Passport Renewal Application Tips For Families

By Mommy Donna and Kib - November 19, 2021

It's so hard to get a schedule for passport renewal these days. It all started with the pandemic started in March 2020. No courtesy lanes until now, meaning, and if you are in that category, you have to send an email to your chosen branch to ask for the availability of slots. 

When I renewed my mom's passport last year, I sent an email to DFA Cherry Antipolo to secure a slot. I decided to pick up the passport because if I chose the delivery option, my mom's passport will be voided immediately. If my mom's renewed passport will not be available before she leaves the Philippines, she can still use the old passport for departure. 

We almost didn't get the renewed passport because of the second lockdown the government had implemented in August 2020. I made an appeal to DFA Cherry Antipolo if I could get my mom's passport because she was about to leave the country that week. Good thing, it was already ready for release that time and I just asked my mom to write an authorization letter so I could pick up her passport on her behalf. She was able to fly out of the country using her new passport.

Now, it's time for me and Kib to renew our passports.

I know that we won't be able to fly immediately even if the travel restrictions have been lifted, but a lot of friends have advised renewing our passports as soon as we can because if we have those in hand, we can leave the country anytime we want. 

And so the search for passport renewal schedule had started...

It was really challenging for me to get an available slot every time I check DFA's website. Usually, I could see available slots past midnight, but this time, it was a random opening of slots. The open slots are only good for 1-2 weeks and slots are only limited per day.

Below are the tips that I could give to you so that you can book your passport renewal in the shortest time possible.

1. Find slots on the exact hour. Yes, if you start looking for slots ten or twenty minutes after the hour has passed, you won't see any available slots anymore. Make sure to open DFA's website at the exact hour. As for the time, I really cannot say what is the best time to check because it's really random. I was able to secure slots when I checked the website at 11PM.

2. Have your passports ready when you secured a slot. Make sure that you have your passports ready when you have already found an available time and venue so that you could easily enter the details of your passport. It does not mean that you have reserved a slot, it's yours until you have saved it. I reserved for an earlier available slot, but when I finished entering our details, the confirmed time is already different. Your typing skills will be challenged a lot, haha.

3. Only have 2-3 people for group appointments. Since there are only limited slots, only reserve slots for 2-3 people in a group. Actually, I heard another tip that book for one person at a time. Again, it depends on how fast you type.

4. Choose debit/credit card as a payment option. There are only two options to pay: Over-the-Counter and Debit/Credit card. I made a mistake by choosing the Over-the-Counter option because I have to pay for it at a Bayad Center outlet in 24 hours to secure the slots. I tried going back to the payment option but the system would not allow me. Choose the Debit/Credit card option so that you will be able to immediately settle the fees.

5. If renewing passports for the minor, bring ALL documents as proof of identity and filiation. I understand that this is to protect the minors from child trafficking, so to be sure, bring your child's PSA copy of the birth certificate, school ID, school registration, and any other proof of identification. My son was asked for additional IDs maybe because he matured. I didn't bring any other proof of identification but I have my laptop with me which I used to show to the DFA examiner. I also showed my son's proof of enrollment as well. I explained that he had no school ID because he is a homeschooler. His Japan visa was used as additional proof of identification instead.

I asked other homeschooling families if they were asked to show other proof of identification of their children. Some said yes, some said no. I guess it really depends on the DFA staff who checks the documents. I guess one reason why I was asked to show other proof of identification is that my son and I use different surnames in our passports (he uses his father's surname, I am using my maiden surname). Nonetheless, I do not want to question the reason for additional proof because they might also ban me from getting a passport in the future. We must also learn to be submissive to the authorities and comply with the requirements.

6. Do not wear earrings or a necklace during the appointment. This is only to simplify things when the DFA personnel will take your passport photo. You will be asked to remove your necklace and earrings anyway. 

7. If you are sure that you will not commit mistakes on your online application, try to look for a schedule at a temporary satellite office. The application process at Temporary Sattelite Offices is faster compared with the regular satellite offices because they only receive applications without a need for corrections. I committed a mistake in entering the wrong place of birth during the online application process. If I booked a slot at a DFA Temporary Satellite Office (SM Aura, Robinsons Las Piñas, Robinsons Magnolia, SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM Olongapo, Newport Mall, San Pedro Laguna, SM Seaside Cebu, SM Lanang Premier Davao City, Robinsons Novaliches, Robinsons Lipa, SM Manila), my online application will be rejected since there is a correction. The regular satellite office, though, will only receive applications with only 1-2 corrections. If there are more than two errors that need to be corrected, the application for renewal will be rejected and you have to undergo the process again. Make sure that all your entries are correct so that your appointment at DFA will be easy-peasy.

8. Opt for delivery of your passports if you are not in a hurry. I opted for pick-up so that my current passport will not be invalidated. I only have to bring the passports upon pick-up of the new ones so that the DFA personnel will punch holes on our passports. You can pay the delivery charges during the online application process or you can also pay it on-site. 

Please note that the delivery may be delayed compared with the option of pick-up. I have heard stories that there are passports that cannot be located and remain undelivered for months.

There you go, good luck on your search for a passport renewal schedule!

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