First off, I got my passport yey!, ok so much for that. I happily shared this news with my friends and most of them are asking me the processes to take when applying for a passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs Office (DFA Baguio) in SM Baguio. Now, the following processes are those that I actually experienced and may change depending on the circumstances, so I must warn you it is based on experience and it does not cover different processes called by different situations.
So Here are the Things I Did when I processed my Passport
1. Prepare Your NSO Birth Certificate – I was planning on processing my passport for a very long time and I must say preparation took months. Why? because my NSO Birth Certificate shows that my first name is “Baby boy”. When I found that out i immediately asked the NSO Customer Service and they gave me the steps to follow for me to change Baby boy to my actual name, the thing is changing your name from Baby Boy to your actual name will require two months processing, the good thing about this is you just need to process this change via your local civil registrar and wait for two months. Now, if you are planning on applying for a passport i suggest you get your NSO Birth Certificate as early as possible, do not wait for the last minute before your planned travel believe me you might be surprised on what you might be written on your NSO Birth Certificate.
2. Prepare Passport Documentary Requirements – Now, if you already have your correct NSO Birth Certificate it is time for you to prepare the documents which the DFA Baguio Staff would be looking for when you apply for your Passport. Now the documentary requirements are divided in two categories, Valid Identification and Supporting Documents.
The Following are the Acceptable Identification Card (data is based on that which is written at the back of the DFA Passport Application Form Dated November 28, 2012), Bring at least 1 of the Following ( but i suggest to bring 2 or more just to be on the safe side)
a. Government Issued ID Such as Digitized SSS ID, Voters ID, Drivers License, PRC ID, IBP ID, OWWA ID or a Digitized BIR ID.
b. Other Acceptable ID – College ID, Alumni ID or Old Employment ID’s
List of Supporting Documents (Bring at least two, but to be sure at least 3-4 of the following)
a. NSO Marriage Contract
b. Land Title
c. Seaman’s Book
d. School Form 137 or Transcript of Records With Readable Dry Seal
e. Government Service Record
f. Other Documents Issued at least 2 years ago that shows picture and Signature of applicant
f.1 SSS-E1 Form
f.2 Income Tax Return
f.3 Voter’s Certification, List of Voter’s and Voter’s Registration Record (with attached receipt)
f.4 NBI Clearance
f.5 Police Clearance
f.6 Community Tax Certificate
f.7 Barangay Clearance
***As for myself i brought with me my SSS Digitized ID, my Income Tax Return of 2011 and my Transcript of Records.
Tip: Make sure your documents are in order or consistent, your details such as name, date of birth etc. must match in all the documents you are presenting, from your NSO Birth Certificate to your ID and Supporting Documents.
3. Prepare your Passport Application Form – in DFA at SM Baguio you can just ask the guards for an Application form. The Details being asked are pretty basic so it would not be a problem at all, just make sure you write legibly and that you do not leave any spaces blank, write N/A if the question renders to be not applicable. Also make sure you only write Accurate statements because using FALSE Statements is PUNISHABLE by LAW under RA 8239. You can also download the Passport application form through the DFA Website (http://www.dfa.gov.ph/)
REMINDER: The documents to be prepared as stated is good only for those who are applying for their passport for the first time and that you are NOT a Minor (under 18 years of age) and you HAVE an EXISTING BIRTH RECORD. Otherwise there are different processes and requirements which I cannot discuss here since i haven’t experienced it.
Processing Stage at DFA Baguio
Now for the fun part, the actual processing stage, first tip, the night before you should get enough rest, prepare some snack which you will bring when you process your passport (believe me you will need it) and of course bring the documents you prepared, placing them in an envelope or folder will be a good idea.
1. Wake Up Early – as for me i woke up at 4am and went to SM Baguio at 5am. Chatting with the other applicants i learned that the person who is at number 1 in the queue was there at twelve midnight!
2. Look for the Crowd – if you are there at around four or five in the morning chances are the crowd applying for the passport would have gathered so look for the crowd. In my experience the guard at SM directed me to go down at the Banco De Oro Session Road area where the crowd had gathered, SM security does not allow people on the SM grounds prior to six in the morning.
3. Look for The List – now, during the time when i went to process the passport i learned that the day before there was a huge confusion on the queue so some applicants volunteered to make a system where a paper where those arriving at the Banco De Oro area will list their names. Now this is not the initiative of the DFA Baguio staff but only by the applicants themselves so if in case you do not see a list i suggest that you gather the applicants and agree on a queue system to monitor those who are actually there and who are just trying to cut the line.
***At that time when i applied for my passport, a lady (who was also an applicant) was constantly checking the list to monitor persons who might be cutting the line and inserting people who are not in the list and true enough there were several. To prevent this one must volunteer to constantly check the list and the line, this is where your spirit of volunteerism should come out.
4. Wait for the Group to Be Called by the SM Baguio Guard – now at six in the morning the SM Guard will call the group at Banco De Oro and will ask them to line up at the left side of the grocery area entrance. Now if your name is on the list this is not a guarantee that you will be getting a chance to process your passport, for two reasons, if the line is not checked somebody might get your spot and two the applicants are only limited to 150 (as of the time when I processed my passport last November 28, 2012).
5. The Long Wait – now you have to wait from six to nine in the morning, this is a good time for you to take your breakfast or snack, but do not move away from your line. During that time all of the establishments at SM are still closed so the snack you brought could come in handy. It would also be good if you have a friend or a relative with you to look after your place just in case you want to go to the bathroom or purchase food. During this long wait bringing your tablet, iPhone or anything to entertain you would be helpful, or better yet you can gain a friend by chatting with your fellow applicants.
6. The Magical Hour – I call 9 AM as the Magical Hour, because at nine AM the DFA Baguio guard will start to give out your actual queue numbers, as i’ve said the list and your number in the list is just an initiative from the applicants, on the day when I processed my passport I was happy to know that the number in the list was strictly followed as it was the same number i got from the DFA Baguio guards, Kudos to the lady who constantly checked the list and the line! Also when you get your number make sure the guard handing out the number would also write your Number at the top right side of your application form with his signature.
***Tip: Once you Get your DFA Baguio queue number check your processing time, it is indicated on your queue number, mine was from 1:00-2:30PM so i went home and came back at the designated time.
7. Line-Up Outside DFA SM Baguio – at 10AM SM Baguio will open its doors, knowing that my schedule of processing is at 1PM i just went inside to look for the DFA Baguio Office, it is found one level down the food court area, just take the escalator going down and go to your right, the office is fronting the LBC Office and adjacent to Sweetmates you cant miss it as you go down.
Now during your Schedule you have to line up outside the DFA Baguio office at the area designated by the DFA Baguio Guards, and make sure you line up according to your designated number. The Guards will only allow around five person at a time to enter the DFA Baguio Office.
8. Line up at the Information Area – now once you are allowed to enter you are to line up at the information area, you cannot miss it, it is just fronting the entrance to the DFA Baguio office, it is here where the DFA Baguio Staff would verify your documents so it is time for you to bring out your application form, your Identification Card, and Your Supporting Documents. Just in Case your documents are in order you will be given another queue number which you will use for processing your passport.
9. Processing Area – at this point you already have a queue number and when you reach this area congratulations you are almost there. Just sit and wait for your number to be called, the processing area is where the DFA Baguio Officer would scrutinize your documents, and having passed the verification area is not a guarantee that your documents are perfectly in order. Now there will be some documents that would required to be photocopied so you have to photocopy your documents prior to going to DFA Baguio but just in case you forgot do not worry they have an in-house photocopy machine, just hope that when its time for you to process the machines are working, just in case there is a photocopy service provider at the top level of SM Baguio.
WARNING: Now i want to highlight this part. Take a look at your NSO Birth Certificate can you clearly read the data written? or are there some that are unreadable? Just in case there are some that are unreadable then BEFORE you apply for a passport go to your Local Civil Registrar and secure a Form 1A to substantiate the unclear data in your NSO Birth Certificate. I was so frustrated when the DFA Baguio officer at the processing center told me that i have to secure a Form 1A and it was 4 in the afternoon already, good thing is that i was born in Baguio city so i just have to go to the Baguio Civil Registrar, it took me 10 minutes taxi ride to the Local Civil Registry and 10 minutes processing and another 10minutes taxi ride to NSO for Aunthentication which lasted for 15 minutes then another 10 minutes taxi ride back to SM Baguio good thing the DFA Baguio Office closes at 7pm, lucky for me, now how about those from La Union or Pangasinan or those who were not born and registered in Baguio? Then they have to go back to their province secure their form 1A and fall in line again from four AM? So just to be on the safe side prior to processing your passport, secure your Form 1A from you Local Civil Registrar first and Make SURE you have it AUTHENTICATED at the NSO Office.
10. Payment Processing – now assuming you passed the Processing Area you will now have to pay the Passport Fee, the DFA Baguio Officer at the Processing Area will prepare a receipt and will ask you which type of processing would you prefer. Here are the list or fees based on the DFA Passport Application Form
10.1 Regular Processing (25 days according to the DFA Application form, but was told it is now 15 days) – Php. 950.
10.2 Expedited processing (15 days according to the DFA Application form, but now it is just 10 days) – Php. 950 + Php 250 = Php. 1,200.
11. Photo and Data Encoding – After your payment give your receipt to one of the windows at the Photo and Data Encoding Section, or just ask the DFA Baguio guard on duty, believe me the guards are your greatest allies when it comes to the processes. Now just wait for your name to be called and just follow their instructions as you will now electronically input your biometrics and your signature, the DFA Baguio officer will input your data and will ask you to check if such are accurate. Then the DFA Baguio officer will take your Photo.
12. Don’t Go Just Yet – now after all the biometrics and Photo session do not go home yet, wait at the same area as the person at cubicle 1 will have to conduct an interview with you. So again wait for your name to be called, the questions are pretty basic and are just for verification purposes.
After the interview just wait for your Passport Receipt/Claim Stub where at the back you will see the schedule, date and time on when you can already claim your passport.
I applied for an Expedited Passport on November 28, 2012 i am to get my Passport on December 6, 2012 at around 4pm-5pm.
Fast forward to Claiming Your Passport:
Now upon claiming your passport just go to the DFA Baguio office with your claim stub and a Valid ID preferable the Digitized ID which you used during the passport processing. No need to line up outside the DFA Baguio Office just show your claim receipt and the guard will let you in, the Claiming area is beside the Information area so you cant miss it, just give your receipt in one of the DFA Baguio Officer and take your seat and wait for your name to be called. There is no number or queue to be followed i got mine ahead of those who were seated before me, or maybe they were just sitting there, im not sure. But claiming the passport will only take around 10-20 minutes. Your name will be called and you will just have to sign on the receiving copy and viola! you now have your Passport!
Disclaimer: Let me reiterate that the processes stated here are based on my experience and the knowledge i learned during said process and it does not cover any other situation or scenario that may result to different passport processing stages, I however would welcome additional information which you can share through the comment section found below.