What is the change? Eligible foreign visitors can now obtain their Emigration Clearance Certificates at airports upon exiting the Philippines.

What does the change mean? Some foreign employees can save time by obtaining their ECC at the airport just before leaving the Philippines rather than applying at the Bureau of Immigration Main Office.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary Visitor’s visa; any downgraded Work Visa.
  • Who is affected: Foreign visitors who have stayed in the Philippines between six months and one year.
  • Impact on processing times: Eligible foreign visitors can obtain their ECCs immediately instead of having to wait the usual five business days.
  • Business impact: The airport process provides qualifying foreign employees on short assignments in the Philippines the opportunity to expedite their final departure.
  • Next steps: Businesses and foreign visitors should determine whether they are eligible for issuance of the ECC at the airport when planning their exit from the Philippines at the end of assignments of less than one year in duration.

Background: On April 16, the Bureau of Immigration issued Operations Order No. SBM-2015-009, authorizing the ECC to be issued at the airport to a foreign national who meets the following criteria:

  • Holds a boarding pass and is leaving the Philippines within 24 hours.
  • Has stayed in the Philippines for more than six months but not more than a year.
  • Holds a valid Temporary Visitor’s visa.
  • Has no pending obligation with the government and no pending criminal, civil or administrative action requiring his or her presence in the Philippines.
  • Has registered under the Alien Registration Program and has been issued a Special Security Registration Number.

Those who qualify will be issued an ECC upon payment of government fees of 710 Philippine pesos (about US$16) for the ECC and 500 PHP for an Express Lane Fee. (The ECC fee will be waived if already paid during extension of the Temporary Visitor’s Visa). Foreign nationals planning to obtain the ECC at the airport should plan to arrive several hours before their scheduled flight to allow for long lines at the cashier’s counter.

Before the order, ECCs were issued only by the Bureau of Immigration Main Office and took five business days to obtain.

BAL Analysis: The issuance of ECCs at the airport will somewhat simplify the exit process for foreign nationals who are on assignments of less than one year. However, foreign nationals ending longer-term assignments will still need to obtain their ECC through the Bureau of Immigration Main Office. BAL recommends that foreign nationals obtaining their ECC at the airport carry a copy of the order in case immigration officers are unfamiliar with the new regulation.

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

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