The Philippine Passport is perhaps the most important document for OFWs and travelers anywhere in the world. That is why it’s really great to hear that Filipinos will now have passports with validity of 10 years. I listed below the steps and tips that I learned from my own Philippine passport renewal experiences in Dubai.
Schedule an appointment for your Philippine Passport renewal
The first step is to set up an appointment. Go to Dubai Philippine Consulate General website and select your preferred date and time of appointment. You might get lucky and see an available schedule within the same month you are booking. However most of the time, the next one will be in the following month. Make sure that you enter all your personal details correctly. They will be validated against the documents that you will be submitting. Be sure to enter a working email address as well. Because you will receive the confirmation of your appointment by email.
I suggest that you set your appointment eight months to a year before the expiration date of your passport. There might be some unplanned and unexpected things that you have to do in the future. Like changing of employer or travelling abroad. Remember that your passport should be valid for at least six months to be able to enter any country. The same period of passport validity is also required to get any type of visa in UAE. So better renew your passport as early as possible to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
Prepare the required documents
On the day of your appointment, bring the fully accomplished e-Passport renewal form which can be downloaded here. You also need to have your original Philippine passport, and photocopies of the passport details and visa page. Your personal appearance is required. I suggest that you print the email confirmation so you have a proof of your appointment. No need to bring a passport size picture. The renewal fee is 240 AED.
Go to your appointment
The first line that you will have to fall in on your appointment is for verification. Put your passport in one of the 2 boxes beside the counter and wait until the clerk calls your name. The first box is for appointments on the current hour and the 2nd box is for the appointments on the next hour. I find this system a very efficient one because if you are early (for example your appointment is 8:30 AM but you came in at 8:10 AM), you can fall in line right away. On the other hand if you are a bit late (your appointment is 9:15 AM but you came in 9:45 AM), you can still fall in line right away as long as it is still within the hour of your appointment.
At the counter, you need to present the renewal form and required documents. If the processing clerk finds the documents complete, he/she will give you a payment form along with your passport and other documents and instruct you to go to the cashier.
The cashier room is very small. Only six to seven persons can fall in line inside so check first if it’s already full. Also, be careful in opening the door because you might hit someone inside.Wait in the line to pay the renewal fee and get the receipt.
After payment, you need to go through absentee voters registration first before you can proceed to passport encoding. The Philippine Consulate now requires OFWs to register as voters before they can proceed with the passport renewal. You need to fill out the registration form and have your fingerprints, photo and signature taken. When you received your registration stub, you can now proceed to encoding.(Note: If you have already registered to absentee voting before, make sure to bring your registration stub so you can show the clerks and skip this part)
Encoding is the last step in the Philippine passport renewal procedure. There are three counters, so it will not take that long even if there’s already a long line when you arrive. At the counter,you will give your passport and other documents to the clerk. He will encode all your details in the system and you will see it appear on the computer screen. This part is very important. Make sure that all information that you see on the screen is correct. This information will appear on your Philippine passport, so there is no room for error.The clerk will give you time to double check the information, so make sure that you review everything.
Getting your photo and signature samples are next after the encoding. Then the clerk will give you your receipt and advice you to check the Consulate website’s passport releasing webpage after six weeks for your new passport’s releasing.
Claim your new e-passport
As soon as you see your name appear on the list of the available passports for release, you can now go back to the consulate to claim yours. Present the official receipt and your old passport upon claiming. You get to keep your old passport, but it will be punched to mark that it is already invalid. If your residence visa is in this old passport, make sure to always carry it still along with your new e-passport.
All in all, the whole process is not really that difficult to deal with. On the day of my appointment, it only took me a little less than an hour to finish. The only not so good part is the releasing. The passport printing is still in Manila. According to the Consulate, it normally takes 6-8 weeks to get your new e-passport. So like I mentioned earlier, renew your passport early to avoid any complications in the future.
Make sure to keep your Philippine Passport safe at all times even when you are traveling. It’s better to get a passport organizer so there won’t be any chance of it getting lost or damaged. Here are the best passport organizers that you can buy on eBay.
Good news! When I checked the Consulate website’s passport releasing page, I found that my new e-passport is already available for claiming after only less than 4 weeks.
If yours is already available, go to Room C3 of the Philippine Consulate for releasing.
Put your old passport and the official receipt inside the box at the counter. Wait for your name to be called.
When they call your name, go to the counter and you will receive your new e-passport. Congratulations!
After claiming, don’t forget to sign on the 3rd page of your new e-passport. It will not be valid unless it has your signature.