How to Get a DFA Appointment and Keep Your Sanity

Tips for getting an appointment and for when you go.

dfa appointment
ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Getting a valid government ID is always quite the process—especially when we're talking about passports. Getting an appointment at the Department of Foreign Affairs is a must for practically anything passport-related. With the quarantine still stretching on, though, appointments have gotten even harder to secure. Confused by the process? We lay it down for you below.

Also read: Can't Get a DFA Appointment? Five New Sites Are Now Open

How to Get a DFA Appointment and Get Your Passport:

dfa appointment
PHOTO DFA SITE
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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) neatly summarized the process for passports—whether to get your first ever one, renew, or replace a lost one—in this graphic. We unpack the many layers needed for each step.

Scheduling an Appointment

Appointments must be booked online through www.passport.gov.ph only. Through this site, you can schedule an appointment for an individual or for a group of up to five people. You can choose the date, site, and specific timeslot for depending on availability. Spoiler alert: Metro Manila sites are often fully booked months in advance.

dfa appointment
Where it all begins.
PHOTO Screenshot / Passport.Gov
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dfa appointment
PHOTO Screenshot / Passport.Gov
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If you are able to get the timeslot you want, you will then have to fill up several forms. This includes what kind of appointment you need (for new, renewal, or a lost passport); personal, family, contact information, and the like, depending on your appointment needs. Once you've put in all data, you will be asked to pay for the fees before your appointment is confirmed. More on the payment after some notes!

The first step is always the hardest, as they say. In this case though, it's really just a matter of timing. Booking an appointment online has been extra tricky lately, as the DFA reports that the number of slots available across the country were almost cut in half during the pandemic. Five new sites for passport appointments have been opened up, but those only operate till September.

Pro tips:

  • DFA sites can be booked up to three months in advance. This means that you can check every day to see if new timeslots have opened up. The DFA states on the site that "To the extent possible, additional slots are made regularly" so don't lose hope!
  • Be sure to use either a Google or Yahoo email account for the DFA to contact you properly.
  • Set aside at least 20 minutes to fill up the forms for booking an appointment. If you have an old passport, best to have it on hand in case you need the information.
  • The DFA has warned against folks advertising DFA appointments through social media. The online booking and payment was set up to avoid fixers and scammers.
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Paying for the Appointment

Once you've confirmed, you'll be brought to the payment processing page. The typical fees are P 1,200 for expedited processing (six working days for Metro Manila and seven for those outside) and P950 for regular processing (around 12 working days). From there, you can choose to pay online or over-the-counter at the different authorized payment centers. Note that payment centers charge an extra P50 convenience fee. If you go the over-the-counter route, DFA will send you an e-mail with a reference number to use when you pay. 

After you've paid, be on the lookout for a confirmation e-mail from DFA. This super important e-mail is called the "confirmed appointment packet." All necessary instructions are here so be sure to read it twice!

Pro tips:

  • The DFA does not do refunds! If you suddenly can't make it to your scheduled timeslot, the confirmation e-mail they send after you have paid will contain the link needed to reschedule. You can also e-mail the site of your booking. Note that the request for a new appointment date must be made no later that three days prior to original appointment date and the rescheduled date no longer than 30 days from the original appointment.

Fixing Your Requirements

A partial screenshot of a confirmation email from the DFA.
PHOTO screenshot DFA E-mail
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After you've read the confirmation e-mail twice, we suggest you read it again just to be totally sure. The e-mail will have a list of documents you need to bring for your face-to-face appointment—as well as a link to the proper forms (yes there are more!) depending on what it is you're trying to accomplish with your passport. The DFA site also has a list of requirements per specific type of application online.

We suggest just printing everything you possibly can, the e-mail included, to bring to your appointment. And don't forget your payment receipts, either!

The most basic requirements for an adult applicant are typically: 

  • The confirmed online appointment (a.k.a. a printout of the e-mail)
  • Accomplished application form
  • Current passport with photocopy of data page
  • A valid ID with one photocopy
  • For a change of name: An original Philippine Statistics Authority authenticated document (such as a marriage contract)

Pro tips:

  • This is a government transaction so be sure to use A4 paper for printing. 
  • Take note of the contact information in the e-mail in case you have more questions.
  • Take your checklist very seriously! Heck, why not read the e-mail again?

What to Do on the Day of the Appointment

The DFA would rather you didn't bring a companion, unless absolutely necessary, to the site. Don't forget that the pandemic is still very real! Bring your face shields, masks, alcohol, and all other basics. Be there 30 minutes early as well. The process inside the DFA will depend on your type of appointment so at this point, all we can say is that patience is a virtue.

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If you're getting a passport, you can choose to either return to the site on their said date (this requires a personal appearance again or a long and minorly inconvenient authorization process) or you can have it delivered to you. The DFA sites have an affiliated courier service inside the office, too. Typical rates are at P150. Note that the five new temporary sites do not have this courier service!

Pro tips:

  • Read the e-mail for the nth time and double-check that you have all requirements.
  • If you are bringing a car, be sure of the parking situation at your chosen site beforehand.
  • Don't forget the basics for any adulting-at-a-line experience: Water, ballpens, a fan, hanky, and whatever else you usually have in your #Adulting arsenal. 

Notes on the Courtesy Lane

There is only one "Courtesy Lane" for the DFA and it is at the ASEANA office in Parañaque. You can book an appointment through the usual site as well for this—just be sure you fall under the qualified categories (Read: senior citizens, pregnant women). 

Walk-ins are technically a no-no at any site, except for the DFA Aseana's Courtesy Lane. For that, "Only exceptional and emergency cases," can try their luck with a walk-in—except that they will also need approval from either the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; the Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns; or the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs. 

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