I’m troubled when I hear of expats in the Philippines having trouble at our local Immigration Office in Iloilo. Today’s post, “ Iloilo Bureau of Immigration Refuses to Extend Foreigners’ Tourist Visas” addresses this issue.
I hadn’t stepped foot in the United States of American for over five years since retiring to the Philippines. But this past late September, I was back in the USA. It was the return of the American expat. My only reason for my visit was to see my 82-year-old Father who had retired to Las Vegas several years ago.
The view from my hotel window in Las Vegas.
I had concerns. Having not left the Philippines since my arrival over five years ago, I was worried that even though I was in possession of a 13a Permanent Visa, I would not be able to get my Emmigration Exit Clearance, ECC, at the airport. Though I had been assured by my local Bureau of Immigration Office in Iloilo that I could obtain my ECC at NAIA, I still had my worries. I felt better after contacting Randy Landis who reaffirmed what my local BI Office told me, but you never know about Immigration officials at the Manila Airport. There are too many online horror stories about foreigners being “shaken down” and having to pay extra fees to leave the country. To my knowledge, if you have a Tourist Visa and have not left the Philippines in over six months, you will need to process your ECC at a local Bureau of Immigration Office that can handle that process. It cannot be done at the airport anymore per a directive from Bureau of Immigration Director Mison.
My asawa must have been bored. She volunteered to go with me to the Immigration Bureau Office in Iloilo City. I had to make my annual report as a foreigner. Breezy warm day. Temperature 28° C (82.4 F) and 89% humidity. Arrived around 10 am. The place was crammed with people, the majority of them Filipino. Fortunately the air con was working. Only two people waiting in the facility last year at this time. I knew we were in for a long wait.