Philippines Exit Clearances (ECC) – Update!

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:

    1. Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa (also referred to as tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more.
    2. Holders of expired or downgraded Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas.
    3. Holders of valid Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas but are leaving for good.
    4. Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart from the Philippines for the first time.
    5. Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa with Orders to Leave.
    6. 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!

 

BI logo

Bureau of Immigration Offices and Phone Numbers

MANILA
BI Main Office, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila. Tel: (002) 527-5657.

Angeles City
Marquee Mall, Aniceto Gueco St., Angeles City, 2009 Pampanga. (045) 404 0215

CEBU
BI Regional Office, P Burgos St., Tribunal, Mandaue City, Cebu. Tel: (032) 345-6442/6443/6444.

DAVAO
BI Regional Office, BI Building, JP Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City. Tel: (082) 300-7258

40 thoughts on “Philippines Exit Clearances (ECC) – Update!

  1. Interesting. I still do not understand why or if I would need an ECC, but I shared it with another group (RUMP) because maybe it will be able to help someone there that needs to understand it.

    • For your benefit John Jackson, I revised the article to include information from the Balikbayan programm, which is a

        Visa Free

      program for returning Filipino citizens and their families, and as such, does not require an ECC upon departure from the Philippines.

  2. well….just got my ECC a few days ago….. the info here is all in respect except that they only asked me for the 5 photos and the cost was 1,000 pesos even. They provided two forms…visa extension form and ECC form. It took us 2 hours at the BI Regional Office, P Burgos St., Tribunal, Mandaue City, Cebu. It’s located at the top level of the J Center Mall there. We arrived there at 9am and immediately got service….good respects. Im here on a tourist visa.

    • Tom, thanks for the update. It is difficult most days to get accurate information, especially from the Philippine government itself. The fee is close to what the BI publishes, P500 for the ECC, and P500 for the Express Fee. You might have escaped with the P10 Research Fee! (lucky you). While the BI site says 5 photos, some guys have reported needing six photos. Anyway, all’s good! Thanks.

  3. You’re missing a few immigration offices. Last time I got one was at san fernando in la union 510 pesos all in. 2 photos. Took 5 minutes

    • Hi Damon, the intent of this post was not to list all of the Immigration offices, only to provide information about ECC’s. The Offices I did list are the Main office and regional offices. If you want to find a specific office, please visit the BI Website for that information.

  4. I got my ECC at the Boracay field office in October 2015. All was as expected except that they also wanted a copy of my flight ticket. Might just be a local quirk, or quirk of the person on the desk. However, they turned the ECC around within an hour after I returned with a printed copy of my ticket, so I wasn’t complaining. Might be worth taking a copy of your ticket along with all the other docs.

  5. Best info around by far…

    For those who have overstayed (over the legal possible 2 years) are these ECC procedure still apply?

    With my overstay i could produce all of the above at the exception of the “Valid ACR-card”. or is the hole process changes? (there will be additional procedure granted, but i wondered if the ECC is bypassed by a superior permit/order)

    any idea?

    TKs

    • MY guess is YES the ECC will still apply! An overstay has no bearing on the requirment for the ECC. I would especially think it would be even more applicable because of your length of stay as a tourist. But like I recommend in all cases of uncertainty… you should always check the BI as rules and policies can change without prior notice.

  6. I discovered something that fits into this story. Check it out to see if it will work for you. I have heard from a few people that said it worked great for them. You can ‘rent’ an onward ticket for $9.99. It is good for 48 hours before they cancel it. You can also get them for longer, but I’m sure they would cost more.

    https://flyonward.com/en/

  7. good evening there.
    very useful article there but i still have questions. i am india and i have 9(f) student visa valid untill 15 july with valid acr card of same date, 2016. i am flying to india on july 9 with one way ticket due to social reason. i completed my study but i still have to come back for my TOR and diploma. so do i need to get ECC? can i get it on airport? do i need to show them return ticket as a proof or returning? what if i cant come back before 15 july? please give me suggestions soonest. thank you good day!!!!

    • Honestly, I do not know anything about student visas 9(f). And even with the ACR Card, because it expires soon, you may need an ECC. A return ticket (to Philippines) is no proof that you would actually return in time under a valid visa. If you return after the 15th, you will likely need an ongoing ticket, unless you can get your 9(f) extended prior to you leaving. I would definitely check with the BI at Intramuros about your situation. Good luck, and congratulations on your graduation!

  8. hi, i have a question. i have a US citizen daughter, 3 years old. shes been here for 2 years and were planning to go back to the US. Can we get ecc and extension stay in cebu? or we really have to go to manila? and can i send someone on our behalf to get it? thank you.

    • I believe you must obtain your own ECC. Not sure whether you need to go to Manila though, since you might be able to do it in Cebu. Your daughter will definitely need the ECC before she can leave the country.

  9. hello. I have questions also about from the guidelines that the CFO gave to me. Its about travel clearance. I know that my child is exempted to have a dswd clearance because shes holding a belgian passport and will travel with me . I was wondering if my child need it before leaving philippines. It written here on the guidelines that “parents or guardian of minors with foreign passport must consult the bureau of immigration regarding exit clearance prior to departure at the bureau of immigration”. we will leave next month on oct. 5 .So does she need it? what are the requirements? She dont have visa because she is holding a belgian passport. thank you;

    • That is definitely a question for the BI. I’m no expert on ECC’s and would not want to guess at your situation. Best left to the “officials.” Sorry I couldn’t offer an answer to your question.

  10. I got my ECC last week (500 pesos only)and my supposed date of departure was 9 December but I couldn’t make it due to some circumstances which were beyond my control. My next rebooking date is 22 December, do I need to get a new ECC or will the one I already have still be valid?

    • The one you have should still be valid… unless you committed a crime since then! lol You might want to give the BI a call to find out how long an ECC is valid for.

  11. Question:
    Here in quezon city, those who are holding student visa are required to downgrade into tourist visa in order to apply ECC-A leaving for good. This will add two more headaches since to apply the downgrade we first need to get an NBI clearance. On the contrary, when I checked the BI web, they don’t mention about the downgrading.

    Does anyone knows which one is correct?
    Thank you in advance.

    • That is a good question Eko, thanks for asking. Again, the best source for answers to any immigration questions is to contact the BI personally. The website, while a good source of information, many times is not updated in a timely fashion and some information may be stale.

  12. I recently visited our local BI office in Calbayog City to do my Annual Report or “Check-in.” Posted on the wall there was a short paragraph about ECC’s and the requirements thereof. It summarily said:

    “Any non-permanent resident staying longer than 6 months in the Philippines WILL need an ECC prior to departure. ECC’s should be obtained within one week prior to departure. ECC’s are valid for 30 days.”

  13. May I ask…I hold an ACR 9G icard, staying in Philippines only for 3 and a half months after last arrival. And now I wanna leave for good. Should I apply for ECC-A?

    • To be safe, yes. Especially if you tell them you are leaving for good and surrendering your 9G visa status. My question is why even tell them? If you are in the NCR region, I would probably just make a trip to Intramuros and ask some “hypothetical” questions.

      • Thx for kindly response. But I’m far away in Dumaguete. Just wondering if the Ecc application is necessary. The procedure is inconvenient for me because I have to go Cebu to process it ( three days before departure. Anyway, thanks again

        • My guess is that if they think you are returning, you can get the ECC and reentry permit at the airport. If you inform them of your non-return, they might require you to get your ECC three days before departure at an issuing office. I would check with the BI office in Duma to see if they have the capability to process one.

  14. My flight was Mar. 7, 2017 departing Manila so i flew from Bohol to Manila Mar. 5, 2017 to get my ECC at Manila airport. On Mar. 6th i took a taxi to airport to get ECC but was told by immigration at the front door that they dont give ECC at the airport that i would have to go to there main office to get it. So 2 hr taxi ride in traffic to the office. Went through the process and was told to wait 30 mi. then go to window 10 where i thought i would get my ECC. Instead they gave me a slip saying i could pick my ECC up there on Mar. 9 at 1pm. I told them my flight was tomorrow morning, they asked why i waited until the last minute to apply, I answered with i was told i could get it same day, they told me it takes 3 working days. So i went back to my hotel and changed my itinerary date of departure until June and booked a flight back to Bohol. Total cost of flight penalty’s, flight to Bohol, hotel and taxi fees exceeded 50,000.00php. It was a nightmare !. So i will go to Cebu late May where i can get ECC in less then 30 min

  15. I’m on 9F visa (student visa/non-immigrant) I fall under ECC-B since I have a valid ACR and an SRRN no. Can I just get an ECC-B at the airport for 2,880? Sorry i just need to reconfirm in case any new law ammendments arise. Hope to hear from you all.

  16. Just been to bi intramuros today 19/4 because was in the area and leaving early May. Not too much hassle and they were busy was out in just under two hrs but disappointed that the return date to pick the certificate up is 24 on Monday… Also it was 1910 pesos total,two receipts issued,one for 510, one for 1400. Wonder if they’ve had me for the 1400? Might go back Friday afternoon, see if it’s available.

    • I guess it doesn’t matter to the BI that you might have traveled to Manila to get the ECC. Now you have to hang around for the better part of a week? Not sure about the charges, I didn’t think it was that expensive for an ECC.

  17. Hi. I have a valid balikbayan visa and same time probationary 1 year ACR I-card. Do i need to pay ECC each time i go out of the country? If yes, how much is it if paid at the airport during the first time i go out? And the succeeding trips out of Philippines? Thank you.

    • I believe as you are a ACR-I Card permanent resident, your first trip out of the country in a calendar year you will obtain your ECC at the airport and the cost is P2,880. Rumor has it though that President Duterte has suspended the Express Fee and that would be a P500 savings, not too sure about that though. Any subsequent trip out of the country that same calendar year would cost P2,250 for the ECC.

  18. I came to the Philippines with my family on a Balikbayan (visa) 10 months ago. I now have a permanent 13A Visa.
    We are soon planning to visit the United States for 6 weeks. Can I still travel using the Balikbayan priviledge?

    God bless,

    Dave

    • I don’t believe so. You will now travel as a permanent resident… And it will cost you P2,880 to leave the country and return (ECC and Reentry permit).

  19. Hi, currently holding CEZA visa which will expire in July. Once expired will return to Philippines and apply 9G visa with ACR. Upon holding 9G visa, does it mean that I have to apply for ECC everytime I’m leaving the country?

    If yes, it should be ECC-B right? and if I’m actually travelling only for the weekend (most weekend) I will have to pay P2,000+ before I’m able to leave.

    God Bless,
    Alex

    • My guess is yes, you would fall under the ECC-B category, but it is only a guess. I would still check with the BI upon applying for your 9G to determine if you fall under the exit/rentry rules. The cost to leave is P2,880 for the first trip out and P2,280 for each subsequent trip during that same calendar year.

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