Wednesday, September 23, 2015

HOWTO: Renew your Philippine Passport in Kuala Lumpur
Year 2015 Edition

It's that time of the decade again

Normal Philippine passports last for about 5 years. For OFWs or people living outside the motherland, that's technically 4.5 years since you need to renew your passport way before it expires to transfer the visas or to tailor fit the whole renewal process to accommodate your planned trips.

So I'm going to try and outline the steps I took from deciding if it's time to renew my passport to actually going to the embassy and applying for a renewal.

A common question one would ask is, "How early do I need to renew my passport?"

I had to renew my passport 1 year early. Talk about wasting that 1 year validity (considering the renewal cost is not cheap like if we renew passport from the Philippines -- I blame the courier costs)

Skip to the process by clapping three times and then clicking this link.

Why I had to renew ~1 year early 

Here are some of the reasons why I chose to renew early:

Some random dates I had to consider

  1. Passport Expiry: August 2016
  2. Employment Pass Expiry: June 2016
  3. Confirmed Travel: December 2015, January 2016
  4. Possible Travels: February 2016

Advised Turnaround Times

  1. Passport Renewal: 2-3 Months 
  2. Transfer of Employment Pass to new passport: 3-5 working days
  3. Employment Pass Renewal: 6-8 weeks

Additional Stuff to factor in:

  1. Earliest you can renew your employment pass: 90 days before expiry (March 2016)
  2. Employment Pass validity if you want to apply for tourist visas: 3 months (Japan)
  3. Passport validity if applying for tourist visas: 6 months 
  4. If you (for any reason one can think of) have not yet properly processed your POEA/OWWA, add some time for that process (that's a whole other banana that I won't dare touch, best of luck na lang!)

So from all the random dates and periods I outlined above, my travel plans are whacked.

Before the February 2016 plans got sidetracked, there was only 1 window for me to renew my passport, which is ASAP, to avoid the max period 3 months falling to December. (*knocks on wood*)

But now that February 2016 is no longer in the pipeline, there are now actually 2 possible windows:
1. ASAP (September 2015)
2. January 2016, after the confirmed trip I have in January.

In my case, the process will be like this:

Passport Renewal (Sept to December 2015) -->  Transfer of EP to new passport (3-5 working days) -->

Followed by EP renewal on March 2016.

If you are still in the decision phase, I advise you to list down all the dates as I did above, and see if you can find the appropriate time windows for the processes.


the new and updated requirements!

Before we start, head to the Philippine Embassy web site to take a look at the requirements
The following list is taken from the embassy web site, with updated comments in orange by me!
  1. e-passport form, download it here
  2. e-passport fee: 240255 MYR (source) Double check the correct fee as they just increased recently (Sept. 21, 2015)
  3. Present passport and photocopy of inside and back cover; Don't forget to photocopy page 2! Don't be like me who obeyed the above instruction to the letter, and just photocopied the inside and back cover (so smart!). 
  4. The pages showing latest Bureau of Immigration departure and arrival stamps; I photocopied the pages with the last arrival/departure from the Philippines and the last arrival/departure from Malaysia (since they were not the same -- came from a Singapore trip)
  5. For illegitimate minor, personal appearance of mother is required;
  6. Photocopy of the Work Permit in Malaysia (Proof of Residency); and,
  7. Photocopy of Employment Contract. Bring your contract (may or may not be POLO verified, seems they are not strict with it being POLO verified contract)
Embassy hours: 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Monday to Friday. (source)
Attire: No slippers, sandos or shorts. Doesn't seem to be strict on the attire now.

If you missed any of the requirements to be photocopied, the nearest shop is EXPrint @ Wisma Cosway, walking directions here.

the new and updated process!

  1. Make your way to the Philippine Embassy. If it's your first time, use this link to search for directions to the embassy.
  2. Register at the guard house. Don't use your passport if they are asking for an ID. #duh
  3. Go to the Consular Section window (on your left side, once you enter the air conditioned waiting area)
  4. Get a number from the Queue Management System machine. Press A for "Processing (Passport, Visa, Notarials, Authentications)"
  5. Wait for your number to be called to the appropriate window (Window 3, middle window)
  6. Submit all your requirements to the embassy personnel. If you're missing something, this is the time you'll be informed about it. You can either address whatever's missing and then return directly to window 3 (no need to get a new queue number)
  7. You'll be asked to pay at the cashier, which is at window 5. This is the only time you're going to queue manually (if there are others waiting in line)
  8. After payment, take a seat and wait for your number to be called to window 1 (not exactly window, but door). You have to knock and wait for the door to be opened from the inside -- be patient.
  9. Submit all your requirements and the receipt to the encoder
  10. Encoder will input your data into the system. Make sure you double check all the information.
  11. Biometrics (thumbs) will be taken, followed by your picture and lastly your signature.
  12. You'll be given 3 sheets of paper: (1) Official Receipt from cashier (2) Passport Application Receipt (3) Passport Finder sheet
  13. If you want your passport to be couriered to you, proceed to the LBC booth and fill up the form and give the receipts (so they can photocopy it) along with 30 MYR as courier fee. Best to see which is more economical for you (transportation, leaves, incidentals if you're claiming the passport personally in 2-3 months vs 30 MYR courier fee)

some tips!

  • Do you regret not taking the courier option? You can bring your receipts to the LBC office at Kota Raya and tell them you would like them to claim your passport on your behalf, fill up the form and pay the fee.
  • If you are personally claiming your passport after 2-3 months, the queue letter you should press in the QMS is letter B for "Assistance to Nationals / Releasing of Passports and Documents"
  • Take note of the people who went for passport renewal (went to window 3, then window 5) after you. If they were called earlier than you from after cashier payment, go back to the cashier and ask if your queue number was transferred to the encoder. They sometimes forget to transfer the numbers and make you wait longer than usual.
  • You can contact the embassy though Facebook: They reply to your messages, and if you have specific cases that I personally have not encountered before I would advise you to contact the embassy directly.