Thursday, November 22, 2012

Renewing your Passport at DFA Megamall

MANILA, Philippines  Gone are the days where you'd need a "fixer" to help you with passport-related concerns. Times have definitely changed.

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 daynot 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.

Preparations:
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.
Just because I was bored in line. 
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

1. VERIFICATION
An officer will look at your unsigned application form. Once verified, proceed to getting a number.



2. PROCESSING
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

3. PAYMENT
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)

4. ENCODING
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.

5. COURIER
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!

55 comments:

  1. Nung nagpa-renew ako sa Megamall, the numbers were also flashed on the screen sa encoding area. Baka di lang gumagana nung time mo? Nakakatuwa ang efficiency ng bagong system ng DFA. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Charmie!

      Oo nga. Maybe they had technical difficulties that day. All the facilities naman were there, e. Hehe!

      And oo! Super nakakatuwa ang bagong system ng DFA :) Sana talaga ganyan ka-efficient yung ibang gov't offices.

      ...Henson

      Delete
  2. Yung releasing ba on time din?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, it's generally on time naman. My officemates got theirs on the date specified. Mine came a day late--though there's a warning naman that it be a day or two delayed.

      Good luck with your passport!

      Delete
  3. Are walk-ins accepted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      If I'm not mistaken, I don't think that walk-ins are accepted in these satellite branches. You really have to go online and book an appointment. The guards check for the print-out/confirmation that you are scheduled for an appointment on that time and date. Thanks!

      ...Henson

      Delete
    2. From the DFA Appointment website:

      Confirmed appointment is required for all applicants except senior citizens, infants and minors below 1 year old, person with disability and OFWs. For OFWs, sufficient proof must be submitted such as a valid employment contract or OEC.

      --so, no appointment required for senior citizens.

      Delete
  4. can a senior citizen renew a passport even without appointment? or even prior to her appointment date?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I'm sorry for the late reply. If I'm not mistaken, there's a senior lane in the satellite offices. However, seniors will still need to set and confirm an appointment date.

      Delete
    2. Hi. My dad, a senior, renewed his passport without requesting for an appointment. Megamall accepts walk in for seniors. :)

      Delete
    3. Oh wow! I didn't know that. Thanks for this info! Will be useful for my parents! :) Hehe.

      ..Henson

      Delete
  5. oo nga ako din nag apply ako 10 minutes lang tapos na.. mabuhay ang mga taga dfa megamall...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Sorry for the late reply. Oo, mabuhay! :) Hehe.

      Delete
  6. yes i agree,na paka hospitable nila.. laging naka smile.. mula sa guard hanggang sa loob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't really notice the guards pero napansin ko mejo haggard sila nung umaga dahil unang batch kami. Hehe. But yeah. The officers are nice! The lady who took my photo even let me borrow her mirror. At nagpa-retake pa ako ng tatlong beses. Hehe.

      (Sorry po sa late reply!)

      ...Henson

      Delete
  7. Pde ba mga new applicants dito or renewals lang to gaya ng satelitte office ng LTO?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Sorry sa late reply.

      If I'm not mistaken, pwede po ang mga new passport applications sa satellite offices.

      ...Henson

      Delete
  8. hi! do you know what is the email address they give to inquire if you can already pick up your passport?

    tnx!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! So sorry for the late reply. I'm not really sure if there's an e-mail address for following-up. What I do know is that the date stated in the confirmation slip informing when the passport will be ready is most often than not followed :)

      Hope this helps.

      ...Henson

      Delete
  9. Hi can I apply for a new passport inmegamall or sa DFA main office mismo/ for renewal lang ba sa megamall DFA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      As far as I know, you can apply for a new passport in Megamall :) Don't forget to schedule an appointment!

      ...Henson

      Delete
  10. hey Henny thanks for this post.... It was able to help my mom, Earl and I, get through renewing awhile ago.... Sad to say, the process took us 2 and a half hour. From 3pm to 5:30pm... Grabe!!! Anyway, they were efficient enough. You will be happy to know that payment and receipt are both received and release in window 16. Also, as one commented above, the ticket system is in use all the way to encoding... anyway.. thanks thanks Hens - jr

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JR! :)) I'm glad this was able to help you guys out! Grabe naman yung 2 and a half hours. Pero in fairness, mukhang mas efficient na yung ginawa nilang yan! Take care and see you soon :)
      ...Henson

      Delete
  11. Friends we are offering the best service in booking passport appointment
    . booking passport appointment
    is very tough job and it is not possible for everyone to book it yourself, so we are here just for this make us a call and we will provide you hassle free slot with a nominal fee. The actual problem behind this is that lakhs of persons are trying to get only some hundreds of slots. Like at surat 400 slots get booked, in Visakhapatnam 350 slots get booked everyday, but to getting this 350 or 400 slots at-least 10 lakhs persons try everyday. So the normal problem faced by persons are this that all slots get booked within 8-10 sec or server respond too slow so no one can see the next screen. So how can a normal people will book the slot within 10 sec. It can only be done by expertise person. We having a team of experts just make us a call to get immediate passport appointment booking




    Every PSK there will be some schedule at what time the database will be open for passport appointment booking. E.g. for PSK Kolkata it is 3 PM every day. You cannot try before that. Otherwise you will get a message same in the screen. Now if try from 3 PM time and able to view the next screen, then you can see the available slots. Simply you can click on a slot and further proceed for booking.
    But the thing is not so easy. As many people try at the same time, so the database responds to them only who has a high speed or 3G internet. For a general internet speed you might reach to that screen, but by the time you click and book a slot, some will finish the booking itself. So practically there is no such tricks to book online passport appointment. But we have couple of choices or alternatives to get an appointment. Let's check them and try to find out whether they are useful or not.
    First thing you can do is to take high speed internet connection. If you don't have that or you cannot replace your existing one then find out among your friends. It will be a just 5 min task.
    Always keep trying to log in before 5 min of actual time. Keep trying, although you will get the massage. Because everyone will do the same. If you are able to manage a slot, then in the next screen you have to fill up the captcha or verification letters. Don't be in hurry, fill it up very carefully. Remember if you miss a single word, then you will not get a chance to come back again. You have to try next day.
    WE PROVIDE SERVICES FOR passport appointment booking

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so much for sharing this info. You have helped me with this. Last Saturday, April 27, I accompanied my father for the renewal of his passport at DFA-Megamall. He is a senior citizen. Were able to complete the process in less than an hour including courier service.

    I hope and pray that other government offices will have the same procedure wherein all services should not take long. WISH KO LANG! hehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth!

      I'm glad this was able to help you. :) You're right--sana lahat nga ng gov't services ganito ka-efficient.

      By the way, how true is it that senior citizens can just walk in without an appointment?

      Thanks!

      ...Henson

      Delete
  13. Hi Henson,

    Do OFW's needed also an appointment for passport renewal?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Honestly, I'm not too sure. Maybe! Though you may want to call DFA to confirm.

      Thanks!

      ...Henson

      Delete
    2. Is there a senor citizen line

      Delete
    3. From one person who commented above, there is a senior citizen line. Not sure if there's a need to schedule an appointment, though.
      Thanks!

      ...Henson

      Delete
    4. Hi just to add up: the ff passport applicants do not need appoinment:
      - senior citizen
      - infants below 2 yrs old
      - government employees and their immediate families
      - ofw
      These were listed down at DFA Manila - Macapagal Avenue in Pasay
      Fyi

      Delete
  14. Welcome to Longislandlimo.Us. We are transportation company in Long Island NY. Our transportation services includes limousine service, car service

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, ask q lang, kxe pnpabalik nlng aq, dhel my prob lng ngkonti sa birthcert ko, pwede ba khet saturday bumalik? Open ba cla?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi, ask q lang, kxe pnpabalik nlng aq, dhel my prob lng ngkonti sa birthcert ko, pwede ba khet saturday bumalik? Open ba cla?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yohvi,

      I don't think it's open on Saturdays. Though might be best to double check, just in case I'm wrong. Sayang naman.

      Thanks!

      ...Henson

      Delete
  17. Hi..

    I am just wondering if in the 15 working days, are saturdays included?

    Hope you can help. Thanks!

    Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie,
      Nope. Saturdays arent included.
      ...Henson

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  18. Hi,
    can i wait inside the mall? or iba ung entrance ng dfa pag sa loob? member kasi ako ng gym so allowed na ako pumasok as early as 7am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!
      If that's the case, yup! Just wait it out sa gym. Besides, you're only allowed to enter if it's your appointment time na.
      Thanks!
      ...Henson

      Delete
  19. hi!
    kailangan pa po ba magpa appointment kahit senior citizen na?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!
      Per our one of the comments above, no need for senior citizens to book appointments. Though Im not too sure how this will go.

      ...Henson

      Delete
  20. Hello po gd am,ofw po kc hubby ko mgrerenew n sya ng passport according sa dfa pde n po walang appointment, tanong ko lng po wat po b best time mgpunta sa robinson ok lng po ung 3 pm para mgrenew?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi,

    For authentication of document, is there a need for appointment? thanks

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, im 18 years old pwede na po ba ako magrenew ng passport mag-isa? Last year po kase nagtry ako kasama yung grandmother ko i was only 17, ang sabe po kase samin sa DFA kaylangan daw po may personal appearance ng mother (nasa dubai po yung mom ko) and this febuary po kukunin nya na po ako. Passport nalang po yung need ko para maprocess na yung visa ko. Thanks po

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!
      Sa tingin ko pwede na bilang hindi ka na minor.
      Though best pa rin to double check with DFA mismo.
      Good luck!

      ...Henson

      Delete
  23. hi.. ask ko lang.. kung 1:30 and appointment ko. what time kaya ako dapat nandu..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yme03,
      You should be there an hour before. I think nakasulat yan sa form :)
      ...Henson

      Delete
  24. Thanks for sharing Mr. Boy Wander! It's a big help for first timers like me, especially the photos you take! awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Mgnda ang process s dfa megamall wla ako msbi mabilis tlga.. but knno po ako hihingi ng assistance.. march 01 ang apply ko then ngbyad ako ng ru
    ah 1200 at ksma p courier 120.. sbi 7 working days kpg special.. but 15 days na wla p dn ang aking passport this mrch nid ko n urgent ang passport ko.. then tumtwag ako s hotline puro pasa gngwa nila prng awa nio na.. wag nmn gnito..kawawa mga iba png nangyyri ng gnito hndi lng ako.. asikasuhin nio nmn po kmi.. ang laki ng binayad nmin.ngyon kung ssbhn nmin n regular irerefund nmin ayaw nio..unfor sming mga custmer d nio alm ang hirap mghagilap ng 1200.. ng absent p ko pra mahinty yng delivery n yan.. prng awa nio na kung hndi nio maayos to mg papaimbestigador ako.. kwawa kapwa pilipino.. pinagpapasahan nio lng kmi..

    ReplyDelete