travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Philippine Passport Renewal Experience: Requirements, Steps and Helpful Tips

April 4, 2019
Philippine Passport Renewal Experience: Requirements, Helpful Tips and the Best DFA Schedule

Philippine Passport Renewal Experience: Requirements, Steps and Helpful Tips

I finally got my new Philippine Passport – valid for 10 years!

The process for renewing Philippine Passport is much easier and faster – it took me less than an hour to complete all the process. However, I encountered a problem upon claiming of the new passport because the record said there is someone who has the same name who is in the Watch List.

I thought my passport renewal timing was just perfect – that I would get my new passport before the old one hit “6 months validity”. In the previous years when I renewed my passport, I was pressed with time:

2010: My passport arrived a day before my flight to Hong Kong
2014: I had to apply for new passport while concurrently applying for UK Visa (I got my Visa and new passport two days before my flight).

This year, I thought it was a smoother process for me. I always make sure that I am travel-ready. 

So the first question is: when is the best time to renew a passport?
I did mine 1 month before I hit the “within the 6 months validity” period. It means my passport is 7 months valid when I applied for renewal.

Passport Expiration:October 1, 2019
I can no longer travel on: April 1, 2019
Passport Renewal Schedule: March 5, 2019
Expedited Service: 5 days (expected date of release March 13, 2019)

My friend who is a Foreign Service Officer (hello Ralphiedude! So proud of you!) said that it is best to renew your passport within 8 to 9 months before it expires. 
I am sharing the Passport Renewal Process and experience. I am dropping some tips so I hope you find this post helpful. 
1. Schedule a Passport Renewal Application Online. 
Visit to schedule your appointment. You can go as a group or as an individual.  You select a DFA office near you and the available schedule. My tip is to refresh and check all the DFA satellite offices to check on the earliest or most convenient available schedule you need. The schedule that you pickup would only be available for 15 minutes so you have to finish the online forms ASAP.  I would suggest that you consider your location and proximity to the DFA office. I chose one that is nearer my place (even if it is a later date) so I do not need to worry about traffic.

2. Fill Out Online Application Form. 

The application form has 4 pages that asks for your Personal Information, Family Information, Application Information and Contact Details. At the end of the form, you would be asked to review all information and to enter an email address. 
My advise is to use a GMAIL address to make sure that you get Payment Reference. 
Email addresses from Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook will not receive email confirmation due to technical incompatibilities. Gmail or Yahoo! accounts are recommended for the time being.
3. Pay for Passport Renewal Processing Fee. 

After completing the form, you would be routed to another window for Payment Information. The DFA Online Website doesn’t have the capability to accept and process online payments. You can pay for the DFA processing fee via 7-Eleven, Robinson’s Bayad Center, Western Union, etc.  There is an additional Php 50 for convenience fee. 

Passport Renewal Fees:
Regular Processing. 10-15 days in Manila. Php 950.
Express Processing. 5-7 days in Manila. Php 1,200.

Click Proceed to receive the Payment Reference via email. 
On my first online reservation, I wasn’t able to pay for the fees within 24 hours. When I tried to book for another schedule online, I  received an error message in the DFA website: Appointment Already Exist: Please cancel previous appointment to book a new appointment schedule. 

To resolve this, you have to wait for another 24 hours to let the DFA system refresh and delete your previous appointment. After another 24 hours, I was able to book another DFA renewal appointment.

I paid visa Western Union, and as soon as my payment is processed, I received an email confirmation of my schedule. The email subject is DFA Passport Appointment System – Confirmation Notification which contains the confirmed appointment, and link to my application form (to be printed using A4 size paper). 
4. Personal Appearance at the DFA Office.
Come at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment and bring the following: 
Printed Application Form
Old Passport + Photocopy of the Bio Page
Valid ID + Photocopy of your valid ID
No need to bring Birth Certificate (if you have an ePassport – one with chip)
Here’s how the process went during my passport renewal application:
Document Verification: This is the first step to ensure that you have all the documents needed for the smooth processing of your renewal/application.

Processing: The personnel would ask you to confirm that all information in your application is correct (if there are data that need to be updated – tell them for correction). The personnel would then stamp your receipt with the date of release. If you have upcoming trip or is planning to apply for a visa, tell them to not cancel your old passport. This is what I did in 2010, when I needed to apply for a UK visa and I was pressed for time. I told them I want to keep mine active while the new one is in process.

Data Encoding and Biometrics: In this process, the personnel would encode the data that is in the bio page of your new passport. The personnel would ask you to confirm that everything is correct. Photo, fingerprint and digital signature would be taken during this process. 
For the new passport ID, they allow you to smile (without teeth). It is best to come in smart casual attire (remember, you are visiting a government office). Light makeup is acceptable, but accessories like necklaces and earrings must be taken off.
(The lighting at the DFA office was not very flattering. As usual, I looked more criminal than ever. Anyway, just think that it is a privilege to be issued a Philippine passport). 
The whole process took less than 1 hour – and the DFA office in SM Manila has available seats which makes waiting and lining up more comfortable. 
 Then comes, waiting time. 
As I kept my old passport active, I told them I would just pickup my new passport. 
I applied March 5, 2019 and my schedule of release was March 12, 2019. I decided to pick it up on March 13, 2019, however, it appears that someone with the same name is on the Watch List. They say that they need more time to validate that I am not the same person. 
I felt frustrated/confused/anxious. I am sure I am not the same person but I had to ask myself if I violated any immigration rules or Philippine law. I did a quick research and found out that people in Watch List or Hold Departure Orders usually get notified via email. I tried calling the number that they gave me but (as expected) it was always busy. 
I needed information on what documents I need to present to prove that I am not the same person. 
It was not a very urgent need to get my passport since I still have my old passport so I just gave DFA time to process it.  But I thought, isn’t 5 days enough time for them to validate these information and check against Watch List?

I went back on April 2nd (around 20 days after my renewal application). I got my newly renewed passport and it was issued March 19, 2019. T

Before I went out of the DFA Office I made sure that my name and other information in my Bio Page are correct – and that my passport pages are correctly numbered. 

So yay! I got my new passport! The old one has a lot of memories and I  am excited to fill the next one with new stamps and adventures.

Philippine Passport Renewal Experience: Requirements, Helpful Tips and the Best DFA Schedule

As for the case of the valid Visas in the old passport, you can still use them until validity date/year. Just make sure that you bring your old passport when traveling using a new passport. So that the Immigration Officer won’t think that it is your first time to travel outside of the country.

If you have questions? Drop them at the comments section.
As usual, I hope you find this post helpful.

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