“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wow, I've got my Permanent 13A Visa

In 2010 I started the procedure to apply for a 13A visa. The main reason was that we wanted to import our house hold and personal effects without paying import tax, which can be quite a lot in the Philippines.

In my previous blog I described already my experiences, see this link.

The first year you get a probationary 13A visa. Mine would expire December 15, 2011.

The Bureau of Immigration on its website is not clear in terms of timing. When should you start with the application for a permanent 13A visa? Some people say 3 month before expiry, others just a few weeks before expiry. I wanted to be sure that I was not too late, so I started early, October 11th, 2011, and I am glad I did.

The procedure is basically the same as for the probationary visa, except for the visa picture and finger prints, as they have them already in their file.

First you fill-up the application form, copies of your passport bio page and visa/entry page, marriage certificate, birth certificate of your spouse and of course you bring the request letter from your spouse, which you prepared at home.

Then you go to the notary, to notarize your documents, a guy is then checking all your papers again, and next you go to counter 2, where you deliver your papers and they tell you when to come back (same day). I had a problem as it was a wednesday and 13A is usually done on i believe Mondays and Thursdays. This info is also somewhere hidden on the BI site. Therefore I had to pay 2 express lane fees, or come back next day. Of course I payed it.
Also the cost are more or less the same as for the probationary visa.

This is what I payed October 11th 2011:

  • express lane fee: 500 P 
  • express lane fee: 500 P 
  • application fee: 1.000 P 
  • legal research fee: 20 P 
  • certificate fee: 500 P 
SUB TOTAL: 2.520 P
  • taxi 2 times 200: 400 P 
  • bus 4 times 300: 1.200 P 
  • lunch and dinner: 1.500 P 

On the receipt you find the date for an interview (hearing), usually a few days later. Mine was scheduled for October 14th. This time we made sure that my cloths were acceptable for a hearing. It lasted only 10 minutes with attorney Siton, but it cost me the following:

  • bus 4 times 300: 1.200 P 
  • taxi 2 times 200: 400 P 
  • lunch and dinner: 1.500 P 
TOTAL 3.100 P

I was told that on the BI website they would publish if and when your application was approved, only then it made sense to go to BI for the next steps of the procedure. It would take about 2 months they told me, which would be just in time before expiry of my probationary visa.

And then finally in the November 17th file I found my name and confirmation that the permanent visa was approved. Here is the link to BOC approvals.

So, finally I could start the last step of the procedure, called the implementation. This time I went alone, as one's spouse does not have to show up. I went on December 6. Make sure you have a copy of the BOC approval including the number of your approval. First go to counter 1 or 2 for the visa and deliver your passport. They will tell you when to come back to get your visa, depending on the express fee you pay, a couple of hours later.

If you are lucky you can still process your ACR I-card the same day, but I was not that lucky and had to come back the next day, so I also had to take a hotel and 2 more taxi's.

Payments I did are as follows:

  • express lane fee: 500 P 
  • ACR I-card fee: 2.170 P 
  • implementation fee: 500 P 
  • passport visa fee: 200 P 
  • legal research fee: 40 P 
  • amendment fee: 500 P 
  • form: 50 P 
  • immigrant certificate of residence: 1.400 P 
  • express lane fee: 500 P 
SUB TOTAL: 5.860 P
  • 1 night hotel: 1.000 P 
  • bus 2 times 300: 600 P 
  • 4 times taxi: 800 P 
  • meals: 1.000 P 
TOTAL: 9.260 P

Next day I was early at BI and the first to be served. Within one hour I was finished and went home. Unfortunately the I-card was not ready and I had to come back within 2 weeks, only for picking up the card. So I did on January 6. The card was ready WOW, and no further payments, but I only had to do the yearly alien registration for 310 pesos.

So my total costs for the permanent 13A visa were as follows:

  • probationary visa fees: 9.540 P 
  • permanent visa fees: 8.380 P 
  • SUB TOTAL: 17.920 P 
  • logistics/representation: 24.600 P 

Of course the logistics costs are very dependent on where you live. Should you want to apply, find out what the nearest office is you can use, I didn't do that!! It could have saved me a lot of money.

Last but not least I want to show you a bar graph which I made, based on the data provided by BI about visa approvals on their website, for 13A visa only.

Be aware that I had to cleanse the data, as the nationalities for some countries, especially in Europe, are not very well maintained. As an example I found: Dutch and Netherlands and Netherlander, or African and South African. The problem they have is that their application has no input filter and that some people do not know that for some countries there is a difference between the country name, the language, the name of the inhabitants and their nationality.

It is even more complicated if you imagine that, except for English spoken countries, there is also a difference between the native language terms and the English language terms. I believe interesting enough to dedicate a blog posting to this matter shortly.


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