the merits and demerits of using my maiden name versus my married name (would you believe?) In the end, I settled with the latter because I’d surely dread it when the whole family travels and we would be carrying three different surnames!
After that processing, I went to the second floor to pay my passport fees at the cashier and then waited again to have my photo and biometric data captured at the Passport Enrollment Center. Geewhiz, surely I’d want to look good in that photo coz I’ll carry the darn document for five years *crossing fingers.
When all this is finished, I fall in line for a short while to pay the courier delivery fee (because I choose NOT to go to the DFA again, at least until the next application)
In a nutshell, the whole passport renewal process only took a little more than two hours. My appointment was 9:30 am and I got to finish a little over 11:30 am. Not bad really! Plus am excited to travel again. Yehaaaay!