I’ve had my 13a Permanent Visa for almost five years. While the visa itself is permanent, it was time for my ACR card renewal in the Philippines. With a 13a Immigrant Visa your Alien Certificate Registration, or I-Card, is good for five years. My current card expires at the end of May.
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.
Do you have an action plan on moving and living in the Philippines? I'm not talking about dreamy-eyed discussions with your spouse in which you both agree that you would love retiring to the Philippines and frolic on a white sandy beach resort with a cold bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen in one hand and a sweet mango from Guimaras in the other. Going on a vacation and landing at the Manila airport and escaping the boredom and daily stress of your job back home can be a fantastic experience. But actually moving here? Again I ask. DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?
Are you traveling to the Philippines soon? Planning to move or retire to the Philippines? Or maybe you are already an American expat already living in this archipelago of 7, 107 islands. Do you ever read or pay attention to the stuff the U.S. State Department issues concerning traveling in the PH? When I want to get a good laugh, I occasionally check it out. OK, OK, I know the information they distribute is supposed to help American citizens, but let's have a reality check today on one portion of their advice.
I had arrived home after spending the day at The Moon Cafe in Iloilo City with my new American expat friends, Paul from Iloilo and Jeff, "The Crazy Cano" along with Brother Tom. My asawa handed me a notice from our post office in Jordan, Guimaras, dated July 1 2011 informing me of a package there that I needed to pick up. Hmmmm, day the notice was delivered to us was July 12.
Been in Manila close to a month by the time The Sainted Patient Wife and I return next Sunday to the white sandy beaches found in beautiful Guimaras, a rural province in Western Visayas in the Philippines where we reside at a place I affectionately refer to as "The Compound." I'm anxious to return home and just have one more visit to the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros, Manila, this coming Monday to pick up my new Alien Certificate Registration card which will reflect my newly acquired Permament Resident status in the Philippines that was implemented this past Friday during our third visit to the Immigration Office. (Photo from Flickr, it's not from Guimaras, but who cares?)
My sister-in-law Emily may barely reach five feet tall if she stands on six barrels full of monkeys, but she is one feisty Filipina you do not want to mess with. This proud Pinay is the undisputed boss of her family of eight children which range in ages from three to seventeen. The Sainted Patient Wife and I are staying at Emily and Joe’s place (her husband) in the Celina Homes section of Queensland Subdivision of Caloocan City in Metro Manila while I wait for the completion of my 13(a) Permanent Visa. Now when I say “subdivision,” just dismiss any images of modern and affluent subdivisions that are common back in the States. We’re talking adjoining homes with narrow pathways for a road, no streetlights, no manicured lawns, garbage in the streets, barking dogs, crowing roosters and occasional gunfire. This ain’t a “Leave it to Beaver” vision of suburbia by any stretch of the imagination. (Photo from Flickr.)
Headed to Manila today to obtain my 13(a) Permanent Visa to live in the Philippines. With this visa I will not be required to make annual trips out of the Philippines which is necessary if one uses the Balikbayan Privilege, and I will not have to renew my visa once the 13(a) is obtained. Just have to renew my Alien Certificate of Registration every five years (which I can do in Cebu) and make my annual report to the local Immigration Office in Iloilo which only costs P310. I just like to simplify things as much as possible for myself, and since we live in the rural province of Guimaras, and quite a distance from Manila, it is easier for me just to obtain this permanent visa. I'm all for making things easier for myself as I spend my twilight years in the Philippines.
How many Americans are living in the Philippines illegally? After posting a recent article about illegal Filipino aliens in the United States, I thought it would be only fair to explore the issue of Americans residing in the Philippines with current or expired visas. Now in my opinion, if you’re a foreigner staying in this archipelago of 7,107 islands, and your visa has expired or you have stayed past your original 21 day grace period allowed when first entering this country and have not filed for a temporary extension, you are an illegal alien.