Saturday, June 19, 2010

Document: Passport Application

Dear Online Diary,

Yesterday was a very long day for both H2B and I. We had an appointment for passport application so we headed to the new building of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) along Macapagal Blvd. in Pasay City.

{DFA Building along Macapagal Blvd.}

Nowadays, it’s supposedly by appointment. An individual who wish to apply for a passport should set an appointment by going to the DFA website. All the requirements are listed on their website so there should be no reason to stay all day just to finish the application. The website was promising. The service was, unfortunately, unsatisfactory and inefficient.

We arrived at 11:00AM (early for our 11:30AM appointment) hoping that we could finish it in no more than 2 hours. Oh boy, how we were wrong. The building was full of people by that time. All of them were engaged in a conversation either with the guards, the government employees or other applicants.

{They were serving the holder of ticket number 4430 when we arrived...}

{... and here's our ticket numbers}

While waiting for our turn, we had the chance to talk to one of our co-applicants. She arrived at 8:30AM (that was 11:00AM) because her appointment was at 9:00AM. Gosh, she’s been waiting and sitting there for more than 2 hours. Looking at the situation, she suggested that we go out to have our lunch because most likely than not, it’ll take 2 hours before our turn. She’s not the only one. A lot of people were also not happy about waiting for more than an hour just to have their documents checked (Note: this is for step 1 and the whole process will take 3 steps to finish).

So, to cut the story short, we had our turn around 3:00PM (after 4 hours of waiting). I was assigned to Window 15. The girl was nice. While checking my requirements, she asked if I’m a wedding coordinator. I told her no and in fact, I’m a bride. She said she only asked because of my email address. From there, she asked a lot of wedding stuff, which I gladly answered.

H2B, on the other hand, had a different faith. There’s a problem with his Birth Certificate so he was advised to fix the problem to the registrar where the Birth Certificate was issued (and it was in Ilocos Sur!) then they asked him to go back to finish his application. He was not the only one, though. A lot of applicants were turned down because of insufficient documents or wrong information. Not so nice especially since you have to wait for more than 2 hours (and mind you, this is in spite of you setting an appointment online).

Here's a handful of lessons learned based on our experience:

1. Set an appointment on the DFA website but do not go to their office at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment (as what they implied to everyone). Go to their office as early as you can (7:00AM if you like to be among the first to arrive) to avoid hustle.

2. Make sure you have sufficient requirements (listed on their website). Double (or triple) check your Birth Certificate. If anything is missing, you’ll be asked to go back. Even when you were waiting for 3 hours or if you came from Bulacan or what have you. They (the people behind the windows on Step 1) just don’t care and sometimes, harsh and rude if you do not have sufficient requirements.

3. Don’t worry if you missed your appointment. As per their supervisor (whom we talked to after we encountered a problem with H2B’s Birth Certificate), your scheduled date is valid within 5 working days. See, they don’t really care about the time so don't trouble yourself to set another appointment (the next available slot may be in 2 more months) if you could go to their office 4 days after your scheduled appointment.

4. As much as possible, don’t set your appointment on a Friday. People tend to flock the office during Fridays. It’s better to go there on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

5. Regular processing (charge is P950.00) takes 20 working days while Express processing (P1,200.00 fee) takes 10 working days. Bring an extra P120 if you want your passport to be delivered at your doorstep. It’s much more practical than going back and waiting (read: stressing yourself) for 3 hours.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this sis! very informative. My brother is also applying for a passport and he mentioned nga about this appointment thing. I think I have to go through this as well for my passport renewal and change of name.

    happy preps! =)



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