UPDATED: How To Renew Your Passport in Riyadh (And How To Change To Your Married Name)

Hello Filipinos in Riyadh! It’s time to update our most popular post ever… How to Renew Your Philippine Passport in Riyadh! And as an addendum, this will also tell you how to change to your married name. I mean, for married Filipinas, of course.

Ahhh time flies! I’m now a married woman. For two years now actually but I still haven’t changed any of my IDs to my married name. Of course, the husband is irritable. He thinks I didn’t want to change my surname to his. Haha! That is not the case. You see, I got my new passport last 2014. I got married in 2016. And my passport is going to expire on March 2019. I decided to wait a year before renewing my passport kasi sayang naman. I still have a few planned international trips for the past two years. I promised him that I’m going to use his surname in my passport and change my civil status when I renew my passport. And so I did.

If you’re a Filipina living and working in Saudi Arabia who wants to change your surname and civil status in your passport, you need to get a marriage certificate in the Philippines from the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly National Statistics Office [NSO] and have it red ribboned by the DFA in Manila. This is an important document to acquire before having your passport renewed. Don’t be like me. I didn’t know this; I thought my mariage certificate from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh was enough so I already scheduled my passport renewal date. One day before my renewal date, I had the sense to ask the Philippine Embassy if I need any other document when changing my civil status and surname in my passport. BOOM! That’s when I found out I needed a marriage certificate released by the PSA and certified by the DFA in the Philippines. Yes, IN THE PHILIPPINES. They don’t do this in the embassy.

What will you do if you’re in Saudi Arabia? When you can’t go home to the Philippines to acquire the said marriage certificate? Ask you family or relatives to acquire it for you! My sisters are the biggest help to me when it comes to documents like these. I just sent them an authorization letter to get these document for me and also a copy of my valid ID. My younger sister who was based in La Union got the marriage certificate from the PSA Office in San Fernando City. After getting the document there, she then went to DFA San Fernando to have it red-ribboned. However, they informed her that only DFA in Metro Manila can certify the document with a red ribbon so she had to send the marriage certificate to Manila where my older sister lives. My older sister then went to DFA Megamall with my authorization letter and copy of my valid ID to have it red ribboned. It costs 200 pesos for Rush (1 day; you’ll get it the next day) and 400 pesos for 4 days. Ang daming steps right?!? Wala bang mas competent, fast, and streamlined na process?!? Anyway, after a day, she got my marriage certificate with the red ribbon and then gave it to my officemate who was on vacation in the Philippines that time. She then brought it to Riyadh. Sa haba haba ng prusisyon, nakarating din sa Riyadh. Haha.

Kay tagal kang hinintay, lol.

So now that you finally have your PSA released and DFA red-ribboned marriage certificate, you can now finally renew your passport! Yey! How to?

1. Get an appointment at: http://riyadhpe.dfa.gov.ph/consular-services/passport-services/93-pages/1289-passport-appointment

2. On the day of your appointment, bring the following:
a. Current Passport
b. 2 photocopies of the info page of your passport
c. Passport Renewal form (download here)
d. Ballpen (black or blue)
e. Marriage Certificate released by PSA and red ribboned by DFA NCR (for those who are changing their surname and civil status)
f. 2 photocopies of marriage certificate (for those who are changing their surname and civil status)
g. Approval of a change of civil status by your company (from single to married)
*This is the first time I heard of it but the embassy staff said that there was a case when a Filipina had her passport renewed and had her surname and civil status changed only to come back the following day retracting the request because her company/employer rejected it. This is probably because of the employee benefits wherein it might change from the benefits given to a single to a married person in contract terms. In our case, there’s no problem with our company because even though we change our civil status and also surname, our contract remains the same: I am single when they employed me so it will not change unless I get promoted or something to “family status”. And just FYI, we cannot retract a request to change our surname and civil status in our passport renewal. 

3. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time.
The embassy usually allots one hour for 50 persons. They have a list so they will check if your name is on it. I suggest you pick the earliest time slot which is 8:00 AM. There will be fewer people and you won’t be tied up if you still have work or have other errands for the day. Remember that apart from those renewing passport, the embassy is always busy with other consular and notarial services.

The Consular section of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

4. Go through the following steps:
Step 1: Overseas Absentee Voting Registration. Get the form from the gate or the information area. They will check if you’re registered and an active voter or not. If you are, you go through this step fast. If not, they will register you in the system along with getting your signature and fingerprints. For my case, I’m already a registered voter and active too (meaning I voted last elections). But then, I was also requesting a change in my voter’s ID surname so I have to give a copy of my marriage certificate.

Step 2: After the OAV is the passport renewal process itself. I gave my documents to one of the ladies manning the booth, she verified my certificate and details and then entered it in the system. While doing so, we are free to check the details if they’re all correct. Mahirap nang magkamali sa passport information. Then picture-taking time! I hope you at least put on powder and a hint of blush and MLBB lipstick for this. You can smile! Just don’t show your teeth. Remember that the new passport is valid for 10 years! Sampung taon mong pagtyatyagaan ang pagmumukha mo sa passport mo! Haha! Plus, it’s the most shown ID ever so gusto mo ba na mediocre lang hitsura mo sa passport?! Hahaha! After the photo, comes the signature and fingerprinting. A final confirmation of passport details follows.

Step 3: Pay at the cashier. That’ll be SR 240.
*If you are renewing an expired passport, there’s no penalty fee to be paid.
* If you had something photocopied in the embassy information desk, you need to pay SR 1.

5. Wait 30-45 days for the new passport to be released.
*Check this link if your passport is already available.
*When getting your new passport, bring your old passport and the receipt.

And DONE! It took me an hour and a half to finish the process. It’s pretty much a smooth sailing process. I rarely go to the embassy so I’m not sure if it’s a daily occurrence that the person in charge of lining up at the receiving area (after the bag check) is yelling at people like we didn’t know what we’re doing. Of course there will be people who will not know what they’re doing or will be confused but maybe because it’s their first time. No need to yell! Ang aga aga kuya! Okay, maybe he’s just trying to mimic a megaphone but there’s a certain tone to it, you know? If you don’t notice it, then ignore this haha. Most of the embassy staff are friendly and helpful though.

The line is not that long and the process is fairly fast.

TIPS: 
a. Check your passport’s expiration date NOW! Begin preparing for your passport renewal one year before your passport’s expiration date. Why so early? Because mga kabayan, the appointment system of the Philippines Embassy in Riyadh gets easily filled. When you check it now, you’ll see that the earliest appointment date might be two to three months away. So mabuti na pong sigurado. My passport is expiring on March 30, 2019. Last February 20, I was already looking at the appointment schedule in the website and the earliest date I could get was May 9, 2018. That was 3 months away!

b. Schedule your renewal appointment as early as nine months before the expiration date of your passport. Masyadong maaga? Hindi rin. You see, you need to take into consideration the validity of your current passport. Our passport should be valid for at least 6 months when traveling internationally. So when you only renew your passport when it is just valid for 6 months, there will be a one month (or so) where you’ll be left without a valid passport. You cannot travel outside Saudi Arabia that time while waiting for new passport. On the other hand, if you renew your passport nine months before, even if you’re waiting for your new passport, you still have a working and valid passport with you (we don’t surrender our passport when it’s renewing; they return it to us). Just in case there’s an emergency or you have to travel home within the time that your passport is being renewed, it will be good if your current passport is still valid.

c. Don’t wait for your passport to be expired before renewing. Even though there’s no penalty fee for renewing an expired passport, it’s better to have a valid passport with us. Our passport is one of the most powerful IDs we have. We need it for everything especially when dealing with legalities and institutions (banks, government agencies, etc.). So make sure your passport is valid.

So that’s it. I hope you got something out of this entry. Other kinds of passport services are in their website (which may or may not be working on the time of your clicking, haha): www.riyadhpe.dfa.gov.ph/

PS. There was a comment in our Facebook page when I posted about my passport renewal that I will probably be done faster because I’m The Pink Tarha. Ermn, excuse me kuya who commented but we do not use our being The Pink Tarha to fast track any thing. Just telling it here just in case there’s someone out there who’s thinking we got special treatment in renewing our passport that’s why it was “fast”. I don’t know what’s the standard time that a passport renewal is finished in our embassy but all I know is I underwent the same process as any Filipino who’s renewing theirs. 🙂

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Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

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