Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Passports: Check!

We finally have our passports! I've changed my name to my married name, got Miya her first passport and well, Joema renewed his just so we'll all have to renew our passports on the same date in the future.

We schedule our appointment through the DFA's website. For family appointments you may go to this link. I think I mentioned in a previous blog that we were supposed to go on the 7th but we rescheduled the appointment to the 16th. The new DFA building, in case you had previous passports in the old building, is now near SM Mall of Asia. Here's the map.  Our appointment was for 8:30am but since the documents sent to me said we need to be there by 8am, we left the house a little after 7am. We arrived there before 8am. I think there's a parking lot right across DFA but we parked in the lot next to McDonalds. Miya was like a probinsyana. She was looking everywhere while we were crossing the streets. She must be amazed by the buses she saw, the wide road we were crossing, the buildings. We arrived early but there were already a lot of people in DFA that morning. Once you get inside the gate, you need to present your appointment papers to one of the persons in the table just before you enter the building. Since we were there with Miya, we were told to go up directly to the second floor. When we got upstairs, we went through another round of checking the papers and application form, then we were handed a number. We proceeded to the first room on the second floor for the processing of our papers. I guess the window for family appointments was not yet open because we waited for a bit. Just for a bit. I think they were bundling up the applications before opening the window since they were already receiving applications for the elderly. One man there got angry (I believe he came with his child and wife) because he said he was waiting for a long time already. He said he should have just waited downstairs where, we can see from the number monitoring thingy, atleast the numbers were being called and moving. A few minutes later it was our number was blinking in the monitor. For Miya, who's a minor aside from the application form, we submitted her birth certificate (in NSO paper). For me, I submitted photocopy of my old passport and our marriage contract (in NSO paper) since I'm changing my name. For Joema, we only submitted a copy of his old passport. Although of course we brought the old original passports as well. Don't worry every document that you need to bring will be listed once you make the appointment online. The problem with that was it was a bit vague if they need the birth certificate in NSO paper for passport renewals.  This stressed me a bit because I didn't have on file Joema's birth certificate in NSO paper. I found this out on Monday before our appointment (which was on a Wednesday). We had to ask my in-laws to bring the one they found in Bocaue. Which actually had me more stressed out later because the one they brought is in the old NSO paper which looked like it was just a copy that was authenticated to be a true copy. Anyways, I was really glad DFA did not need the birth certificate. Their requirement was vague because it said it needed the birth certificate if the birth place in the old passport was not specific. Joema's old passport only says Bulacan so I thought that was not specific enough. But just the same, better to bring everything in case they need it. Also for Miya, since I was with her they also attached a copy of my application to her application. So better have your application forms photocopied as well. I did not do that so I had to pay P5 for the copy (they have a ready copy machine there). After the processing of the papers, we had to pay at the other room. Paid P1,200 for each of us since we were all qualified as express processing because we have a kid. You have no choice in that matter, as long as you lined in the express lane which is automatic for the senior citizens and young children. After that it was picture taking time. I thought we were going to go back to the first room where our papers were processed because there were cameras there but apparently those were for senior citizens only. While us with children will go and mix with the other applicants for the picture taking. Fortunately, it wasn't a long wait since Miya was starting to get squirmy. The problem was the guy manning the station we were assigned to didn't know how to take Miya's pictures. Now, you've seen Miya's pictures here in my blog you can attest that my daughter knows how to look at a camera and smile for a picture. That guy was horrible. Instead of looking at his monitor to which the camera is hooked and see if my daughter's already looking, he was looking at us (me while I get Miya to look at the camera, and Miya looking at the toy I was dangling in front of the camera). We had to do it several times. I wanted to tell him, "let me click the button!" So irritating! My daughter was getting irritated too, she was trying to get out of the chair because it was taking him a long time. Plus they were telling me to get her bangs off her eyebrows. What the eff?! What can I do with baby hair which doesn't want to be bothered?!?!?! Anyways, after all that, we still had a fairly easy time getting our passports. After the picture taking, it was time to pay the courier and then we were out of there. Took us about an hour and a half to finish the whole process. Not bad eh? 

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