The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) opened a satellite passport services office at SM Manila last October. This mall-based office accepts application for new passports and renewal of expiring or expired passports.
My passport will expire in May 2013. But I decided to have my passport months before its expiration because of the “6 months before expiry” passport rule. Instead of going to the DFA-Aseana office in Pasay City, I had my passport renewed at DFA-SM Manila (also know as DFA – NCR West).
The whole process of having my machine-readable passport (issued in 2008) was fast and hassle-free. It only lasted for about an hour! I have no complaints whatsoever.
So if you wish to apply for a passport (or renew yours), you don’t need a travel agency or a fixer! You can do everything by yourself.
Let me share with you my experience at the DFA satellite office in SM Manila.
SETTING AN APPOINTMENT
I set an appointment with DFA-SM Manila for passport renewal by visiting the DFA Passport Appointment System website(for Manila). I used the Family Application Form to set an appointment because my Mom also had to renew her passport. I accomplished the form for both my application and my Mom’s. After completing the form, I was asked to choose a specific time and date for our personal appearance at DFA. I selected December 19th, 10:30am.
PREPARING THE REQUIREMENTS
After submitting our information, I received an email from the DFA confirming the details of our appointment. It also contained a link to the PDF file of our application forms. I downloaded and printed the forms as well as the list of requirements and reminders.
NOTE: Please don’t affix your signature on the form yet. You need to affix your signature in front of a DFA personnel.
Because we were just having our machine-readable passports renewed, I only prepared a few documents. For my application, I attached: (1) photocopies of the first and last page of my expiring passport; and (2) my original NSO birth certificate. For my mom’s application, I attached: (1) photocopies of the first and last page of her expiring passport; and (2) her original marriage contract.
I also brought some supporting documents, like my transcript of records, NBI clearance, barangay clearance, and other valid IDs just in case the DFA personnel asks for them.
THE APPOINTMENT DAY
Applicants are asked to be at the DFA at least 30 minutes before their appointment. Our appointment was at 10:30am so my mom and I were already in SM Manila by 10am.
TIP: For those who got a 10:00am appointment, make sure that you’re by the entrance of SM Manila before 10am so you can just run to the DFA as soon as the mall opens.
DFA-SM Manila Address
The DFA satellite office in SM Manila is on the fifth floor. It is near World of Fun.
A DFA security guard looked at out application forms and directed us to the right line (still outside the DFA office).
FIRST STEP: INFORMATION COUNTER
We entered the DFA premises and were asked to queue for the information counter. The DFA personnel looked at our forms and the attached documents. The personnel gave us our queue numbers.
SECOND STEP: PROCESSING
We waited for our numbers to show up on the screen.
When it was our turn at the processing counter, the personnel evaluated our application. We were also asked to sign a log sheet.
FOR THOSE WITH Ñ SURNAMES/LAST NAMES: Our last name is PEÑA. It is spelled with an “ñ” (enye). When the DFA started issuing machine-readable passports in 2007, it decided to get rid of the letter Ñ in the applicant’s surname or last name. So our last name was spelled as PENA in our 2008-issued passport. The good news is: this can be corrected now. I just submitted my original birth certificate to have this corrected. My mom just submitted her original marriage contract.
If you wish to use “ñ”, then indicate that on your application form by manually putting “~” on top of N. You should also inform the DFA personnel that will receive your papers.
We signed the application form in front of the DFA personnel. Our expiring passports were then canceled.
THIRD STEP: PAYMENT
We paid P950 for each passport (regular processing – 15 working days).
Don’t forget to take your receipt.
FOURTH STEP: DATA CAPTURING
There were many data capturing booths in this area so the queue was just short.
The personnel scanned our application forms and all the documents we’ve submitted.
Our left and right thumb marks as well as our signatures were also be captured. And of course, the personnel also took a photo of each one of us.
The personnel encoded our information. She asked us to double check the accuracy of the encoded information.
If you will pick-up your passport, then the application process ends here. You just need go back to DFA-SM Manila on the release date indicated on your receipt.
We decided to have our passports delivered to our home (by LBC) because we don’t frequent SM Manila. We paid P120 for the door-to-door delivery of each passport.
- Bring a pen.
- Have your passport and other documents photocopied or notarized before your appointment.
Our passports were released on January 15th. LBC delivered them to our doorstep the next day, January 16th.