Jail for Overstaying a Visa

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Can you be Jailed for Overstaying a Visa?

Many visitors to the Philippines appear to be NOT too worried about maintaining a valid visa during their stay, after all, it isn’t that important is it? What can happen? You get a short ban from coming back?  That is normal in many countries.


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But, this is the Philippines, and there are fines involved too.

Some of these people say the fine is miniscule, and are not concerned about paying it.

But.. (yes, another BUT), some people actually do get jailed.

Most people say that only happens to criminals.  I wonder how true that it…

This news report in December 2019, shows how it can be more of a problem than they think…

Australian in jail (possibly) because he overstayed his visa by seven months

In this story, an Australian overstayed his visa by 7 months, with no valid reason, and ended up being detained at Zamboanga Airport, and jailed in the Philippines.

As at December 1st, he had been in jail for 5 weeks, and it is not a comfortable jail either.  No recreation time and no food, unless you buy it yourself.  He says that the prison conditions are horrific, with cells full of trash and no running showers.

  • He does say “I am detained for standing for truth and resisting extortion. I just want to go home.

Philippines officials have not confirmed to the Media what charges the Australian man is facing.

Is it ONLY for overstaying a visa, or was something else involved?

The advice from the Australian government is to keep your visa up to date or risk being detained.

This advice should be considered by ALL visitors to the Philippines.

Overstaying will cost you:

  • All Unpaid Visa fees.
  • Extra Penalty for each month overstayed.
  • Possible Jail time.

Jail time may be more common with people who cannot pay the outstanding visa fees and penalties.  It may also be related to other aspects of time in the Philippines, found when checks are done on applying for an ECC.

An ECC needs to be applied for after 6 months in the Philippines.

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I have overstayed my visa by 6 months.
I am currently in Clark, Angeles, Pampanga.

I need to depart Philippines on 1st May, is it possible I can rectify this at the Immigration office in Marquee mall, Angeles City?
A travel agent told me I have to do it in Manila, & it will take 4-6 weeks?

Could you please advise me on what my options are, in order to depart on 1st May.

Thank you for your assistance.

I arrived here in the Philippines during the heat of the covid 19 pandemic which seemed like everyday a lockdown, I wanted to extend my visa but was unable to travel 5 hours away due to lockdowns and being told I would have to quarinetine for 14 there and once I got home which was insane! I have been here for 14 months expired visa I want to pay the fines fees and bring my visa up to date! I went with an online visa service which turned out to be a scam they scanned me for 60k peso no visa lying bastards so now I learn my visa expired I’m so paranoid that I’ve thought about kayaking from Palawan to the tip of Malaysia lol but I need to know can I just pay the fines and leave I don’t want to stay I want to leave this hell hole…ive been robbed scammed used and Im so fustrated !

I have a police report about how I was scammed by a online visa service it’s a mess the person said they were the ones who would take care of the filing of application that all I needed to do is write. Letter giving them permission on my behalf honestly I did not realise that I was being scammed. After learning that I was scammed it really made me frustrated and scared to even deal with immigration..its been 14 months how much do you think I will owe?about 60? Also I’ve heard night mares of people having to wait months to get an extension which means more fines and cost …I don’t want to stay I want to leave but i was told by someone that I need to file a reconsideration order? Is that only for someone wishing to stay longer? I also heard from someone else that because I want to leave and not stay that I don’t have to file for motion of reconciliation…also If need be do you think the American embassy can possibly help me by writing a letter to immigration? Last question can I give someone power of attorney to go to immigration on my behalf? I’m scared go there…

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