Saturday, June 02, 2012

Getting a Minor's Passport

I got my younger daughter's passport middle of last month. Me, my wife and two daughters have passports already. My elder daughter got her passport in May 2008. I brought her and my wife to Hong Kong in June 2008 when I attended the 2nd Pacific Rim Policy Exchange where I was given a travel scholarship (plane fare, hotel, registration fee, all free) by the main organizer, the Americans for Tax Reforms.  My daughter was only 1 year and 8 months old then.

The requirements to get a passport for my second child, below two years old, were simple:

Traveling with mother only:

* Passport of mother, original and photocopy.
* Original Birth Certificate from NSO in SECPA
* Personal appearance of minor with either parent.

Getting an appointment online is simple, but for those who have no access to the internet, they have to call a customer service agent (service is free, at least) and be interviewed by phone, normally would take about 15 minutes.

Problem is that if one is rushing to get a passport due to some emergency situations, the soonest time that one can get to have an appointment is about one week from the time he/she has applied online or called the customer service center. After the personal appearance on appointment day, the soonest time to get the passport is after seven working days for express service (fee is P1,200) while who are not rushing can opt for the regular service, passport released after 15 working days (fee is P900).

Our passports. Mine will expire in April next year. But technically, a passport has only 4 1/2 years old validity because if the passport is expiring within six months, a person cannot travel, he must get a new passport again.

This means lots of revenues for the DFA as tens of millions of Filipinos get a new passport every 4 1/2 years or so.

I wished that the DFA Passport Division will end those long lines. Get more staff if necessary, be open 12 hours day, or be open 6-7 days a week if necessary. When you make a person with work stay for half day just to get a passport, and there are thousands of Filipinos that line up there each day, that is several millions of man-hours that are wasted.

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