Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the passport renewal experience: phase 1

my passport expires may 2010, but since most countries require that you should have a 6-month validity on your passport when you travel, my current, and most beloved, passport is as good as useless. so i quit putting it off and finally went to the dfa passport application online appointment system last night and get a move on in renewing my passport. the page looks like this:

but when you click on submit, you won't be taken to any confirmation page that indicates that your request has been submitted. instead, you will be taken to the passports information page of the dfa, which outlines the requirements that you need to bring with you on the day of your appointment. don't be alarmed if this happens, it doesn't mean they didn't receive it, it just means that the dfa needs to be more user-friendly and let us know that our form was indeed submitted, and not just floating around in cyberspace.

a few minutes later, i checked my email, and there i read the confirmation. this means you have to be careful in filling in your email address in the form above, since that's the only way they will contact you (i received no confirmation or information on my mobile phone, even though i put that in as my contact number as well). the email told me that i will have to wait about 7 days to receive my passport appointment, so i slept soundly last night, knowing my appointment will come in a week or less.

today, i got to work and checked my email. lo and behold! i got an email from the DFA saying that i have an appointment for my passport renewal tomorrow! that was quick, but a little short notice. still, i'll take it. it's probably one of the fastest government office appointments evar, and i'm not going to let that pass me by!

i'm just a bit confused, though. the email today addressed me as "machine readable passport applicant," but at the end of the email, it cited the epassport processing fees (P950 for regular processing, P1,200 for expedited processing) instead of the machine readable one. i'm really hoping to get the epassport and not the machine readable version, but just to be safe, i'll be taking the requirements needed for both. a bit of a hassle, but better than being turned away and wasting a day.

so tomorrow, i'll be taking with me the following requirements for passport renewal:
  • my present passport, and photocopy of data page, and pages 1, 2, and 3, and the inside back cover
  • photocopy of the pages showing latest bureau of immigration departure and arrival stamps
  • three (3) colored photos taken against a royal blue background and no shadow. (must remember to wear a dark top with sleeves and collar)
  • a duly accomplished passport renewal application form
  • print-out of my appointment
  • valid ID
  • P950 epassport fee, or P1,200 for expedited processing, in case i decide to fast-track the process
let's see how this "adventure" turns out tomorrow. i've read a lot of good things about the dfa's passport renewal system, and i'm hoping i'm one of the lucky ones who won't encounter hassles during my passport renewal.

you can also read more about passport renewal at just wandering. :)

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