Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Annual Report Filing: An Unexpected Twist

My wife Lydia and I arrived at the Bureau of Immigration on Wednesday at about 6:40 a.m. and there were already  several people ahead of us. The doors opened promptly at 7a.m. By then the queue of course was longer. At about that time a security guard directed annual report filers to the guidance area for help in completing their forms. That's where we should have gone right away, but due to miscommunicated instructions, we thought we didn't have to do so because we had already filled out our papers. 

But once we finally got properly situated in the AR interview area, it took about an hour including waiting time, which might have been less had we gone to that section immediately. Actually, it took even longer for us to assemble and photocopy the required supporting docs (I-card and passport validation page copies, etc)  in the days before the annual report, not to mention the expenses involved, including the notary service fee of P200.00 for each of us . The good thing is that completing that package and having it ready for review before we got there saved a lot of time.

Once the examiner approves the annual report form, there  are  two more stops  to make where another examiner who gives the approved forms a quick  once-over before sending you to the cashier. After the P310 payment, you're done. Be sure to hang on to the receipt as you'll likely need that for next year's AR. 

The unwelcome surprise that I received is that the original examiner determined that there was an error in my permanent resident visa, specifically that it's supposedly the wrong kind.  However,  rather than hold me up for possibly several more hours to get the issue straightened out that day,  he logged the matter and signed off on  my annual report with the understanding that I would address the visa situation ASAP.  The strange thing is that I got the visa in 2005 but it took Immigration nine years to determine that something was amiss(?).

So I returned to the BI on Friday and proceeded to the visa section. I explained my predicament to the clerk, who  took my passport I-card, and the documents accompanying my annual review  inside the office where she evidently conferred with her supervisor.  She returned a short while later with the good news that as far as that department was concerned, there was  no discrepancy in my visa after all. This was because of a technicality that the annual report examiner hadn't considered in his status evaluation. So I sent a notice relaying that outcome  to him.

Yet  I wonder whether he will let it go at that as during the initial interview, he was very insistent in his position.  I only hope that he doesn't pursue the matter further.  The last thing that any expat needs is to get ensnarled with Immigration in a bureaucratic hassle stemming from circumstances that were not of his /her making in the first place.


Kano said...

Hi Rick,

It seems to me that many of these officials at the BI don't really know what kind of visa is suitable for each person who needs a visa.

When I did a research on the types of visas that are available, there are indeed quite a few to choose from.

Two visas in particular are a bit confusing, and many people are also quite confused, and probably also the BI Officials. It could be one or the other for the foreigner to apply for.

That is why you have one BI Official telling one thing and the other in another department at the BI, another.

If this is the case, it does probably not matter then too much, as long as they see you holding a visa card for you to stay here in the Philippines


Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your valuable input. My concern is that the BI examiner who started all this may pursue the matter just to prove a point. I don't lie awake nights worrying about it, but as you know, when you live in the Philippines, it's important to "expect the unexpected".

Anonymous said...

This is not a comment. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your PI observations. I read practically all the websites and blogs since I live here half of each year and never bother commenting. I have been doing this for 10 years and enjoy reading other expats' experiences. I and my wife, who has never been outside of the PI, live happily on Panay in a minor city with only 20-40 local expats. I was born in the late 40's so I can identify w you somewhat. What I can't understand is why you chose MNL as the place to live. Take care. Panayjim.

Secular Guy said...


Thanks for the kind words. I admire expats like you who can readily adjust to life in the province. For all it's disadvantages, MNL has conveniences that I'm too spoiled to do without, especially here in Eastwood City. Yet, nothing lasts forever.I know the time may come when we might have to relocate from M-Manila, possibly to a more remote locale which I know that my wife really would like. But meantime, I'm enjoying city life while I can.