Philippine Visa Issues

I should know better.

Didn’t think about how long I’d been in this country before selecting an exit date. Had I chosen 5 days earlier I would have left before 6 months had elapsed. Would have avoided another 60 day visa extension, getting exit clearance and a new requirement for those here over 6 months, an alien registration card (ACR-I). The cost of those was less then buying another airline ticket so it’s no big deal. Or so I thought.

I applied for all three on Thursday 25 Feb. Visa stamp issued while I wait, the ACR-I comes from Manila. I have the receipt so it doesn’t matter if the card doesn’t arrive before I get on the plane. The exit clearance is another matter. I HAVE to have that. A bribe might work, but I’d rather not be in the position of relying on a bribe to be able to get on a flight with a non refundable ticket.

Exit clearance also comes from Manila. I asked when I could pick it up an was told the following Monday, March 2. I didn’t show up until yesterday, March 4. Guess what? My application was never submitted. Fixed that, I should have it on Mon the 8th. I leave the country on the 14th, so I need to have it by the Friday the 12th. According to other expats, the usual processing time is 2 days in Manila or Cebu, no one can tell me how long it takes in the boonies. That gives me an unknown number of day to sweat it out.

One of the guys at the place I hang out the most often is the resident expert on all things Bureau of Immigration. I told my exit visa story today and he told me not to worry. He’s buds with the chief of the Cebu B of I office. (Yeah, the guy works and Cebu and lives in Dumaguete on the weekends). He said that if didn’t have visa by Tuesday that I’ll get one for sure the next day. All he has to do is make a phone call and I have to do is make a trip to Cebu.

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