Visa, ACR I-card cancellation required when leaving Philippines

20 Jun 17

PHILIPPINES

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Bureau of Immigration has said it will not process applications to cancel Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards (ACR I-cards) unless corresponding visas have been downgraded.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals leaving the Philippines (or cancelling their ACR I-cards for other reasons) will be required to cancel or downgrade their visas to visit visas before they can cancel their ACR I-cards. This could add to the time it takes for foreign nationals, in particular those on work visas, to leave the Philippines. The rule does not apply to ACR I-cards issued to tourist visa holders.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: ACR I-cards with corresponding visas that are still valid or have not been downgraded, not including ACR I-cards issued to tourist visa holders.
  • Who is affected: Visa holders cancelling their ACR I-cards while their visas are still valid or have not been downgraded.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will add an administrative step that could add to the time it takes for foreign nationals, in particular those on work visas, to leave the Philippines.
  • Next steps: BAL and its network partner in the Philippines continue to seek clarification from the Bureau of Immigration about the scope of the new rule, including whether it will apply to long-term visit visa holders.

Background: ACR I-cards are identification cards that contain personal information, including biometric data. The cards are used as re-entry permits, but do not replace the need for passports or visas when required. Work visa holders are required to cancel their ACR I-cards when they complete an assignment in the Philippines. They are supposed to cancel their visas upon leaving as well, but under the change they will not be able to cancel their ACR I-cards without first canceling or downgrading their visa to a visit visa.

BAL Analysis: The change could add to the time it takes for some work visa holders to leave the Philippines upon completion of an assignment. BAL continues to seek information about the scope of the new rule, including whether it will apply to long-term visit visa holders as well as work visa holders.

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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