We haven’t done any travel abroad with the family yet. We purposely decided to wait and observe until our daughter has a better understanding of what’s going on around her before we do. We want her to fully enjoy and experience each trip. In the meantime, family trip means beach, encounter with the tigers or staycation in hotels. We usually travel on a budget so online travel agencies like Traveloka comes in handy whenever we want to find the best rates for local flights and hotels.
Now that she’s three though, we decided maybe it’s time. But before booking any airfare and tours, first things first – passport application.
There are 3 steps in applying for a passport according to DFA:
Setting an Appointment
DFA currently launched a new site handling the DFA Passport Appointment System effective June 17, 2016. I was able to use the previous one and I find it better with less distractions.
Make sure that all encoded information are correct before submitting the application form. Incorrect data may cause delay in application. Appointment date must be chosen carefully. According to DFA, a 30-day ban will be given to no-show applicants starting June 1, 2016.
As for the documents, bring a copy of the online application form printed clearly on a long bond paper, 2 valid IDs (Voter’s ID and a company ID) and NSO birth certificate of the applicants. NSO birth certificate can be delivered ahead of time for 315 Php a copy for local destination. I made the mistake of presenting BIR and Philhealth ID’s. Good thing I have other ID’s in my wallet so that saved me a lot of time. All required documents including acceptable ID list can be found on the DFA site. Check the full list so you’ll have the right documents on the day of your appointment. A photocopy of each document is also required.
Arrive on time with complete documents. Have available cash on hand as payment will be made after document verification. With all the preparations I made, it slipped my mind to get cash before going to the site. I had to walk all the way to the other building for an ATM. Express processing costs Php 1200 while normal processing is priced at Php 950. You can also have it delivered by adding Php 150 per passport.
Document verification is the easiest part of the process. The toughest? Photo capture with kids. This will require a lot of patience. They do not allow a smile with teeth/gums showing. So no cutesy photos for the kids. It is really advisable that you perfect with your toddler the Mona Lisa smile days before your appointment. Hair accessory and bangs are big no-no as well because they need to clearly capture the face. Same goes with OOTDs. Stick with collared shirts to avoid any hassle.
The date of delivery is indicated on the receipt. Mine however arrived 3 days later. And for some reasons, my daughter’s passport was sent to the fraud department. This irked me for awhile but I think it’s for the better. Maybe they have processes in place meant to protect my child from human trafficking and all sorts. But honestly, it was not a good experience to wait blindly.
Get the number of the site where you applied passport at and always do follow-ups. Get this information before anything else. Calling DFA hotline is a test of patience. I was not informed of the situation and was left wondering if the passport was lost in transit.
We are scheduled to go to the main office for personal appearance and possible additional requirements. I hope everything ends well.
Have you ever experienced being tagged as fraud for some unexplainable reasons? How did it go? Sound off below.