UPDATE AS OF APRIL 2014: The process of renewing your Philippine passport has been changed. You will have to make an appointment on their website: Dubai PCG Passport Appointments. I have not tried renewing my passport with this procedure so I’m not really sure how this one goes. The blog below is all about their old procedure.
Surprisingly, the process to renew your passport nowadays here in Dubai is quick and hassle-free. When I say quick, of course I meant staying there for only 2 hours instead of 5 which was how it used to be 3 years ago when I did the same procedure. I remember last 2010 when I first renewed my passport here in Dubai, it was the most horrifying experience I’ve ever had with the Consulate. It was a September, hot and humid. All of the applicants had to wait in line OUTSIDE of the Consulate until their numbers are called. Of course there was no shade at the time and all of us poor souls were under the heat of the Dubai sun for about 2 hours. Then another 3 hours were spent inside the Consulate itself for the REAL passport renewal procedures.
I hate going to the Philippine Consulate. Apart from the fact that the location is in the middle of nowhere, everything that you’d want to do there will require at least 2 hours of your time. At the very least. So I was really surprised that the whole process of this passport renewal was only 2 hours, I was ready to spend almost my entire day off in the Consulate when I went there last 10th of June.
So here’s the guideline for Philippine Passport Renewal and Collection Process in Dubai
HOW TO RENEW YOUR PHILIPPINE PASSPORT IN DUBAI:
Like the PCG Dubai and N. Emirates page on Facebook. Yes, I am dead serious. After liking the page, SEND THEM A MESSAGE on the same Facebook page to request for an appointment mentioning your full name, old passport number and mobile number. I repeat, SEND THEM A MESSAGE. Do not post your details on their wall. Somehow, some people couldn’t understand this simple instruction posted by the Consulate:
Funny thing is, right after that post – people are still posting their details right at the comment box. It makes me wonder how they are able to survive their lives for that long if they are unable to comprehend such a simple instruction. Anyhow, as soon as I sent my details they have replied back to me with the date and time of appointment. I sent my request 21st of April and the appointment they have given me was for 10th of June. So you better do your appointments ahead of time.
Prepare all the necessary documents:
1. Print out of the appointment letter they sent you via Facebook.
2. Photocopy of your passport’s date page.
3. Photocopy of your residence visa.
4. Photocopy of the last page of your passport.
5. Completed E-Passport Application Form
6. AED240 processing fee (exact amount is recommended)
On the day of your appointment, go to the Consulate on your designated time. Gone are the days when you have to be at the Consulate at 7am to fall in line before they even open for business as they won’t accept your application anyway until the time that was indicated on your appointment letter. My appointment was for 10am, I arrived at 0930hrs and was asked to wait in a makeshift, air conditioned, enclosed area outside of the consulate. At around 1005hrs, passports of those applicants with 10 to 11 am appointment were collected and we were asked to proceed to the Passport Processing Area. You cannot outsmart them though as they would ask for your appointment letter before collecting your passports. If your appointment’s for a later time, you’ll have to wait. :p
Inside the Passport Processing Area is a short queue, they basically just give you a receipt and check if you’ve filled out the form correctly. You will then proceed to the Fourth Step.
Payment of the processing fee. You will not get lost as the Consulate has taken great efforts to put some signs around the vicinity on where to go next. At the Passport Processing Area, you will also see some instructions on how to go to the Cashier. Unless you’re unable to read, you won’t get lost. The processing fee is AED240 and as previously mentioned, bringing the exact amount if highly recommended.
Now this is where I spent most of my time, the encoding area. The good news is, you will be seated as you’re in line. The applicants will move from one seat to the next until they reach the first seat which means that your application will be processed next. I think I have spent a maximum of 1hr and 30mins in this area but it wasn’t really an issue for me though. I brought a book with me but did not even read a single page of it as I was busy talking to the girl sitting next to me. LOL. On your turn, they will input your details in the system and your biometrics will also be taken (thumbprints). Now the dreaded part of passport application will also be done on this step – the photo.
Here’s a general question, why aren’t you supposed to smile on passport photos? Are you not supposed to be happy that you’ll be having a new passport soon? Will it be easier for the Immigration officers all over the world to identify a terrorist if they are not smiling on their passport photos? I am not used to smiling without showing all my teeth when my photo is taken. Having said that, I assure you that my new passport will carry a shitty photo of myself for the next three years.
Also, you will be asked to remove your earrings if you’re wearing any before your photo is taken. Why? You’re even asking why? Its because earrings can be used as a disguise. It totally changes your facial features and they don’t want that. Of course I’m being sarcastic. Dafuq do they have against earrings? I don’t really get the logic of it, specially if you’re just wearing a simple and small stud. Unless of course you’re wearing the below earrings because they might think you’re an ostrich or something, trying to get a passport:
I removed mine dutifully and didn’t ask why. However, if you do know why they don’t want you to wear your earrings on your passport photo – please do let me know.
At this point, you are done. The hard part is over. Now the waiting game is on. They say that it will take a maximum of 8 weeks for your new passport to be released however, it took me about 4 months to get my new passport the last time I renewed it in Dubai. So all we can do now is to wait and hope for the best.
For more information, you may visit the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai Website.
*********** PASSPORT COLLECTION *************
So an update, I have finally received my passport and believe it or not it didn’t take 8 weeks as what they have initially advised me. I was constantly checking their website for the latest passport releases and on the 16th of July I saw my name amongst the list. So basically, it took them merely 5 weeks and 2 days to process it. Not too bad specially since my first passport renewal here in Dubai took about 4 months.
HOW TO COLLECT YOUR RENEWED PHILIPPINE PASSPORT IN DUBAI:
1. Check the PCG Dubai website for new passport releases. They will not be sending you any alerts thru text so you really have to check their website constantly.
2. Once your name is finally listed amongst the new passport releases, you can go the Philippine Consulate right away. I went there 2 days after it was released so I’m not very sure if you’ll be able to collect your passport on the same day that they have updated it on their website. Also, please be mindful of their office timings. Since it is the Ramadan month, they are only working from 8am to 1pm. It’s a good thing that I saw it on their website as I was planning to go in the afternoon.
3. Upon arrival at the consulate, proceed to 4B door. I’m not very sure if it is 4B or 48 or maybe it’s totally wrong. LOL. Well, to make it easier for you – it’s the door of the villa on your left as soon as you enter past thru the gate. You will then see a very unhappy receptionist who couldn’t be bothered when you ask him a question. I suggest for you to not ask him any question if you don’t want to be deliberately ignored and just proceed directly to the glass window which says “PASSPORT COLLECTION”. There will be a tiny box on that counter and a small sign saying “PUT YOUR OLD PASSPORT AND RECEIPT HERE”, just follow that instruction and don’t even bother asking the staff behind that counter as they seem to be all miserable. Seriously, they all seem to be very miserable with their lives. None of them were smiling and most of them were rude in that section. I don’t really know why. Is it like a pre-requisite when you apply for a Consulate/Embassy job? That you must be miserable?
4. Once you’ve put your passport and receipt inside the tiny box, you can relax now for a bit and just wait for your name to be called. It might take some time, it took about 30 minutes for me. Don’t worry, you’ll have a lot of entertainment around you to not make you feel bored. Try observing the miserable staff behind the counters. LOL/ Once they’ve handed you your passport, check if all the details are correct and then you’re good to go.
So then now you can use your brand new passport to explore the world. The sad thing about seeing my new passport is the photo, I always look bad in passport photos.
It looks like a mug shot and I’m about to cry and what the f is up with my hair? I look like a grown ass Simba with a very untamed hair. Ooooopf!