UPDATE (May 6, 2011): The Department of Foreign affairs issued an advisory dated May 4, 2011:
The DFA will extend up to one year the validity of the current expiring passports of applicants who have urgent travel. The extension will be free of charge while the applicants are waiting for the release of their new electronic passports (ePassports).
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and applicants who need their passports on emergency circumstances (e.g., medical concerns, death in the immediate family) are advised to go to the Passport Director’s Office, for assistance. The Passport Director’s Office is located at the ground floor of the DFA-OCA at the Aseana Business Park along Macapagal Avenue.
The DFA advises the public to file for their passport applications at least 12 weeks before their intended date of travel.
UPDATE (February 26, 2011): Anton of Our Awesome Planet recounts how he was able to get an extension to his passport’s validity. This is one option you can try if you need to travel within the next month.
UPDATE (November 30, 2010): Dyanie wrote about her Philippine passport renewal experience, which was pretty recent (at time of this posting). It’s a very easy to read recount of her experience peppered with pictures for every step. Her passport renewal took her an hour at the DFA. UPDATE (February 26, 2011): Dyanie has made her blog private
UPDATE (July 20, 2010): This post was written on September 14, 2009 for a renewal of a machine readable passport. There are several Pinoy blogs that recount their experiences with passport renewal that are more recent and more relevant given the changes with the process. I suggest you read the Pinay Travel Junkie’s guide to E-passport renewal, which was written on June 28, 2010.
UPDATE (March 4, 2010): The DFA has stopped issuing machine readable passports. All passport renewals are now for e-passports or the biometric passport. Please refer to Earl‘s guide to Phillippine E-passport renewal for details.
I just got back from the Department of Foreign Affairs office an hour ago. I have been out of the house since 6:30am, an ungodly hour for anyone working nights, just so I can be there in time for my 8:00am appointment. The entire process was quick, and I was out of the building by 8:30am.
So how was I able do this?
First, I made an online appointment through the DFA’s website. This is the most important step if you don’t want to wait for hours at the DFA. Notice that there are two choices: one for the recently introduced biometric passport and one is for the machine readable passport. If you are not traveling within the next 10 weeks, you’re okay to make an appointment for the biometric passport. If you are traveling within the next 10 weeks, I suggest you apply for the machine readable passport. [Edit March 3, 2010: It seems that the DFA is not issuing Machine Readable Passports anymore. If you are renewing your passport, you will be getting the new biometric e-passport]
The reason behind this is that the DFA will only process 100 biometric passport applications per day, and this 100 is only for those who made an appointment online. When I tried to make an appointment last week, the earliest date that they can schedule me is October 14, which would not work for me, since I’ll be going out of the country again before then. So I went back to the DFA website and made an appointment for the machine readable passport. I got into the September 14 slot, at 8:00am to 9:00am.
It is important to be at the DFA office within the time that has been allotted to you, else they will not let you inside. By the way, when going to the DFA, ignore all the touts loitering out in the streets, and even near the gates of the DFA. Ignore, ignore, IGNORE. You don’t need any of their services, as DFA has everything inside their compound, even a photo booth.
Before I go on, here are the things you need to bring with you when you go to the DFA to renew your passport:
- The print out of your DFA appointment confirmation. The guards will not let you in if you do not have this.
- Your old passport. If your passport is still the old brown passport issued prior to May 1, 1995, you need to bring supporting documents that shows your complete middle name.
- Photocopies of your passport pages. Copies of the inside front and back cover, the amendments page, and the latest departure and arrival stamps are needed.
- At least four passport-sized photos. Two photos will have to be attached to the form, while a third photo will be submitted to the officer at the last step.
- A completed passport application form.
This can be downloaded from here. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to open the file. Be sure to print the form in a legal sized-paper (8x13inches). The DFA will not accept it some parts of the form are missing or distorted. If you have no access to a printer, you can just get a form at the basketball court right across the DFA gates.
- Ballpen. Either black or blue. No pinks, reds or greens, please.
- Adhesive. Glue or paste or double sided tape, whatever’s your fancy. This is for attaching your photos to the form.
- Wet tissue. For cleaning up your thumbs after affixing your thumbmark. You’d need to do this twice.
- From the entrance, proceed to Gate 2 for passport renewal. If you do not have the application form yet, go to the basketball court and pick up an application form from the Information booth (right across the entrance). Complete the form, attach your photos and stamp it with your thumbmark.
- After completing the form, go out of the court and head to Gate 2. This is the gate for passport renewals. Since you made an appointment online, you can line up at windows 1 through 4. You will need to present your documents here for checking, and confirmation of your appointment. If you want to expedite the processing of your passport (normal processing takes 14 working days, express processing takes 7 working days), tell the officer here.
- Once your old passport has been invalidated and your documents verified, you must then go to the auditorium to pay the passport renewal fee.
- After paying, you must line up again for the final step. The officer will encode your details to the computer, and you will be asked to verify the information. After verifying, you will be asked for another passport photo, to sign another document and to affix your thumbmark once more.
- That’s it.
You would need to go back to the DFA office once more to pick up your passport. But if you don’t have the time or don’t want the hassle of going back just to pick up your passport, you can authorize the courier to deliver it to your doorstep instead. If you want to take this option, go back to the basketball court and take your pick among the three courier services all vying for your business. Both LBC and Air21 charge Php100 pesos for deliveries, while 2Go charges Php99. All the courier services take 1 day to deliver. This means if your passport is released on September 22, it will be delivered to you by September 23.
Not that wasn’t so bad, was it? Since a personal appearance is required for ALL passport applications, there really isn’t much need to have your passport renewed through an agency or Pilipinas Teleserv. There are also plenty of signs at the DFA office, so you can’t lose your way from one step to the next (unless you’re Ryoga Hibiki).
By the way, in the appointment confirmation notice that I received from the DFA for the biometric passport, they said, “your picture will be taken by the ePassport processor so we suggest that you wear a decent attire with collar at the date of your application.” So does that mean there’s no need to bring a passport photo? I tried calling the DFA office, but I can’t get through (and I stupidly forgot to ask while I was there earlier, doh). If you have any other questions or inquiries about passport renewal, call the DFA passport information (Manila) at 556-4081 or 556-4082.
UPDATE (November 10, 2009): Turns out you do not need to bring a passport photo when you apply for a biometric or an e-passport, since they will be taking your photo at the DFA. This mean you have to be wearing proper attire when you go. Earl has a comprehensive guide on how to renew your Philippine passport to an e-passport in his blog. I suggest you visit it, as he noted that there are differences in renewing to a machine readable passport and renewing to a biometric passport.
UPDATE: Some information about biometric passports and validity of the green passport.
What is an e-passport? What is biometrics?
The answer comes from the DFA website:
An ePassport is a passport which features microchip technology. An integrated circuit (chip) within its pages contains the data that are essential in verifying the identity of the passport holder. These data include the personal data found on the data page of the passport, the biometrics of the passport holder, the unique chip identification number, and a digital signature to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.
The chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.
Biometrics are the unique and measurable physical characteristics of an individual that include face recognition, fingerprints, and iris scans.
The Philippine Electronic Passport (or Philippine ePassport) uses the digital image of the passport photograph that can be used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport holder.
It captures the fingerprints of the passport holder, for identification using the Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS).
How true is it that they will no longer honor the old green passports even if you still have up to 2012 to use it?
Again, from the DFA website:
Previously issued passports (MRP and non-MRP) are valid until their expiry. It is a good practice to make sure your passport is valid at least six months before intended date of travel to avoid any inconvenience.
For any other questions, head on over to the FAQ section over at the DFA website.