By Patricia May P. Catan
A PASSPORT is just as important as any valid identification card out there, but even more special because it’s literally your key to seeing and experiencing the whole world with your own eyes and feet. If you’re reading this and belong to the high percentage of people who still need to work on their passport, read on my friend because this is your guide to finally getting your Philippine passport that will take you one step closer to your dream destination.
It’s always safe and a good idea to gather all needed passport documents before anything else. For first time adults, don’t forget to bring your accomplished application form, as well as an original copy of your Philippine Statistic Authority Authenticated Birth Certificate on Security Paper and one valid government-issued picture ID. Please also note to bring the original document or ID and one photocopy of each when going to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). You may visit consular.dfa.gov.ph for more details on additional requirements and supporting documents. A friendly reminder for first timers, always double check if you’ve brought the correct requirements and just to make sure, bring all the supporting documents you have available with you.
Schedule an online appointment
Now with all your documents ready, you’re probably thinking of heading straight to DFA, but before that, make sure you’ve scheduled an appointment online first. To schedule an appointment, visit passport.gov.ph and input the needed information for you to get started.
All you need to do once you’re in is to choose a schedule, fill the application form then you’re a go for personal appearance. If you’re planning to schedule an appointment, slots are still full as of this writing, but the site said to check regularly since there might be an open slot available any time. In my own experience, I got lucky that DFA decided to open more slots August of last year and I was quick enough to schedule my appointment. To be honest, scheduling an online appointment is brutal since it immediately gets filled in just a blink of an eye, but never lose hope.
Save cash for the passport fee
Processing your Philippine passport doesn’t come without a fee. Regular rate is priced at P950 where you can claim your passport after 20 working days. If you’re quite in a rush, you can opt for the express fee which is P1,200. Your passport will be ready after 10 working days. Unless you have an immediate overseas travel, just go for the regular rate to save money.
Also, when claiming your passport, you have the option to get it at DFA or have it delivered on your doorstep or at the office with a minimal fee of P150. In my case, I had my passport delivered at home since transportation to and from DFA already costs me more than P150. Plus, it is much more convenient and less hassle when you decide to have it delivered.
Show up on your scheduled appointment on time
DFA can get pretty packed if you come in late, so it’s best to be as early as possible. Passport processing doesn’t usually take so much time but if you show up late, there’s probably a long line waiting for you. If you’re confused where to go first, there’s someone there who can assist you or you can just look for the signage inside. Aside from showing up on time, make sure you have your documents ready in one folder or envelope so you can easily show it to the person in-charge. Another thing, it can’t be avoided that even though you come early, there’s still a long line waiting like what I’ve personally experienced. Apparently, there will always be other people who will come in earlier than you, so you really have no control over that. During such case, just keep yourself busy while waiting in line for you to be a little productive.
For passport info: consular.dfa.gov.ph
For slot appointments: passport.gov.ph