Friday, September 11, 2009

How To Apply for a Philippine Passport

  1. Fill out an application form completely and complete the requirements before heading to DFA. This will save you time rather than proceeding to DFA unprepared. You can download the application form on the DFA web site. Read the instructions on how to print out the form. Printing the form specifies 8.5" x 13" bond paper. Read the instructions on page 2 of the application form. The requirements and the fees are specified on that page.
  2. Queue early at the DFA gate, which is at A. Arnaiz Avenue. The DFA office opens at 8:00 AM. If you get there earlier, you'd be done by 12:00 noon, otherwise, you'd be up queueing until 2:00 PM or later. The office closes at lunch break. For instructions on how to go to DFA, read my previous post. Companions not applying for a passport will be refused an entry. Avoid the fixers that roam the vicinity. You don't need their assistance.
Step 1. Verification of Your Documents (Where: Basketball court)
  1. Proceed to the basketball court. The basketball court is across the DFA building, not inside the DFA premises. In case you don't have an application form yet, you can get one at the information desk inside the court.
  2. If your documents are ready, queue for an appointment number. Your application form will be stapled with a slip stating the date and time you will need to proceed to Step 2. If you're lucky, you will be allowed entry at an earlier time.
  3. Queue for the verification of your application. It's a long queue. It will take you at least 40 minutes before your turn is called. Seats are provided for. When your turn comes, proceed to any window labeled A or B. The security guard will instruct you when your turn comes. There are 8 to10 windows to choose from. The procedure is quick. In a few minutes, you're done. To avoid delay, observe the people before you. If they're holding passports, they are applying for a renewal. If not, they may be new applicants. New applications take time to process compared to renewals. 
  4. When done at Window A or B, you may now proceed to Step 2, which is at the DFA compound. The security personnel controls the flow of applicants. In some cases, you will be instructed to stay at the waiting area (inside the basketball court) before you are allowed entrance to the DFA compound.
Step 2. Evaluation and Processing (Where: DFA premises / Gate 3)
  1. Upon entering the DFA building (from Gate 3), the first door on your right is where your application will be processed and evaluated. The room has no label so ask the guard by all means for instructions. Inside the Evaluation and Processing room, there are more than 20 windows to choose from. The procedure is quick if your papers are complete and applying for a renewal. First time applications take time to process, so quickly check the applicants on the line. If they're holding passports, they're up for renewal. If all your documents are complete and proper, you will be issued an unvalidated receipt. Regular processing fee is P500 and it takes 14 working days. Expedited processing will cost you P750; it will only take 7 working days.
Step 3. Payment and Data Encoding (Where: Auditorium)
  1. Next is payment. The cashier is at the auditorium. There are arrows in area to guide you how to go there. Again, you have to queue. The security will instruct you when your turn comes. Simply present the unvalidated receipt and the money to the cashier and you're done.
  2. After paying the fee, wait for your turn to be called again. This will be your last queueing. Once called, your application data will be encoded. You will be asked to double-check the entries. Check the data carefully. Make sure that there are no typographical errors.
  3. And the last step will be fingerprinting. It's an old-fashioned thumbmarking of your left and right thumb. Don't move your thumbs when you do it. Follow the instuctions carefully on how to do it. If you make a mistake, you will go back to the previous step.
Last Step. Delivery (Where: Basketball court)
  1. If you want your passport delivered to your house, LBC and other express delivery services are available at the basketball court. Don't worry. They're authorized by DFA. The fee is P100. You will need to give your receipt to LBC/delivery provider so that DFA can release your passport to them. Better have your passport delivered than go back to DFA and queue again for the release of your passport. If you want to personally pick up your passport, then go back to DFA on the date and time indicated in your receipt. So make sure you keep your receipt in a safe place.