‘Letter of Undertaking’ can toll deadline for incomplete visa applications

19 Jun 14

PHILIPPINES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Philippines Bureau of Immigration is accepting “Letters of Undertaking” from applicants whose visa applications are not complete but whose filing deadline is approaching.

What does the change mean? The “Letter of Undertaking” promises that the applicant will submit key supporting documents within 60 days of the visa application submission.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Visa applicants who are waiting for supporting documents to complete their applications.
  • Impact on processing times: No direct impact.

Background: On June 11, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) issued the new rule in Operations Order No. SBM-2014-23. The order allows applicants to submit a “Letter of Undertaking,” which gives them a maximum period of 60 days from the date of filing the application to submit additional supporting documents that require authentication abroad. These documents, which often must be notarized or legalized and translated, include National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, police clearance, birth and marriage certificates and family registers.

The BI requires that the “Letter of Undertaking” be completed in a prescribed format. If the applicant does not produce the supporting documents within 60 days of filing the application, the applicant is considered to have forfeited the approved visa.

BAL Analysis: This rule buys applicants some extra time to gather and authenticate documents abroad, which can be a lengthy process, and gives foreign assignees some peace of mind that their applications will not be late because of processes that are outside their control.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Philippines. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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