Philippine officials have recently implemented key changes, including the suspension of filing fees for motions for reconsideration and changes to the process for downgrading applications.

Key Points:

  • The Bureau of Immigration directed that, effective immediately, the receipt of filing fees for motions for reconsideration is suspended. This policy change applies to applications for visa issuance/conversion and renewal applications that were previously denied.
  • Applicants should re-file their application and complete payment of the applicable visa application fee as opposed to the motion for reconsideration filing fee.
  • The suspension will remain in effect until the finalization of new guidelines from the Bureau of Immigration on how they will process motions for reconsideration.
  • The Bureau of Immigration PEZA Extension Office has also implemented new procedures to downgrade applications for Philippine Economic Zone Authority visa applicants.
  • An email will now be sent that serves as a formal notice of approval.
  • The implementation of visa downgrading now will take one to two days from submission of an applicant’s passport, where previously it was five to seven business days.
  • Finally, the Exit Clearance Certificate must now be filed at least 72 hours prior to intended departure. Foreign nationals are still required to appear before the Bureau of Immigration office for biometrics and fingerprints.

Additional Information: The downgrading process involves a reversion of an immigration visa to a temporary visitor/tourist visa for continued stay. Employers and applicants should be aware that if a formal notice is received with an order to leave as part of the downgrade application, the foreign national is given 15 days to depart the country upon receipt. Since the email now serves as formal notice, the order to leave commences on that date, as opposed to the previous procedure that commenced upon receipt of a physical copy of the downgrade order. The Bureau of Immigration PEZA Extension Office would previously stamp the downgraded visa in the passport and the departure date would be retroactive to the date the passport was submitted.

BAL Analysis: Employers and applicants should be aware of the important changes to motions for reconsideration and carefully monitor the email address provided in downgrading applications. BAL will continue following the implementation of these directives and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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