Saturday, March 29, 2014

passport renewal (for the legally clueless)

Forget about the long lines and the 6-hour processing time.


The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has trashed all the hassle. The renewal of my passport took me a record time of only 30 minutes!!! at DFA Regional Consular Office in Robinson's Place-Bacolod. That's a stark contrast back in the day when I had to line up at 6AM for a processing that ended at 11:30AM in DFA Cebu.

Welcome to 2014 and to the most efficient government agency! Hooray Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)!

How to renew or apply seamlessly for a Philippine passport?  First, avoid DFA Offices in big cities.  I heard they do things differently there. Like an appointment system. I choose Bacolod so I can just show up unannounced. I've also heard excellent feedback about DFA Bacolod and since it's closed to where I am based, off I went to Bacolod. Be clueless no more!  

The main entrance of Robinson's Place Bacolod opens at 9AM (for DFA-related transactions). The guards will check your old passport (renewal) and complete requirements (for those applying for the first time). DFA Bacolod is located at the 3rd level near the Food Court.

Here's a quick guide on the application procedure:
  1. The guard at DFA will hand you the application form for you to fill out.
  2. Proceed to the photocopy section and have your requirements photocopied.
  3. The DFA staff assigned at the foyer will check your requirements and if complete, the same staff will forward your application to the counter.
  4. Proceed to the waiting area in front of counters 1 to 3 and wait for your name to be called. I waited for 5 minutes only.
  5. Once the staff at counters 1 to 3 have counter-checked your information, you will be asked to proceed to the cashier.
  6. Pay to the cashier. 
    • Regular processing (15 working days): Php950.00; 
    • Express (7 days): Php1,200.00   
  7. Proceed to the next counter for picture-taking and to counter-check your personal data. No earrings. No smiling. Hashtag poker face or Mona Lisa smile.
  8. Once done, proceed to the LBC counter (same staff in photocopy section) and hand in your old passport, write the address where you would like your passport to be delivered and pay Php100.00. You're done!  

Gone were the days when one could only apply and renew passports in the DFA Regional Office of the region where one is born. Meaning, if you were based in Makati but you were born in Bohol, you could only apply or renew your passport in the Region 7 Consular Office which is in Cebu.


TIPS: Because I was coming from Dumaguete (that's a 6-hour bus ride to Bacolod) and I didn't want to appear haggard in my passport photo, I decided to get a budget hotel room (rate: Php1,000 and below) so I could rest after the long bus ride.

Looneyplanet.net recommends:
Go Hotel Bacolod
Address: Lacson St, Bacolod 6100
Phone:0922 464 6835

Avenue Suites
Address: 12th St Lacson St, Bacolod 6100
Phone:(034) 435 7777
 
L'Fisher Chalet
Address: 14th St., Lacson St., Bacolod City 6100
Phone:(034) 433 3739

9 comments:

  1. if you're in cebu, people are already there as early as 3am at the pacific mall. DFA-Cebu is entertaining more than 3k new applicants. if you're there at 3am, then you will finish your application at 2pm.

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  2. WOW! 3AM! i don't have the patience to wait that long unless at the end of the line is a multiple entry Japan and Schengen Visas are waiting! hahaha

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  3. so even if i am from mindanao i can renew my passport in cebu? or apply for my daughter too?

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    Replies
    1. yes you can now renew your passport in cebu or at any DFA offices nationwide as to your daughter's passport, you can also apply for her as long as she is there in person DFA will take passport photos of her

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  4. Hello there..thanks for sharing this. May I know the requirements for passport renewal. And if I choose to rush the processing, does it take exactly 7 days or 7 business days? Thanks in advance. J

    Janet

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  5. This is really helpful page..I am glad that I am directed to your page as I am researching if what exact documents I need to bring to get a passport..Its really my first time and I want to make sure that I really have enough of what are needed before planning a trip for application..I am as well from Dumaguete City and I am glad that in advance I already know if how many hours BUS-RIDE to bacolod..As I read your post ,it is then I am able to breath freely knowing that its not that crowded unlike DFA-CEBU..I just hope that can get it done same day just like yours..But I wonder if Bacolod City is a safe city just like our own city,Dumaguete...Thank you for sharing this and God Bless to you..

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  6. Hello po. Totoo po ba na may 7days para sa passport? Dito kasi sa Cebu na-hold 'yong pag process nila ng mga passport. Kailangan pa na mag take from 5-6 weeks. Plano ko sana dyan nalang mag renew ng passport ko. Please help po. Salamat

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  7. This is very helpful information. Thank you so much. Like what the first poster said, things are pretty crazy in Cebu. Perhaps, it will be a good opportunity to also have a short vacation in the beautiful city of Bacolod while there. :)

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  8. I had a very quick, fantastic experience in DFA Bacolod as well, even though I was there on January 5 after a very long office vacation. I even had to go to NSO for my marriage certificate! The NSO office opens at 7am which is very nice of them, and by 830am I already had my printout on SECPA paper. I went immediately to Robinsons and i would say it pays a lot to ready your completely filled-up passport application form, photocopies of your government-issued ID and old passport. I was able to complete the whole process in less than 30 minutes! I love it! :)

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What's your two-cents about this travel adventure and/or misadventure? Do leave a comment here. Thank you.

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