I finally got my E-Passport last week, after waiting for 2 months and 2 weeks. So how is this (not so) new DFA Passport Appointment System? Hmmm, let’s just say it didn’t/doesn’t/won’t make a lot of Pinoys happy.
DFA’s website is very straightforward. Most of the information below were actually taken from their site, but I’ve added a few tips (plus waiting time for each step) which hopefully you guys may find useful.
Setting an appointment thru http://www.passport.com.ph/:
1. Fill out the online application form completely. Before clicking “submit”, double check the information you’ve provided.
2. A list of documentary requirements will then be given, according to the type of passport you currently have. Since I had a Green Passport (passport issued after May 1, 1995) I needed to prepare:
a. my old passport, a photocopy of pages 1-3 and the back cover (photocopying service at DFA’s P2 or P3 a page?!),
b. photocopy of the pages with the latest Bureau of Immigration departure and arrival stamps (obviously IF
you’ve left the country).
And since I wanted to change to my (foreign) hubby’s surname, I also needed an NSO copy of our marriage contract and a PDOS Certificate of Attendance (color green) I got from CFO (Commission of Filipino Overseas).
3. Now for the tricky (and overly frustrating) part, choosing your appointment date and time. The soonest you may be able to book is 1-2 months away. My advice, keep clicking and pray for the system to miraculously give you a vacant slot. If you’re really desperate, you could also try logging in and out. Some people I know have tried this and it worked.
4. You’ll be given the reference number and a link to print your application form via email. Don’t forget to bring this printed form with you on your appointment.
Setting an appointment via the DFA Appointment 24-Hour Hotline (02) 737-1000:
1. Prior my DFA appointment, I called the hotline about 4 times regarding various inquiries. In all instances, my call was picked up by a Customer Care Officer in less than 2 minutes (after office hours). All of the officers were very patient answering my questions – never in a rush. I wonder if they need to maintain an AHT (call center lingo, Average Handling Time).
2. The officer will provide the soonest dates, and time slots. You choose which is the most convenient for you (FYI, 7am sched is the least crowded).
3. Once you’ve agreed on a certain schedule, the officer will ask for your personal information and inform you about your documentary requirements.
4. Lastly, he/she will provide you the reference number. Take note of this and make sure you don’t lose it. Otherwise you’d have to set another appointment. You need not print your application form from the website, presenting the reference number at DFA will do.
1. You are expected to arrive 30 minutes before your schedule. It says on the website that early/late comers will not be entertained. Uhm, not entirely true (but please, let’s follow our designated time).
My recommendation, be there an hour early. Before you reach the Appointment Counter, there’s already a long queue upon entering the DFA Consular Office’s gate where a guard checks print outs and reference numbers. My schedule was 1:30 PM. I got there just before 1 and was in line for an hour.
Don’t ask a buddy to accompany you. He/she will not be allowed to get in.
2. Show your printed application form at the Appointment Counter. If you only got a reference number, present this to the officer and he/she will give you the printed form (furnished by the Customer Care Officer you spoke with thru the hotline).
Should there be incorrect info, you’ll be asked to make the necessary corrections then sign beside them.
3. If you peruse the form, you’ll notice that there are certain blanks which will require your signature (for example, if you have received back your old passport). Do not sign them yet. You shall do so when asked, in front of a DFA officer.
4. Then you’ll be directed to the Information Counter where you could get your queue number (for renewals, it’s highly likely that there’d be 150-200 people who’ll be served before you) for processing. You could sit (that is, if there’s a chair available) while waiting for your number and the corresponding processing window to be flashed on the screen. I waited for an hour, while the verification of my documents took less than 2 minutes.
5. Cashier’s next and it’s situated on the second floor of the building. This time I spent an hour and a half in line, actual payment only took 15 seconds!
Regular: P950 (20 business days)
Express: P1200 (10 business days)
Delivery fee is not paid at the cashier. There’s a separate counter for such.
6. Another queue number will be given at the Encoding Section. Wait for your number to be flashed on the monitor and the corresponding data capturing booth number. At this point, you’ll have the chance to retouch your make up. I had a whole hour to do so.
If you set an appointment via the hotline, chances are the officer will remind you to wear a plain, collared top. Though the frame of the photo won’t really reach down to your collar, I suggest we still follow this. And oh, you might be instructed not to wear slippers too.
7. The last step, data capturing. You’ll give the application form and documents (which were previously checked at the Processing Section) to the officer. He/she takes your photo (don’t be shy to ask for another shot if you don’t like the first one), signature and fingerprints. Done in 15 minutes.
8. Optional, you can pay for the delivery service at a counter just beside the Encoding Section. Expect your passport to be delivered a day after the release date. The courier company will take your O.R.-slash-claim stub and will replace it with a different receipt. Giving them your DFA O.R. proves that you’re authorizing them to claim your passport for you. You’ll be given a number for you to contact in case your passport is not delivered on the expected date.