Living in the Philippines

The ACR - I Card in the Philippines

ACR stands for Alien Certificate of Registration and since sometime in 2010, there is now a new ACR I-Card in the Philippines. This is a proper identification card in credit card format, with the biometric data of the holder, such as picture, address and fingerprints. However, other data, such as type of visa and the various entries and exit of the proprietor, are also to be stored on the card.

The additional cost against the old paper version of the ACR, is 50 US$ or 2100 Peso. So if you stay in the Philippines without a visa and have to do your extension every two month, the 2nd extension now costs about 6860 Peso.

Who needs the ACR-I Card?
Well, if you read the description on the official Web site of the Philippine Immigration, you need to study some paragraphs and legal texts first to understand it but it comes to the point, that all foreigners who stay longer than 6 month in the Philippines on a Non Immigrant or Resident Visa, must have this ACR-I Card!

Also, all foreigners who stay in the Philippines without a Visa and have to do their extension every two month at the Immigration office, need the new card for their second extension after 59 day.

Some banks in the Philippines will also ask you an ACR, when you want to open a bank account in the country. But you can also do that without the card.

Foreigners who stay in the Philippines on the basis of a Balik Bayan Stamp in their passports, are exempt from the ACR Card so far.

The following Immigration offices can issue the new ACR-I Card:

  • San Fernando, La Union
  • Aparri, Cagayan
  • Subic
  • Batangas
  • Legaspi
  • Iloilo
  • Cebu
  • Tacloban
  • Zamboanga
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Surigao
  • Davao

There are reports, that also the Immigration on Boracay issues the card within 24 hours.

Other immigration offices will have to send your application to the main office in Manila and it may take a few weeks before you finally receive it. This has no effect on the visa extension, however.