• Foreign Nationals Must Complete Immigration Annual Reports in Person
  • January 14, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Philippine government has mandated that foreign nationals appear in person at a Bureau of Immigration office to complete their immigration annual reports. Individuals have until March 1, 2014 to complete the report. In the past, foreign nationals had the option to complete the requirement in person or through an immigration professional, travel agent or other representative. The Bureau has confirmed that representatives are prohibited from assisting in the completion of the application forms or payment of the annual report fees.

    Foreign nationals issued Alien Certificate of Registration identity cards (ACR I-Cards) - including but not limited to holders of 9(g) Pre-arranged Employment and 9(d) Treaty Trader work and dependent visas, and Section 13 immigrant visas - are required to complete the immigration annual report within the first 60 days of each year. Individuals must file a notarized application form, present their original ACR I-Card, and pay a fee of PHP310 per foreign national.

    The annual report may be filed in one of the designated Bureau of Immigration offices. The Bureau’s Main Office in Intramuros, Manila will be open for annual report processing from Monday to Saturday (8am to 4pm, excluding public holidays) until March 1, 2014.

    Foreign nationals who are unable to report because they are out of the country must do so within 30 days of their return.

    Foreigners who fail to file the annual report by March 1 will be subject to a PHP200 fine for each month of delay. Failure to comply with the reporting requirement may also lead to cancellation of the visa and to deportation.

    Waiver of Personal Appearance

    The Bureau has emphasized that the personal appearance requirement may be waived in only very limited exceptions:1) foreign nationals who are under age 14 or age 65 or older; 2) those with a medical or legal impediment as evidenced by a certificate issued by the relevant medical or penal institution; and 3) those whose appearance is waived by the Commissioner of Immigration or his authorized representative.

    Exemptions

    Business visitors, Special Work Permit holders, and other foreign nationals who do not hold a long-term ACR I-Card are exempt from the annual report. Holders of other visas not required to obtain an ACR I-Card, such as Regional Operating Headquarters (ROHQ) and 47(a)(2) Special Non-immigrant work and dependent visas, are also exempt from the annual report.

    What This Means for Employers

    For foreign nationals who are subject to this requirement, completion of the annual report is essential to maintaining valid immigration status in the Philippines. Companies must ensure that their sponsored employees and their families comply with the requirement in person by March 1.