Do Yourself a Favor – Get a Passport

the new brown e-passport and green machine readable philippine passport

if you are Filipino but not an OFW aka Filipino expat, then my guess is that you don’t have a passport. I can’t blame you if you’re a bit embarrassed. But it is not uncommon in this country. In the States, only 10% of the population have a passport. (Anthony, if you’re reading this, yes there is hope for you)

What’s important is you have woken up and realized the value of having one and that you went to the right place to learn how to apply for one.

if you’re not in a rush, you can apply for a passport with just P950 investment through the regular processing which takes 25 working days for Manila residents and 30 for provincial.  Meanwhile expediting it to 15 working days would push up the price to P1,200 which at P25/day seems reasonable.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) now issues the new brown e-Passport in replacement of the green machine readable version. Have you noticed how our passport has the US and Spanish seals? A friend also mentioned that the chip used in the new e-passport can be read by a smartphone and the same technology is used for the Philippine peso bills.

american eagle seal

the american eagle in the official US seal can be seen on the Philippine passport

The only thing you’ll need if you’re a first time applicant of legal age is your NSO birth certificate. It gets a bit tricky if you are below 18, you’re an illegitimate child, a muslim convert, a dual citizen, or have a foreign sounding last name as they will require additional supporting documents. The idea really is to prove to the authorities that you are indeed a Philippine national, either by birth or by naturalization, or better yet by eating as much rice as you can.

You can request your NSO birth certificate for just P330 without going to the National Statistics Office and wasting your time lining up. There are online websites you can visit for this. I found one which claims to be an NSO accredited company called TeleServ. In their website, they also offer passport services. If you ever try this let me know. I actually got mine in Podium Mall which I used for my wedding but not for my passport. I picked up the document after 3 working days. Totally hassle-free!

The process for Manila applicants is very straightforward. Go to  the Philippine Passport website  to schedule an appointment. Bring your documents on the set date together with some cash for the passport and extra just in case you’d like to have it couriered.

spanish official seal

on the right side of the philippine passport is the official spanish lion seal

For provincial applicants, you would need to visit the local DFA office. In Lucena, you need to go to Pacific Mall, line up for a form and manually schedule an appointment. The good thing is the NSO office where you might need to apply for a certified true copy of your passport is in the same building.

In spite of this scheduling system, it may still take hours to go through the process of submitting your form in one window, taking your fingerprints and your photo in another, and waiting for your receipt to be issued in yet another window so do bring a book with you. I can’t recall if they allow the use of cellphones inside the DFA office but I do know they don’t in the foreign embassies.

So, what are you waiting for? Apply for your passport already even if you don’t have enough money yet for plane tickets! If you have questions, feel free to comment below or send me a private message–whichever is more comfortable for you.

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