landscape photo of two brown passports on top of a map

Why You Need a Passport

Even if your family won’t be travelling anytime soon, getting a passport still has a lot of benefits. Here are three reasons you should get you and your child a passport:

  1. The passport is a government-issued ID. It can be used to open your toddler’s first savings account (because obviously she has no school ID yet). Plus, by virtue of Republic Act No. 10928, the Philippine passport has a validity of 10 years so it is valid as an ID for a long time.
  2. The passport is recognized in all countries. I mean, yes, we’re 80th in terms of passport power. Still, we can travel visa-free to 67 countries.
  3. You need a passport to get out of the country. For whatever reason – work, study, vacation, or migration, having your passport ready gives a bit of assurance that you can go to another country anytime.

Scheduling Our Passport Appointment

Applying for your Philippine passport is easy. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to DFA’s passport appointment page. You will need a valid Gmail or Yahoo account for DFA to send you your schedule documents.
  2. Read the Terms and Conditions and, if you agree, tick the consent box.
  3. Click “Start Group Appointment” button.
  4. Select the number of passports you will be applying for on the dropdown menu. Click Next.
  5. Specify the site you want to set your appointment. Since we are in the Philippines, I didn’t need to change the default responses on the first two subfields. For Site, I selected Calasiao (Robinsons, Calasiao, Pangasinan) which is the site nearest our city. The Office Name, Office Address, and Contact Number will automatically appear on their respective subfields upon choosing the site on the dropdown menu. Tick the confirmation box and click Next.
  6. Select the Date of your group appointment by clicking on a date in green (available) on the calendar. If there are no available dates, you may try again in a few days or find another site with available schedule. When I scheduled our appointment late in September last year, the earliest available schedule was mid-December. By the time I started writing this article, all dates were fully booked for DFA Calasiao. If you’re in the province like us, I suggest setting your appointment early.
  7. Once you click an available Date, select the Time.
  8. Tick “I am not a robot” and complete the human verification. Click Next.
  9. Tick the “I agree/Malinaw sa akin” box after the warning.
  10. Encode all the required information for all applicants one by one. For each application, you will have to indicate if the application is new or for renewal.
  11. Check that all information are correct and edit as necessary.
  12. Once you are satisfied that all of your information are correct, you may now submit your passport application.
  13. Choose if you want to avail the expedited processing (PhP 1,200) or the regular processing (PhP 950).
  14. Pay the fees through your credit or debit card, or through Payment Centers. A convenience fee will be added if you pay through Payment Centers. These fees are non-refundable.
  15. Upon payment, you will receive a confirmed appointment packet for each applicant in your email. The packet includes: 1) appointment confirmation, Passport Application Form, and Electronic Receipt; 2) Feedback Form; 3) Letter of Authority (if your passport will be received by an immediate family member); and 4) Special Power of Attorney (if your passport will be received by someone else). Print these, accomplish, and bring on the day of your appointment.

Next, prepare the documents you need for the actual day.

Documents Needed on Your Passport Appointment

Now that you have scheduled your passport appointment, here are the documents you have to prepare. I suggest you prepare these in advance.

For Adults (Renewal of non-ePassports)

  1. Accomplished application form
  2. Current passport + photocopy of data page
  3. For married women who opt to change their last name (or annulled/divorced women who will change their name back to their maiden name): original PSA authenticated documents that will support name change (marriage contract, annotated birth certificate, annotated marriage contract to show annulment/divorce/court ordered instruction, death certificate of spouse)
  4. Original + photocopy of 1 valid ID (e.g. SSS, GSIS, UMID, LTO Driver’s License, PRC ID, Philippine National ID, OWWA E-Card, COMELEC Voter’s ID or certification, Philippine Postal ID (from November 2016 onwards), valid or latest passport)

For Minors (New)

  1. Accomplished application form
  2. PSA Birth Certificate
  3. Marriage Certificate of parents (if only one parent is accompanying the child)
  4. Original + photocopy of passport or valid ID of either parent

Please note that the list above is for minors whose case are like our daughter’s. For special cases, you may find other requirements here.

I suggest you secure all these requirements in brown envelopes. One envelope for each applicant. Write the name of the applicant on the envelope, then place all envelopes inside a bigger plastic envelope.

Now, you just have to wait for the day of your passport appointment.

What Happens on the Day of Your Passport Appointment

The time we picked for our appointment was 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. Robinson’s Calasiao is just about a three-hour drive from our place, but we left early anyway so we won’t be late and also have a little time to refresh. (You don’t want a dirty, grumpy toddler on your appointment.)

Here’s what you should expect on the day of your passport appointment:

  1. Go to the site with your complete requirements. Getting your passport requires physical appearance!
  2. Be at the site of your appointment at least 30 minutes before your schedule. DFA will not accommodate late arrivals.
  3. Have your appointment verified, then proceed to the processor with your documents.
  4. Head to the data capturing and encoding section to take your photo and encode your details. Make sure to check that all data are correct before signing the electronic confirmation page.

What we didn’t know was that we were considered priority because we have a one-year-old. Apparently, if you have a minor below 7, you can just walk in with your documents.

Guidelines During Photo Capture

Here are what you must remember when they’re taking a photo for your passport.

  1. Clothing. Wear decent clothing. You’re not allowed to wear plunging necklines, sleeveless clothing, spaghetti straps, see-through tops, and the like in any government office, and the DFA is not an exception.
  2. Makeup. Wear neutral makeup, if at all. Your photo should show your natural skin tone with no uneven bright spots or red eyes. (That means get a good night’s sleep!)
  3. Hair. Style your hair in such a way that it doesn’t cover your face and ears. Hair accessories should be hidden.
  4. Pose. No head tilting.
  5. Smile. Open eyes and closed lips. If you prefer to smile, make sure your teeth aren’t showing. Do not frown or squint.

To be honest, I’m really insecure about being photographed for IDs because of my congenital bilateral ptosis of the eyes. I can’t fully open my eyes and I ALWAYS tend to squint with flash. Seriously, none of my ID photos look good so this is the part I’m most bugged about. But I can’t do anything about my face so let’s leave it at that.

Anyway, from here, all you can do is wait for the arrival of your passport via mail.

(That is, if you opted for your passports to be mailed. Otherwise, you will pick it up after 21 days. Uncollected passports are cancelled after one year.)

How About the Toddler?

It was our first time to experience getting an ID for our daughter. To have an idea about how things would go during her appointment, I watched this video by Camille Co. (I just realized our daughters almost share the same name.)

For her passport photo, I was the one I listed to accompany her. I had to have her standing still on the monobloc chair and make sure she’s settled so the kind lady assigned to the priority lane can take her picture. It took around a minute, since she won’t look straight to the camera, and she also kept making cute faces and beautiful eyes.

Final Thoughts

Francis’ and my passports will expire in 10 years, while our daughters will expire in 5.

Our passports will arrive at my office around January 10. Per SOP, I will have to present my ID to the courier. There’s nothing else to do except receive our passports. Getting your Philippine passport is actually hassle-free.

Regardless of whether or not you and your family will be travelling out of the country soon, getting a powerful government-issued ID is going to be worth it.

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