Saturday, September 24, 2016

How I resolved my mutilated / damaged Philippine passport

And until this date, I still can't figure out how my passport got damaged. 

I was sorting my personal documents at home when I thought of checking my passport. I have this weird habit of checking important documents every now and then. Even when I don't need them, even when I don't have travel plans. I started to browse the pages of my current passport to remind me how I hated my photo. :p When I reached the critical information page, I noticed a small area has been smudged. I later discovered that the smudges were actually water stains. I examined the extent of the stains and saw other forms of damages. The information page of my passport also has traces of creases.




At that time, I thought the damages meant nothing. My first concern was to determine how my passport acquired it. I have properly stored my documents in protective cases. Where did the water stains come from? My initial suspect was my frustration over the last trip. I went home unhappy so I was not mindful of my travel documents. I probably inserted my passport to a pouch that contains wet tissues or a hand sanitiser. Another possibility was when I used my passport to capture an Instagram photo. I remember taking a photo of my passport beside a jar of juice. 

I felt bothered so as always, I opted to consult .... with Google. ;) I found an archived interview with an officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Unfortunately, the damages discussed only dealt with torn or disintegrated passports. It took me some time before I was able to score reliable articles. Turns out, the legal term for damaged is mutilated. This was the main reason why it was hard for me to arrive at comprehensive leads. I eventually learned from another blogger (which I forgot, sorry) that having a damaged passport meant serious business.

My initial response was to book for a passport renewal appointment, which by the way took me half a day to acquire a decent schedule. When I started to book an appointment last August, the nearest dates available were from November to December. I patiently repeated the process until I landed on September 16. It still entailed waiting for more than a month, but never mind. It was way better than having a schedule on November. 

I felt complacent when I finally had a successful schedule. Days before my appointment, I started to google again leads for mutilated passports. Much to my surprise, there were additional requirements and steps for mutilated passports.

For renewal of passports*, the requirements are limited to

1. Confirmed Appointment
2. Expiring Passport
3. Photocopy of expiring passport
4. Valid IDs (not really needed, but better safe to have it)

*assuming you already have an e-passport. the requirement maybe different for holders of the green or machine readable passport

In cases of mutilated passports, the following are needed apart from what was previously identified 

1. Notarised Affidavit of Destruction / Mutilation - I got a copy from this site. 

If you are reading this hours / less than a day before your passport appointment, don't worry especially if your appointment is within DFA Aseana branch. They have an in-house notary office. :)

2. Approval / Endorsement from DFA's Passport Division - this will be given during the visit and interview with the officer from the Passport Division

The process of dealing with mutilated passport works the same as for the renewal. You need to line up for your appointment. In my case, the additional step happened when I submitted my passport to the assessing officer. The officer noticed that my passport was too early for renewal. At that stage, I admitted the damages in my passport. I was given a yellow note and requested to proceed to the Passport Division for interview.

Referral Slip from the Assessment Officer 


At the Passport Division, a courteous female officer asked me what happened to my passport. She  can't figure out the damages not until I pointed the water stains and creases. She later confirmed that my passport was indeed mutilated. I was initially endorsed to the notary office. But since I already have a prepared affidavit, the process was cut short. I was asked to wait for the approval and endorsement from their director. In less than a minute, I received the approval for early passport renewal because of mutilation. I was also reminded that renewal arising from mutilation is only allowed once. I cannot anymore have a passport replacement not until it expires in 2021.

Officer's Approval  from the Passport Division 

I submitted my damaged passport for cancellation and proceed with the succeeding steps for passport renewal.

And those who might be asking if there are additional fees, NONE. Yes, I simply paid for the cost of a newly issued passport. 

Honestly, I felt restless and uneasy during the entire process. I didn't commit something unlawful but my paranoid hormones were actively working. Hahaha It helped that the employees of the DFA's Aseana branch were very accommodating. I also have to commend the very efficient system of accommodating applicants.

Prior to my appointment in DFA Aseana, I also encountered other key information from other bloggers

1. I'm not sure, but a number of articles mentioned that mutilated passports are only processed in the main office or the DFA Aseana branch. 

I was not aware of this condition. I initially wanted to book an appointment from nearby satellite offices. Unfortunately or fortunately, the satellite offices were fully booked until November. I had no choice but to choose the DFA Aseana branch. I believe this saved me from more worries.

Other articles I encountered also mentioned that walk-in applicants for mutilated passports are accepted in DFA Aseana branch. You just need to tell the guard / information officer that your intention is to consult with the Officer from the Passport Division. Some bloggers mentioned that after their consultation with the Passport Division, they were allowed to immediately renew their passports.

It appears to me that a benefit of having a mutilated passport is the opportunity to by-pass the difficult online appointment. Either way, I don't recommend risking this opportunity. Based from my experience, the safest and surest path is to secure an online appointment.  

2. I encountered bloggers who were able to travel with mutilated passports. Also, the conditions for a passport to be considered as mutilated remain unclear... especially for cases like mine. Minor stains. Minor folds or creases. There's no clear cut policy that enlists all forms and extent of damages for a passport to be considered as mutilated. Everything boils down to the actual assessment of the officer.  The one thing I personally adhere to, damages in the information page are sure indicators or mutilated passports.

If you are bound to apply for a tourist visa, I don't suggest risking the mutilated passport. It will surely be more inconvenient to secure a visa and later discover that your passport is declared as mutilated. 

3. The gray line is always on the question of.... maliit lang naman ang damage sa passport ko. (My passport only have minor and almost negligible forms of damages) Here's what I learned from another blogger. Try having your passport checked by an immigration officer. You can visit the immigration office in NAIA or their main office in Intramuros. You can have your passport checked if despite the damage, it can still be read by the passport scanning machine. 

I didn't anymore try this strategy. I discovered this way too late, after successfully booking an appointment from DFA. If you live / work near NAIA or the main office of the Bureau of Immigration, it might be convenient. But for people who can't easily file a leave for work, I don't anymore recommend this step. 

At this stage, I'm just waiting for the delivery of my passport. Despite the absence of travel plans, I felt compelled to resolve my damaged passport. Other than travel, I actually use my passport as valid proof of identification.

I have to commend the efficient system and the customer oriented employees of the DFA Aseana branch. Thank you for treating me well. :) 

52 comments

  1. That was a lot of work for you, especially finding out all the information for the process. Soon you will have your new passport and be set to travel when you want.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, I found hope in your blog. I also have a mutilated passport and i am booked for an out of the country vacation next month. So I went to DFA Aseana earlier and was told by as female staff at the Information Counter at Door 1 that I should have an appointment before the processing of the renewal of the mutilated passport can proceed. She said vacation is not a valid reason for the walk in processing as the reason should be an emergency like Death or Medical reasons or I should be an OFW. Reading your blog, I did not know that I can get an approval from the Passport Division so processing can proceed. May I just ask where is this Passport office? Is this also in Door 1? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I found hope in your blog. I also have a mutilated passport and i am booked for an out of the country vacation next month. So I went to DFA Aseana earlier and was told by as female staff at the Information Counter at Door 1 that I should have an appointment before the processing of the renewal of the mutilated passport can proceed. She said vacation is not a valid reason for the walk in processing as the reason should be an emergency like Death or Medical reasons or I should be an OFW. Reading your blog, I did not know that I can get an approval from the Passport Division so processing can proceed. May I just ask where is this Passport office? Is this also in Door 1? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, I found hope in your blog. I also have a mutilated passport and i am booked for an out of the country vacation next month. So I went to DFA Aseana earlier and was told by as female staff at the Information Counter at Door 1 that I should have an appointment before the processing of the renewal of the mutilated passport can proceed. She said vacation is not a valid reason for the walk in processing as the reason should be an emergency like Death or Medical reasons or I should be an OFW. Reading your blog, I did not know that I can get an approval from the Passport Division so processing can proceed. May I just ask where is this Passport office? Is this also in Door 1? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your case validates the questionable aspect I encountered. I read some bloggers claiming that they went to the Passport Division first. After securing the clearance from an officer, they were able to renew their passport without an appointment. This move is risky. I didn't really recommend. But your case validates everything. The safer way is to book an appointment before meeting the officer from the Passport Division.

      Passport Division is the partitioned office in the main waiting area... the step 1 : verification of appointment.

      if you are in a hurry, I suggest hiring another travel company who does expedited passport.

      Hope this helps

      Delete
  5. Damage n din poh ba yong passport ko nagkaron poh kc ng scratch sa front cover?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy! I'm not sure about your case. As I have mentioned in the post, it's quite unclear what are the grounds / criteria to declare passport as damaged or mutilated... especially for minor cases. Minor scratch, minor creases... what I suggest, try showing your passport to any DFA office. Another option would be to the Bureau of Immigration

      Hope this helps

      Delete
  6. Yung passport ko nagkaroon lang ng bura dun sa last page sa may (in case of emergency) yung telephone number kasi nung sinukat q kumakat yung ink. Hindi na ba pwede yun?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daisy! Like what I said in the post, I think we don't have a clear cut guidelines and description for mutilated passports. The problem is always, for minor damages like your case. I suggest, punta ka sa Bureau of Immigration and have it checked. But the surest way is sa DFA. Have it checked, to verify if it is really mutilated / damaged. If considered as damaged, you have to book for an appointment. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  7. Dfa website says, "Lost-valid passport applicant may proceed directly to the Consular Records Division at DFA-Aseana without an appointment or as a “walk-in”. But when i called their main branch, the staff told me to get an appointment. I also asled for the requirements she said, just bring the passport and your birth certificate, which is weird bec she didnt say anything about an affidavit. Im now confused. .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beatriz! The safest way is to book an appointment. I'm not just sure if mutilated passports are accepted in the satellite offices. In my case, I was not asked for a copy of my Birth Certificate but I had it with me just to be sure. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  8. Hi! I just need to know if they returned your mutilated passport after applying for a replacement/renewal? I had a similar case back in 2009 but I can't locate my mutilated passport anymore & its required for my US visa immigrant interview now. I can't recall anymore if they gave it back or not (since its already mutilated) because I have all my expired passports except for that particular one. Your answer to my query would be most helpful. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chiqui! Yes the mutilated passport was returned to me.

      Delete
  9. Hi, I also have a stain on my passport like yours, but I don't have anymore time to renew/change it since I will leave the country this friday. Do you think I will still be allowed to travel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Is it in the information page as well? If it's on the other pages, they might allow. (I'm not really the best person to answer) But if the stain is on the information page, I suggest visiting the airport and relating your concern to the Bureau of Immigration. Let them check if your passport can still be read by the machine and still valid for travel. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  10. Hi how long did it take before you got the new passport?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think less than 2 weeks because I opted for expedite processing.

      Delete
  11. Hi po. Gaano po katagal bago nyo po nakuha yung replace passport nyo po?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Less than 2 weeks for expedite processing :)

      Delete
  12. Ate!!! Pa-help po... I'm so worried kaya nagpa-appointment po kami ng Mommy ko sa DFA.. wala naman pong stain yung passport ko pero nabasa po sya... readable po lahat ng nasa information... ilang araw Ate bago mo po nakuha yung passport mo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marga! I opted for expedite processing. I think I got my passport for less than two weeks.

      Also, allow me clarify the "readable" we may have a different interpretation. It's possible that the details in your passport is still "readable." However, you have to consider if your passport can still be read by the scanning machine used by the Immigration Officer. I have read a case wherein her passport got water stains in the pages where the immigration officer places the stamp of departure. In such case, the passport was already declared as mutilated.

      I think only the authorized people from govt. can declare whether a passport is mutilated or not. Better if you have your passport checked from DFA.

      If you are willing to pay extra, you can also seek the assistance of travel agencies. They can help you seek for a replacement and schedule in the soonest time.

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for publishing this article. My passport's stained with water as well. Good thing I was able to find your blog, now I know what to do. Thank you so much!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure :) Hope everything is well now with your passport.

      Delete
  14. Hello, once they figured out that passport is mutilated, how early were you able to process it for renewal? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! When I discovered that my passport has water stains, I immediately booked for renewal. It was during the renewal process when my passport was also declared as mutilated. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  15. Hi ung passport ko kase nasunog pero kita p nman ung name at passport number ko at picture ko pero expired n cya. ano kaya need ko at saan ako kukuha ng affidavit? Sa new appointment b ako o sa renew?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi ask ko lng nasunog kse ung passport ko pero kita p naman ung name at passport number at pic ko at expired n rin cya. ano kaya need ko at saan ako kukuha ng affidavit of mutilated? Saka ano pipiliin ko new applicant o renew?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi ung passport ko kase nasunog pero kita p nman ung name at passport number ko at picture ko pero expired n cya. ano kaya need ko at saan ako kukuha ng affidavit? Sa new appointment b ako o sa renew?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angelo! While I'm not in the position to answer, I think serious issue yung may sunog or traces of burns and passport. Pero you said na expired na siya, so in the end, you need to book for an appointment online. Yung sa case ko kasi, hindi pa expired pero mutilated na. Kaya naman, kumuha ako ng affidavit. I need a new passport kasi mutilated / damaged na yung passport ko.

      Yung sa last question mo, sa renewal option ang piliin mo.

      Delete
  18. Hi. Nabasa passport ko and I need to fly to AU on 25 June. OK nmn yung biopage pero nagkawater Mark Yung may stamp Ng isang place na napuntahan ko. Parang gusto ko muna itry yung Sabi mo na pede ipacheck sa immigration office? Pano Po Yun? Pupuntahan Lang?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi. Nabasa passport ko and I need to fly to AU on 25 June. OK nmn yung biopage pero nagkawater Mark Yung may stamp Ng isang place na napuntahan ko. Parang gusto ko muna itry yung Sabi mo na pede ipacheck sa immigration office? Pano Po Yun? Pupuntahan Lang?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't answer po re: watermark sa ibang pages. Visit lang po kayo ng immigration office, either sa airport or sa main office nila in Intramuros

      Delete
    2. Hi pepper. Please give an update kung nakaalis ka? I am travelling in 1 week as well. Sabi kasi sa main office ng immigration di nila masisigurado ang magiging desisyon sa airport.

      Delete
  20. Hello Diane, I recently discovered that my passport upper side got stained by my blue pen. It stained some part of my face and the words above it. Now I have booked an appointment for renewal in the closest available date as I am off to Thailand in coming September. I live in Makati presently, and most of the branches available date are in September, so I went to choose Baguio for July 26 16pm, its the only nearest date available.

    What should I do? You said that "a number of articles mentioned that mutilated passports are only processed in the main office or the DFA Aseana branch."

    I'll sure to call the DFA, but I'm totally stressted now!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Diane, I recently discovered that my passport upper side got stained by my blue pen. It stained some part of my face and the words above it. Now I have booked an appointment for renewal in the closest available date as I am off to Thailand in coming September. I live in Makati presently, and most of the branches available date are in September, so I went to choose Baguio for July 26 16pm, its the only nearest date available.

    What should I do? You said that "a number of articles mentioned that mutilated passports are only processed in the main office or the DFA Aseana branch."

    I'll sure to call the DFA, but I'm totally stressted now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I encountered a number of articles saying that mutilated passports are only processed in the main branch. Hence, I played safe. I booked an appointment in Aseana.

      You made the right move to call the DFA office. Another option is to seek the assistance of travel agencies. Most travel agencies offer expedite passport renewal. Although this comes with additional fee. Travel agencies stationed inside the mall usually offer this kind of service. You might likewise want to inquire from them

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
    2. Hello Diane, thank you for replying. I just called DFA Baguio, they confirmed that they do process "mutilated renewal passport" :) I just need to get a notarized affidavit of mutilation.

      My plan B was travel agencies, but I am happy that I don't have to do that. I just need to book a hotel in Baguio for July. Thank you again for help!

      Delete
    3. Hi again! Glad to hear that everything is working great for you. Your input will also be helpful to other readers who might land here in the future. :)

      Good luck and enjoy the unexpected Baguio trip :)

      Delete
  22. hi po mutilated dn po ung passport ko,nilabhan kc ng mama ko ung bag ko at di nya alam nasa loob ang pasport ko,faded na po ung ibang print sa front page so i decidef to renew kc un sbi ng tga.DFA, nung May 16 po ung apointment ko,notarizedtafidavit of explaination lng at photocopy of pasport lang hiningi,so aun ok naman at ung bnigyan n ako ng eta whch is june 14 pero nung june 13 ngtxt sakn ang dfa saying na hndi pa dw ready for release ung pasport ko at mgtxt lang dw cla pg meron nang ETA, EH MORE THAN A WEEK N NKALIPAS WLA PA DIN,BTW REGULAR PROCESSING LNG UNG SAKEN ,SNA PLA EXPEDITE NLNG PINILI KO,NGAUN KO lng kc nbasa blog mu,worried aq kung anu problema kbkt ndelayd gayung minor mutilatiôn lng naman un,my alam ka bng cases n ganito,?gusto ko sana malaman ganu pa kaya ktagal bgo mrelease ung bgo kng pasport,my travel plans kc kmi at wla aq idea kung kelan ko mkukuha un

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will be issued a new passport because your passport is already mutilated. I believe, same system siya with those na nag-renew ng passport.

      Problem is nasa DFA na siya ngayon, at sila lang ang may hold and control over everything. If it is not inconvenient for you, why not visit the DFA office. Sa kanila ka mismo mag follow up. Medyo nakakaabala lang talaga, but follow up ka na lang from them lagi.

      Delete
  23. Hello po.. ask ko lang po sana kung paano ang gagawin ko.. kasi yung passport ko po inanay pero ok naman po yung page na may picture ko and info..paano po ba gagawin ate? oct 6 po expiration ng passport ko .. kailangan parin po ba ng affidavit? And saan po kaya pwede mag walkin? Thank you po!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rhona! Kung October 6 ang expiration ng passport mo, I suggest magbook na na ng renewal. Pede ka na mag renew as early as today. (If my knowledge re: 6 months before expiration holds true.) I guess hindi mo na kailangan ng affidavit kasi, expired passport to renewal na ang apply-an mo. In my case kasi, malayo pa sa expiration when my passport was damaged.

      Delete
  24. Hello Dianne,

    My passport got small wet stains on the lower right corner (including info page) due to wet tissues. I'm planning to have it checked before travel. My question is, where is the BOI office in Naia? Do you mean the pre-departure immigration officers? Thanks !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gemma! You can ask any information officer at the airport. Haven't really seen it but I believe they have a separate office to answers queries and other concerns.

      Delete
  25. Hi. Yung passport ko po kasi sinulatan nang lip pencil nang baby ko. Dun sa page na pinagtatatakan. Pero yung info ko po malinis. Damaged na ba sya kapag ganun? Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I'm not really sure about your case. As mentioned in the post, problem kasi is the parameters of mutilated passports are not clearly stated. I guess, dependent lahat sa examination ng officer. I suggest bring it sa DFA office, kahit sa satellite offices lang. Magbaka sakali ka lang, baka may mapagtanungan ka na officer. Hope this helps

      Delete
  26. hi po. magtatanong lang po ako kasi nagkaroon ng ngatngat ng daga sa back cover ng passport ko sobrang liit lang po talaga. gusto ko po sana pumunta sa dfa aseana to check kung multilated yon. meron po akong appointment sa sm manila on septembr 13. papayagan po kaya ako makapagpacheck ng passport ko? for checking purpose lang po talaga then ang renew ko sa sm manila. last yr lang po kasi ako kumuha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abigail! Pwede ka naman pumunta sa DFA Aseana. Tell them sa Passpport Division ka pupunta, papa-check mo lang kung considered mutilated ang passport mo.

      Delete
  27. Hello Diane,

    Regarding po sa affidavit, I noticed "Series of 2014" yung nasa dulo.
    Can I edit it to the current year or leave it as is? Legal doc kasi to kaya di ako sure kung pwede e edit.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Diane,

    Tanong ko lang regarding sa affidavit. Ok lang po ba e edit yung nasa dulo na "Series of 2014"?
    Legal doc po kasi to kaya di ako sure if pwede e modify.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Miti! Yes, just edit it to series of 2017. Inedit ko din siya when I used it.

      Delete

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