No use denying it – we’ve all missed traveling. A year doesn’t seem complete without us scouring through the calendar for long weekends and chasing Piso-fare flights with our friends and family. While the travel scene is slowly opening back up, now might be a good time to get all our ducks in a row and make the necessary preparations.
More than the hotels and the flights, the most important thing to prepare for any travel occasion would be – our passports! Not only is it a travel essential, but it’s also an identity essential – the Philippine passport is one of the most official forms of identification for any Filipino.
Fortunately, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ensured passport applications and renewals remain consistent in these new normal times. Though precisely because of the required social distancing protocol, the whole process takes a while to complete – it would pay to start early. Check out the four steps to apply for or renew a passport to make sure everyone’s ready to go when the travel bug bites once again:
STEP 1: Book an Online Appointment
Start with the item that needs the longest lead time and book the appointment for passport appearance first. Reservations are done online through this link. One may choose a slot from different DFA offices and DFA hubs across malls nationwide. However, despite the many possible locations to book an appearance, slots are limited. But this remains the best way to process the application as walk-ins are only allowed under extreme circumstances.
Senior citizens, disabled persons, solo parents, pregnant women, minors aged 7 and below, and Overseas Filipino Workers may skip the line and book an appointment through the Courtesy Lane. See here for the full list of those eligible.
STEP 2: Fill up the Application and Prepare Requirements
With an appointment secured, use the time in between to fill up the application forms that can be found online. Secure the following documents before the appointment:
- An original and photocopy of the PSA-authenticated birth certificate on security paper.
* A married woman using her spouse’s last name must also present an original and photocopy of the PSA-authenticated Marriage Contract on security paper.
- The original and a photocopy of an acceptable ID, as listed here.
Note that other supporting documents might be needed alongside the application.
STEP 3: Show up for the Appointment
Required documents will be submitted during the appointment alongside a short personal interview. Note there is a passport processing fee – P950 for regular processing, and P1,200 to expedite processing.
STEP 4: Wait for Pickup / Delivery
All passports will be released after 12 working days at the same office where the appointment was held. The applicant must personally pick up his passport. For proxy pickups, a Special of Attorney document must be presented to explain why the passport cannot be personally claimed, and include the name and ID of the proxy. For added convenience, courier services can also deliver passports direct to one’s door.