Maximum validity of Philippine ACR I-Card

The Philippine ACR I-Card or the Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card is the ATM card-size identification card for aliens who are required by law to register (see: http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=114&Itemid=61). It contains all documentary requirements of an alien in the Philippines. It is somehow like the USA’s green card, Canada’s permanent resident card, Italy’s Soggiorno card, or Spain’s Permiso card. However, it does not contain the visa. As a rule, Philippine visas are stamped on a passport visa page or pasted, if a sticker. The I-Card only complements the visa. It is NOT the visa. The I-Card’s MAXIMUM validity, unless otherwise indicated, is 5 YEARS from the date of issuance. So, if your ACR I-Card was issued sometime in year 2006 it is most probably already expired even if it does not specify a date on the VALID UNTIL portion of the card. 

If your I-Card is expiring, or is already expired, you MUST apply for renewal of card. If it is lost or damaged, apply for re-issuance of card. This will save you the inconvenience of being denied admission to the Philippines during arrival or disallowed to leave the country on departure. Usually, the validity of the I-Card is consistent with the validity of the visa. Its validity is always within, never beyond, the validity of the visa.

When you are coming to the Philippines with a permanent resident or non-immigrant visa and your I-Card is expired you may be excluded or denied entry depending on the assessment of Philippine immigration officers upon your application for entry on arrival. If you have a valid visa however, you may be allowed to enter the Philippines but ONLY as a tourist/visitor and not as a permanent or resident visa holder. So, even if you have a valid resident visa or immigrant or non-immigrant visa but your I-Card is expired or is not presented, you will be accepted to the Philippines only as a tourist with a limited number of days of allowed stay. During such allowed stay you must be able to apply for the re-issuance or renewal of your I-Card. You must also apply for a change of status from that of a tourist/visitor to your status based on your valid visa.

When an I-Card holder is departing the Philippines, he must secure an emigration clearance certificate (ECC) and re-entry permit (RP). Every departure requires an ECC. RP is valid either for 6 months or 1 year. Both documents are automated and incorporated into the I-Card. Subject to payment of required fees (PhP 2880.00 for those with no RP yet or PhP2170 for those with valid RP), you may secure both documents at the airports prior to departure. Always take note of the validity of your re-entry permit. You may not be allowed entry, upon return, when your re-entry permit is expired.

CAVEAT: Holders of expired ACR I-Cards will NOT be allowed to depart the country because you cannot be issued an ECC and RP. Most probably, your I-Card is expired because your visa is expired. So if your visa is expired and you plan on leaving the country before the visa renewal is approved, you must apply for a grace period. The grace period is the period in which you will be allowed to enjoy your visa status while your visa renewal is on process. If your grace period is expired, your visa renewal is pending at immigration office, your I-Card is expired, and you are planning to leave the country, apply for another grace period. Without the I-Card and without the visa, you will not be allowed to depart the country so that you can comply with your immigration documentary requirements. 

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One thought on “Maximum validity of Philippine ACR I-Card

  1. Hi, my i-card is expired and I don’t intend to renew it but I want to visit family using a tourist visa. Will I run into any problems? Thanks!

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