Our passports were due to expire early this year hence I went ahead and scheduled our appointment at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). There have been news that getting a slot in the online appointment of DFA was like a lottery, meaning mahirap makakuha, kaya nag abang talaga ako. I got me and my family a schedule last November 2017.
We could have chosen to just walk-in but we'd be tagging along a 6-year-old, a toddler, and a baby, and I'm sure it would be disaster if our waiting time was too long.
We previoualy got our passports at DFA Megamall. This time I chose DFA North East in Alimall as it is the best choice for us proximity-wise. Based on my experience getting a passport previously, it is always best to get the first schedule of the day. Kasi nag spill over sa next schedules ang mga di nakakatapos on their schedules so pag hapon, mas matagal ang paghihintay. Our appointment that Saturday morning was at 10AM.
Me, Mr. PMW (aka my Hubby), and Kuya V were scheduled for renewal. While Toddler Z and Baby I were new applicants.
The office of the DFA in Alimall Cubao is located at the top floor of Alimall, just right beside the food court.
Tip: the carpark of Alimall is not yet open if the mall is still closed. You can, however, park at the carpark of SM Cubao just across it.
Alimall was still closed when we got there at 930AM. To get to DFA office, the entrance at P.Tuazon is open for DFA applicants. Take the stairs at the right side until the last floor where the cinemas are. Walk towards the food court and at the left side is the DFA. A guard on duty was present to assist in the queue.
Ten minutes before 10AM, the guards ushered the senior citizens and applicants with minors. We sat first on the chairs and were asked to prepare our documents. Afterwhich, they asked us to fall in line at the first booth (just beside the door entrance).
I followed the requirements that were on the application form but there were some that the DFA did not get from us. I'll just write here what were accepted.
Renewal (E-passport holder) - me, Mr. PMW and Kuya V:
- old passport
- photocopy of my passport for Kuya V
New Applicants - Toddler Z and Baby I
- NSA certified Birth Certificates
- photocopy of my passport
Good thing they weren't requiring the NSA certified marriage contract for the new applicants since I only had NSO certified copies. Quite frankly, ano ba big deal bat nakalagay as requirement yang marriage contract sa application form? Eh kung tutuusin, na verify na yan nung nagregister ka ng birth cert ng mga anak di ba. Nairita ako dyan eh kasi I almost went to PSA just to get NSA copies of marriage contract, buti di na ako tumuloy dun.
After checking our docs, we were directed by the ushers to the seats in front of the processing window.
Afterwhich, we lined-up on the queue of the cashier. We paid passport fee of Php1,200 each since the price of passport during Saturdays is the same as the price of those being expedited (express).
After paying we were directed to the chairs for the queue at the encoding area. Since we were with minors, we waited at the line for seniors and minors.
Tip: For picture taking, do not wear any sleeveless or off-shoulder tops. Remove all earrings, eye glasses, and hair accessories, too.
Toddler Z was wearing a romper that was off-shouldered that morning. The lady guard asked us if she has an extra clothe with her. I always bring an extra top or dress with us and thankfully I brought a shirt that day. We just put it on top of her romper.
I've always wondered how DFA captures pictures of babies. Oh, they got a high chair. But we didn't use it. Haha!
Baby I at that time can already sit with support so we opted to sit him on the chair while I hold him kneeling on the floor. Done in just a few takes.
After your biometrics and photo is taken, you will be asked to double check on the screen all the information about the passport holder before they send it for processing. Release of passport is 15 working days from date of appointment.
When we were done as a family at the encoding area, we approached the booth for delivery of passports. I am so sorry I forgot how much we paid for delivery of each passport. But I do remember na nanghinayang ako sa total ng binayaran namin (more or less 1,500) since 5 passports yun. Oh well, okay na din kasi di ko na kailangan bitbitin mga kids to DFA to claim our passports.
Our passport was delivered right at my doorstep in less than 15 working days.
We could have just waited for the 10-year renewal of passports that was made effective in January 2018. But our kids are still minors and would still require to renew in 5 years hence we opted to just had it processed last November.