We recently got our passports. Yipee! 😀 We were so happy and excited upon receiving them that I have decided to share a few quick tips (yes, this is the quickie I was referring to!) to those who plan to get one.
1. Philippine passports are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). In Davao City, their office is located at Ebro-Pelayo Building, E. Jacinto Street (a few steps from the gate of Ateneo de Davao). No, it’s not in Bajada (fronting Victoria Plaza Mall) anymore.
2. Passport fees are P500 for regular processing (25 days) and P750 for expedited processing (15 days). For your own sake, give a few days, or a week, allowance from the claim date. While waiting for our names to be called for processing, we overheard a lot of people complaining about traveling from another city only to find out that their passports are not yet available. 🙁
3. Gather all required documents and prepare at least 2 photocopies of each document. Make sure you bring them with you when you apply for a passport. Bring additional documents just in case DFA officers ask for it. Upon the advice of some friends, we brought the LCR (Local Civil Registrar) copies of our birth certificates, although we already secured the NSO (National Statistics Office) copies.
4. Wear a polo, polo shirt or anything with a collar when you have your photo taken. You would not want to wear the blouse in the photo studio. Just imagine how many people have worn that since the last time they washed it! Most of the established photo studios know the basic requirements for a Philippine passport photo, like the blue background and the correct photo size. Usually, there is not much to worry on that.
5. When applying, it’s best to still wear a collared shirt. Just in case your photo does not meet DFA standards, you can easily get your photo taken at the studio beside the DFA office.
6. After submitting the requirements, the high counter staff will encode your details to their system and will ask you to check them on the computer monitor. Take your time in checking. Do not be pressured into just quickly scanning the data on the screen. After you verify that everything is correct, the staff will print the page and have you sign it. Anything wrong on that page will be printed on your passport. Errors of this nature will be to your account.
7. If you have extra money, get a passport through a travel agency. Just make sure that you go to a legitimate agency. We availed of the services of the Land and Sky Travel Service. They charged us P1,000 for each passport on regular processing. Why use a travel agency? I’ll have to tell you about that in tomorrow’s entry. 😉
8. If you’re applying without the assistance of a travel agency, bring an umbrella. The queue starts outside the DFA building, so be ready to protect yourself against the scorching heat of the sun or worse, the rain.
9. Bring a fan. While the DFA receiving area is air-conditioned, you won’t feel the cold unless you stand in front of the aircon!
10. Bring something to read, or apply with someone. You will need something or someone to distract you from the long wait. 🙁
Before you march to the office of DFA, be armed with the right information and the right documents. The process is not fun, thus you better do it right the first time.
See also a step-by-step account of the application process we went through in this entry.