If you’re staying in the Philippines for longer than a few weeks, chance are you need to show up at an immigration once a year. That’s the Annual Report.
Who needs to do it and how does it work?
Note that we’re not immigration lawyers—the info here may be inaccurate or wrong. All we can say is: we’re trying to give you up to date info. No guarantees from our side about info here. When in doubt, check the official Immigration page on the Annual Report or their Frequently Asked Questions.
What is the Annual Report? (And why?)
If you have a long-term visa, you don’t really come into contact with the immigration authorities much. What we think: The Annual Report is their chance to check up on you. Fair enough. 🙂
When do you need to go?
You must go in the first 60 calendar days of the year, i.e. roughly in January or February.
Being late even a day is not funny. With visas, immigration tends to be somewhat forgiving. Late for your annual report? You’re in trouble. (See below.)
Who needs to go?
The Bureau of Immigration says this on its website:
All registered aliens and ACR I-Card holders except Temporary Visitor’s Visa holders or Tourist Visa holders
So, if you have or should have an ACR card, you must go.
If you just use your temporary visitor visa for 30 days, you don’t. If you stay or plan to stay for longer than 60 days, I’d go.
How does it work?
Here are the rough steps. For details see how our Annual Report looked like in February 2020 below.
- At an immigration office you hand in a copy of your ACR card.
- Wait until called by the cashier.
- Get the confirmation.
What do you need to bring?
- P310 — P300 for the fee, P10 Legal Research Fee
- Your ACR card.
- Time: Expect two hours, be happy if less.
Experience Report February 2020 at Immigration in JCentre Mall
I went on a Wednesday afternoon. JCentre immigration has two offices opposite each other. When coming from the elevator, then the ACR card office is on the left, and the main office including cashier is on the right.
In total, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes. Here is the time table:
- 14:14 I arrived at immigration.
- Asked at the ACR office what to do.
- Copied the ACR card (both sides).
- The small stall between the offices selling smartphone accessories also makes copies, for P6 per page.
- Handed in the copy at the ACR office. Got it back with some paper attached.
- Gave the copy to the guard on the other side.
- The guard you’re looking for is at the door to the backoffice, near the escalator.
- Waited for the cashier to call my name.
- This was a bit confusing, because multiple counters were calling for people. You’re waiting for the cashier.
- The cashier is in the main office with all the chairs on the right. You pay for the Annual Report on the right of the two counters.
- 14:37 My name is called. I go pay.
- Wait for the receipt to be released.
- The guard you handed your ACR copy to will also be the one to give you the receipt.
- 15:26 The guard hands me the receipt.
- I go get a copy of the receipt at the smartphone booth. I queue at the ACR office.
- 15:34 The clerk takes the copy of my receipt, checks me off the list.
- I’m done. Total time: 1h 20m
What happens if I miss the Annual Report?
That is not a trifle thing. Basically, lawyers need to file a “motion for reconsideration”. While the motion is to be heard by a judge, which can take months, you’re not allowed to leave the country. (Well, you can’t—you need to hand in your passport.)
Better do your Annual Report on time.