Saturday, February 20, 2010

E-Passport: Some Lessons Learned

We have finally applied for an E-Passport. Just yesterday actually. Took us an hour and a half but there were four of us and there were three pitstops all-in-all (application window, cashier, data capture) so it was not actually that bad. Especially for a government office (no offence meant Ü).

I am not about to tell you how the entire process took place since I wouldn't want to bore you guys to death (But the online appointment process was a different story. Hehehe!), so i'm just going to write about some lessons learned in our application for E-Passport:

The last page of the old passport should be photocopied as well. » The DFA website did not list this down as one of the requirements. It only said "photocopy of old passport data page" so that was the only page of the old passport that we all had on hand. Good thing that there was no line in the photocopy station which is conveniently located in the same room as where the applications are passed so the only downside here is that I had to pay P3.00 for each copy made, which I could have copied at less than P1.00 per page if outside the DFA.

Each applicant should have a copy of the confirmation letter. » Since we were applying as one family, I only printed out one copy of the letter. Turns out, each person should have a copy of the confirmaton letter. My bad.

Practice smiling without showing any teeth. » Or don't smile at all. I wasn't able to practice this hence, mukha akong natatae sa passport picture ko. Goodness gracious! I'd have to endure 5 years of this picture. I guess it's OK to request for several shots of you to be taken (I only had two shots) but since my 2nd take looked a lot like my first one, I decided that this was going to be a lost cause so I just chose the picture depicting a less natatae version of me. Afterwhich I realized, I should've tried NOT smiling in my picture. But this realization came after everything has been said and done. Oh well. Lesson learned. Practice makes perfect.

Conceal those eyebags. » To make matters worse, aside from looking like i'm about to head to the nearest toilet, I also had major eyebags in my passport picture. I was just too shy to re-touch my make-up while already on the seat to have my picture taken so I just decided to let it be since I already looked stupid in my picture anyway. Oh, but don't put too much make-up. You still have to look like yourself in the picture.

Remove any unecessary objects in your face. » And I mean contact lenses and bangs (and I guess nose rings or eyebrow rings or any other what-have-yous that did not originally come with your face). The person behind the counter asked me if I was wearing contact lenses and I said "No." then wondered why he was asking me this since my eyes are black. Or brown. I don't really know. But It's not as if I was wearing colored contact lenses. Maybe it was just mandatory for him to ask. And then came the bangs. Both eyebrows should be seen in the picture so I had to put my bangs all the way to the side, which was such a feat because it kept falling back to my face. But all's well that end's well. Or in my case, all's not well but everything has to end.

Double-check all details. » A family friend wasn't able to properly double-check his passport details and was one letter off in one of his details so he had to start all over again (this was after he received the actual passport). The data capture people (those who took our pictures & fingerprints) will request for you to double check the details that they've manually inputted in the screen so it's your responsibility to double (or triple) check everything. Plus, they'll ask you to sign a waiver saying that should there be any wrong details in your passport, DFA won't be held liable and that you'll have to do everything all over again. And that includes having to pay for the P950 processing fee. Again. And waiting for another 14 days. Again.

Gate 3 is along Libertad St. » The confirmation letter told us to proceed to Gate 3, the entrance of which is actually located along Libertad St. So park along this street if a parking spot is available. I parked along the service road (P30/4 hours), near the front of the DFA building (infront of Maliziia Bar to be exact) thinking that that's where the entrance for applications are. Apparently not. But it's not a long walk anyway and a bit of exercise doesn't hurt.

I hope these lessons I've learned will be able to help out at least one other person applying for an E-Passport so that i'll be able to say: "Mission Accomplished!" This will be all for now. If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to do so by adding a comment below. And to all those applying for an E-Passport: I hope your picture turns out decent...unlike mine. HAHAHA!Ü Til then, guys!

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