I never had the interest to get a passport before for two practical reasons. I had neither the luxury to travel for leisure nor any plans to work abroad.
I would simply shrug my shoulders and tell myself, “Mageexpire lang ‘yan nang ‘di ko nagagamit.”
Needless to say, many Filipinos have their passports expired without getting a single stamp on it, but I guess, aren’t losing their hopes of visiting Paris or London, or even Asian cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur someday. Laban!
Anyway, a passport is a good ID.
But I finally decided to get my first just recently during the holiday break, and I was delighted by the speedy and smooth application process. As the article title says, I received it at my doorstep six working days after my appointment.
Passport Processing Timeline
November 12 — DFA Appointment Booking. It took me just around 30 minutes to accomplish the online Individual Appointment Form on the DFA website. I booked December 21 (holiday break already) at DFA – SM Cherry Antipolo.
The consular office is just a two-ride away from my current residence, and I am familiar with the area.
After completing the form, I paid PHP1,150 inclusive of the shipping fee. I then received an email confirmation with the following attachments (others may not be included if shipping service is not availed):
- Accomplished Passport Application Form (with instructions page and Electronic Receipts)
- Client Feedback Form
- Letter of Authority (needed if receiver is a family member)
- Special Power of Attorney (needed if receiver is a non-family member)
December 21 — DFA Passport Appointment Day. My appointment was at 02:00-03:00PM. I was trying to book a Grab at 01:00PM, but it seemed hopeless because of the holiday season so I decided to commute. I was at the site already in 30 minutes, and I joined the queue of five people for the Step 1: Documents Verification.
The attendant at the window briefed the applicants regarding the documents to prepare, so being at the middle of the queue, I had mine readied and well organized. In the Documents Verification step, I was asked to present these (in A4 paper as per email instructions):
- Printed Email Confirmation
- Printed Passport Application Form
- Printed Receipt
- Original and Photocopy of PSA Birth Certificate
- Original and Photocopy of Valid ID (in my case, a UMID Card)
Other documents may also be required, especially if there are record discrepancies as I overheard from the other applicant. You may check the DFA official website for this. Also, Client Feedback Form is provided onsite.
The documents I presented at the window were just checked in a minute or two then I was pointed to the next window for Step 2: Processing.
In this step, the details I filled out the application form were double checked against my birth certificate and valid ID, and even marked with big blue checks. It was also where I requested a correction to the birth place (as I mistook it as part of the address during my online application). The processing took me more or less three minutes.
Step 3: Data Encoding and Biometrics was the last one. I even had a research about the dress code for the photo so to be sure, but the applicant before me was just in a plain shirt. So I had my eyebrows raised.
I had all the required — biometrics, photo, signature, and checking of encoded data on the screen — in five minutes. Then I accomplished the Client Feedback Form and dropped it in the box upon exit.
That was incredibly fast! I was able to process my passport application is as fast as ten to fifteen minutes. I still had the time for a siomai rice with gulaman at the mall before heading home.
January 03 — Passport Tracking and Delivery. While on a twelve-hour trip (and all the boredom) from our annual charity outreach in Occidental Mindoro on December 29, I had a chance to track the passport on Air21 website via the email link.
As I first checked, it already moved from Parañaque to Batangas to Parañaque (then later, Rizal). I expected it to arrive by first week of January (although as stamped on my paper in the last step, it’d be on January 10 onwards).
It was a big surprise when I woke up on January 03 that it was already for delivery on the day itself. I also received an Air21 SMS notification. Before lunch, I had the passport. Checking on the calendar, it was exactly six days, excluding weekends and holidays, after my appointment.
What if you overlook and miss your appointment? Here’s an interesting side story:
My coworker missed her appointment by a day. She thought she had the same schedule as mine (although hers was at SM Megamall), only to find out late in the evening that it was on the day itself, December 20. To cut it short, she overlooked it.
Of course, she panicked, and thinking about the nonrefundable payment, she was determined to have it still processed the next day whatever it’d take her.
What she did — she went to the site in her office attire, pleaded, and told the officers that she already had a zero work leave (I think she even showed them the office online portal) and wasn’t allowed by our boss. Despite her lack of proof for the latter alibi, she was still given a chance and had her passport application successfully processed on that day. After all, the spirit of Christmas was in the air!
Do you have an interesting and epic story about getting your passport. Share it in the comment section.