You’re gonna apply or renew your passport, huh? But as of today, you would’ve seen DFA’s passport appointment website like this:
Last Feb, the same thing happened. I went to passport.gov.ph to set an appointment for passport renewal. But all slots were full until June, in all satellite offices around Luzon. I was fidgety and worried since my passport would expire in 5 months. Unlike few years ago, I didn’t expect that setting an appointment would be this da*n hard! Nao-chan was even surprised that we need appointments to renew our passports since they don’t need one (Of course, Japan and Philippines are incomparable when it comes to systematicness).
I think there is something fishy about appointments getting fully booked like a flash. Others say that travel agencies/fixers reserve a lot of slots then offer them for a hefty price. And as a ‘kuripot’ person (I don’t have money tbh hahaha), I didn’t want to pay about Php5000 for something that is supposed to be free. Also, we shouldn’t let those agencies and ‘crocs’ gain profit from their monkey business. So it didn’t become an option for me and I already accepted my fate that I won’t get any appointments anytime soon.
Until the first week of March arrived. I was so lucky to be able to secure an appointment for passport renewal. It really felt like I accidentally scored a 3-point buzzer beater shot! So let me share how:
I was consistently checking the site to see if there were open slots for July and the following months. I checked all the schedules of consular offices around NCR and Southern Luzon, except Puerto Princesa (‘cos it’s way too far from here). Fortunately, I found a few open slots for April, DFA Legazpi. It was okay for me though it’s a 12-hour drive from here because it’s my dad’s hometown. He could definitely accompany me and it would nice also to see my titos and titas there. So I reserved that one, yay!
MY ADVICE: Fill out the application form quickly and make sure that there are no errors as you type your info. We are only given 15 minutes to temporarily reserve the slot and if you’re not fast enough, you’ll probably blow your chance away.
However, a week before April 7, I got busier and busier, that made me unsure if I could make it to my appointment. I was considering to cancel it, but I felt I’d wasted my chance. So instead of cancelling it right away, I tried to check again if there are any other open slots and thanks to my lucky stars, I found a VERY few of them open in DFA NCR North (Novaliches, QC) for April 4. It was sooner than my first secured slot but it’s relatively nearer and besides, I didn’t have to be away from home for few days.
MY ADVICE: Never EVER delete your first appointment as soon as you found a better schedule on their calendar otherwise you’ll end up losing your only precious appointment slot. It’s because most of the time, the DFA site gets very slow and goes down. Since the ‘Change Appointment’ option never worked when I found a better sched at that time, What I did was I chose the newly preferred schedule I found and filled in all the information needed at first. I only cancelled my previous appointment right before I hit the ‘Submit’ button for my new application. Take note that DFA prohibits multiple appointment applications so it’s a risky thing to do. It will be a lot better if you’d come to your first reserved appointment, when the ‘Change Appointment’ option is not working.
By the way, you might ask what time of the day can we get a higher chance to see available slots? Well, in my experience, I got my first appointment around 4PM and for my second one, I successfully got it around 2AM-3AM. It’s really hard to tell actually. Recently, I think DFA is kind enough to advice people to check their site daily for any re-opened slots, unlike last February, a cold ‘NO TIME SLOTS AVAILABLE’ message would just pop up on your screen, as far as i can remember.
Just like you, I’m also an ordinary person who’s annoyed with the current system. So, following my advice won’t guarantee 100% that you can get a passport appointment. We really need luck and eyebags to get one, friends! Please share your experiences in getting your passport by commenting below 🙂