Travel agencies, which were previously entitled to 1,200 fixed appointment slots for their clients, will no longer have the same privilege.
This is after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) removed the daily 1,200 fixed appointment slots for travel agencies.
This is good news especially to those who are applying for a passport for travel and employment abroad.
When I renewed my passport last year, I set my passport appointment in March but the slot that I got was for June. I waited more than 3 months to have my passport renewed.
My cousin missed a job opportunity abroad because he couldn’t book an earlier passport appointment schedule with the DFA.
The additional 1,200 passport appointment slots daily that are now available to regular applicants after the removal of travel agencies’ entitlement to fixed appointment slots, is truly a huge help to passport applicants.
“We want to give back the appointment slots to the Filipino public,” said Mr. Ricarte B. Abejuella III, acting director of the Passport Division of the Office of Consular Affairs.
It is just fair that clients of travel agencies should also go through the passport appointment system just like what regular applicants do.
Travel agency officers or staff will now be prohibited from entering the consular office premises to accompany or assist clients. This is to make sure that the new policy of the DFA would be enforced strictly.
Courtesy Lane Restrictions
In addition to the additional slots given to regular passport applicants, the DFA also announced that their DFA employees’ courtesy or express lane privilege will be restricted to their immediate family members only. These include the DFA employee’s spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.
As Mr. Abejuella further said, “We all need to make changes for everybody’s sake. We really want to give back the courtesy lane to those who are entitled to it.” These include the following individuals:
- senior citizens
- persons with disabilities
- pregnant women
- solo parents
- children 7 years old and below
- overseas Filipino workers
OFW passport applicants who are working abroad for the first time will benefit from this because they will also be given the privilege to use the courtesy lane.
“Our policy now is that no OFW should be left without a job just because he couldn’t get a passport,” he added.
Because of these reforms, an additional 94,350 slots from July to August and 86,889 in September have been opened to the Filipino public who are setting passport appointments.
How to Schedule Passport Appointment with the DFA
Applicants who want to apply for a new passport or renew their passport must schedule an appointment with the DFA.
This is done online by going to this website: Passport Appointment. You can either set Individual or Group appointment for Passport Application.
Remember, the appointment and scheduling system allocates slots on a first come, first served basis and only limited slots are available per site. If there’s no available slot on your chosen site, you may try other sites to see if they have available slots on your preferred schedule.