How to renew your Philippine Passport

A year ago, Paul and I decided to renew our passports at the same time. This is despite the fact that my old passport actually had two years left before it expires. The reason behind this is because Paul wanted us to start having the same expiration dates for most of our legal documents as a family to lessen the chances of missing out on renewals and such. It made sense to me and so, I joined him at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office one Monday morning.

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Actually, the DFA has made it easier now to renew ones passport as they've set up satellite offices in malls around the city. The reason why we had to go to the Pasay DFA office was because I also had to change my surname since I haven't done so after getting married.

Of all the applications that we had to do for our travels, I'd say that renewing our Philippine passports was one of the easiest. Allow me to give you a step-by-step guide on how to have a stress-free passport renewal too:

#1) Make an Appointment

Thanks to technology, the DFA has a Passport Appointment Website where you can choose which DFA office would you like to have the renewal done. Fill the online form and make sure to complete all field required. It will definitely be handy to have your old passport beside you while filling this up. After going through the first form, then you'll be asked to choose your preferred date and time. Make sure that when choosing this, you'll really be able to make it to the set appointment. Walk-ins are strictly not allowed. Not really sure though if this applies to senior citizens and minors. (Can someone confirm?)

After filling up the form, a confirmation email will be sent to you. Print this out and gather all the documents required.

Here's what I've prepared prior to our appointment date:
- Old passports
- NSO certified Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificate (only for women who will be changing their surnames)
- Valid IDs for verification purposes
- Cash (Php 950 for passport processing + Php. 120 for delivery)

#2) On the day of your appointment. Go on Time.

I highly recommend that you make sure that you're at your chosen DFA office 30 minutes before your appointment time. They will start letting people in exactly on time. I'm not really sure what the consequence is if you're late but that would definitely be quite stressful.

#3) Queue up!

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As we got inside the DFA office via Gate 2, the first step was Verification. We presented our confirmation letter as well as a valid ID. We were then asked to line up together with everyone else who has the same appointment time slot for the Processing step. The wait can be long so be ready to play some games in your mobile phone or read a book. I did the latter which saved me from extreme boredom. As you approach the DFA staff, they'll just make sure that all your documents are complete and if it's all okay then you'll be asked to go up to the 2nd floor for the third step.

manila dfa 2
As we got to the 2nd floor, I initially thought that things will go easy breezy from here. Well, I was wrong. It was quick lining up for the Cashier to pay for our new passports but after that, the wait slowed down again. The only good thing about it is that this is the 2nd to the last step so it wasn't so bad.

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Finally it was our turn for the Information and Photo Capture. The DFA staff will scan your own passport and this is also where you'll need to have your photograph taken. The sad part about passport photos is that you can't smile so no showing of your pearly whites and the hair has to be tucked behind the ears. I also end up looking so dorky-silly in my travel documents. :(

Also a reminder for contact lens wearers, colored fashion lenses are not allowed. Remember the stressful experience that my sister went through despite wearing clear, doctor-prescribed contact lenses? Should the DFA staff tells you that you have to remove your clear lenses, look for signages around the office that states that this rules applies to colored lenses only.

#4) Delivery Service

After this, you'll be asked to pay for your delivery service. I just noticed that they have partnered with 3-4 of the major courier services in the country so do pick your choice. We went for 2Go as we love their speedy and reliable delivery service. The fee is the same for all so go for the most comfortable choice.

As you head home, all you have to do is to wait 15 days for your new passport to arrive. They arrived a day earlier for us. Upon receipt of your passport, make sure to check all information to watch out for typos or errors. Don't wait till you're about to fly out for your next vacation when you get to discover the error.

That's it! Despite the long long long wait, renewing our Philippine passports was quite easy.

Note that this was my personal experience when I renewed my Philippine passport last year. For those who would like to know more about passport renewals, application and such. Please click here.

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