My passport has been expired for more than a decade. I never felt the need to renew until I was told that I was traveling abroad for a training. I heard many stories of how challenging it is to for a DFA passport renewal. I never thought that I would be faced with the same problem. The funny thing is, we were already schedule an appointment last Dec 28, 2017 but since we had things to do then, we opted to move it on March 2018. A few days later I was told to renew my passport. Crap!. So I did my research and found a way to get a DFA passport renewal without an appointment. One of the conditions that allows walk-in application to be accommodated is if you have a 7 year old child or below. Good thing my kid just turned 7 last July.
I knew that it would difficult to apply in any Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office within the National Capital region. So we decided to try in a DFA office in Robinsons Pampanga last January 3, 2018. So without any assurance that we would be accommodated, we just tried our luck and maybe we would be able to apply.
We had to wake up early. My wife and kid would be coming from her parent’s home in Pampanga. I would be coming from Quezon City and my work is done which normally ends at 2 am in the morning. So I had to wait until 4 am to go to the Bus terminal to ride a bus going to Balanga (this would pass Robinsons Pampanga). We were supposed to meet up but I got caught in traffic and I was able get there by 6 AM which is still early. Our meet up time is suppose to be at 5 AM. We had to be there way to early to ensure that we will be first in line. I pity my kid who was not really fond of waking up that early. But since we need her to accompany us we had no choice.
They were in Robinsons Pampanga by 5:30 AM. Good thing the Ministop there was already open then so they had something to eat. At 06:00 AM, there were already around 20 to 30 people lining up for their passport application. Most of them had no appointment just like us. There were senior citizen there which by the way is part of the list of people who would be accommodated in the courtesy line. Click here to get the full list. There also Overeseas Contract workers (OFW) who were expected to leave for work but their passport where about to expire in the next six months. By the way OFW is not part of the list whoever they mad an exception as long as they have documents proving that they will be leaving abroad for work. They will be accommodated starting 11 AM onward.
So it was waiting game but since we were early we were first in line. My wife and I were not surely if all three of us would be able to apply for a passport. We heard that they only allow 1 parent to accompany a child while for some they only allow children aged 4 and below to be accompanied by their parent. It was a long shot but we had to try. Worst case scenario, it would only be me and child would be allowed to apply for our DFA passport.
At 8 AM, a representative from DFA approached us, he was giving out of forms. So the first question he had for us was if we had appointment which we didn’t. We informed him that our child was 7 years old and we were asking of we could all apply for the passport. He then ask if we had a marriage certificate and birth certificate of the child which both had. We thought that there would other questions after but that was the last. He simply gave us 3 application forms and we were relieved that we were allowed to apply and second the three of us will be accommodated. Yeah!
Now we had to wait until the mall opens at 10 am but as early as 9:45 AM, they were allowing people who were applying for the passport to enter. A few minutes after at around 10:10 AM they were calling names of those part of the list for the courtesy line. We were called within a few minutes and we were provided with numbers.
Inside the office we had to wait to be called again. We were preparing our documents. Birth Certificate for the three of us. This were PSA certified (they would not accept NSO). At least 1 valid ID, our expired passport and photocopy of the documents. Pleas note that there is a photocopying machine inside but off course you would have to pay. My tip, photocopy your documents before you go there. After a few minutes we were called, submitted our documents and then we were asked to paid the cashier.
It was around 10:30 AM and my wife was able to pay the fee. We had to choices, if we paid Php1200 we could get our passport by Jan 17, 2018. If opted to pay Php950, the release date of the passport would be on January 31, 2018. Since we needed it rush, we paid Php1200 each. We actually asked if we could have my passport rushed while we pay only Php950 for my wife and child’s passport. They said the we could only choose one mode of processing for all of us. So we had no choice but to pay a higher fee.
We were then waiting in line to have or photo, biometrics, signature and other relevant information taken. we had to wait for around an hour. There was a delay since they were updating their software to accommodate the new 10 year expiration of passport. So at 11:30 AM, it was our turn. It only took a total of 10 minutes for the three of to have everything done. We were done by 11:40 AM
The whole process was really quick. If they haven’t had their systems upgraded, we would have done in less than an hour. The online challenge was waking up early in morning and lining up. But if you are going to ask me if it would be possible to get a passport without an appointment, the answer is yes! Off course you would have to meet one of the criteria to be accommodated for the courtesy lane. Click here for the full list of criteria and requirements needed for the courtesy lane.
What are your thoughts?
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