About two months ago, the plight of Filipinos hard-up in renewing their passport was picked up by one of UAE’s leading newspaper. The first article interviewed kabayans queueing as early as 2a.m. just to apply. And because there is no clear information on the requirements, others have to come back the next day and join another long line. Filipinos who are working in far areas like Ras Al Khaimah has to stay in Dubai for three days just to apply. I wonder what the Embassy think of us OFWs? That we don’t have anything to do here but renew passport?
One Filipino staff of the Embassy was interviewed and said they will no longer accept the list made as early as 4 a.m.. More importantly, he said they will accept walk-in applicants. But when the newspaper made a follow-up report, nothing much has changed. The second article was even accompanied by a photo with Filipinos yet in another long que. I followed the story closely because my passport is about to expire in six months.
In a bid to minimize stress (and frustration) of visiting the Embassy, the family decided we will all renew our passport in Abu Dhabi. This is the prevailing process. I (hope) it will change (for the better) in the next six months or so.
1. Check you passport expiry. It is better to renew early than pay 80AED (973.71 PHP) for extension. It takes about 60 days for your new passport to arrive upon application.
2. Abu Dhabi is not the easiest to drive around but the Philippine Embassy is easy to locate. The map is available on the website http://philembassy.ae . Just follow Al Falah Street and go straight ahead. The street numbers increases as you move on so don’t be put off seeing street 4, 5, etc.. Be careful when driving – at mas mababait ang tsuper sa Dubai.
3. Get an appointment first. You don’t have to bring your whole group. One person can go and ask for appointment. The person will write your names on the log book and you will be given an appointment. In Abu Dhabi, you will get an appointment in two days. In Dubai, it will take you one week.
4. The person will be given a one-page application form. You can also download the form from the Embassy website.
5. Do not bother to spend money on passport photo. They will take you photo right there – whether you are wearing a collared shirt or not. So if you want to look presentable, bring a light jacket. Ladies will also be asked to remove earrings. No separate fee for the photo.
6. On the day of your appointment, try to be an hour early for your appointment unless you want to spend two hours in pila.
7. Bring your original passport, a copy of the first and the last page of your passport (hindi copy ng passport ng employer nyo as few Filipinas did). A nearby shop with copier will cost you 15AED (175 PHP) for the trip alone.
8. The vendors outside the Embassy gate sell one of the best tasting dinuguan lol! So if you come around lunch time, you can buy food and water from them.
9. The cost is 240AED (2,801.12 PHP) each passport.
10. Enjoy chatting with fellow Pinoys!