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.
I was advised by an employee at our local Bureau of Immigration, BI, Office to file my paperwork for renewal in March. My asawa and I visited the office a couple of weeks ago and I was informed that the BI Form “APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL OF ALIEN CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION IDENTITY CARD (ACR I-CARD)”, which I downloaded directly from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website , was not valid.
I was given another form to fill out which looked identical to the one I had already filled out from the BI website. But I had enough common sense not to protest and began filling out the form while I waited for someone to take the required supporting documents I needed for my ACR renewal. The BI Form checklist stated that I would need the following:
1. An accomplished BI FORM 2014 (the document I had previously downloaded and filled out)
2. Original ACR I-Card (to be surrendered)
3. Photocopy of passport bio-page, visa implementation page and latest admission with valid authorized stay.
I had all my copies in order but when I was called into see the Immigration Officer that handled ACR cards I was informed that I would also need a Photocopy of the Board of Commissioners (BOC)’s Order of Approval. I had missed that.
The BOC Order of Approval is a document given when a person is approved for their 13a Visa. I had my original order at home but had failed to bring it, not realizing that it was a document I needed. I was also told that I would need a photocopies of my wife’s birth certificate (your spouse is the one that sponsors you for a 13a Permanent Visa), and our marriage contract.
The additional above items were not listed on the BI’s website but since I had to return with a copy of my BOC approval and had original NSO, National Statistic Office, documents of the birth certificate and marriage contract, it was not going to be a problem. Your local BI office can request whatever additional documents they deem necessary.
My asawa and I made the trip back into Iloilo recently and dropped into the Immigration Office around 9:30 am, two hours after it’s opening. We had another business to attend to first. There were perhaps six or seven people already waiting but the security guards posted outside escorted my spouse and I to seats inside the office which had air con.
I passed part of the time speaking with an American who was from Seattle. A young man, married to a Filipina, who spent part of his time in the Philippines and the rest of his time in the States. A very smart part-time expat who was able through his business dealings to live in the Philippines decades before he hit his senior years. I commended him on his achievement. He evidently had a plan and knew what he was doing.
After about an hour I was able to speak again with the BI official who had originally reviewed my documents. All my paperwork was now in order. After paying the cashier a fee of 2,322.o0 pesos, about 50 bucks, along with an express fee of 500 pesos (don’t argue, just pay it), we returned my receipt back to the gentlemen who was processing my ACR card renewal.
I was informed by the official to check back in about two months. Copies of my renewal application were made for me, and 90 minutes after entering the Immigration Office, we were on our way to do our grocery shopping at SM City
An altogether painless process which only took 90 minutes out of my day. A small price to pay for living in the Philippines, my friends.