Whether for leisure or employment, every international travel requires a passport, one of the IDs issued by the Philippine government to its citizens. A passport, which is proof of your national identity and citizenship, is a vital document that you must always carry with you when traveling abroad.

The application process is actually simple; however, securing an appointment schedule for application is where the challenge lies. While we still have the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with, we must note the changes in the office hours and the number of people allowed per day to ensure proper social distancing.

This post will focus on our step-by-step guide to DFA NEW PASSPORT APPLICATION as well as additional reminders and tips. If you are renewing your passport, check this article instead: PASSPORT RENEWAL APPLICATION PROCESS!

LIST OF PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS

1. Online Appointment Confirmation

The first thing to do is to secure a slot by setting an appointment online. To give you enough lead time, it’s best to do it at least three months before your desired travel date. The earliest available slots might be too late for you because of the heavy volume of applications, especially during these extraordinary times when community quarantines forced government agencies to operate with a skeleton workforce and halted or delayed most government operations. We’ll tackle more of this in the HOW-TO section below.

NO WALK-INS are allowed. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, walk-in or courtesy lane services are suspended until further notice. This is to manage and control foot traffic. Those who are eligible to use the courtesy lane are required to book an online appointment. For urgent applications, you can send an email at oca.cl@dfa.gov.ph.

But prior to the pandemic, the following were allowed to walk in:

  • Senior citizen and 1 companion. The companion must be an immediate family member. If not, the companion must show proof of travel arrangements with the senior to show they’re traveling together. It can be a plane ticket or hotel booking.
  • Person with disability and 1 companion. Companion must be an immediate family member. If not, the companion must show proof of travel arrangements to prove that they’re traveling together. It can be a plane ticket or hotel booking.
  • Pregnant woman. A medical certificate or records must be presented if the baby bump is not yet noticeable.
  • Minor seven (7) years old or below, plus their parents and minor siblings.
  • Solo parent and their minor child. The parent must present a valid solo parent card.
  • OFWs: Land-based and Sea-farers. Must bring any of the following: valid iDOLE card, work visa, employment contract, or seaman’s book stamped at international border less than 365 days from date of application.

2. Duly Accomplished Application Form

When setting an appointment, you need to complete the application form. Filling out the application form is usually done online. You will receive an e-mail confirming your appointment schedule when you are done paying for the application processing fee. The e-mail also contains the link to your application form. Click the link to download, and then print out your accomplished form.

If you need a blank copy of the application form, you can get it here. You need to print it out on A4-size paper.

3. Birth Certificate

The copy of your birth certificate must be:

  • Original
  • PSA-authenticated
  • Printed on PSA security paper

NOTE: If the PSA-authenticated Birth Certificate is not readable, get a copy from the Local Civil Registrar.

4. Valid ID

You only need to bring one original and a photocopy. Any of the following is accepted:

  • Social Security System (SSS) Card
  • Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Card
  • Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)
  • LTO Driver’s License
  • Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) ID
  • Philippine Identification (PhilID)
  • Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) E-Card
  • Voter’s ID or Voter’s Certification from the Officer of Election with Dry Seal. If presenting the Voter’s Certificate, you also need to provide NBI or police clearance.
  • PNP Firearms License
  • Airman License (issued August 2016 onwards)
  • Philippine Postal ID (issued November 2016 onwards)
  • Senior Citizen ID (if senior)
  • School ID or Certificate of Enrolment with student’s photo and the school’s dry seal (if student)
  • Seafarer’s Record Book (SRB) issued from February 2020 onwards by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)

REMINDER: Make sure that the ID (original and photocopy) is readable, untampered, and must contain the same information as other documents presented.

5. Personal Appearance

Whether you apply on your own or through a travel agency, all applicants must be physically present at the DFA Office on your appointment schedule. The passport application process entails collecting your biometrics data and taking a photo of you. For passport photo capturing, take note of the proper attire or dress code. Colored contact lenses and accessories like earrings, necklaces, or other facial piercings are not allowed during photo capturing.


POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Depending on your status or condition, here are other possible additional requirements for a new passport application:

If applicant is a married female using spouse’s last name

  • Marriage Contract (Original and a Photocopy). Must be PSA-authenticated and printed on PSA security paper.

NOTE: You do not need to present your Marriage Contract if you recently married but you chose to keep your maiden name.

If applicant is a minor

For minor applicants or those applying for a minor, these are the additional requirements:

  • Valid Government-issued ID of either parent with one photocopy.
    – Passport
    – Social Security System (SSS) Card
    – Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Card
    – Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)
    – LTO Driver’s License
    – Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) ID
    – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) E-Card
    – Voter’s ID or Voter’s Certification from the Officer of Election with Dry Seal. If presenting the Voter’s Certificate, you also need to provide NBI or police clearance.
    – PNP Firearms License
    – Airman License (issued August 2016 onwards)
    – Philippine Postal ID (issued November 2016 onwards)
    – Senior Citizen ID (if senior)
    – Philippine Identification (PhilID)
    – Seafarer’s Record Book (SRB) issued from February 2020 onwards by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)
  • Marriage Certificate. This must be provided if only one parent is accompanying the minor. If the parents are unmarried, the Mother must execute a Special Power of Attorney if she is not accompanying her child. Special Power of Attorney executed outside the Philippines must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in that foreign country.
  • Certified True Copy of Local Civil Registrar (LCR) Birth Certificate. This must be provided if the applicant is a newborn (less than 1 year old), who has no PSA Birth Certificate/Report of Birth yet. This needs to be PSA-authenticated. If born abroad, the original copy of the Report of Birth or first endorsement from the Consular Records Division must be submitted.

IMPORTANT! Personal Appearance of both the minor applicant AND either parent (or authorized adult companion) is required.

  • If for some reason, either parent can’t accompany the child for the application:

    – A Special Power of Attorney must be executed by the parent to designate and authorize someone else to accompany and help the child through the application process. Special Power of Attorney executed outside the Philippines must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in that foreign country.

    – A copy of parent/s valid ID and/or passport attached to the Special Power of Attorney or Affidavit of Support and Consent.

    – Passport or Valid Government-issued ID of authorized adult companion. See the list of acceptable IDs above.

  • If either parent is not traveling with the minor:

    DSWD Clearance must be submitted.

    Affidavit of Support and Consent must be provided. Affidavit executed outside the Philippines must be consularized by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in that foreign country.

    – Passport or Valid Government issued ID of authorized adult companion. See list of acceptable IDs above.

NOTE: For other cases such as late registered, no birth certificate, illegitimate child, dual citizens, or naturalized Filipinos, additional supporting documents are required. Visit the DFA Consular website for a more accurate list of requirements and if you have other specific concerns and inquiries.


STEP-BY-STEP PASSPORT APPLICATION PROCESS

1. Set an appointment online.

Before anything else, the online appointment is FREE. What you are paying for is the passport processing fee. Now that it’s clear, let’s proceed.

Walk-in applicants are normally not allowed EXCEPT for emergency and special cases. Regular and non-emergency applicants must secure their slots by setting an online appointment. As much as possible, do it months before your desired travel date to give you enough lead time. Due to the heavy volume of applications, available slots might be too late for you.

To give you an idea, say you decide to apply online in August, the earliest available slot might be in late September (tough luck) or October or even November. Or there might even be NO AVAILABLE SLOTS AVAILABLE.

How to set an appointment online?

  1. Visit the DFA Online Passport Appointment System website.
  2. Read the Terms and Conditions, and then tick the box. This means that you have understood the terms.
  3. There are two options: INDIVIDUAL Appointment and GROUP Appointment. Choose the one that applies to you.
  4. Choose a DFA office/branch. Select the one nearest you or the one most convenient for you. Later on, you can change it and check other branches if you are having a hard time securing a slot with your first choice. Hit the Next button.
  5. Select a date and time from the provided calendar. The earliest open date is noted above the calendar. The dates in GREEN are AVAILABLE, while those in RED are FULL.

However, the most challenging part is getting empty slots because of the volume of applicants. The DFA has taken steps to improve the system to serve applicants better, but it can still get frustrating. You may check other branches. For example, if you’re Manila-based, try other checking other nearby cities within the metro or even nearby provinces.

This poses a problem for those who need a quick appointment. Some of my friends even went as far as flying to Puerto Princesa or traveling to Northern Luzon provinces just to get an appointment because of their travel dates were near. But of course, if there’s no such urgency, you don’t need to go to such extreme lengths. You may simply wait and try and try again another day.

You may also try some of these tips:

  • Make sure that you have strong internet connection. Since it’s an online “battlefield”, you have to ensure that your internet connection is reliable. The slots will not wait for your network to keep up.
  • List down all your preferred dates. This will give you more options in case the date you originally want is already full. This will save you time too. Instead of spending precious seconds weighing other dates, you already have shortlisted the most convenient dates for you.
  • Decide quickly. Again, you are beating time here, so you must be decisive because slots can be taken in a snap. You see the date you want still available one minute, but then it’s gone the next. Afternoon schedules are usually the first to get filled.
  • Refresh the page. There are times when available slots pop out of nowhere. Well, these might be those slots reserved for applicants who failed to pay within the allotted time period.
  • Check the site regularly. As much as possible, the DFA opens additional slots daily. The system refreshes regularly, so check the site from time to time for possible additional slots.
  • Try searching at around these times: 6AM – 8AM, 12NN, and 9PM. Available slots usually appear at these times, from Mondays to Saturdays (except holidays).
  • Search other DFA branches/offices. There are six (6) branches in Manila: DFA Central (ASEANA), DFA NCR North (Robinsons Novaliches), DFA NCR Northeast (Alimall), DFA NCR West (SM Manila), DFA NCR East (Megamall), and DFA NCR South (Alabang). However, these NCR branches run out of slots real quick. If you desperately need to renew your passport, you may try looking at regional branches/offices.

When you get a slot, the system can hold the slot for you for the next 20 minutes only so you should be able to finish everything fast. Otherwise, you’ll lose that slot.

UPDATE: In addition to the regular processing sites, the DFA has set up Temporary Off-site Passport Service (TOPS) facilities within Metro Manila that can process passport applications. These are:

– Robinsons Las Pinas
– Robinsons Magnolia, Quezon City
– SM Aura, Taguig
– SM Mall of Asia, Pasay
– SM North EDSA, Quezon City

But certain restrictions apply. Passports processed at any of these TOPS sites will be shipped via courier, adding an extra 3 to 5 working days. Payment for TOPS is via CREDIT CARD or DEBIT CARD ONLY! Make sure you have your card with you when you start the appointment process.


2. Fill out the application form.

After you get a slot, you will be directed to the next step, which is filling out the four-page online application form. Remember, you only have 15 minutes to complete this. Prepare the following information before you schedule an online appointment to save more time.

  • Personal Information: The first page contains your Personal Information such as Name, Birth Date, Contact Numbers, E-mail Address, etc. For your email address, input your free Gmail account. I tried using my custom email address at first, but I failed to receive a confirmation email that also contains the reference number for paying the passport processing fee. I had to wait for the schedule to expire after 24 hours to try to set an appointment again. On the second try, I used my free Gmail account and immediately got the email confirmation.
  • Family Information: The second page requires your Family Information like your Parents’ and Spouse’s names and Citizenship.
  • Application Information: The third page is all about your Application Information including Application Type, Citizenship, and Emergency Contact Person and his/her contact number. For the Application Type, choose RENEWAL. For lost or damaged ePassport/non-ePassport, choose NEW APPLICATION.
  • Contact Information. The fourth page asks for your home and office addresses and contact numbers.

You will be given time to check all the information you input. Make sure you have no typos and everything is correct, including the spelling.


3. Pay the passport processing fee.

The next step after you submit the form is the payment for the passport processing fee. Choose one of the two processing options, depending on what applies to you:

  • Regular Processing: This costs P950 and takes 10-15 days in Manila.
  • Express Processing: This costs P1200 and takes 5-7 days in Manila.

We heard that the processing time in the regional offices takes longer compared to Manila. They say the length of days for processing may take 20-30 days, but we haven’t confirmed this yet.

This is how the payment process goes:

  1. Select between regular or express processing.
  2. Then hit PAY NOW.
  3. A message will pop up. Click the “I agree” box, then hit PROCEED TO PAYMENT.
  4. You will land on the PAYMENT page where you will see the payment options, the total amount that you need to pay, and some reminders. A convenience fee of P50 per person is normally added on top of the total processing fee amount. Hit PROCEED.
  5. You will receive an email providing your Payment Reference Number and instructions on how to settle your payment. Hold on to your reference number.
  6. You need to pay the processing fee within 24 hours. Go to your chosen authorized payment center. You have to secure a copy of your reference number. Make sure you declare and pay the exact total amount.
  7. After settling your payment, an appointment confirmation will be sent to your email. You will find three files attached to the email: your application form, the receipt, and the checklist. You need to secure a hard copy of each file. Print them all out. Use A4 paper. You need to bring them on the day of your appointment.

REMINDERS:

  • These are the payment centers authorized by the DFA for the transaction of the passport processing fee:

    – Bayad Center
    – EcPay
    – Pera Hub
    – Robinsons Business Center and Department Stores
    – Waltermart Department Store
    – 7-Eleven
    – USCC (Western Union)
    – Villarica Pawnshop

    The credit card/debit card payment facility and the over-the-counter cash transaction in selected banks are not yet available.

  • As of writing, only CASH payment is accepted.
  • You need to pay the EXACT amount. No more, no less. The payment will not be processed or will be forfeited if it’s not the exact amount.
  • You can only use your Reference Number once, meaning one transaction per reference number.
  • If you encounter any problems regarding payment, contact the DFA helpdesk immediately at (02) 234 3488.

In my case, I chose to pay via 7-Eleven. Using one of their in-store electronic machines, I chose “bills payment”, and then selected DFA. I input my reference number and the total amount, which includes the P50 convenience fee. I took the printed slip and went to the cashier to pay. That’s it!


4. Show up at your chosen DFA Office on your appointment date.

The day finally arrives! You need to appear personally at your chosen DFA office on your scheduled date. Don’t forget to bring all the requirements with you, plus the Application Form printout (hard copy), the checklist with your confirmed schedule, and your eReceipt (two copies).

For my most recent passport renewal, I was fortunate to get a slot at the branch nearest to where I live — DFA NCR South. My appointment was at 5:00 PM, so I arrived at 4:30 PM. Here’s my experience:

  1. Document Verification. Even at the entrance, the guard will ask for the checklist with your confirmed schedule. They will check if you bring all the requirements with you. Don’t forget to bring a photocopy of your old passport (renewal) or valid ID (new application).
  2. Processing. They will review your documents/requirements. When they are done checking, they will stamp your receipt with a date of release. Let them know if you still need your current valid passport for an upcoming trip because this is where they will punch holes on your old passport. The officer asked me first if I will no longer use my old passport before punching holes. But this might not be always the case, some officers might proceed to punch holes if you don’t give them a heads up.
  3. Data Encoding and Biometrics. This is the part where they will encode your personal information like your name, birth date, and other details. They will give you time to check the encoded details on the computer screen, so check those spelling and typos. After that, they will take your photo, fingerprints, and signature.
  4. Delivery. This is an additional step for those who want their passports to be delivered instead of personally picking them up at the DFA office. DFA partners with courier and forwarding service companies. I availed of this service and paid the delivery fee of P150. They will take your application receipt and then hand you their own delivery receipt. Expect your passport to arrive one to two days after the scheduled release date. You may skip this part if you want to personally pick up your brand new passport on the scheduled release date.

NOTE: A team member applied at DFA ASEANA a couple of years ago. If you are also applying there, some touts will trick you into buying a long brown envelope or ballpen. You do not need them. You can put your documents in a folder or envelope if you want to keep them neat and organized. It won’t hurt also to bring an extra pen just in case.

REMINDERS:

  • Don’t be late. Be there at least 30 minutes before you confirmed schedule. Those who arrive late for their appointment will not be accommodated.
  • Make sure to bring all the requirements — both the original and the photocopies.
  • The DFA implements a “No Escort” policy. Companions, who are not applicants, are not permitted within the DFA premises UNLESS they are the guardian of a minor or they are assisting a person with special needs.
  • Wear proper attire. The DFA enforces a strict dress code, which prohibits wearing spaghetti straps, sando, plunging neckline, sleeveless top, tube top, halter top, and see-through top. Colored contact lenses, eyeglasses, and accessories like earrings, necklaces, or other facial piercings must be removed during photo capturing.
  • Make yourself presentable, looking your best. Remember that your photo will be taken for your passport with 10-year validity, so that image of you will stick with you for a long time. But please avoid applying too much makeup.

5. Pick up your passport.

If you did not avail of the passport delivery service during your application at the DFA office of your choice, you have to go back on the indicated release date of your passport. If there’s a change in the schedule, the DFA will email you in advance. Make sure you bring your application receipt and other proof like the claim stub, if applicable. Check all the details on your passport before leaving the counter. Make sure your name is not misspelled and there are no typos.

Can’t claim the passport yourself?

An immediate family member can claim your passport on your behalf, provided that she has an authorization letter prepared and signed by you and other requirements. An immediate family member can be your mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, or child of legal age. They must bring the following:

  • Authorization Letter
  • Original Receipt
  • Applicant’s Valid ID (original and photocopy)
  • Representative’s Valid ID (original and photocopy)

No immediate family member available to claim your passport on your behalf?

If no immediate family can claim it for you, the person must bring the following:

  • A Special Power of Attorney
  • Original Receipt
  • Applicant’s Valid ID (original and photocopy)
  • Representative’s Valid ID (original and photocopy)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Who can apply for a Philippine Passport?

Since a passport is proof of your Filipino citizenship and your allegiance to the Philippines, only Filipino citizens are eligible to apply and acquire a Philippine passport.

  • Natural-Born Filipino Citizen
  • Naturalized Filipino Citizen
  • Dual Citizen (One citizenship is Filipino)
  • Filipino Citizenship Obtained by Election
  • Filipino Citizenship Granted by Act of Legislation

Can I apply in the province even if I don’t live here?

YES. The most important thing to do is to make sure you have a confirmed appointment. Just remember that the processing days differ per area/region. You can check that on the payment part of your online appointment process.


I didn’t receive an email when I secured an appointment. I don’t have a reference number. What can I do?

First, check your Spam or Junk folder. It might be there.

Not there either? Call the DFA hotline: (02) 556-0000.

Tip! Make sure that you are using a free Gmail account.

I tried using my custom email address at first, but I failed to receive a confirmation email that also contains the reference number for paying the passport processing fee. I had to wait for the schedule to expire after 24 hours to try to set an appointment again. On the second try, I used my free Gmail account and immediately got the email confirmation.

If you are using a free Gmail account, but still didn’t receive an email confirmation, call the DFA hotline: (02) 556-0000.


Can I reserve multiple appointment slots for myself?

NO. If you have an existing application, the system will tag another attempt to get a slot under your name as an ERROR.

The only way for you to reserve anew is to CANCEL the first/existing one.


I can’t make it on my appointment time. What should I do?

You have the option to either RESCHEDULE or CANCEL your appointment.

However, changes must be made at least three (3) working days before your schedule. If you fail to do this, the system will mark and penalize you.


Can I change my appointment schedule?

YES. Go to this page, and then click on View Appointment. Input your Appointment Code and your email address, then click on View Details. Once logged in, choose RESCHEDULE.

You should do this not later than 3 days before your original schedule. The rescheduled date must be no longer than 30 days from the original date.


I didn’t make it to my appointment schedule. What should I do?

Wait for 30 days. There is nothing else you can do if you didn’t show up on your appointment schedule.

As a penalty for “No Show” applicants, you have to wait for 30 days to make another appointment.


I made a mistake or misspelled something on the form. How to change it?

You cannot change it online, BUT you can correct it at the DFA office on your appointment schedule.

Remember that during the data encoding stage, you will be asked to check and review the information entered by the officer. This is your chance to correct the mistake or the spelling.


I’m applying for a DSWD clearance, a visa, and a passport for a minor. What should I get first?

Here’s the correct order: DSWD Clearance first, then Passport next, and finally, Visa.

The DSWD Clearance is one of the requirements for the passport application of a minor. Then after working on the passport, you can finally apply for a visa. The passport is essential for visa applications.


Is personal appearance required?

YES. Your photograph, signature, and biometrics will be taken, so your physical presence at the DFA office is a must.


How long does the application process at the DFA take?

We’ve renewed passport at these DFA offices: Megamall, ASEANA, Alabang, and Lipa.

Based on our experience, it took us about an hour — from document verification to availing of the delivery service.


How many days does the passport processing take?

Here are the usual processing times:

  • Regular Processing. 10-15 days in Manila.
  • Express Processing. 5-7 days in Manila.

Based on my recent application, my appointment was on September 12. I signed up for the passport delivery service and got my passport on September 22. That’s a total of 10 days.

We heard that the processing time in the regional offices takes longer compared to Manila. They say the length of days for processing may take 20-30 days, but we haven’t confirmed this yet.


What is an ePassport?

The Philippines has been issuing ePassport since 2009. An ePassport has an integrated circuit chip or microchip where the biometrics data are stored. An indication that you are holding one is the chip sign or icon at the bottom portion of your passport’s front cover.

These are the advantages of the ePassport:

  • It is equipped with an Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS), preventing multiple passport issuances to one person and improving imposter detection.
  • It is considered highly secure by world standards, thwarting passport tampering and reproduction.
  • Countries are more confident and accepting of ePassport because of its biometric technology that provides advanced border security and protection.
  • Holders of ePassports can avail of the “e-gates” (automated border clearance) service, automated issuance of boarding passes, and more efficient travel transactions with airlines.
  • It speeds up clearance at immigration checks.


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Asta Alvarez
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