travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


My Passport Renewal Experience and How DFA Saved My Trip!

October 28, 2014
When I received the invite to visit London and attend a product launch, it was not a smooth ride for me where I just packed my bags and boarded the plane. I had to prepare travel documents and make sure I have everything ready before the flight.  I wrote this blog entry while waiting for my slot at the Biometrics section when I had my passport renewed. The first stage of the bumpy ride..

September 24, 2014
DFA Megamall Office

I always tell friends, people I work with and clients that it is always good to be travel-ready (meaning your passport is valid and you have support documents) – because you wouldn’t know when an opportunity to travel will come. I know friends who have missed travel opportunities because of expired passport. Sometime last month. I forgot to remind that very lesson to myself. Five years ago, I was in the same situation! Argh.. I was booked to a trip in Hong Kong and I didn’t know if I were flying or not!

Disclaimer: There is no such thing as Blogger Passport issued by DFA Philippines.
The blue passport is a notepad given to me by my former boss and friend, Mai

A travel opportunity was presented to me with flight schedule of October 9th. I jumped for joy but there was a force inside that was pulling me down – I know my passport is expiring on April 9, 2015 – which makes it less than 6 months valid at the time of my departure. 

My initial action is to check the DFA schedules available for renewal appointment. The earliest scheduled I got was September 24th.  I still booked it and thought the earliest I could get it is on October 3rd (rush processing of 7 business days). That sounds smooth, but the most complicated thing is I need to secure a visa.
Questions playing in my mind:

  • I wont be granted a visa with less than 6 months passport validity
  • I could renew my passport and get it on October 3rd, but that means, I have to wait for October 3rd before I could apply for visa (my flight is on October 9th!!!!)
  • I could apply for visa with old passport and if (I get lucky) they grant me a visa, I could fly with passport of less than 6 months validity – there’s a risk that airlines and immigration would deny my entry or departure.
Click Read More to know more about expedited passport renewal…

These questions were haunting me. I couldn’t sleep for nights. I hate deadlines and dependencies on government offices. 

I did so much research and decided on going to my scheduled passport renewal appointment. I explained my situation to the guard, and to the attendant who verified my application.
Just like lining up to the US Embassy, I wished that I get to be assisted by a nicer Consular Representative in DFA. It was not my day.
In the onset of verification, I already shared my situation. I got all the rebuttals that she probably told every Filipino applicant who is in the sane situation as I was. 

“We cannot expedite passport renewal. You should have done the renewal earlier. We don’t do rush processing for visa application..”
When I told her I would only be away for 4 days and that my worry is flying back to Manila with less than 6 months passport validity, she told me the greatest line I have ever heard. A more meaningful line than I love you.
“We can renew your passport but we will not cancel the old one.”

I almost cried. (** excitement!!!!)

What does it mean to me?

It means that I could apply for my visa with an old passport while DFA is concurrently processing my passport renewal!

She told me that I could fly, and come back to DFA once I am back in Manila, I would need to make personal appearance again to claim my passport and cancel the expiring one.
That’s suuuuuper!!!! My passport won’t be held in any office, and I could go back to DFA to claim my new passport (before my flight).
It was funny that when she started checking my documents, she almost hold the puncher to cancel the old one – a step that’s already in her system because she is doing it everyday. 
I still don’t know if my trip would push through, or if I would get an approved visa; but I just don’t want my negligence to be the very reason why I didn’t get the chance to fly. 

After a month, I am now here, in my bed and my thoughts are filled with London memories! Yes, I got my passport renewed, yes, I got my UK visa!

I just want to share that you can request DFA to keep your old, expiring passports (which you can use to apply for Visa) when applying for passport renewal. Part of DFA’s process is to cancel the old visa when you apply for renewal (which would make you “passport-less” for 7 or 15 days).

Make sure that you bring all required documents. What you need for passport renewal:

1. Photocopies of the first 2 pages and last 2 pages of your passport.
2. Photocopy of valid ID.
3. Old passport
4. Printed Passport Renewal Application Form

* No need to submit NSO Birth Certificate for passport renewal

If you need to schedule a passport renewal appointment, check out

If you are keeping your old passport, you have to claim the new passport personally, in order for them to cancel your old passport. When I claimed my new passport, the rep forgot to cancel my old one. I have to request for it to be cancelled (meaning for them to punch holes in it). I was worried that immigration might question two passports under my name (the old one has my UK visa).

The whole passport renewal process took me 2 hours. It is convenient and cool in the SM Megamall office. For girls, make sure that you don’t wear too much make-up during appointment because they would ask you to take them off, including heavy eyeliners (they do live announcements and reminders :))

Next, I would share how I got my UK Visa (and maybe the stories of London and my tour of Harry Potter studio 🙂

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