In reality the immigration office is like any other government office a little slow but generally will have a functional system in place. It has to its dealing with thousands of people! If you haven’t been before please read this article as it will tell you what to wear and how to find immigration. At the same time I would like to remind you that it is a government office which is why they expect you dress tidy. Appearance is important in reflecting respect of the service as well as personal pride, if you went to a job interview with shorts and a bermuda shirt as a lawyer do you think you would get the job? Well immigration officials expect to be treated in an office like manner. Doesn’t mean too fancy just “tidy”.
At the same point everyone who does this for you wants a cut of the pie including immigration! I noticed last week when reading through on the expenses of an annual report for permanent residents like myself that costs P310.00 that immigration charge P500 EXTRA for an agent to process. For me that’s a free lunch at a nearby restaurant and the ride home.
So what’s the process and is it hassle? Everything is pretty much within a stones throw it wouldn’t make sense to immigration to over complicate it anymore than it already is because it means more people stuck there for longer periods of time. There is a reception desk on the left for where you can get a form just tell them your a tourist and need to extend your visa and they will guide you through the process. Fill in the generic information (not date!) e.g. address,name,passport number etc. etc. and then go out the door and to the left hand side you will see a little store which has a photocopier get a couple of copies of the form as it means next time you submit you have already half finished the paperwork.
Now finish your original form and you will no doubt be directed to a clerk with your passport. At this point its a case of sitting and waiting, they return the passport go to the teller on the far right inside the front doors and pay.
Strongly advise getting there before 11am as they have a cut off point of 12.00 at which point they go for lunch for an hour. At the same time the earlier you get there the better as first come means first served being there as they opened meant I was in and out in 20mins before. Longest I have had to wait was 2hrs which was down to a “bank holiday” which meant many people arrived on the first day of opening including a lot of people with expired visas because they weren’t aware of the holiday and by the time they were it was too late to get to immigration to pay on time.
Its a simple process and can be quick. Generally I don’t advise using other people to do the work for you unless you can’t be bothered to go. I always look at it as a free lunch, if I process it myself I will head over to Park Mall which is just along the main road and have the pick of the restaurants in what would have cost me in commission. If you are using taxi’s etc it may be cheaper to use an agent though depending how much they are charging. I would say go the first time so you know the process and after that make your decision.
Its not difficult, corruption only happens when you let it ALWAYS ASK FOR A RECEIPT its part of a legal requirement in the Philippines by the BIR. Committing an illegal transaction you are as guilty as the official offering his services. In reality you will see these guys fishing for foreigners walking up and down the reception desk as they work upstairs. Generally on the glass fronted desks on the ground floor activity is above board and legal. Don’t use the fixers as it encourages them and lets face it if they did their job in the first place you wouldn’t be looking to bribe them. So giving them money your letting them know its ok to take ages doing anything as you will give them more money in future.
Originally posted 2011-07-09 06:15:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter