Saturday, June 4, 2011 | By: Jenggai

My DFA experience

My sister and I went to Department of Foreign Affairs today to apply for our electronic passport. I renewed my passport, which still bears my maiden name, while my sister is a first time applicant. I first applied for a Philippine passport last 2006 in the old DFA office. Yes, the one where the document verifications were held in the DFA covered court. I’m not a fan of crowded places so I was wishing hard for that day to be over as quickly as possible. I got married in 2007 but I didn’t change my passport to reflect my married name because I don’t want to go back and spend my day again at DFA. I dread the day of going back to DFA. But my friends and I booked a trip to Macau and HK for August so I have no choice but to go back. Last March 16, I made an online appointment from the DFA website. The earliest appointment available back then was already for the month of June. I chose 2pm of June 3 in the new DFA office near MOA and started completing the requirements for passport renewal.

We left home earlier today at around 11am since we live in Marikina. We need to transfer rides to get there. We rode a tricycle, a jeepney, two trains and a cab to reach our destination (plus a lot of walks in between). It was so hot outside. We arrived at the DFA office at exactly 1:30pm. From the outside of the building, you can already see the crowd gathered inside the compound. They were grouped according to their scheduled time. We arrived at the exact call time so we need not join the crowd in the waiting area. We went straight inside the document verification area which is by the way air-conditioned (weeee!). Unlike in the old DFA office, the document verification process was faster. After just 30 minutes, we’re done with Step 1 so we proceeded to the second floor to pay for the passports which is Step 2. Step 2 was done in less than a minute.

Electronic passport (ePass) fees:
Regular processing (25 working days) – Php 950
Expedite processing (15 working days) – Php 1200

If you prefer to have your passport delivered to your doorstep so you don’t have to go back to the DFA office to pick it up, you have to pay Php 120 delivery charge. Obviously, I paid to have it delivered.

Completing the first and second step was a breeze. Not until you reach Step 3 – encoding and data capturing. Thousands of people were waiting inside the Encoding Section for their numbers to be called. We each took our own queue number from the DFA personnel who told us to come back after an hour. My sister’s number was 2759 and mine was 2761. When I saw the LCD screen were the current queue numbers they are serving are being shown, I doubted what the DFA personnel told us. The screen shows numbers 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. More than 700 people are ahead of us in the line! The guard told us to wait outside because there are no more available seats inside. Guess what? All the seats outside were already taken! We settled on the stairs where some people were also sitting. Good thing the new building is air-conditioned. We waited a total of three and a half hours before our numbers were called. The last step took about ten minutes. In fairness, the DFA personnel are friendly.

It was raining when we left DFA. We rode a shuttle to take us to the MRT station. “Crowded” is an understatement to describe the MRT. I wouldn’t want to elaborate on that as I do not want to recall each grueling minute spent on our MRT ride from Taft Avenue to Cubao. If you have ever taken an MRT ride on a Friday rush hour, you know what I'm talking about. We arrived home around 8:30pm all tired, sweaty and hungry.


SunnyToast said...

I just hope that our government could do something about make it easy and fast..kaya goodluck sa pag renew ng passport ko:)

thanks for the info:)

Jenggai said...

Good luck, Sunny! :)

SenselessSenses said...

processing is just a breeze now.. my unfortunate experience was on the releasing due to their printing issues blamed on the BSP.

my DFA experience is in my new blog site

hopefully printing issues were already sorted out and we were the last to experience such a not-so-good DFA experience.. :-P

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