Tips on Renewing Your Philippine Biometric Passport

the new DFA main site is very well-ventilated, air-conditioned and very organized (kudos). Unlike the procedure in Old DFA office, it was terrible. You need to spend half day to process but today it was very fast and convenient. The thing that I just observed are the Guards, they are rude. They will not answer your questions with manner, believe me. (Hope the DFA will pay attention to this issue)

Green Passport (old)

I was only 19 years old when I got my first Philippines passport. It was Feb 8, 2007 I got it from the old Department of Foreign Affair Office (DFA) which was located at Libertad Pasay (near LRT libertad ). I was green colored cover non-electronic passport which lasts for 5 years effectively. Actually, it was already expired Feb 8, 2012 without any single stamp, meaning for the span of five years I was not able to travel abroad.

At first, the very reason why I applied a passport, it’s because I had a plan working abroad. But unfortunately it didn’t happened but I am still thankful because I finished my Bachelor Degree. Having a passport is an advantage for me within 5 years. I used it as my Identification Card in any official transactions and documentation.

Moreover, owning my green passport that time is not easy like nowadays. The application process is the very challenging part. Aside from long queue, you need to complete your documents and etc, there were also illegal things happened .Luckily, prior on applying I was already warned by my friend not to entertain anybody outside the main gate. I remember when I arrived at the DFA office, lot of illegal fixers were waiting for victims.

Here is the scheme (outside the main gate)

Someone will approach you and will ask if “Are you a first time applicant?” If you say yes or no, they will still give/offer you an application form amounting to PHP5 for you to fill out (where-in you can get it inside for free) . Afterward, the fixer will photocopy your documents meaning you need to pay it. And they will offer if you want someone to process the application for PHP1500 (where-in processing for the passport that time was only PHP650). If you will agree with the deal, they will give you 1 month and its all set (wherein 3 weeks is the processing at the office). But the thing here is, they will give you fake passport after 1 month.

Moreover, illegal fixers were also wearing their ID and if you are not observant then you will be the next victim.
Aside from illegal fixers, you will also encounter vendors that are selling pens, envelops and passport case. If you will entertain them, they will forcedly sell their merchandise.

Basically, lot of hindrances will stop you to reach the main gate. The safest area is once you will enter the gate. It was very memorable experience; fortunately I was aware of those Modus Operandi. And Successfully I got my green Passport.

Since I was a new applicants here are my documents and requirements I brought that time.

• NSO Authenticated Birth Certificate
• NBI Clearance for Abroad
• At least 3 Valid ID’s (I brought my Company ID and etc)
• Any supporting documents that will show you name and birthday.

My E-Passport

My green old passport is already expired Feb 8, 2012. From then, my dream to travel abroad was just a dream literally. I am not anymore interested and eager to renew it. Until, I engaged myself in travel blogging and my ambition to travel abroad is now part of my plan. Therefore, I decided to renew my old green passport. I checked online on how to renew.

What I did was very easy and convenient: 

I signed up an appointment online via DFA website. I chose the date of October 17, 2013 8am to 9am. I printed my appointment form together with the instruction on what to do on the date of my renewal. I also produced a photocopy of valid ID and front page of my old green passport (you need also to bring the original valid ID and your Old passport). During setting your appointment, you will be asked if what your preferred site of DFA office is. For me, I chose the main site which is situated at ASEANA Business Park, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City.

TIPS during Your Passport Renewal Date:

1. Choosing appointment date and time. 
I advise you to choose Mondays and 8am to 9am, Fist reason, the mentality of individuals that they will not prefer Mondays since it’s the first business day of the week and they thought that DFA office in Monday is very saturated. Ironically, Monday is best day and stressful day to have an appointment. Second reason, since it is the first business day of the week, only few applicants will set up an appointment that day because they also need to work or else filing a leave of absent is the option. Therefore, there are only few applicants during Mondays. Third reason, since it’s the first business day of the week DFA employees are more efficient and effective (believe me).

2. What to bring during the renewal date?
Bring your application/appointment form, walk in applicants are not permitted. Photocopy all your documents or else you will pay for expensive photocopy inside during the appointment (Xerox Machine are available inside). Bring also the original copies of the documents (you can check the documents required on DFA website). If you are just renewing, bring your original and photocopy of your expired passport, as well as original (at least 3) Valid ID and photocopy of it.

3. Pick up or deliver? 
Different carrier are affiliated with DFA, in fact some carriers have an office inside the ASEANA Business Park. It’s up to you if you are going to avail it, but just remember that it is not compulsory. Delivery payment is amounting to Php120, beware also because there are lot of liaisons who will forcedly offer you the delivery option.  For me, I picked up my new E-passport on the date of release (gate 3), and you will only wait patiently for 30 minutes. You just need to bring your Receipt and Valid ID and present it to the counter.

4. How to make it fast? 
Sometimes you need to be wise and tactful, First go to gate 1, the guard will check your appointment form and they will allow you to proceed inside. Go to verification counter, they will verify your documents and sign it. If you arrive too early for your scheduled appointment, the verification counter will instruct you to wait you time at designated waiting area.

But here is the trick, if you arrive too early for your schedule, don’t go to the designated waiting shed. Fall in line on the queue right away at the door adjacent towards the gate 1 going to the counter. The counter will checked your old passport and next step is you need to pay at the payment counter. And there you go! Believe me, my schedule is 8AM yet while taking glance to the appointment form of the person ahead of me I saw he was schedule supposedly 11AM and he was with me in the line for 8AM.

5. Pretend that you are knowledgeable. 
No matter what happened pretend that you are professional and you are smart. It’s a huge help.
Once you paid already the amount of PHP950 at the payment counter located at 2nd floor. Go get your number for the queue for Picture Taking. You are not allowed to wear jewelries and glasses, you should wear shirt with collar and during picture taking you are not allowed to smile showing your teeth. A smile hiding your teeth is fine.

Moreover, "When taking a [photo of a person applying for a passport] "The subject's expression should be neutral (non-smiling) with both eyes open, and mouth closed. A smile with a closed jaw is allowed but is not preferred," according to the guidelines. ... Smiling "distorts other facial features, for example your eyes, so you're supposed to have a neutral expression. ... The most neutral face is the most desirable standard for any type of identification,"

After, the picture taking, take your paid receipt because you will need that to show during the release of your Passport. The release date is also indicated on your paid receipt.

November 11 2013 I got my new E-passport. It has lot of differences to my old one. I must say that the new passport is not easy to falsify because of the distinct security features on the materials being used.

On the other hand, the new DFA main site is very well-ventilated, air-conditioned and very organized (kudos). Unlike the procedure in Old DFA office, it was terrible. You need to spend half day to process but today it was very fast and convenient. The thing that I just observed are the Guards, they are rude. They will not answer your questions with manner, believe me. (Hope the DFA will pay attention to this issue)
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