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April 1, 2007

How to Renew Philippine Passport in Qatar

I went to the Philippine Embassy to renew my passport. I brought my old passport and 3 photos. They asked me to fill-out a form and to photocopy the first and last page of my passport. I paid QR 200 ($55) to cashier then I was told to come back tomorrow afternoon. I brought a copy of our authenticated marriage contract, in case they would need a document to support the amendment in my passport. But they didn't require the MC anymore. The previous amendment in my passport is already sufficient to change my surname. Finally, the first page of my passport will now bear my husband's surname.

When I was processing my papers to go to Qatar, I did everything to fast-track all paper works (but still, it took three months). Instead of changing my passport (which takes 3-5 days) to reflect my married name I just had it amended (only 1 day)......but it was a mess! Normally, people read only at the first page of the passport and that's it. The result? My Qatar resident permit (visa) was issued under my maiden name.

Because we didn't want any further delays, I went to Qatar using that visa. I remember, when I arrived in Qatar, we tried to change it but the government has a centralized database so all government transaction/ documents is automatically under my maiden name. There's really no problem with my husband's company nor the government of Qatar if I use my maiden name but my husband was really upset with that.

So to make him happy, I use his surname whenever possible e.g. my company documents, my business cards, health card or in booking plane tickets. My only problem is when I need to show my passport or my Qatar ID, I have to explain the difference in my surname and show the passport amendment...especially at the immigration.

Now that I'll have my married name in the first page of my passport, my Qatar visa (stamped in my old passport) and my new passport will have different names. My driver's license, car registration, etc are also in my maiden name. I am not sure if this can be a problem later on especially when travelling.

My visa renewal will be next year so until then, I'll have this married and maiden name issue.

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