Have passport, will travel.
It can be such a daunting task whether you are applying passport for the first time or renewing it. Just as with any athletic sport, you need all sorts of preparation–mental, physical, financial, and emotional. It can also be a whirlwind of emotions on the appointment day.
A few days ago, I was such a lucky girl being able to renew my passport in less than 60 minutes, from time time I entered the building (7:50 AM) until I came out (8:45 AM). By far, it was the quickest process I have been in a local government facility.
How did I do it? Here’s how I did, and probably you could use these tips as well.
1. If you are not in a hurry traveling and your passport is expiring the following year, schedule your application during summer. I did mine this May, when most people are already on vacation.
Tip: On most months, especially the busier ones, you could probably schedule on a midweek. Tuesdays or Thursdays would prove to be unpopular days, so squeeze your application during workdays.
2. Get the earliest time possible. 7:30AM is the earliest, so plan ahead and arrive at least 30 minutes before your timeslot. The staff are still alert and awake, though one guard was already “masungit” to me at 8:00AM.
Tip: When you have your kids with you, make sure not to bring them during their naptime, or they will be cranky. If they will not apply for passport, better not bring them with you.
3. Needless to say, take care of your personal belongings! One man left his documents folder on one of the chairs in front of me. As we were moving on the queue as if playing “musical chairs,” no one wanted to pick up the folder. So when I approached that seat with the folder, I picked it up and shouted the surname written on the application form. The man turned toward me, smiled (or should I say, smirked), got his folder, without even saying thank you. Such kind gesture you got, man.
4. Make sure you have complete photocopies and original copies of all your documents. Just to be sure. You don’t want to go through the hassle of going out of the line again to photocopy. There’s one, at Gate 1, which charges P3.00 per page photocopied.
TIP: The first and last page spreads of your passports must be photocopied. A lot of people in front of me forgot the last page (well, I almost did), so make sure you have photocopied both spreads.
5. Eat a good meal before your appointment. You don’t want to wait hungry. I actually was not able to eat a decent breakfast, so as soon as I exited, I looked for a place to eat. There are lots of restaurants across the street.
Anything else to add on my list? Share yours on the comments section!