Today, we went to the DFA to apply for the kids’ ePassports and renew M’s passport, as well. With all the horror stories going around regarding how tedious the whole new process is for the new Philippine ePassports, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was much easier than I expected.
So I will share our experience here which may help other parents who might be planning to apply for their infant kid’s ePassport. My husband and I had a baby and a toddler with us. The whole process took us an hour and a half.
Here are the steps we did, with some tips here and there. Please keep in mind that all info, locations, etc. are as of today and may change without our prior knowledge. Please give me a heads-up if they do, or if you have additional tips for family applications for the new Philippine ePassport. Thank you.
BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT
- Setup an appointment. Two ways to do this: via phone or online. I did the latter to setup a family appointment. Be sure to choose the link for family appointment, if it is the case. You will need an email address, so setup one if you don’t have one yet. *One big regret of mine today is not renewing my own passport together with M and the kids, even if it is not yet expired ( I have the old green machine-readable passport). It would’ve been so much easier since we had an infant with us and there is an express lane for infants.
- Fill up the application form/s. One application form per family member if you will setup a family appointment. Double check that all info are accurate and name spellings are correct. For renewal, you will be asked to input your current passport number.
- Save the pdf file in your computer for your future reference and printing. Remember where you saved it.
- You will be asked to choose an appointment date and time. The earliest we got was a full one month after. I know for others it was much longer. This is definitely an important thing to consider when timing your family trips that will require passports. Consider also the travel time and of course, your kids’ needs. I chose a time that is not too early (so that the kids will have enough sleep in the morning to be in a good mood during the 2-hour trip. Yes, consider traffic, too.) nor too late (so that they will have time for their siesta/short naps as they have a tendency to be cranky when they are sleepy).
- You will be presented with a long list of documentary requirements per application. Just choose what applies and take a quick note. You can review them later in the DFA Passport website.
- Check your email from the DFA Passport Appointment system. It will tell you to click a link (which is actually the application form/s you just filled up) to confirm your appointment. *Be sure that you receive this email. The first time I applied online, I didn’t receive this email, so I had to reschedule again. *We presented a printout of this in the gate as it is the only proof of the appointment that we can show the guard.*
- Put the appointment in your calendar for you to remember. I also put a reminder note a few days before the date so I can prepare the documents and fees.
- Plan when to request the birth certificates from NSO. Yes, specifically from NSO in their special security paper (SECPA). Two ways to do this. You can request online via eCensus (where you can pay via credit card or BDO/UnionBank online banking and the document will be delivered to you door-to-door via courier) or actually go to NSO office. I opted to get ours directly from the NSO Office as it is faster (you can get it next working day) and much cheaper. I asked a representative with an authorization letter and the fees (As of this writing, the cost is P140 each birth certificate/marriage certificate) to go to NSO for this. *I also took this opportunity to order additional spare copies of NSO documents for future use so that I don’t have to request them all over again.*
- Print the application forms in long bond paper. Fill out the other info (For some strange reason, not all info I provided online are included in the form, so I have to fill them up again – Spouse info, address, phone number, your parents’ citizenship, your citizenship, travel purpose, latest passport info (number, date and place of issue). For the kids’ application forms, info on traveling companion (name, relation, contact info)). No need to type these info; handwritten will do. Do NOT sign the forms as they have to be signed in the presence of DFA personnel in the Passport Enrollment Section.
- Compile the documentary requirements. I used two long folders for this:
- Main folder – For the main requirements: Printout of email from DFA, printout of application forms, passport/s, photocopies of passports. For passport renewal, you need to present the original passport and photocopy of the following: inside cover, pages 1-3, page showing latest departure and arrival stamps, back cover. For the kids, bring the original passport of the mother for presentation and a photocopy of the inside page with page 1 (number of this photocopy is one per kid, i.e. prepare 2 copies if you’re going to apply for 2 kids’ ePassports). If the mother is present, as I was, no need for marriage certificate.
- Second folder – For backup copies, just in case needed. I had a backup copy of most of everything as I did not want to go around looking for a photocopying machine with a baby and a toddler in tow (No escort, and yep, no yayas, allowed inside, unless they are also applying for a passport).
- Prepare the passport fees. For family applications, this may be quite substantial, so you may want to consider in the family budget for the month. I initially prepared the total for regular processing fees (20-day processing), but had to add some today because it turned out the express lane for infants charges the express/rush processing rate (10-day processing) only. Good thing I brought extra cash with me. For me, the extra charge is well worth it for those carrying infants around, although I would have appreciated if I had been informed of this earlier in the information counter just so I know my options.
- Familiarize yourself with the passport application process. If you have an infant with you (I think, for senior citizens also), you will bypass some of the steps here.
To be continued tomorrow…