Friday, March 30, 2012

Documentation La Vida Lanka

Being born out of your home country is quite a big hassle from the documentation point of view - most especially for the control-freak mother.  If your child will be born in Sri Lanka and you are a Filipino, let me give you an idea of what you will go through:

First you have to get the Sri Lankan Birth Certificate – both English and Sinhala.

Second you have to authenticate both English and Sinhala Birth Certificates from the Ministry of External Affairs, Consular Services Division.  It’s a fairly straightforward process.  You go to their office in Fort, fill up an application form get a number.  Wait.  When your group is called you will go to the area where you will submit the forms for authentication.  Pay.  Go back to the waiting area.  Wait.  Get your authenticated form.  I got there around 830am and I left around 1230pm.  The office opens early so if you’re there at around 730am, you will be able to get your document around 10am.  I’d rather go early because later on more people will go in and the waiting area is pretty hot.  And don’t forget to bring something to do/read.  If you get hungry / thirsty there are food concessionaires so you won’t have to worry. 

Third you’re ready to apply for the Report of Birth.  Bring your completed requirements which include the authenticated documents, pictures, forms to fill up (make sure it is in one page of an A4), etc. and bring all the necessary to the Philippine Consulate.  Get ready to be “back-to-the-future-d!”  The office is a house set in the 1970s.  In fairness you’d feel at home, even in the Philippines as it is full of Filipino memorabilia – including tarps of the previous Philippine Independence celebrations (!). 

An ID for a baby!

Authenticated by the Phil Consulate
What they will do is, authenticate it even further (seriously) and give you back the authenticated copies (from the Ministry of External Affairs) with the “red ribbon”.    They will give your copy of the report of birth with the seal and the Consul’s signature.  They will also give you an ID signifying that the baby has been registered with the Consulate.  They will then send your report of birth to Dhaka, Bangladesh where the actual embassy is (in Sri Lanka it is a Representative Consulate and the Consul is a friendly Sri Lankan!). 

Now, you have to prepare to follow-up and follow-up.  You know our government system.  In fairness to Colombo, they sent Luna’s documents to Dhaka immediately.  However in Dhaka, it got a bit delayed.  They will then be the one to forward/endorse the report of birth to DFA Manila.  DFA Manila will then be the one to forward the report to NSO for the final, final Birth Certificate.  Phew!  The process should take 2 months.  It’s been 2 months and the Report of Birth just arrived last week in DFA Manila.  Crossing my fingers we can expedite the process in NSO!

This has been a cause of anxiety for me because we need to get Luna’s birth certificates in time for her DFA Passport Appointment in Manila.  There are a lot of aspects to the process that I cannot control yet I operate within a tight timeline. 

Pseudo Passport

If you’re wondering why I need to go to DFA for her passport and how will I get Luna there without a passport in the first place, well, don’t worry because we’re not stashing her in our luggage!  The Consulate provides a Travel Document that serves as her documentation/passport to travel to Manila.  It is another straightforward and quick process.  You just need to submit 3 passport-sized pictures, ticket of baby and parents and the fee.  You can wait for it to be processed or come back when it’s ready.  It’s fairly quick.  Just don’t wait for the last minute because the Consul has to be there so you have to know if he has any travel plans.  Also you have to be sure about your itinerary since the document is only valid for 1 month. 

So there, we’re almost set for our Manila trip to get Luna’s passport. Pray with me that all will be accomplished in its set time!

Note: This post pretty much gives you an idea of the process and the general timing.  To be sure, contact the Consulate General of Philippines.
Address: 41 Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha
 (Flower Road), 
Colombo 07, 
Sri Lanka
Phone: (+94) (1) 370710 or (+94) (1) 370711

Fax: (+94) (1) 522524

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