Most Filipinos in America Can Probably Renew Their Passports by Mail

That's right -- you can renew your passport, and get the new machine-readable passport, by mail. This is true even though the Philippines Consulate website AND even the application form states that you must apply in person!

At least that's the case if your consulate is the one in San Francisco. But I'll bet it's true for all Philippines consulates in America. (And maybe in other countries as well.)

How do I know this to be the case? Because a couple weeks ago I spent the whole day looking for the cheapest flight, hotel, and car rental and made reservations to renew my Filipina wife's passport in San Francisco. My wife happened to be chatting with a Filipina friend of hers at the time, and she asked why we were actually traveling to San Francisco to renew. She said that she had recently renewed hers by mail!

Huh? Everybody knows that you have to do it in person. And everybody complains about it. Except my wife's friend.

That's right, my wife's friend didn't know she had to renew in person. She didn't know anything. And so she called the San Francisco consulate and asked them how to renew. They told her to download the form, follow the instructions, and mail the application and supporting documents in. They even told her how to make fingerprint imprints, and told her to do so before a notary public.

I couldn't believe this to be the case, and thought that my wife's friend just got lucky. So I called the consulate myself. Guess what? I was told the same!

So I quickly canceled our reservations and we will be applying my mail.

To make imprints of your fingerprints, just use a black stamp pad that you can buy at any office supply store. I recommend practicing beforehand on a separate sheet of paper. Remember, you need to make the imprints in front of a notary public and have the form notarized.

The instructions actually tell you how to apply by mail. Some documents need to be notarized when doing so, so pay attention.

If you got married since your last passport was issued and you want to change your last name on your new passport, also send a Report of Marriage form and any requested documents.

Include all payments and follow the instructions carefully.

As instructed in the instructions, you need to supply USPS postage stamps in order for them to mail the new passport to you. They will use an flat-rate Express Mail envelope which, as of today(May 2010) costs $18.30.

I suggest you call your consulate to confirm that you can apply by mail.

Sandy Larsen
New Wave Instruments