Friday, March 11, 2011

Applying for Philippine Passport

     Are you planning to apply for Philippine passport or planning to renew your passport? For those who applied for passport before 2010, I believe you can relate to my story. It was September 2009 when I first applied for a passport. I took a day off from work since application process was being held during normal business hours; prepared all the documents and went there at the old DFA office located near Cuneta Astrodome. I arrived around 8 o’clock in the morning and there were already thousands of applicants that time. Though lines were well-organized, I felt so uncomfortable for it took more than 3 hours before I can even get my papers verified. Take note that was just for step 1. People started to get annoyed and so was I. Another 3 hours for Step 2 until I finally reached Step 3 which was supposed to be the final step. Unfortunately, the officer didn’t accept the authenticated copy of my birth certificate. Her reason was that the person who authenticated it way back 2002 was no longer connected with NSO. I felt so pissed off considering that I waited for so long in the line, felt so hot, tired and hungry at the same time. I couldn’t eat as leaving the line will cause further delay. I was dismayed because I should have been informed about it during the first step (verification). Then the officer asked me to get a new copy of birth certificate and since I didn’t have any choice I went to NSO (Macapagal branch) and had it printed. The cost was Php140. I really wanted to finish it that day since I have to work the following day so I waited another hour for my birth certificate to be released and in a hurry to bring it back to DFA to complete the process since it was already 4PM and the office was about to close. Unfortunately, my name was misspelled, from Bernadette it appeared “Bernadeth” in SECPA (NSO Security Paper). I had been using the authenticated copy of my birth certificate ever since and didn’t have any problem with it until then. Then the NSO personnel asked me to go to main NSO to correct it under RA 9048 (Clerical Error). I was really frustrated as I was unable to complete my passport application that day plus it was not my mistake if the clerk mistyped my name in the original document. It took me months before I was able to correct my birth certificate as I had to submit the required documents in my hometown at San Juan, Batangas then brought them to NSO Main in Fairview. Processing fee was Php1000 but it had cost me more due to travelling and reprinting which could have been avoided if the clerk was careful. Well, they should be really careful because they knew how important and sensitive these documents are.

     Anyway, to cut the story short, after more than a year, I decided to apply for a passport again. This time, the process is totally different. You will have to secure your appointment online at http://passport.com.ph/set-appointment. The problem though is that the appointment date is set around 2 months from the date of your online application. They will send the electronic form in your email address which you will need to confirm within 48 hours by clicking on the link provided in the email or else the appointment will be cancelled. In my case I had applied for an appointment online last January but schedule was set for March 11, 2011. Last week, I had a problem because I lost the email sent by DFA and I haven’t printed the e-form yet. I asked my husband to call DFA Passport hotline (737-1000) and alas! The representative sent the email again right away. Today is March 11, so this morning, I went to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office located at 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City for my personal appearance. I took another day off from work, anticipating what could possibly happen as the last time it took me whole day before I could reach the final step. You know what I discovered? New changes are amazing! I can say they had improved so much compared to what I had witnessed 2 years ago. The building is fully air-conditioned, thus you reach the final step with no sweat. Also, there were so many staffs assisting the applicants to speed up the process. The thumb mark, photo and signature are already digitized. In an hour time, I was able to complete the process. I would like to commend our government for the great improvement. At last, my passport will be released next month! The only comment I have is that I noticed some staffs who were not friendly, I know they can do better than acting like robots ;) Btw, just an update:

Passport Fees

Regular Processing: Php 950.00 (25 working days)

Rush Processing: Php 1,200.00 (15 working days)

To see the list of application requirements pls visit: http://passport.com.ph/requirements

For all other inquiries, visit: http://dfa.gov.ph/main/index.php/consular-services/passport






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