Friday, April 9, 2010

DFA’s New Passport Hub

For those who were used to having their passports processed at Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Roxas Boulevard, no need to waste a trip going there. The DFA Consular Services now houses its passport applications and document authentications at the Aseana Business Park in Paranaque, which started just this March of 2010.


I tried the appointment system from their website last March 4th, got a response the same day, but my appointment date was set for March 15th! I had to go through that website because the new system hasn’t taken effect during that time.

I just recently learned that you can do now do this via http://www.passport.com.ph.

So knowing that I’ll be waiting for 11 more days before I could show up for my appointment, I went straight to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) the following afternoon to see if I could actually walk-in.

Turns out, I can‘t and they won‘t process walk in applications, and that people have to set their appointments there personally. At that time, March 20th were the available slots. Since I already had an appointment set for the 15th, there’s really no other choice for me but to wait for the 15th.

Passport applicants who used to have appointments at the DFA office are requested to go to the new site starting March 15. So in my case, since I made the appointment using the old system (from www.dfa.gov.ph), I would simply have to bring my appointment letter, plus all the requirements needed for renewal.

But in the new system, EVERYONE would be asked to make an appointment either online, or through telephone. I tried ringing their customer service hotline, but it was busy all throughout my attempts. Thus, I recommend that you try to do it online instead, and you will just have to wait for your confirmation email. Just follow instructions, and you’re all set.

All you need to do then is to use the reference number to “claim” your application form at the appointment system counter, just within the complex. Before you could even get inside the premises to go to that counter they’re saying, you will still have to go through these in my semi-detailed account of my passport renewal.

Some notes:
  1. No walk-ins will be entertained. Only those with appointments are allowed to enter. If you do not have an appointment, you will be requested to call the hotline, or set the appointment online.
  2. Only applicants are allowed to enter the offices. Companions are requested to wait outside the building.
  3. Make sure to PRINT OUT the appointment letter or prepare the reference number given by the customer service associate.
  4. Arrive an hour (or at least 30 mins) before your appointment. Due to the voluminous number of applicants per day, it may take you more than an hour to complete the entire process.
  5. Once you are inside DFA premises, proceed to the appointment system counter to receive your printed application form.
  6. Make sure all requirements complete. It’s not a bad thing to bring other extra valid IDs along.
  7. Photocopying services are PHP3/page. Bring photocopies of documents you will need to save a little cash.  
  8. You can bring drinks inside (but be discreet!), as this is not encouraged. After a long queue, you would really need a drink to survive from dehydration!
  9. Wear proper attire. Even if you may see others in flipflops or what not, bear in mind that you are still entering an office. Dress appropriately.
  10. PAY ATTENTION. A lot of people miss their numbers when already queued.
  11. BE ALERT. Same as number 10, since there are also a lot of people just walking around, make sure to attend to your things (and yourself).
  12. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. Expect a lot of blunders along the way.
  13. If possible, plan your passport renewal on off-peak seasons. Off peak seasons are months that may fall between August-October, or maybe November, when people do not find the urgency to travel.
I was able to finally get my ePassport, thanks to a lot of patience.





The DFA Appointment System is also available via the hotline (02) 737-1000.

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