The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday advised foreign nationals living in the country to renew their identity cards before these expire to avoid any inconvenience should they wish to travel abroad.
BI Associate Commissioner Siegfred Mison issued an advisory urging foreigners with travel plans to renew their expiring alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card) at least 30 days before the date of their intended travel.
The I-Card is issued to all BI-registered foreigners who are holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Mison said that aliens with pending I-Card applications would not be allowed to leave as the cards serve as their reentry and exit permits.
Aliens who leave despite pending I-Card applications will have their resident visas downgraded to tourist upon their return to the Philippines, he said.
Lawyer Ronaldo Ledesma, BI acting alien registration chief, said the visas of returning aliens with expired I-Cards would also be downgraded to tourist.
However, Ledesma said only the “no visa-required” aliens shall be allowed entry as tourists, while visa-required foreigners will be turned back as they need to secure entry visas from the Philippine consulate at their port of origin.
Ledesma advised aliens with plans to temporarily leave the Philippines to immediately renew their I-Cards.
The cards may be renewed at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila, or at district offices in San Fernando in La Union, Aparri in Cagayan, Subic, Batangas, Legaspi, Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Surigao and Davao.
The I-Card is a credit card-size ID issued to registered aliens. It has an embedded computer chip containing biometric security features.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. recently prescribed new guidelines for immigration officers in processing arriving and departing passengers with expiring or expired I-Cards and those with pending I-Card applications.
The guidelines may be viewed on the bureau’s website (www.immigration.gov.ph).