• Alien Certificate of Registration Card Holders Must Carry a Valid Card to Travel Abroad
  • February 13, 2012
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Foreign nationals in most visa categories must present a valid, dated Alien Certificate of Registration Card (ACR I-card) upon exit and reentry when traveling abroad, the Philippine government has announced.

    Foreign nationals who attempt to depart the country while their ACR I-card application is in process will not be permitted to exit, while those who attempt to reenter with an expired or undated ACR I-card will be admitted as tourists and lose their work or dependent status. They would then be required to obtain a new work or dependent visa and ACR I-card in-country.

    Though carrying a valid ACR I-card for international travel has been a best practice for some time, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration recently made it a requirement in a memorandum circular.

    This new requirement applies to foreign nationals in most of the visa categories that require an ACR I-card. These are: 9(d); 9(g); 9(f); 13; 47(a)(2) (Board of Investments); Special Investor’s Resident Visa; and Special Visa for Employment Generation. Their dependents are also subject to the requirement. Foreign nationals in these categories must also ensure their visa will remain valid for the complete duration of any trip abroad.

    Several categories of foreign nationals are exempt from the new rule. The Bureau of Immigration has confirmed to Fragomen that business visitors staying for more than 59 days and Special Work Permit holders are not subject to the travel rule, though they are issued an ACR I-card. Foreign nationals in the following visa categories are not affected by the travel rule because they are not required to obtain an ACR I-card: 47(a)(2) (Philippine Export Zone Authority); Regional Operating Headquarters; Special Resident Retiree’s Visa; and any existing or future visa types that are expressly exempted from the ACR I-card requirement.

    Foreign nationals with upcoming international travel plans should contact their immigration service provider for assistance if their ACR I-cards will expire soon or are undated, or if they have a pending card application. Note that ACR I-card applications can only be submitted from within the Philippines, and the processing time is up to two weeks from the date of taking biometric information.