I Breeze Through NAIA Terminal 1 with my 13a Permanent Visa

bullets to hong kong naia

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.

Don't bring bullets to Hong KongSign posted at NAIA Terminal 1


But no worries. I breeze through NAIA Terminal 1 Immigration with my 13a Permanent Visa. I was dead tired. I had spent the previous afternoon and evening at NAIA Terminal 3 and had not had any sleep in over 36 hours. After securing a ride on the airport’s free shuttle service, which displayed big signs stating “No Tipping,” I still had to wait several hours before my Korean Air Lines flight left for South Korea, where I would transfer to another flight to Las Vegas to see my Dad.


NAIA Terminal 1


As impressed as I was with Terminal 3, Terminal 1, currently under renovation,  was a hell hole. Dirty, crowded and the CR, Comfort Room, was a 5-minute walk through a construction area in a maze marked with arrows pointing to the CR. How difficult it must have been for any handicapped person in a wheelchair to make their way through that mess.  I made it back from the CR without getting lost and checked out the extremely limited food venues.

I purchased two muffins for P50 each and waited for my airline to start boarding passengers. Finally Korean Airlines opened and I obtained my boarding pass and went to the Immigration Lanes. I did not see any lanes marked for holders of ACR cards. Alien Certificate Registration, so I waited in line with others, Filipinos and foreigners alike, with my card in hand.



Waiting for my airplane at NAIA


The Immigration Officer in my lane, with a serious look on his face, was scrutinizing all passports, and taking a lot of time to let people pass through. I decided to go into the lane next to me when an Immigration employee, who had spied my ACR, approached me and advised me I needed to go to the Cashier’s Window, located next to the lane I was in, and pay my ECC first.

I thanked her and paid the cashier, singing “O Holy Night,” P2,880, 64 US Dollars, and stepped back in line to the officers checking passports. My passport was quickly stamped and I was on my way to the waiting room for Korean Air Lines which at least had more comfortable seating and was much cleaner than the Terminal 1 area I had just left. I closed my eyes to rest for a few minutes as I still had a couple of hours before I could board my flight. The journey back to America was almost on its way.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

10 thoughts on “I Breeze Through NAIA Terminal 1 with my 13a Permanent Visa

  1. Thats one of the things that bother me, is that all foreigners must obtain “permission” from the Phil. govt. in order to leave there, but that along with many other things, I guess I will have to learn to live with a net set of rules.

    We plan to do quite a bit of traveling to other countries after we move there, so from all my research, it sounds as though it will be best for me to get at SRRV visa, in the beginning anyway, just to avoid the ECC charge each time I leave the Phil. and to not have to get permission to leave also.

    Just wandering Dave, do you have any idea as to how to start the process of getting an SRRV. I had hoped to be able to open a bank account there on this next visit, but have read, some say they have been successful, others have not. After we are done with the majority of our traveling I will switch it over to a 13a. I believe I can also ship a container of belongings there same as with the Balikbayan privilage, but am still researching that to make sure I can, and that the same things can be sent in the container.

    1. Bill S, the fact that we, as foreigners, have to receive “permission” is just one of the ways the Philippine government sucks more money out of us. The majority of countries have computerized checklists which can detain any undesirables trying to exit the country but the Philippines sees this as another way to extort more money from us under the guise of trying to stop pedophiles and other miscreants from leaving. It’s a pet peeve of mine but not anything I can do about, aside from not leaving the country. And if not for my Dad back in the States, I wouldn’t have any reason to leave.

      Check out this website link to a website of a friend of mine, Bob, over on the next island, Bill, to get some detailed info on the SRRV. Bob has had one for years and it can cut out your visits to Immigration altogether, I believe.

      I know of an Aussie friend on Guimaras who shipped his furniture and most of his household belongings over in a container, Bill. I’m not aware of any restrictions he might have had, but if anyone reading this has shipped anything via container any advice would be appreciated.

      1. Yes, the govt. there (as well as here) has many ways of sucking money out of our pockets, at least there they dont get near as much as the US govt. takes. I have found that when I read info that the Phil. govt puts up on the web, that in different websites they sometimes contradict what they wrote on one site, from the next one, so is very confusing trying to desypher, what the intent is, or which on is correct, but I understand thats just the way things are done there, from what others have written.

        Thanks a lot for the website referral! When you said Bob, I figured you meant Bob Martin, but the one you gave me, I had not read before, so will start reading all his articles, I always find new info from every one I read.

        I have read as much as I can find to read about what things that can be shipped, but was uncertain if the constraints were the same for SRRV as for Balikbayan privilege. Dose not sound as though they check most of the containers though, I am mainly concerned about things they could define as Industrial equip. which I will be bringing a little bit of, just so I can have a hobby to do there. I will put it all in the very front of the container and hope for the best I guess.

        1. Sorry about the confusion on the “Bob’s,” Bill. The Webmaster Supreme for Iloilo Bob and I, Rich Pawly, took Bob and I, along with our respective asawas, to a big feast over at the Day’s Hotel some time ago and that’s when I had the opportunity to meet Bob. Nice guy, very knowledgeable and we’re gleaning a lot of useful info on building our new home from his site.

          We only shipped five balikbayan boxes when we moved and everything we shipped, including some electronics like my old computer arrived untouched and safe and sound. But as you stated, what one government website might tell you can different from another department’s website and it’s difficult to tell what’s what.

        2. i am australian and still waiting for my container since july2012 in cebu and my furniture and personal items will not be very good now this has cost me thousands of pesos and i would not send anything again my email address is lester whitbourne@yahoo.com

          1. Sorry to hear that Lester. My Aussie friend, from Perth, received his shipping container loaded with his furniture and personal items on our little island of Guimaras months ago. My wife and I shipped our items over in Balikbayan boxes via Forex and received our boxes a month later right at our doorstep. You’ve certainly have had a bad experience with whatever shipping company you used.

    2. Bill S, many non-Western countries, especially in the Middle East, require foreigners to get permission to leave and also charge them for the “privilege”. It’s just something you have to do if you want to travel to those countries.

      1. Thanks for the info, Lance, just seems to be another way to suck money out of foreigners, but, like you say, if a person wants to travel to such countries, such as the Philippines, we have no other choice.

  2. Dave,
    Glad everything went alright with your Exit Clearance. I was also worried about it for our upcoming trip. Thankfully we have only had to deal with Terminal 1 once.

    1. Yeah, Papa Duck, I’m always reminded of what an Immigration Officer at Intramuros, a fixer, once told: “You never know what someone at Immigration will tell you. They all interpret the regulations differently.” And we all have heard way too many stories of the scammers and schemers there.

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