BI allows foreigners stranded in the Philippines to renew visas

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THE Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) has allowed foreign nationals stranded in the country to renew their visas that expired during the pandemic until November 30 this year.

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the latest order covers visas that expired from March 16, 2020 up to July 4, 2021.

He stressed that the deadline is non-extendible, warning foreigners that failure to file their applications before November 30 could be subjected to deportation proceedings for illegally staying in the country.

In addition, foreigners with expiring visas were given a non-extendible period of six months from the expiry of visas to file for renewal or extension of visas.

“The order applies to renewal or amendment of already converted visas, meaning those who have working, student, or resident visas here,” Morente said Friday, July 9.

However, the six-month grace period does not apply to tourists.

Morente said the latest order was in response to numerous extension requests from foreigners whose visas were expiring or about to expire to be given ample time for renewal applications.

He added that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) likewise asked the BI to consider the possibility of giving stranded foreigners due to the pandemic more time to file their application for visa renewal.

Morente maintained that the privilege only applies to foreign nationals who have never left the country since the pandemic began.

“Those whose visas have expired while they are abroad should refile their visa applications if they wish to reacquire the said visas,” he said.

In June, the BI allowed American citizens stranded in the Philippines whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 and are expiring up to December 31, 2021 to depart the country.

A memorandum issued by Morente directed all BI personnel assigned at the different ports to allow the departure of passengers whose American passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 and are expiring up to December 31, 2021.

However, expired passports may only be used for departure to the U.S. until the end of the year, the memo said.

Morente also directed the bureau’s Tourist Visa Section and Alien Registration Division to “process all applications for updating of stay and emigration clearance certificates (ECC) of holders of expired U.S. passports upon presentation of a confirmed ticket bound for the USA.”

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

11 Comments
  1. So what happens to tourists that arrived in mid-January 2020 and whose visa expired March 17th, 2020 and we’re unable to convert their visa because of the pandemic closures? I sent a letter, as instructed by the B.I., to Jaime Morrente, personally, on April 15th 2021, and have received no coherent reply from anyone. I have been attempting to get confirmation that I will not have to pay for missed visa extensions from March 2020 until approximately today. No one has seemed it necessary to resolve my simple case.

    Here is my letter and chain of communication since September 2020, with B.I., below. Maybe someone will see it here and be able to expedite my case, somehow, since contact towards the Bureau does not seem to have any effect on proceedings whatsoever.

  2. April 15th, 2021

    Hon. Jaime H. Morente
    Commissioner
    2nd Floor, Bureau of Immigration Building.
    Magallanes Drive, Intramuros,
    Manila City, 1002

    Upon instruction by the Bureau of Immigration

    Formal Letter Request

    Dear Hon. Jaime H. Morente,

    My name is Cory Shody. I am a 31 year old Canadian who has been in The Philippines since January 17th, 2020. I was given an initial 30 day visa and paid to have it extended once for another 30 days. Since March 18th, 2020, I have been very unable to renew my visa with much of the country’s services shut down or at nowhere near full capacity. I have tried, as instructed, to phone the Bureau of Immigration but the line has been busy. I have also been instructed to call the cash section several times. I left messages explaining my reason/concern for calling and also left my email address and phone number, but no one has called me back. In addition, I have not had enough money to pay for my visa extension due to the sudden economic downturn experienced worldwide by the pandemic. My Filipino fiancee and I have barely been able to get by.

    Considering all of this, I hope that I do not have to pay the full penalties for an overstayed visa, because I still have not fully recovered my own regular, full personal income. Is there any compassion or leeway for my position?

    In any case, I would appreciate any help, please, regarding the fees. How much will I have to pay to the Bureau of Immigration? What fees may I owe/can I expect? I hope the amount of money is not very much. It is my understanding according to this link:
    http://www.immigration.gov.ph/visa-requirements/non-immigrant-visa/temporary-visitor-visa/extension-of-authorized-stay-beyond-59-days
     that I might have to pay 4900 PHP + 2500 php for ACR-I card + 500 PHP express fee + 500 pesos for each month overstayed (500 x 12=6000 php)… for a total of approximately 13000 php. Is this number accurate/realistic? I hope it may be less because I have read that during ECQ and because of quarantines that those months may not be counted as payable. Is that right? Also, would it be wise to apply for a motion of reconsideration of overstaying for 500 php?

    Given the extraordinary circumstances of the past year I think/hope I should have a great case to pay even less for my stay here. I enjoy staying here and look forward to economically contributing more to The Philippines. I wish to continue my stay in the Philippines for the foreseeable future and also to have no issues returning later.

    Please can you help me by replying to this letter or giving my information to someone with immigration who can help me further through phone call or email? I hope you can help me. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

    All the best

    Cory Paul Shody

    (Address and contact info redacted)

  3. 9/23/20

    Hi,

    My name is Cory Shody. I am a Canadian who has been in The Philippines since January 17th. I was given an initial 30 day visa and paid to have it extended once for another 30 days. Since mid-March I have been very unable to renew my visa with almost all the country’s services shut down or at nowhere near full capacity. With things opening up a bit more recently I have tried to phone the Bureau of Immigration but the line has been busy. I hope my questions/concerns can be answered by email instead.

    How much will I have to pay to the Bureau of Immigration if I wish to leave the country in February 2021? What fees may I owe/can I expect if I choose to stay until February? How can I pay them i necessary? I cannot find the information anywhere. I hope the amount of money is not very much. I hope you can help me. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

    All the best.

    Cory

  4. 9/23/20

    Dear Ma’am/Sir,

    Good day! Please be informed that you may come to BI Main Office and other BI Offices to process your renewal of visa.

    For your reference kindly check the link below:
    http://immigration.gov.ph/faqs/extensionofstay

    Please be advised to secure a SPA if applied by a representative (photocopy of valid ID)

    Regarding the fees, we are not allowed to give payment breakdowns. You may call our Cash Section for the fees at 8465-2400 local 109, 103, 114.

    Thanks.

  5. 10/9/20

    Hello, I have called the cash section several times and left messages explaining my reason/concern for calling and also left my email address and phone number, but no one has contacted me or called me back. Do you know why this may be? I would appreciate any help, please, regarding the fees. My number is 615-365-202. I will continue to try calling.
    I look foreard to your reply.

    Thank you.
    Cory

  6. 04/15/21
    Hello,

    I am not sure why no one at Bureau of Immigration seems to be able to reply to my emails and phone calls. I have left numerous messages with the Bureau of Immigration cash section as instructed, with no reply back.

    I have not had enough money to pay for my visa extension due to the sudden economic downtown experienced worldwide by the pandemic. My Filipino fiancee and I have barely been able to get by. Considering all of the quarantines and shutdowns since last March 2020, I hope that I do not have to pay the full penalties for an overstayed visa, because I still have not fully recovered my own regular, full personal income. Is there any compassion or leeway for my position? Please can you help me by replying to this email or giving my information to someone with immigration who can help me through phone call or email? My landline number is (redacted).

    Cory

  7. 04/15/21

    It is my understanding according to this link http://www.immigration.gov.ph/visa-requirements/non-immigrant-visa/temporary-visitor-visa/extension-of-authorized-stay-beyond-59-days
    that I might have to pay 4900 PHP + 2500 php for ACR-I card + 500 PHP express fee + 500 pesos for each month overstayed (500 x 12=6000 php)… for a total of approximately 13000 php. Is this number accurate/realistic? I hope it may be less because I have read that during ECQ and because of quarantines that those months may not be counted as payable. Is that right?

    Also, would it be wise to apply for a motion of reconsideration of overstaying for 500 php? Given the extraordinary circumstances of the past year I think I should have a great case to pay even less for my stay here. Please help.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thank you,
    Cory

  8. 04/15/21

    Dear Sir/Ma’am,

    Good day. Please be informed that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) may take into consideration the information you provided, in order for us to act appropriately and route the information to the proper division concerned, we suggest you file a formal letter request containing the details of your concern addressed to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration.

    You may deliver the formal letter request send the same via registered mail to the following address:

    HON. JAIME H. MORENTE

    Commissioner

    2nd Floor BureauofImmigrationBldg.
    MagallanesDrive,Intramuros
    Manila City 1002

    Should you have other immigration-related queries, please do not hesitate to call the BI Helpdesk Hotline at (632) 8465-2400 and visit our website at http://www.immigration.gov.ph or like us on Facebook: officialbureauofimmigration and follow us on Twitter: immigrationPH.

    Thank you.

  9. 05/10/21

    Hello. I sent the following attached letter on April 15th as per your instruction, but have received no correspondence in return, as well, it seems, as no consideration.

    Cory

  10. Me 05/10/21

    Here is my attached receipt

    Bureau 05/10/21

    Dear Ma’am/Sir,

    Greetings.

    The BI acknowledges receipt hereof and shall forward the same to our Central Receiving Unit (CRU) and to the concerned office for proper disposition. The BI National Operations Center (BINOC) shall provide a reply to your subject concerned at reasonable time as soon as we receive an update/reply.

    Hoping for your kind consideration on the matters concerned in cases of delay reply/update.

    Thank you.

  11. 05/11/21

    Hello,

    Thank you very much for your assistance/prompt reply. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    All the best,
    Cory

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