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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

It’s that time of the year again when ACR I-Card Holders in the Philippines have to troop to the Bureau of Immigration and file their annual report.

Since I’m working in Singapore, I have to extend my holiday leave to cover at least one or two working days of 2015. I went to the bureau on 5th January, the first working day of 2015.

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I was anticipating crowds who were rushing to file their annual report. We have to physically file within the first 60 days of the year or face penalties.

The annual report fee is PHP 310.00. The same as in previous years.

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While the setup may change as crowds thin out over the next few weeks, here were the four steps during the crowded first working day.

Step 1 – Evalutation. You show the officer your ACR I-Card. The officer will input data on his/her computer.

Step 2 – Queuing. Once you are cleared by the evaluator. He/she will issue you a queue stub number.

Step 3 – Assessor. Show them your ACR I-Card and then he/she will issue you the invoice stating how much you need to pay (PHP 310.00).

Step 4 – Payment. Pay the cashier the amount in the invoice. And then you are done.

It took me 3 and a half hours to complete the four steps above during my visit on January 5, 2015.

“Improvements” would be the queueing system and the large signs saying where you should go. The immigration staff I encountered were courteous. Even if you are exhausted while waiting for your turn, it pays to smile at them as well because in fairness it felt like they were dealing with hundreds of people that day. Improvement is the senior citizen/PWD lane. I saw many in wheelchairs and I saw so many elderly clutching their brown folders… Surrounded by hundreds of people.

There can be ways to streamline the process of the annual report.

– Payment available thru electronic means (e.g. Credit card, debit card)
– Annual report that is staggered according to your last filing (e.g. July 2014 was last filing, must file before July 2015 and not within the crunch time of first 60 days of the year; useful for ACR I-Card holders who are working abroad).
– Space. The building is overcrowded.
– Sign that says how much is the standard annual report (PHP 310.00) so people can prepare before they reach the cashier. Instead of causing a delay.
– More windows for Step 3 Assessor. It was a bottleneck there when some card holders were stuck due to some reason.

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