Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Renewal of Philippine Passport in 2013

Last week, we went to the Philippine Embassy to renew our passports. We prepared all the documents needed and ourselves for the usual long queue and long wait. 

Here are the steps we followed in the process:
  1. Online appointment was booked thru this link. Yes, walk ins are no longer allowed, which I think helped in the more efficient queues in the embassy now. An email confirmation will be sent, and must be printed and brought to the embassy during  specified appointment.
  2. Online application forms were downloaded from this link. Printed and filled out.  Together with a photocopy of the passport data page and IC card, the application form must be submitted during scheduled appointment.
    • For amendments and other documentary requirements, visit this link
  3. On the day of appointment, we arrived 5-10mins before our appointment. It was specified in the email confirmation to arrive in time, not an hour or so, ensure less waiting time. We brought along required documents above (appointment confirmation email, application form, photocopy of passport data page, IC card, etc).
    • the confirmation email was presented to the reception counter (just after the gate) of the embassy, and a queue number was written on it (we were numbers 17-20)
    • we proceeded to Window 8 as advised at the reception counter. There were people queuing so I joined the queue (although I read from the website that we should be seated and wait for our numbers to be called). The officer-in-charge (OIC) checked our application forms for complete details and took our passports to check accuracy of information. Everything was handed back to us and we were ushered inside, to the encoders room.
    • There were 3 encoders in the room. We waited for our turn, which didn't take a long time. We signed on a paper before sitting across the encoders, facing the mirror which, I think, was positioned just right for us to check ourselves before the photo-taking. Then we were asked to validate the details encoded before electronically signing and having our thumbprints taken. The details were then printed and were double-checked then signed. 
    • After that, we out to Window 6 for payment. The cost was $102 per passport, in cash. Upon payment, we were issued a receipt and a green collection slip (dated roughly about 8 weeks from date of application).
Overall, we spent about 30 minutes only from our arrival at the reception up to payment. A big improvement from the usual hour or so waiting time. Not only were they efficient now, but the embassy itself has been renovated and looked more welcoming. The reception area had separate counters/windows for passport, visa, and other business. There was a turnstile from the reception to the security area before we could get to the embassy building. There were rows of chairs for the visitors while waiting for their turns in the queues. There were less people waiting so it didn't feel crowded. The employees were more accommodating and friendlier. Our experience this time was better as the process was more efficient.

Thumbs up, Philippine Embassy!

Now, we wait for the release of our passports which takes approximately 8 weeks. 

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