Traveling with Kids Who Are Not Your Kids (DSWD Travel Clearance)
Securing a DSWD travel clearance is a requirement for Filipino minors (below 18) traveling to a foreign country alone or with someone other than their parents. There are exceptions though like if the parents are in the foreign service, or the minor is holding dependent visa or residence visa and rejoining their parents in that country, etc.
This year, my sister-in-law and my parents (who are all based in Kuwait) wanted the kids to spend their summer vacation with them. Hence, I was tasked to accompany them for the trip.
After receiving all the needed requirements from my SIL by mail, I went to DSWD Manila Field Office to apply for my nieces' travel clearance.
You can find the requirements in their website: https://ncr.dswd.gov.ph/faqs/travel-clearance-for-minors but government agency peeps are notorious for asking additional requirements no matter how complete you think your documents are. It is still best to call their office before you go to make sure that you get the most updated information from them.
And I was right. Have I not called them the day before my trip to their office, I would have not brought those "additional requirements" with me and would have wasted my time.
And here are the "additional requirements" I was asked to present / I voluntary presented:
1. A photocopy of my brother's death certificate. At first, the evaluator was asking for an NSO copy but I told her I only have the one provided by the hospital abroad.
2. A copy of the shipping waybill (DHL) as proof that the original documents (affidavit of support and consent, parental travel permit both duly notarized by the Philippine Consulate in Kuwait) were really sent to me by my SIL.
DSWD Manila Field Office is located at San Rafael cor Legarda St. in Manila just near Samson Institute. Please note that they only entertain applicants (the minors) who are residing in NCR. You may check their website to know the assigned field office for your region.
Procedure is simple.
1. Upon arrival at the DSWD office, tell the guard you're there for the travel clearance and leave an ID.
2. Proceed to the second floor. Secure an application form (if you haven't downloaded it yet) and write the minor's name on the log book at the pre-evaluation table. I called them "pre" because there is another evaluation inside the red door.
3. While waiting, fill out the form, prepare your documents and compare it with the checklist at the back of the form. Should you need photocopies, there's a photocopying service by the canteen downstairs.
4. If the minor's name is called, proceed to the pre-eval table and hand each requirement he/she asks.
5. If your requirements are complete, you will to have to wait again to be called for the final evaluation.
6. Make sure you know everything about your documents and the trip because you'll be interviewed by the social worker during the evaluation.
7. If everything's good, you will be given a claim stub and will be asked to proceed to the cashier to pay for the clearance. Fee is 300 pesos per minor which has 1 year validity. For 2 years, you have to pay 600 pesos.
8. Present your receipt to the same evaluator and have your claim stub stamped.
9. Go back on release date. For first time applicants, releasing of clearances is usually after 2-3 days. For renewal, you can get it within the day. This applies to Manila office. Can't say the same for other offices.
10. On the release date, proceed to the red door (evaluation room) and present your claim stub. Again, wait for the minor's name to be called.
11. Before leaving, make sure to double or triple check the travel clearance for typos. You can have them corrected right away.
Waiting time may vary depending on the number of applications they process on that day. It took me more than 2 hours during the application date and around 30 minutes during the release date.