This is the third year I’m sharing my experience in filing my annual report (AR) at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) main office in Intramuros, Manila. If it is in anyway useful, you can read about my experiences in 2014 and 2015. Do be forewarned if I was ranting in the previous instalments.
What’s the AR? It’s a requirement for ACR I-Card Holders (Alien Certificate of Registration) to report in person to the BI within the first 60 days of the calendar year.
I’ve had traumatic experiences at the BI with epic queues and overly bureaucratic procedures. I thought, who else writes about this? The senior citizens clutching their brown envelopes in confusion?
Giving credit where it is due, I have observed that in recent years… things DO LOOK BETTER. There are true blue express lanes for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). These days you will see younger immigration staff who are far more welcoming than their roughened superiors. The AR itself is now a three-step “simple” process.
Since I’ve been based in Singapore since 2012, filing for my annual report must be done during my annual “Christmas holiday” in the Philippines. It’s the sexy part of my holiday itinerary. Sadly leeching on my precious paid leave days.
What’s the secret to getting it done quickly?
Simple. On the first day of filing. Be there, EARLY!
- Evaluation / Queuing (Have your ACR I-Card scanned.)
- Assessment (Get the “Order of Payment” slip).
- Payment (Pay PHP 310.00 at the Cashier Counters).
- Be consistent. File your AR on time each year!
- Always bring your previous ARs!
- Keep every damn receipt you’re given!
- Have a pen with you at all times, just in case.
My Experience on the first day of filing for 2016
We arrived at 8:30 AM. The entrance for the AR was on the right side, a small gate. The end of the queue was already outside on the street but I was in high spirits since it was moving anyway.
STEP 1 EVALUATION. It was like musical chairs reaching the front. Here you have your ACR I-Card scanned and then checked. If all is good, you get a queue stub for Step 2 which is assessment.
STEP 2 ASSESSMENT. Inside the building, look for the counter for assessment and wait for your queue number to appear. When I arrived at the counter, my queue number was already called. The lady printed a payment order slip and told me to pay at the nearby counter.
STEP 3 PAYMENT. Queue at the cashiers and pay PHP 310.00. Keep the receipt. Keep the receipt. Keep it and don’t lose this, EVER. Make sure you can read the date (2016). Also check if your name is spelled out correctly.
This was the fastest transaction I’ve ever had with the BI main office in Intramuros. For every sincere improvement made by the BI, good job. Sana tuloy-tuloy lang.
BUT FOR EVERY OTHER TRANSACTION AT THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, PLEASE CLARIFY THE TRUE PURPOSE OF THE MAGICAL EXPRESS LANE FEES.