This afternoon, I got my new maroon machine-readable Philippine passport:-). I filed for the renewal of my passport last January 18 at the Philippine Embassy located in Itaewon. Processing for the renewal of passport takes one month from processing date. The one-month duration is the same even if one is renewing his passport in the Philippines. The difference is, when the applicant is in the Philippines, he could opt to pay more for express processing which will take 20 days.
True enough, when I called the Philippine Embassy last February 19, I was informed that my passport is ready for pick-up. I got the luxury of time this afternoon while my son was sleeping in his stroller. I made sure that the Itaewon Station has an elevator before I set off to get my passport. Online connvenience is one of the blessings of being in South Korea. You can check out the subway map online and you can check if there is an elevator. Obviously, I have a thing for elevator. I go to places with my son… and his stroller.
For Philippine-passport holders living in South Korea who have not yet renewed their passport, the Philippine Embassy is open from Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5:30pm. I actually almost didn’t make it as I arrived a few minutes before 4:30pm. As I was waiting for my passport in the counter, the blinds were rolled down and the front door was closed. I inquired why and I was told that the cut-off is at 4:30pm but they still accommodate visitors until 5:30pm. They do work until 5:30pm. Question: How can you accommodate visitors when the door had been closed? Just asking. I guess, I was lucky to arrive a few minutes before 4:30pm.
It was a relief to arrive at the Embassy this afternoon with just about four people waiting for their own documents. The only other times I set foot inside the Embassy were on a Sunday. In consideration of Filipinos who do not have time to go to the Embassy on weekdays, it is open from 9am-12noon on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Forms are available for download from the Philippine Embassy website but these can be easily obtained at the counter in the embassy. In fact, it is also available in the Philippine store where you can have your passport picture taken and conveniently have your documents photocopied. I even suggest that you have your picture taken here rather than have it taken somewhere else as the Department of Foreign Affairs is very strict with its specifications. One lady brought along her own set of pictures but was promptly rejected. So, she had to have her picture taken again.
Just present your current passport and make sure that you have the exact amount of 52,650won for the processing fee for renewal of passport. I handed 60,000won and got back the change this afternoon when I claimed my passport. It seems to be the standard procedure as my husband also experienced the same. In fairness, the embassy staff carefully notes down the amount you hand in. But if you don’t want to be bothered by such a petty matter, better prepare the exact amount:-).