Step 1: Appointment Verification
We initially went to Gate 1, but we found out that it was reserved for those who made their appointments via the DFA Appointment Call Center. Gate 2 was for those who made their appointments online and so we proceeded to enter. The guard at the gate will ask to see your "Important Reminders" notice as well as those application forms which you were supposed to print out. They don't allow chaperones to go inside, so take note, only applicants are allowed to go in. Once inside, your first step will be at the Online Appointment Verification Tables. You can't miss them because as soon as they check your bags, they're to your right. You will then present your application forms for them to scan the barcodes. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a picture of this area.
Step 2: Screening of Documents
|While waiting in the "screening room"|
|Justin Bieber entertaining you|
Step 3: Payment
|Dylan obviously getting |
bored with waiting
When we got up, there were more people! There's a different room called "Passport Section Area 2" which I assumed to be the courtesy lane for senior citizens, infants and goverment employees. In front of it is more rows of chairs like another waiting section. At that time, I didn't know what they were waiting for. Once you get past this area, you'll enter a different room. Here, you'll find the payment area, the encoding and photo capture section and the courier handling service section. You can hardly see the payment area. There were 4 windows, but when we were paying, only 2 were open, must be because it was almost lunch time.
Step 4: Encoding/Enrollment
After payment, you'll proceed to the "Encoding/Enrollment" section where you're going to get your queue number and wait for your turn. This is where your information will be encoded and your pictures taken for the new e-passport. There are about 80+ tables there to handle the demand. There are TV screens which show the current numbers being assisted. Imagine our surprise when we got our number: 2311 and then we checked the screen for the latest number being processed: 1645. It doesn't take a genius to see that there's roughly 700 people ahead of you waiting for their turn!! Oh My Gosh!!! That was like being sucker punched!! LOL Now I understood what all the people are waiting for. We actually tried waiting a while just to see how fast things are going. It wasn't fast going at all most likely because it was lunch break already.
By this time, we took our lunch at McDonald's across the street figuring we have at least 1 hour to get back in line. So we left around 1230 and were back at the DFA by 130PM. When we left, the queue was at the 1700 count and when we returned it was at the 1800 count. So, it's like 100 people every hour were being processed. See, we had so much time on our hands we actually deduced the math! LOL This was the reason we brought our laptop along so the kids won't be bored. Honestly, they need to include kids below 7 years old in the courtesy lane. Kids this age get bored so easily it's a pain to their parents and guardians to make them sit still for hours!!
We were finally able to make it to the inner sanctum by 3:00. Things were faster this time around, since the people manning the desks were done with lunch break and were seemingly more energized to work faster :) When it was our turn for the encoding, it took about 15 minutes to take our pictures and encode our infos and to be reminded when we can pick up our passports!! hahaha so yeah, if there weren't so many people, you can get your processing done in about an hour's time LOL Here's proof about all this adventure! LOL