Last March I was able to leave the country with a 4 - month valid passport. I returned unharmed, no fuss and no criminal record. However if you ask me if I will do it again, the answer is NEVER! Better be safe than not. Always follow the universal rule to go abroad in any country you wish to travel - have a pasport that is at least 6 months valid. Yesterday, I just finished renewing my passport in Ali Mall DFA branch that took only 1 hour & 25 minutes to finish. I decided to write a guide about how to renew passport in Manila to shed light for first - timer renewer of passports like me. The requirements in how to get a Philippine passport is quite different from renewing it. Here is a link of DFA's passport requirements for new applicants and renewers.
Bear in mind that in cities like Manila, scheduling an appearance to go to any DFA satellite offices located in malls could take 1 - 3 months. I went online to DFA website last March 29. I was given June 2 3pm in Ali Mall, Cubao. That's 2 months of waiting! Actually you can choose the satellite office that's near to you, in my case it is SM Megamall but the schedule given for me is sometime July. I cant wait that long so I browsed other branches and happily settled with Ali Mall which is just an MRT away.
2. Arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. They usually allow those with appointments to come inside the office at least half an hour before the time target. You can start ahead and finish ahead.
3. Photocopying and notary services are quite expensive inside the DFA branch. The guy I chatted with said it costs Php 6 to photocopy his birth certificate when outside it is only Php2 per page! Step - by - step guide to renew passport once you are inside the DFA branch.
There are 5 sections you need to visit chronology before you complete the cycle of renewing your Manila passport. Here they are:
INFORMATIONS Present all your requirements to have it checked if you are missing one. The staff will staple all of it once you are good to go. You'll be instructed to go to an automated machine that generates numbers. There are 3 choices: New for first timers; Priority for senior citizens, handicapped and moms carrying infants then Renew for those renewing passports.
PROCESSING After you get your number printed in small sheet of paper, please sit near the LCD screen. Wait till your number is flashed on the screen. You'll hear two beeps when someone finishes and another number is on queue. You need to show your passport. Please take off the cover and hand it to the person in charge together with the documents. Using a puncher, your old passport will have 2 holes located at the right side aligned - one on top and another at the bottom.
CASHIER You pay the passport fee then you get the DFA Passport slip. If you are in a rush, choose the Express. You pay the Php 1200 with a 7 - business day waiting time. If you aren't, choose the regular. It costs Php 950 and you have to wait 15 - business days. You don't need to do the math or check your calendar because they post in front of the glass wall the exact dates of release. In my case since I went there Jun 2 it says: Express Php 1200 - June 13 Regular Php 950 - June 23 I paid for Regular so I should expect my passport by June 23.
ENCODING Please present the Passport Slip to the guard. He'll get the office copy while you keep the Payor's copy. There's no number system here unlike in previous sections you've been. It's first - come - first - served basis. You'll find your way up to the counter where your official passport photo is taken, thumb & index finger and signature will be documented.
Tips before you get your photo captured on your passport for the girls only: NO eyeglasses, contact lenses, bangs, earrings and no showing of your teeth. Listen to the staff if you need to tilt your head to the right or left. I don't know if it still matters but I chose to wear a shirt has collars. I dont want to be sent home just because I was wearing a dress inappropriately. There's also a sign that says "AVOID SPOILAGE FEE. Make sure all the information to be shown in your passport is correct: first, middle & last name; birthday, birthplace, sex, address citizenship & civil status. It didn't say how much it is.
COURIER You have the option of picking your new passport by going back to the DFA satellite branch you had it processed or prefer to be shipped via LBC. If you want the latter, you have to pay Php 150. Just give your correct address and wait to have it delivered at the date specified.
I started 2:30 pm, finished at 3:55 pm. For me this time duration is short and efficient enough. By the way, though the date of delivery is given beforehand, DFA also warns that due to system issues, passports can be shipped in later dates and that they do not give refunds because this is something that they don't wish as well to happen and beyon their control. My suggestion, don't ever try booking an international flight without your new passport in your hand just to be safe.
More reviews on how to renew your passport below: