What is the change? The Philippines now requires that foreigners applying for an Emigration Clearance Certificate must first register with the new Alien Registration Project.

What does the change mean? Many foreign nationals, including those who downgraded their visas, must register with the Project and obtain a Special Security Registration Number before applying for the certificate.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work Permits, 9(g) Visas,Temporary Visit Visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who require an Emigration Clearance Certificate.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will impact overall processing timelines because applicants must complete the registration before applying for the certificate.
  • Business impact: This rule adds another step to exit requirements.
  • Next steps: Foreign nationals requiring the Emigration Clearance Certificate should keep in mind that they must apply for it at least 72 hours before departure and they will have to factor this new prerequisite into that timeline.

Background: The Bureau of Immigration recently implemented an Alien Registration Project to register all foreigners, capture their biometric data and issue them a special security registration number. On Oct. 14, the Bureau began requiring that foreign nationals register with the Project before applying for an Emigration Clearance Certificate. Foreigners in the following categories are required to obtain the certificate before exiting the Philippines:

  1. Holders of a Temporary Visitor Visa (tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for six months or more.
  2. Holders of expired or downgraded Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas.
  3. Holders of valid Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas who are leaving for good.
  4. Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart from the Philippines for the first time.
  5. Holders of Temporary Visitor Visas with Orders to Leave.
  6. Bona fide seafarers who have stayed in the Philippines for 30 days or more and have an approved discharge from the Bureau.

Holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards who are leaving the country temporarily are exempt from making an in-person appearance as the Alien Registration Project should automatically generate a special security registration number that appears on new ACR I-Cards. Registered aliens with valid ACR I-Cards may request a new ACR I-Card with the security registration number for a re-issuance fee or approximately US $20.

BAL Analysis: The new rule is in keeping with the Philippines’ move to account for all foreign nationals. Foreign nationals should expect mandatory registration to expand over the coming months. 

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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