Traveling with a Tampered Philippine Passport | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Jun 6, 2014

Traveling with a Tampered Philippine Passport

Speechless and in an extreme panic attack, I stood there contemplating how, when and where it happened. My passport is damaged! What made the situation worse is that I only discovered the damage half past midnight at the UAE-Oman border, in the middle of nowhere, right after I got my exit stamp at Dubai Immigration. 

The immigration officer asked me a question which I didn't clearly hear. I thought he was asking when was my passport renewed, so I said 2012. He handed back my stamped passport while his finger was pointing at the photo. It was terribly damaged that I couldn't even identify myself. I look creepy just like Voldermort! :( The details and all the other pages look perfectly fine. It was just the photo and some sort of a fluid droplet (or is it moisture?) behind it.

traveling with a damaged Philippine passport

I was never careless. I'm pretty sure I have securely kept it in our bedside table drawer for three or four months. No matter how much I try to think of possibilities, I had no clue on how it happened.

Terribly worried, I wanted to make a U-turn and run back to Dubai where I could just cry all night. As much as I don't want to be bothered with any passport questions, it's a scenario I couldn't escape! Ed and I were in a bus to Muscat and there are no public vehicles heading back to Dubai in the border!

A lot of what ifs ran in my head, but my husband told me to calm down and to immediately present the page with my UAE Residence Visa at the Oman Immigration. An Omani visa was successfully stamped on my tampered passport without any questions, but I was still bothered. Will I be allowed to re-enter UAE? How about the Philippines? My mind was so full of unanswered questions that I definitely needed to go to the Philippine Embassy in Muscat on the day of our arrival.

There, I applied for a new passport which will arrive in Muscat after 2 months and which I can claim in Dubai after another month! There's no expedite option here in the GCC! :( 

Philippine Passport photo damage
My Tampered Face!  :(
All the details were fine, I just had to cover them on this photo  for security reasons.
tampered Philippine Passport
the blot on the first page, exactly behind my passport photo

Fast forward to our return trip to Dubai, I kept my hands on my passport and my renewal receipt. Exit stamping in Oman and entry in Dubai were still a breeze. No questions were asked. I never had to explain or present my renewal receipt. So, when my travel nightmare in Muscat was over, I needed to face the more dreadful one; my homecoming trip to the Philippines!

It was merely two weeks before our flight to Manila. I wanted to secure a special travel document from the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, yet there's none that they can offer. All I got was a Notarized Affidavit of Mutilation which I can present if questioned, but not a guarantee that I can travel.

Most personnel were helpful, except for one grumpy lady who was clearly having a bad day in the office. She told me to cancel all my travel plans until I get my new passport because the Philippine Immigration wouldn't let me in. :(

I was very confused; hence I asked for advice from practically everyone; my family, my friends, my boss, a Dubai Immigration officer, a Philippine Immigration officer, a manager of a recruitment agency, travel agents, travel bloggers, frequent travelers... EVERYONE! 

Affidavit of Mutilation from Philippine Consulate Dubai
the supporting documents: Affidavit of Mutilation and Passport renewal receipt

Honestly, Ed and I were on the verge of cancelling all our flights, but decided to take the risk. After all, two immigration officers of two different countries said that my passport is still valid because the details are clear and the microchip is intact. I just had to pray harder and hope that I would encounter people with the same perspective at the immigration gates.

My prayers were heard! To make the long story short, I successfully went in and out three countries with my tampered passport. No questions asked, no supporting documents needed!

Was the damage too minor to be noticed at the immigration? I don't know. I never asked. I didn't want to start a conversation that might lead to some serious interrogation. I am just very grateful that everything's over now and I fervently wish it won't ever happen again. I guess I better wait for the new passport before I book a flight for another sweet escape. 

Philippine Embassy in Muscat
Al Khanijiya St., Shatti Al Qurum
Muscat, Oman
Contact: +968 2460 5335

Philippine Consulate in Dubai
35 Beirut St., Extension 2
Al Qusais 3, Dubai, UAE
Contact: +971 4 2207100

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