Friday, November 6, 2009

Philippine Passport Quest of a Newbie (Part 2)

This is the second part of the post regarding DFA passport; feel free to read the first part before proceeding to better comprehend the following information.

Online Appointment

Curiosity prodded me to try making appointment through the Internet. As I filled up the form, I earnestly hope that my choice is much better than the conventional way and much cheaper than the telephone passport processing.

Filling Up the Form

On October 27, 2009 I filled up the form of DFA MRP appointment system with the following information:
    1.    Last name
    2.    First name
    3.    Middle name
    4.    Date of birth
    5.    Place of birth
    6.    E-mail address
    7.    Contact number

Minutes later, after clicking the submit button, I decided to open my e-mail; as expected I received an e-mail from DFA advising me to regularly check my e-mail for the appointment I’m requesting.

If you're ready to make an appointment go to DFA e-passport appointment system (the link to MRP appointment system has been removed). Not yet convinced? Then continue reading.

Lesser Than 7 Days

According to the e-mail they will inform me of my appointment within 7 days. To my surprise, and I was so glad, that on October 28, 2009 I received the second e-mail stating that on October 29, 2009, between 8-9 am, I would transact in any windows 1-4 in Gate 2.

The Moment Has Arrived

At 7:30 am I arrived in Gate 2 at DFA and waste no time. The trick is to have all the requirements upon presenting:
1.    Accomplished form (already filled up and with pictures attached to it). You can either get a copy there or download the form. One form is sufficient.

2.    Hard copy of the e-mail confirming your appointment.

3.    I gave my SSS ID after they refused my postal ID. It’s a good thing my SSS ID arrived in June this year. They do accept other IDs; you can learn more about it in the passport information. Only one photocopy of my ID was required.

4.    Original birth certificate issued by NSO. I’m not sure if they’ll return it; I would only find out on the release date. To evade this incident, I brought and presented a photocopy; still the lady in charge went for the colorful and appealing original copy. (Update: I wasn’t able to get my birth certificate issued by NSO; I received only the passport after two weeks)

That’s Quite Easy and Fast

I know you wanted to see the words easy and fast. Honestly, it is. If you have all the requirements, you’ll proceed to the auditorium for encoding and payment. How much is the Philippine passport? A passport with 44 pages is obtained after 14 working days for Php 500.00; otherwise add Php 250.00 to have your passport after 7 working days.

Paying, as I’ve said earlier is easy and fast. Then, I sat at one of the seats at the center of the auditorium along with other early birds. At the side, I noticed more than 20 computers, each manned by an employee whose task is to encode applicant’s data. With so many of them, I didn’t sit long enough to be accompanied by boredom. When the accommodating employee has encoded the necessary information, I was sent home with the receipt stating the release date of my machine readable passport (MRP).

As I passed by those who chose the conventional way, I wondered how long they’ve been there lining up from one queue to another. Perhaps, they are not aware of online appointment or they are just intimidated by the change—like I was at first. Trying something new is frightening at first attempt because of uncertainty and obscurity, but we’ll never know if we don’t let ourselves experience something new. If I gave in to fear, I wouldn’t have this two-part post. May this information help new applicants looking for the easy and fast manner of having a passport.

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