IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Bureau of Immigration officials have confirmed that foreign nationals may be prevented from leaving the Philippines if applications to downgrade their visas are still pending when they attempt to leave.
What does the change mean? The change does not apply to travelers with tourist visas, but other visa holders who are attempting to downgrade visas and cancel Alien Certificate of Registration Identity cards before leaving the Philippines should be sure to leave plenty of time to (1) downgrade their visas to visitors visas, (2) cancel their ACR I-cards and (3) obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate.
Background: ACR I-cards are identification cards that contain personal information, including biometric data. The cards are used as re-entry permits, but do not replace the need for passports or visas when required. As BAL reported earlier this month, the Bureau of Immigration has said that it will not process applications to cancel ACR I-cards unless corresponding visas have been downgraded. Officials have now made it clear that immigration officers are able to access a database telling them whether a downgrading application has been filed.
BAL Analysis: Visa holders should work with BAL to ensure they have left adequate time and follow the proper steps when planning to leave the Philippines.
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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