Expat In Bacolod

Stephen Bentley - Writer

13A Visa Process Updated

Another step closer to converting my tourist visa into a 13A Visa. This is intended as an update for all who are contemplating the same 13A visa process and to those of you who have asked me for the information. I hope what follows is helpful.

May I say at the outset that there is no need to pay lawyers or fixers to process this application. It is easy if you complete the forms correctly and follow the simple step by step guide below.

For the uninitiated, a 13A Visa is to convert from a tourist visa to a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa By Reason of Marriage. If approved, you, the applicant foreigner, are permitted to stay in the Philippines on a one year Probationary basis. After that it may be converted to a permanent basis.

Please note the applicant is the foreigner and the petitioner is the Filipino spouse.

All the documents you require are available on the Bureau of Immigration website.

Step 1

You need to download and print off two documents. The first is the application form and you need to print two copies. It can be found here http://www.immigration.gov.ph/downloads/application-forms

Click on the form called CGAF-001-REV 02 Consolidated General Application Form for Immigrant Visa

Step 2

Go to this link  http://www.immigration.gov.ph/downloads/checklists-of-documentary-requirements/immigrant-visa and download and print off ONE copy only of  V-I-002-Rev 1 Conversion to Non-Quota Immigrant Visa By Marriage (Probationary).

That is your check list and guidance instructions. Read carefully and do what it says.

You can ignore item 7. (BI Clearance as the BI will issue that at the time of your application) and item 8. to do with quarantine if you are an EU, US, Canadian, Australian, NZ etc. citizen.

Step 3

The check list tells you to use 2 legal size folders. You need to arrange all completed forms and documents in the order they mention in the check list. You also need 2 extra legal size folders at Iloilo and 2 photos 2cms x 2cms of you the applicant. It doesn’t mention that on the check list. Those extra requirements may be peculiar to Iloilo but I say don’t chance it. Take them with you no matter which BI office you go to to make your application.

And check that the BI office you go to actually processes 13A Visas. Some don’t, such as Bacolod.

Step 4

Use this Word document as a template to insert your own personal details. This is your petition letter to be signed by you and you spouse as applicant and petitioner respectively.

Notes

If you have been in the Philippines six months or more then you will need your valid NBI clearance.

Other requirements are:

  • Your spouse’s birth certificate (NSO original) and your marriage certificate also NSO original copy.
  • Photo copy of your bio passport page and stamp showing first arrival in the Phils.
  • In total you will pay just over 11,000 pesos that includes the new ACR card.
    Please note also the Cashier closes at 2.30 pm in Iloilo so make sure you get there early.

Once you have submitted your requirements as above, after wet fingerprinting, you will be given an appointment for interview with the Alien Control Officer. That usually takes place within two weeks of the application submission date.

Both you and your spouse attend this interview. We were asked how long we had known each other, how we met, and how much I earned and how did I earn my money. It was all straightforward stuff and no need to bring any documents with you to substantiate what you tell them.

After the interview, you wait. It can be several weeks before the documents are signed off for approval in Manila. You have to check the website to see when yours is approved.

We had our interview in Iloilo on February 13, 2018. I anticipate I will have approval by the end of March 2018.  Your biometrics (digital fingerprinting and photo capture) will normally  be obtained at the same time as your interview.  I say “normally” as I had to make a second trip owing to the biometrics kit being unavailable. Following approval, the BI will  issue my new ACR card, and I expect affix a new visa sticker to my passport.

The fee I mentioned includes everything.

If you use the Iloilo office, like me, please note it is no longer in the old Customs House. It is now located near Megaworld.

I was overly optimistic in thinking it would be the end of March when I received approval. It was April 23 but it wasn’t posted on the main BI website until April 27. I feel sure the delay was owing to my biometrics not being completed on the same day as my interview.

No, I need to go to Iloilo once more to collect my visa sticker and new ACR card.

After that? I’m good until April 2019 but must report in January 2019. I need to go through the whole rigmarole once more before April 2019 to convert from my Probationary 13a Visa to permanent residency by way of marriage.

Update as of May 30, 2018. Done and dusted! I now have my new ACR card and a corresponsing stamp (not sticker) in my passport.

My 3 years on a tourist visa expired on April 1, 1018 so I incurred a further P 4000 plus yesterday. That included  a fee for motion to reconsider (granted in light they knew of my 13A application), two months’ overstay fines, visa extension for two months.  Still, it’s all done now (until next time).

The BI office in Iloilo is moving again soon so check with them before you set off.

4 Comments

  1. Brilliant, thanks for compiling this information and adding what the BI left out.

  2. Thank you Stephen. Very infirmative.

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