Spending a year in the Philippines obviously requires a little more than a bag full of sunblock and a couple of sunglasses. The regular visits at the Bureau of Immigrations are an unavoidable part of long travels. I need a visa to stay here. Visa extension in the Philippines is expensive (around 400€ for one year) and unavoidable.
I visit the Bureau of Immigration regularly to get a new visa stamped in my passport as I did yesterday. This time, I even got my ACR I-card. Wow, it makes me feel like a local, or at least like an immigrant. Nice!
Here’s an in-depth post about ACR I-card from Foreigner In Philippines blog.
So far I have only good experience with the Bureau of Immigration satellite office in Mactan Island. Cebu has two immigration offices, the main one in Mandaue City and the other one inside the Gaisano Mall in Mactan.
I always go to the latter. It’s small and the processing is very quick (each time around 20 minutes). That might be because not too many foreigners know of this office yet; it has opened only last year. The staff is very friendly and helpful.
In order to transact at the office though, you have to wear long pants, sleeved shirts, and shoes. You can’t enter the office if you’re wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, and slippers. This is also the case at the main office in Mandaue City. So that is always a little hassle to bring these clothes considering the tropical heat outside the building. But overall my experiences have been very positive: it’s hassle-free and easy.
See you again in two months Bureau of Immigration!
The following information is for adult tourist visa only from the following countries.
You can enter the Philippines without a visa. Upon arrival at the airport you are granted a free 30-day visa that can be extended for up to 36 months at the Bureau of Immigration as follows:
|Length of Extension||Fee|
|1. First extension for 29 days (Visa Waiver)||P 3030|
|2. Second extension for 2 months||P 7490|
|3. Third extension for 2 months||P 2830|
|4. Fourth extension for 2 months||P 4240|
By this time you would have stayed for a total of 8 months and paid P15,770 (around 256€).
I’ve been here only for 4 months so far.
I could’t find any information from the website of the Bureau of Immigration about how to proceed after 8 months. But I know, that effective December 2013, visas can be extended for a maximum of 36 months. So when the time comes and I’ll reach my fourth visa extension (that will be this June 2014), I will let you guys know about it.
UPDATE ( June 16, 2014)
I extended my visa last week at the Mactan Satellite Office. I’m now a proud holder of a residence certificate.
The Bureau of Immigration has new rules when it comes to visa extensions: For every application, an ID photo is needed. If you don’t have a current ID photo, you can have it taken at a photo shop a few meters from the office at the Gaisano Mall in Mactan.
I was also told what to do after having stayed in the Philippines for 8 months by the immigration officer as follows:
Visas can be extended for 6 months at a time until you reach the maximum of 36 months in total only at the Mandaue City Bureau of Immigration.
The Mactan Satellite Office can only extend visas for 2 months at a time until you reach the maximum of 36 months in total (each of the extensions will cost P 2,830).