The “Exit Clearance” for Dummies
Over time, one of this blog’s most engaging post has been on the topic of exit clearances to leave the Philippines, Departing the Philippines – Exit Clearances. Many times, those who respond and comment on topics like the Philippines exit clearances have good intentions, but can be technically incorrect sometimes. Somebody suggested once that they wished there was a version of “Exit Clearances for Dummies,” so I thought I would try to simplify the information in a new post with the most updated information I could find (Nov 2015).
First things first: While many folks might talk and write about obtaining an “Exit Clearance,” the correct nomenclature is “Emigration Clearance Certificate”, or more commonly referred to as an ECC. ECC’s generally apply to ALL visa holders¹. These clearances are issued to departing foreign nationals to prove that they have no derogatory records in the country and have no pending obligations with the government at the time of issuance. The following is the straight and skinny from the Bureau of Immigration website outlining the requirements for an ECC (current at time of this posting).
There are two (2) types of ECC . The ECC–A (also referred to as regular ECC) and the ECC-B.
Who needs an ECC-A?
The following foreign nationals must secure an ECC-A prior to their departure:
- Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa (also referred to as tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more.
- Holders of expired or downgraded Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas.
- Holders of valid Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas but are leaving for good.
- Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart from the Philippines for the first time.
- Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa with Orders to Leave.
- Bona fide seafarers who have stayed in the Philippines for 30 days or more and has a duly approved discharge from BI.
Keep in mind, any child, born in the Philippines, but traveling on a foreign passport, NEEDS an ECC to leave the Philippines. A notice to this effect is on display at a Bureau of Immigration office.
– When should I apply for an ECC-A? Anyone requiring an ECC-A must apply for their clearance at least 72 hours prior to his/her departure from the Philippines.
– Where should I obtain my ECC-A? This type of ECC must be secured at the BI Main Office or in select District Offices, Satellite Offices, Field Offices, or One-Stop-Shops.
– How much does it cost? According to most recent information, the cost for an ECC-A is P500 plus P10 for Legal Research Fee (LRF) and if you want to pay the Express Fee, add another P500. So PHP 1,010.00 total. *From the BI website: Fees are updated as of 06 March 2014 and may change without prior notice.
Latest requirements to obtain an ECC-A
- Completed application forms. (Available from the BI)
- Six (6) ea. colored photo (size 2×2 ) white background. (Some claim six were needed, not FIVE that the web site indicates.)
- Photocopy of passport (3 Pages: biopage, latest arrival stamp and last visa extension stamp).
- Photo of both sides of Alien Certificate of Registration ACR card. (Must be current – NOT Expired)
- Photocopy and Original of the Receipt for payment of last visa extension fees.
- A personal appearance is required for fingerprinting, both electronic scanning and manual ink, and photograph
The ECC-A is valid for one (1) month from the date of issue, however, you may only use this once regardless of its validity.
Who needs an ECC-B?
An ECC-B is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards and are leaving the country temporarily. It is a single-use receipt issued to evidence their Special Return Certificate (SRC) (for Non-Immigrants) or Reentry Permit (RP) (for Immigrants) which is valid for one (1) year.
– Where should I obtain my ECC-B? It may be secured at the BI Main Office, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila or in the airport upon departure.
– How much does it cost? According to the last updated information, the cost for an ECC-B is P2,880 for the first departure in a calendar year, and approximately P2,150 ( I was unable to verify the subsequent departure amount but this is close and what I have paid before) for any subsequent departure in the same calendar year.
¹ One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay
The Philippines’ BALIKBAYAN PROGRAM (not a Balikbayan visa) allows a one-year visa-free stay for Filipinos working overseas and for former Filipinos who have acquired citizenship in certain countries (refer to the Philippine Embassy website in country of origin). The visa-free stay privilege is extended to the balikbayan’s non-Filipino spouse and children, on the two conditions that (1) they enter the Philippines with the balikbayan and (2) they are citizens of an approved country listed in the program.
Former Filipino balikbayans travelling to the Philippines are advised to bring either their old Philippine passport or copy of Philippine birth certificate as proof of their former Philippine citizenship.
Accompanying family members of the balikbayan can bring appropriate supporting documents to show evidence of relationship:
- For the spouse: copy of marriage certificate
- For each child: copy of birth certificate (indicating the balikbayan as a parent)
- For adopted children: copy of adoption papers
EXTENSION OF STAY
Visitors who are admitted as balikbayan are given an initial stay of one (1) year. Their stay may be extended for an additional one (1), two (2) or six (6) months at the Visa Extension Section of a Bureau of immigration office. Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines after thirty-six (36) months may be required to submit additional requirements. Because this is a VISA-FREE program, NO Emigration Clearance Certificate is needed upon departure.
Remember: No ECC means NO DEPARTURE!
Bureau of Immigration Offices and Phone Numbers
BI Main Office, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila. Tel: (002) 527-5657.
Marquee Mall, Aniceto Gueco St., Angeles City, 2009 Pampanga. (045) 404 0215
BI Regional Office, P Burgos St., Tribunal, Mandaue City, Cebu. Tel: (032) 345-6442/6443/6444.
BI Regional Office, BI Building, JP Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City. Tel: (082) 300-7258