Getting Your Six Month Visa And ACR Card In The Philippines! The 59 Day Milestone!!!
Over 100 countries are on the list to enter the Philippines without first obtaining a visa their passport holders are automatically given a 30 day tourist visa upon arrival.
You can get an extension for 29 days in three ways. This will bring you to the maximum 59 days allowed upon initial arrival. This may be confusing because you can actually stay for 36 months on a tourist visa. The 59 day is reached by the only initial extension allowed. That extension is 29 days. (30+29)
You can obtain your first extension in three different ways:
1) Terminal three in NAIA (the international terminal) has an immigration office on the third level. You can get your initial 29 day extension there. I don’t know how many avail themselves of this after such a long journey, getting luggage, dealing with customs, getting a sim card for your phone, etc. My luggage was lost so It wasn’t on my list of priorities.
2) Go to your local immigration office (I recommend at least a week prior to expiration of your first 30 days). Take you passport, address of place your staying and hopefully you have a philippine phone number by this time. I’m not sure if they require that, but they do ask.
3) Go online (Link below). This is how I did mine and it was super easy. Once you click pay it will give you confirmation and you can chose cash if you don’t have a local bank or G-Cash. You then select a location with a CLIQQ machine on screen and go there to make your payment. I chose 7-11 because they are virtually everywhere here! Keep these things in mind when using the online option:
You must pay within the time limit given to you online or the extension request will be denied.
Make sure the email address you give is valid as they email the extension. Keep receipt and extension with your passport and keep copy on phone.
The processing time is minimal. I walked to the mall grabbed a coffee and when I got home I had my extension in my email inbox.
That will get you to the 59 day limit before you’re able to get your Alien Certificate of Registration. You will be able to extend a maximum of six months at that point.
Make sure to print and keep the documents with your passport and also save copy on your phone. They will be needed to leave the country and at Immigration office for subsequent extensions.
Jennifer Terri is the Philippine travel expert and she gets her info directly from the government so there is no doubt that you’re getting good info. Her link is below.
Official waiver emailed to you.
Obtaining your second and subsequent extensions:
You will need to travel to your local Immigration office for subsequent extensions.
Make sure to dress appropriately here when visiting government agencies. It can be seen as disrespectful to show up in flip flops and tank top and expecting professional service. Courtesy and appearance matter here…. A lot!!
I saw a video from another expat who claims he was paying twice the price at the Makati office where he lives. Take that for what it’s worth… Link to his video about this in the description.
You’re not required to obtain an ACR (Alien Certificate of Registration) but I believe it makes sense to have a Philippine ID if You’re going to be here longterm.
I live in BGC so It was easy for me to walk to the office located in the same building as SM Aura Premier Mall. (26th Street, Corner McKinley Pkwy, Taguig, 1630 Metro Manila). It’s located on the 8th floor of the tower, and the entrance in located at the southwest corner. The Immigration office in opens at 08:00. A guard will direct you to the elevators.
When you enter the immigration office (right side door) there will be officers there who will direct you to fill out the application and give you a que number. (It’s an automated machine, but they keep it covered and will come around and operate the machine for you).
I have the link to the application form below If you prefer to complete the application ahead of time.
When they call your number simply give them your passport (and visa extension if you did your first extension online). They will ask if you want an ACR card and how long you would like to extend. I opted for the 6 month extension and to obtain an ACR card. (Cost on screen).
The officer will do a quick background check while you’re standing there and print the “invoice” for you to take to the cashier.
After paying you will go back to see the officer who will take the receipt and ask you to come back in 2 hours. They will keep your passport while this is processed.
My total cost for the ACR, six month extension and express fees was 13,583 pesos ($246.13 US.). If you have recently extended at another office and paid different amount, please let us know in the comments.
When you return with copies of your receipt they will return your Passport and provide you with the official original receipt and ACR card. You must keep this original paperwork with your passport (No date will be stamped in your passport). Your VISA experation date will be on the receipt. You will need the paperwork to do business again at the Immigration office and also need it to exit the country. You’re ACR card is valid for one year.
Heed The Red Stamp
With a six month extension in hand this will get you to the 8 month mark and by that time you should feel very comfortable in
Summation and caveats:
There are some caveats. If you extend your visa and leave the country, Any time left on your visa at date of departure will be forfeited. when you return your visa process starts at the beginning again Note that if you leave the country (even for a weekend visit to Thailand) when you return this whole process starts anew and your current extension is no longer valid.
Exit Clearance: If you stay more than 6 months, you will need to obtain an exit clearance. I believe this can be done at the airport, however, if you’ve stayed for more than a year you will need to visit the Bureau of Immigration a week before your planned departure to secure clearance. Some opt to fly in and out to avoid this; however, I believe the energy and cost of circumventing the clearance requirement is not worth the pain.
Driving: You can drive on your home country license for 90 days. If you are stopped without a copy of your passport id pages and latest entry stamp there is no way to prove you have been in country for less than 90 days…. Don’t let this happen to you. I
Bureau of Immigration Application link:
Bureau of Immigration E-Services link
Paddy Link about cost difference:
Jennifer Terri’s video link: