I had left my paperwork at immigration months ago as it had been approved and just needed processing to upgrade my 13a temporary to permanent. I get the feeling in that time like most things here things have been added into the system. An example of that is the ACR card that everyone has to have on their second renewal even if a tourist costing an extra $50 for the privilege of having one. Why do you want one? only real reason would be for opening a bank account but if your friendly enough with a manager its not an issue anyway. So can’t see the real reason behind the ACR for tourists except to get the $50 out of your pocket.
Today I was expecting a few pesos to cover “changing” my ACR card from temporary to permanent and that was about it. But as usual things never go as simple as they should be and what I would expect to pay around P2,000 for came up to nearly P6,000. How or why it costs so much your guess is as good as mine as they have had money every step of the way already and with this amount it takes the cost of a 5 year permanent visa (yes permanent has to be renewed in 5 years so its not really a permanent visa!) to around P18,000 including receipts for everything. Bit annoying with the number of journeys you have to make to do half the work for them with photocopying this,that and the other. I would love other immigration places to implement a system to match each system a country gives to its nationals so the more inefficient your system the more headaches you have if you went to the UK for example. But if the system run smoothly here you would be in and out in a day in the UK as the quality of service would by mimicked as I am sure like everyone around the world being at immigration is the last place you want to be. I know it is for me..
Well anyway I was P200 short of the visa so now going to go back later this week as like everything else nobody tells you the “exact” or even a ballpark figure of cost. At the same time this is how bribes happen even by mistake as miscellaneous fees appear as part of the process adding an extra P3,000 off the books as I seen a Korean get fed that line yesterday the same as when he asked how much the whole process cost the response “I am not a teller”, bit of useful information for someone who is supposed to know they do it all day! ALWAYS ASK FOR A RECEIPT AS PART OF THE BIR REQUIREMENTS can’t say it enough they would have to tamper with the receipt system then to steal money. If you want things to change for the better you have to be the cog in the wheel that grinds things to a halt if people try to rip you off and use the system that is put in place to stop corruption.