Just recently, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) opened a new consular office in Megamall. Passport applications and renewals are now practically stress-free.
|The new DFA (NCR East) branch is in Megamall, Building C, 7th floor.|
There are also branches in Galleria and SM Manila
What would normally take a whole day of just waiting now takes less than an hour! No need to be absent from work the entire day—not unless you end up shopping after. *Ehem.*
Just so it's done, I had my passport renewed the other day even if it still expires next July.
1. Visit DFA Passport Appointment System here. It's clear, thorough, and straight to the point!
2. Check out "What to Expect" and "Documentary Requirements" so you're in-the-know.
3. Set appointment venue, date, time. Usually the next open schedule is in 2-3 weeks.
4. Print on long bond paper the application form that's e-mailed to you. Leave it unsigned!
5. Prepare valid ID/s and support documents (with photocopy). No need to bring ID picture.
I opted for Megamall because I saw DFA's billboard every time I rode the MRT. I scheduled a 10am appointment, the earliest schedule, hoping that I'd be the only one there.
When I arrived at 8:45am (talk about being excited), there were already 20 people in line by the bus bay. We were forced to wait outside because Megamall was still closed.
|Early birds. There were already 20 people waiting in line at 8:45am for the 10am appointment.|
Since Megamall was still closed, we all had to wait outside.
|Waiting patiently for the elevator to bring us up to the 7th floor.|
Avoid the 10am appointment! This way, you won't end up waiting outside, sweaty, and smelling the bus' fumes. Perhaps a 10:30am or 11am schedule would be better so that the mall is open already. From Building A's top floor, there's a connection near Bruno's Barbers leading to DFA in Building C.
|The connection between Building A and DFA office / Parking in Building C|
(Don't worry about parking if you're bringing a car. Building C is a parking building!)
|Upon reaching the entrance, lines blurred. (This doesn't happen in the 10:30 or 11am time-slots.)|
Those who had 10am appointments were prioritized.
5 Easy Steps on Appointment Day
An officer will look at your unsigned application form. Once verified, proceed to getting a number.
Wait for your number to flash on screen.
Once called, an officer will request for your application form and passport (including a photocopy of front and back pages). He may or may not request for your valid support documents. Too bad the officer didn't look at mine. I even brought my college yearbook! Still, it's best to be prepared.
After signing the application form, expiring passport will be hole-punched and returned to you.
|Just in case you forgot to photocopy or get something notarized, you can have it done at the back!|
Php 3 per photocopy (regardless if short/long bond); Php 300 per notarization
Pay for your passport renewal. For regular processing (15 working days), cost is Php 950. For Express Processing (7 working days), it's Php 1,200.
It's awkward how payments are done at Window #17 while receipts are claimed at Window #16. To improve the flow of "traffic", my unsolicited advice would be to interchange the the two windows. After all, people are coming from Processing, which is nearest to Window #16.
|Do not lose your receipt! |
Without this, your passport cannot be encoded! (I almost lost this after taking the photo)
Your photo will be taken here. Smize and give your best Mona Lisa smile! If you feel that you look hideous in the photo, ask nicely for a retake. Hope that your officer is nice! Remember, earrings aren't allowed in the photo. Eyebrows and ears can't be covered, too.
Here, your number will not be called. You'll be asked by the guard to sit in line. It's reminiscent of the old government queuing system where people move from one seat to the next until it's their turn. Officers even have to shout their window number to signal that they're open.
This cheapens the experience. Why can't customers get a new number? Facilities are there, anyway.
|The guard will ask you to sit in line. |
This requires you to move from seat to seat until it's your turn.
|It's interesting how some officers wore face masks. Perhaps to prevent spreading their cold?|
|Good thing this officer had a mirror on her table!|
Was able to fix myself before my photo was taken.
Choose whether you'll have your passport picked up or delivered. For delivery, the cost is Php 120. I opted to have it delivered for convenience. My new passport is expected to come on Dec. 13 or 14.
Overall, the process was quite efficient and professional. It didn't seem third-world. This is how government services should be like. If DFA can do it, I'm sure the other government offices can, too.
Now go ahead. Delete your "fixer's" number already!