When I found out that the whole family might be going on a fun family trip to Korea soon, aside from excitement, I felt panic because Rain doesn't have a passport yet. And based on my last experience when Richie and I renewed ours, we had to go all the way to the DFA near Mall of Asia, (which is not at all a short drive for us) and we had to get in a long line. (In fairness, even if the lines were long, they were very organized and you would be waiting in line while sitting down on chairs)
Anyway, thankfully this time it was a lot easier for me because of the DFA Offices that opened in malls near us. There was one in Robinsons Galleria, and another one in Megamall Building C. It was my first time to renew in one of these new offices and it was a breeze!
Here are the steps I took in getting my little Rainbow her first passport ever!
Step 1: I went online at DFA to check the requirements I needed to prepare.
Step 2: I called the DFA Appointment System Hotline (02-737-1000). It's common to always get a busy signal or an "Try again later" automated recording. But just keep trying and you'll get a live operator soon, whom will be asking you a couple of information as she fills up your form over the phone.
Step 3: The operator will then double confirm all your details, and will ask you to choose place where you want to have your appointment set. Since I live in Pasig, the operator informed me of the DFA offices that are close to my place. In this case, it's DFA Megamall, or DFA Robinsons Galleria. And then she will inform you which time slots are still available. I of course chose the earliest appointment possible. 10:00 AM
Step 4: The operator will give you a reference number and a print number confirming your appointment. Note those down and make sure not to lose it. The operator will give you a website where you can input the reference number and print number to access your very own DFA Confirmed Appointment form (already pre-filled by the operator with your details)
Step 5: Print the form out in long bond paper. Fill out the other blank details BUT DON'T SIGN YET as you need to sign this only during your appointment.
|MegaMall Building C (Photo grabbed from SM Prime Website )|
It's that easy! Before I knew it, it was the day of our appointment and we were at SM Megamall Building C by 9:30AM. In case you don't know, Megemall Building C is that parking lot building in between Mega A and B. And DFA is at the very top floor. I was impressed with how it looked like. Maybe because it was fairly new? It's just one floor but it was very spacious.
We were the first ones there. They opened at exactly 10:00 AM. From there, it was all smooth-running. You'll show the first counter your printed form, and they will attach a small list that each staff will sign as you go along.
Then they have a number system too. So you can just sit pretty in one of the provided benches and wait for your number to appear on the flat screen that also tells you which window to go. (Note though that even if you were the first one there, the first numbers they will call are those who are senior citizens and those that are with infants).
|Processing / Verification Area (where they check your documents, etc.)|
This is the processing / verification area. Very clean and cool. There were 12 windows so a lot can be accommodated at the same time. I didn't get to take a photo but on the other side of this room was an area that says "Copier" and "Notarial" I guess for your last minute copying and notarial needs. But during that time there wasn't anyone manning that area.
Next I was asked to proceed to the cashier to pay. I think it was P900 something for the normal rate (2 weeks processing) and P1,200 for rush processing (7 days). Of course given the circumstances, I had to go for the rush processing.
Then I proceeded to the Encoding Area to have Rain's photo taken and so I can double check the personal details in Rain's passport.
A box on stand-by for little applicants hehehe.
Smile Rain! (3 takes!)
Courier / Delivery
You can choose to have your passport delivered to your doorstep or for pick up. If for delivery, the final step is the courier / delivery. But since I was worried that might not be home when it's delivered, I opted to pick it up for my own peace of mind. After all, I'm often in Ortigas area anyway. Then the girl gave me my receipt and indicated the time and date of pick up.
Photo of the halls leading to the other areas like Releasing, etc. The comfort rooms are also very clean.
|DFA line at past 10:00 AM|
We were done in under 30 minutes. As soon as we came out, there were already a lot of applicants lined up outside.
The line continued inside the mall. But still not the chaotic level of line so it's still okay. Overall it was very organized and comfortable especially since DFA Megamall is fully air-conditioned.
|Rain's first passport!|
After 7 days, I went back to DFA and was able to quickly get Rain's first passport ever! Kudos DFA Megamall!