Setting up a Philippine passport appointment has been a nightmare for some lately. I heard people had to book passport appointment for both new applications and renewal several months in advance. There are some people that had to cancel their trips abroad because of unsuccessful attempt to book DFA passport appointment. And some had to wait months and months without securing anything.
So we have come up with these tips in order to help you secure DFA passport appointment easier.
1. Do not limit yourself to DFA branches in Metro Manila
I never had issues setting up an appointment for my passport renewal because I always apply in Lucena DFA branch. Aside from the fact that provinces tend to be less crowded than Metro Manila, a lot of people find it more convenient to just apply in Manila and so applicants flock there. So if you are from the province or planning to visit a particular province, check if they have DFA branch and try to secure an appointment before your visit.
Personally, I would rather travel somewhere else and spend a day in order to secure my passport before my trip than wait to get a slot in Metro Manila DFA branches. And as a traveller, it is not bad to visit a city or a province that you might not have considered before.
As a test, I searched for slots in other DFA branches and found slots in Puerto Princesa next month. I mean Palawan doesn’t look shabby right?
2. Do not wait until last minute to book an appointment.
Majority of Filipinos have a bad habit of cramming or doing things at the last minute. If you think that your passport is expiring in 8 months, do not wait until it expires. Book your passport appointment online right away. Eight months look sufficient enough but in reality, you only have 2 months left to use it. A lot of airlines and countries won’t let you in without at least 6 months left on your passport validity.
Also, always leave at least 4 months before your trip to apply for Philippine passport renewal or new passport application. This will give you at least ample time to sort your passport. Getting passport and visa are one of those things that you can’t pay your way in easily.
3. Do not pay your way in.
Speaking of paying someone to “expedite it” for you, please don’t. I’m referring to fixers or people who promise to get you appointments earlier. Aside from the fact that a LOT of them are scammers, you are also participating to this massive corruption. And corruption is only half of the problem.
The issue with this, is that you are going to make the problem with DFA appointment shortage worse. These fixers and their cohorts in DFA will keep more slots for them to feed their business because of the demand. It is a vicious cycle and at the end of the day, it is us, who will suffer more.
4. Prepare your documents and family information with you.
Before scheduling DFA online appointment, make sure that you have your complete documents with you. So you can get the earliest appointment possible. For new application, you only need certified true copy of your birth certificate and valid IDs. And additional copy of old passport for renewal. Other documents like form, confirmed appointment and pictures can be sorted after you set an appointment. To verify the DFA passport requirements for your application, click here.
In order to make sure that you won’t have issues with your birth certificate, check if you can read the text clearly. I had an issue before with my last name. It wasn’t clear enough in my certified true copy from NSO. So I had to schedule another appointment which was a big hassle. If you think that you will have issues with your birth certificate, then go to your municipality where you are registered and ask for the typewritten copy of your birth certificate with your municipality seal. This is what the DFA asked me to do. This should be easy to get but sometimes it takes days to weeks.
Make sure you also have your parents complete information such as full name and birth date. Slots are taken really fast so you don’t want to get stuck in one page trying to recall your parents’ birthdays.
5. Be flexible with your date.
I recommend sacrificing one day of work or school to secure an appointment in DFA. Also, not all DFA branches are open on Saturdays so it’s hard to secure appointments during weekend. On top of that, the processing fee is more expensive and with limited slots open, it tends to get full pretty quick.
Avoid Fridays leading to long weekends as well or Mondays. For me, the best bet is to secure appointments mid-week. The reason why is a lot of people try to take an off either Monday or Friday to have time allowance if they have to travel.
The key is to be flexible so you can take the earliest schedule as possible. Don’t think that you might be able to get one closer to your trip because that might not be possible anymore.
6. Check the DFA website in wee hours.
Keep checking the website in wee hours if you can’t find any available slots during the day. A lot of people I know managed to get appointment between 1am-2am. The system brings back the cancelled appointments to the queue so others can grab it. Patience is key!
So I hope these tips will help you in securing passport appointment! Do you have other tips? Please comment below!