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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Surprise, it’s faster this year!

I got my ACR I-Card Annual Report completed in less than 30 minutes. It’s a pleasant surprise because I did it on the first working day of 2017. That’s a record-breaking completion after having doing this for several years.

This is assuming you have all your papers in good standing. For this, I open this journal entry with a “good job” Bureau of Immigration – Manila!

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Displayed with large texts because there are many elderly who file for this each year.

ANNUAL REPORT 2017

Like in recent years, the Annual Report steps are displayed in large texts. It’s streamlined effectively into three steps: EVALUATION, ASSESSMENT, and PAYMENT.

I noticed this year they created a PAYMENT counter at the open area outside of the main building. This helps ease traffic for the people doing the annual report. No longer having to crowd inside the main building and queuing side by side with the rest of the public who are paying for other transactions at the bureau. Good job.

I hope it could be done like this every year.

ACR I-CARD RENEWAL

Now, we move onto my ACR I-Card renewal. It has been five years since I experienced hell at this same building.

Let’s recall in 2012 the endless queues on those horrific January mornings. I remember the people holding ACR I-Cards that were printed WITHOUT EXPIRY DATES. Stories of people being held up at the airport because when the Immigration Officer (IO) checked their ACR I-Card, it was expired! And poor souls, true enough when you look at their cards… the expiry portion is BLANK! WTF talaga.

You can imagine the anxiety I have for my ACR I-Card Renewal going into 2017. However, I gave positive thoughts. The BI has improved over the years based on how they seem to improve the Annual Report each year. I can see improvements in efficiency. LORD. Salamat.

  • Total Cost: PHP 2,988.50
  • Total Time to Accomplish Submission of Documents: 4 hours

For the complete process for the ACR I-Card Renewal, visit this page on the BI website. It’s what I used to prepare my documents.

George’s Tips:

  1. Prepare all the documents and place them in the proper order.
  2. Put them into a folder 8×14 (see website for details).
  3. Have a pen, stapler, binder, …all of these extra stuff in your bag just in case.
  4. It helps to smile even if you must fake it. Nothing helps if you are mean to the people at the windows. Imagine they have to deal with hundreds of grumpy faces everyday.

I will admit… people need a stroke of luck when dealing with the BI. Sometimes your papers are all correct and in order. But with the shuffling between windows or photocopying… something can easily fall out of place. Or a misplaced document might not even be your fault. Andami kasing papel!

Luckily, no problems with my paperwork. I followed procedure. I went to the BI armed with information available on the BI website. I hope they keep that website updated with the processes. Kasi malaking tulong na po ito!

The renewal processing will take 3-4 weeks. I heard someone actually say one month. I have authorised my parents to claim it on my behalf. Again, visit the website for details!

Next… because I work in Singapore… I need a…

ACR I-CARD WAIVER

I don’t have the luxury of waiting 3 to 4 weeks for the release of my new ACR I-Card. While I believe this whole waiver could be streamlined if they changed the rule to “KEEP YOUR OLD CARD UNTIL THE NEW ONE IS ISSUED.” … sayang naman if BI can’t cash in on another process.

So I applied for my ACR I-Card Waiver. Which in itself takes three to four days to process. Their website says apply for the waiver at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure. Eh how!

Learn how you can apply for an ACR I-Card Waiver by visiting this page on the BI website. I used the information there to help me apply for mine.

Because of the website, I arrived prepared with my letter addressed to the commissioner (derecho talaga sa commissioner wow). You have to get the letter stamped and they do a check if you have any derogatory record.

  • Cost of Waiver including the Express Lane Fee: PHP 1,010.00
  • Total Cost including the Exit Permits, etc.: PHP 3,180.00
  • Total Duration (achieved with some running between windows): 1 hour

Included is the Exit Permit, Clearance, etc. which is normally paid at the airport prior to departure. The IO at the window issues me a six months waiver after I informed him I’ll be back in the Philippines in April. On the receipt it says “Grace Period”. I have to claim the waiver tomorrow or on Friday.

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OVERALL

It will take much to completely reform my view of the Bureau of Immigration in Manila. Because when I was a teenager, I remember a lady at one of the windows here asking for (about) my mom’s jewellery. Which is the most absurd thing di ba. Grabe, alahas talaga. Pwede ba Jollibee lang?

But over the years, processes seem to be improving at least in speed. Seeing younger faces at the BI gives me some hope. The saddest thing is having young and promising government officers be influenced by the ways of old. By the stinking system of yesteryear.

Continue improving, BI Manila. 🙂

I was like, why are you so obsessed with me? LOL. Read about my ACR I-Card experiences documented in 2014, 2015, and 2016.