Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise - Passport Renewal at the Department of Foreign Affairs

It came as a pleasant surprise. I was worried that my and my daughter's passports are going to expire on September this year. With our trip scheduled for April this year, we have to be sure that our passports are 6 months valid by the time we leave. DFA already requires a personal appearance to apply for a renewal. With the release of my nursing board exam results, I don't have time to go and line up at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Neither does Ikee. Her school activities coupled with her swimming and kumon schedules won't permit her to spend a whole day there. After all, I had heard stories about how much time is spent just to get an appointment to get to the personal appearance area.

With that problem, I searched the DFA website and found that I can actually get an appointment online. First, I considered going to the passporting day scheduled by the DFA in our city. It was convenient if it weren't for the fact that I had to leave for Roxas City to attend my uncle's wake. Although I had arrived on the same day the passporting was held, I was too exhausted to go because I had not slept the night before. So that was not possible.

Fortunately, I had scheduled the appointment for today previously. When we got to the DFA office along Roxas boulevard, we were herded to go straight to the processing counter. It was pretty quick. There were plenty of people but there were enough counters open to accommodate us. The whole procedure took us around 2 hours which otherwise would have taken more than 2 days to do. Apparently, Saturdays and holidays were dedicated to those who had prior appointments. After processing, we proceeded to have our passports delivered to our home so we wouldn't have to go back to pick them up. Convenient.

So, the next time someone asks about renewing passports, I'd just give them the website. Oh, and by the way, the DFA regularly schedules passporting days in certain cities. The schedules can be found in their website.

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