What is the change? Philippine authorities are strictly enforcing rules requiring all ACR I-Card holders – or, in some cases, their representatives – to appear at a Bureau of Immigration office by March 3 to complete their annual report.

What does the change mean? ACR I-Card holders who did not appear in person during 2014 or 2015 must appear at a Bureau of Immigration office. Those who did appear in person in one of the last two years and meet other eligibility criteria can comply by sending a representative to submit the report. Those who do not complete their annual report face stiff penalties.

  • Implementation time frame: Now through March 3.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected: All foreign nationals and ACR I-Card holders in the Philippines, including holders of 9(g) Pre-arranged Employment, 9(d) Treaty Trader, Section 13 Immigrant visas and others. Temporary Visitor visa holders are not affected.
  • Business impact: Completing the annual report is an administrative burden for ACR I-Card holders in the Philippines. The exemptions for certain foreign nationals from appearing in person, which were reintroduced last year and continue this year, relieve some of the burden for qualifying foreign nationals.

Background: Foreign nationals are generally required to file an annual report within the first 60 days of each calendar year.

ACR I-Card holders who did not appear in person at a Bureau of Immigration office in 2014 or 2015 must do so between now and March 3. Card holders must present officials with their original ACR I-card and a printed confirmation number issued through the AR 2016 online system. Card holders must appear at the Bureau of Immigration’s main office if they live in metropolitan Manila or at the appropriate branch office if they live outside of Manila. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for completing annual report requirements for children under 14 years old.

ACR I-Card holders who did appear in person in 2014 or 2015 may qualify for an exemption allowing them to send a representative in their place, provided they also submit a valid passport, a completed special power of attorney form with a valid government-issued ID for their legal representative, pay 500 Philippine pesos (about US$10) for nonappearance and are in compliance with all Philippine immigration and alien registration laws.

BAL Analysis: Authorities have grown strict in enforcing annual report requirements. Penalties for noncompliance may include administrative fines or even imprisonment. While exemptions from the in-person requirement make the process easier for some, all ACR I-Card holders must be sure that they complete the process required of them by March 3.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network partner in the Philippines. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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