Requirements for an ECC – Exit Clearance Certificate

Requirements for an ECC

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) has stated that the following are needed to get an ECC – Exit Clearance Certificate (also called Emigration Clearance Certificate)


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  • Completed application forms. (They supply numerous forms for you to fill in !!)
  • 6 pcs. colored photo (size 2×2 ) white background. (NOTE: SIX were needed, not the FIVE that web sites say.
  • Photocopy of passport (3 Pages: biopage, latest arrival stamp and last visa extension stamp).
  • Photo of both sides of Alien Certificate of Registration ACR card. (Must be Current NOT Expired)
  • Photocopy AND Original of the Receipt for payment of last visa extension fees. (To be issued with an ECC, you need up to date valid visas)
  • Current ACR-I card
  • A personal appearance is required for fingerprinting, both electronic scanning and manual ink, and photograph.

There are various forms available for download at: http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php/downloads/application-forms but… not for the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) as it is now called.

Philippines BI Forms

More Information on the Exit Clearance Certificate

Who needs an ECC Emigration Clearance Certificate or Exit Clearance Certificate

An Emigration Clearance Certificate [ECC] is needed when Foreign Passport Holders are leaving the Philippines after a stay of 6 months or more.

Your passport may be stamped like this, when you get a visa renewal that takes you past 6 months after entry.

Notice of ECC after 6 months

Any child, born in the Philippines, but travelling on a Foreign passport, NEEDS an ECC to leave the Philippines. A notice to this effect is on display at a Bureau of Immigration office.

Requirements for an Emigration Clearance Certificate [ECC]

To be issued with an ECC, you need up to date valid visas, and an ACR-I card.

Cost of an ECC Emigration Clearance Certificate or Exit Clearance Certificate

Cost of ECC-A

The cost for an ECC-A in 2014 was 500 pesos
0
How much have you paid for yours?x
.  There has been some recent talk about it being free, by some people, but two recent comments shown below, show that there is still a charge being made.

  1. ken hogan on January 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm
    i just got my ECC today 17/1/ 2018 at J Mall Mandaue 500 php total
  2. Edward on November 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm
    I just got my ECC and the total cost was 710 pesos at the J centre mall on the second floor in mandaue

Cost of ECC-B

The cost for an ECC-B in 2015 was mentioned by one person at 2,850 pesos. The cost was mentioned again in October 2018.

  1. Friendly Citizen on October 30, 2018  at 5:37 am
    I paid 2,860 + 500 (express fee) = 3,360.

ECC-A for Visitor Visa Holders

The ECC-A may be secured at the BI Main Office or in select District Offices, Satellite Offices, Field Offices, One-Stop-Shops.
ECC-A is issued to departing holders of Tourist Visas who have stayed for 6 months or more. A valid ACR-i card is required for this when the Visitor visa holder has been in the country for over 2 months.
ECC-A is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards and are leaving the country permanently.

ECC-B for other Than Visitor Visa Holders

The ECC-B may be secured at the BI Main Office or in the airport upon departure.
ECC-B is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards and are leaving the country temporarily.

Update:

Confusion between ECC-A and ECC-B for Tourist Visa Holders

There is confusion on whether a Tourist Visa holder, leaving the country temporarily, and holding an ACR-I card, requires the ECC-A or the ECC-B.

Tourist Visa in the country over 6 months: ECC-A with no confusion. (ECC-A is issued to departing holders of Tourist Visas who have stayed for 6 months or more)

Tourist Visa in the country under 6 months: This is where the confusion arises, as the Tourist Visa holder must also have an ACR-I card (after 2 months) and the rules state: ECC-B is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards and are leaving the country temporarily

However, even if the Tourist Visa holder is only leaving temporarily, their visa will normally expire on leaving, meaning it is a permanent exit on that visa, and they will return on a new visa, automatically given for most nationals, for a 30 day period, with the same conditions applying for a new temporary visa entry.

If the Immigrant or Non-Immigrant visa can be used for re-entry, then it could be classed as ‘leaving the country temporarily’, and selecting the ECC-B.

It is possible that some Tourist Visas may be able to be used for re-entry under those circumstances.

 

When the ECC was enforced in 2013, the reason for this certificate was given as follows:

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said that the ECC is being issued to departing foreigner nationals to prove that they have no derogatory records in the country or any accountability with other government agencies.

There are two types of ECC:

The ECC-A is being issued to foreigners who have tourist visas extending for more than six months. (A tourist visa holder in the country for over two months will also have a tourist ACR-i card)

The ECC-B, on the other hand, is given to holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas with valid alien certificate registration I-Cards.

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Hello, I just processed my ECC today.. my flight is on Sunday JUL-12.
I have been extended for stay (MR) valid until JUL-15

Is it normal for BI MAIN to collect and KEEP my passport? They took my passport after paying the ECC fees, and said it will be forwarded to the immigration counter of the airport, by the day of my flight.

I’m am concerned with the timing (Sunday morning flight) as I will need to show my new work visa and passport to before I can even check-in at the airline counter.

is this new or the normal process?

Hello good day. I just want to ask what is the requirements for 2 years old child who wants to get ECC. He was born in the Philippines and currently holding Australian citizenship and first time leaving the country. Can I apply from Marquee mall Pampanga immigration? Thank you

1

Hello, I have a 4year old Child currently here in the Philippines and a Dutch citizen passport holder he will be leaving the Philippines for the first time next month and I heard that I need to get ECC for my son. Can I apply here in Davao Immigration ? What is the requirements? How does it takes ? Do I have to pay for my son over stay or what? Did I need to set an appointment to Immigration ? Thank you so much.

Thank you for the quick response. Where can I ask How much Will it cost for the over stay fees? My 4year old Child is a foreign passport holder born in Philippines .

Hello admin, 120,000 penalty fees for four years ? Is that cost can possibly decrease ? Please give me some advise , other way to lesser cost.

Hello admin, the computation is from the date he born or from the date we get his foreign passport?

No one has been able to answer my question, so I’m hoping maybe you can.

My current visa (extension) will expire on March 26, 2020. This will be 2 years since I have entered the Philippines and have extended my visa accordingly.

Due to the flight bans traveling to the U.S.A. through South Korea, I was able to book my ticket for May 8th to leave the philippines.

Will they allow me to extend my visa again for that short period?
Or will I have to overstay my visa? If I have to overstay, can you tell me what I will have to do to assure an ECC before my flight so I won’t have any complications?

I’m sorry, I forgot to include that I am a U.S. citizen.

I am on a tourist visa, so thay would mean I have 24 months. March 26th marks the 2 year mark of being here.

My flight is scheduled for May 8th 2020. That will be 6 weeks after my visa expires.

Since I will have already have been here for 2 years, will they allow me to extend the extra 6 weeks? (Or 2 months)

If it’s not probable, would there be any reason to go to the immigration before March 26th? Or should I just overstay and wait and go the week before I plan to leave and pay overstay fees and get the ECC clearance?

I have dual citizenship, British and Canadian, and I can stay 36 months entering with either passport. Seeing how the Filipinos have always been partial to the Yanks, you should certainly not have a problem.
Over staying your visa is not an option you should be considering as the fine can be as high as ₱500 per day.

Hello,

I have a daughter who is a US Citizen currently staying in the Philippines. She’s been overstaying for about 9yrs now, and I want to bring her back to the US by March 2020. I’ve renewed her US Passport recently, but I cannot locate her old passport that we used originally. Do you know if there are any exceptions for under age kids regarding over stay in the Philippines? Or does the same rules apply to minors?

Hello i have a question i am 83 years old when it comes to my time to leave the country after three years i should be 84 years old i’m not well are there any arrangement or possibilities for elderly people to not have to leave the country after the three years stay

I am a US Citizen living Texas. My son (also US Citizen) was living in Philippines with his partner who was born & raised in Philippines. I am uncertain if she possess a Filipino passport or she would have to get one. My son died in September in the Philippines. She wants to come to US to visit his family here.
What steps are needed to allow her to fly to US for a month visit? And, approximately how much would this process cost (excluding air travel) to get proper documents to fly to US.

She also has a married cousin, child and dad that live in California, all Filipino.

Is there anything we can do to help her acquire all the documents needed to travel to USA?
And how long and expensive is this process to acquire docs that would allow her to make the trip to US?
Do I get a reply via email or do I need to watch this site each day? I am a first time user.
I promise we will send her home when her visit is up.

I totally agree with you

Hi, I’m leaving the Philippines for the first time with a 13A visa and I know I need to get a ECC-B at the airport. Does anyone know what is involved? How long it takes, how much? And what kind of paper work I need to have? Thanks

hi i was just married here in philslast year to a swiss man and im going to apply a visa to go his country at switzerland next month…july 2020. and the embassy asking me to if possible i can get exit clearance for my travel this year?bec,of the pandemic maybe its hard for me to exit in phils….so maybe i need this exit clearance?..thanks!

Hello

I was working in Philippines on 47A2 visa 3 years back. After staying for a year I left the country without downgrading my visa which was valid for 6 months more. Also I did not procure a ECC.

Now I want to apply for 9A visa so I can visit the country. Will there be any problem with the immigration because of not downgrading my previous 47A2 visa.

Your response will be highly appreciated.

Thank You

This one process demonstrates the entire incompetence of the Country, I had to fly back from Australia (I travel frequently for work) to at first get an NBI clearance (I’ve no idea why this is a required process) and the waste 3 weeks whilst the immigration department runs through it’s red tape. What is the purpose of the exit certificate or downgrading? It makes no sense at all. Surely you should only be interested if someone leaves the Country prior to a Visa expiring. If its about getting cash, then just charge a fee and be done with it. I have nothing good to say about the Country at all, full of hypocritical christians, total incompetence, greed, corruption and total ignorance. Other Countries in Asia are far more interesting and capable. For the typical Filipino it’s hard not think that they hand out free lobotomies at birth.

3

I was stupid enough to think it was just absurdity. But now to my horror I find that BI indeed are capable of coming up with “derogatory records” for children. -They are fined for overstaying in Philippines when coming for the exit clearance! Filipino born children with Filipina mother! Fined for years of overstay.
Is it possible? Is there no sense of decency in BI?

1

What a crying baby. Australia has one of the most strict visa policies in the world, with high fees and stupid rules. I’ve never had any problems in the Philippines, just don’t be stupid and you won’t have any problems.
The way you generalise Filipinos is also interesting, especially coming from someone whose country started as a place for prisoners and criminals, has no food culture whatsoever, is full of racist people, can’t treat its indigenous people right and as its best is famous worldwide for… kangaroos.

Before you criticise a country’s laws and rules, take a loook at your own backyard and see how shitty it is.

1

whingeing, and bad-mouthing others…Aussie national past-time…just watch Australia Border Security on TV and see what a bunch of pricks you have working your borders…

HELO ,
I have resident provisionary visa. Can i came to get my exit clearance next week if i will go home in vacantion just in sept 18? or cant be issue the exit clearance if is more then 30 days the departure?

Can you get an ECC clearance at the airport providing you have a valid ACR card and tourist visas are all up to date, but have been in the Philippines for more than one year ? Because I’m reading on some sites that you can only get your ECC clearance at the airport if you’ve been in the Phillipines for less than one year.

admin,

I get her indian passport last june 2019 now she dont have visa how many months penalty i need to pay

Thanks

Hi admin,
But her mother is pilipino and we get her passport last june.

Just want to thro this in….
If you come in the country with your spouse, you can be issued a Balikbayan Visa (good for 12 months) you can leave the country at any time with no need of a ECC letter. I do not know how it stands with a child born here while on the vist to the Philippines.

2

I have a valid ACR-1 Card currently in my possession. My passport extension is good until Sept.1st. My last ECC was paid for during my application for my ACR, on June 27th. I am leaving PH for only 1 week on Aug.8th, and returning on Aug.15th. I assume that because my ECC-B is only good for 1 month, which means that it will be expired on the day that I leave the PH, that I’ll have to pay for another ECC-B on the day of my departure at the airport. Is it as simple as paying the fees for a new ECC-B on the day that I depart…right at the airport? And since I have a valid passport extension, and current ACR-1 card, that photos, forms, and other requirements won’t be necessary? Thank you for any answers that you can provide to me.

did you have to pay for another VISA EXTENSION?
i was told at Dasma i needed to pay for another extension when i just got one on Aug 2.

Hi admin
I have been in the PH for 6months now under student visa 9f, and I still have a valid ACR I card and I want to go back to my country due to some emergency problems at home, can you tell me what are the requirements to get an EXIT CLEARANCE?

Hi Admin,

I just wanna ask about my child who’s born here in the Philippines but since her father is us citizen she grant us passport and she doesn’t have Philippines passport. She’s 2 yrs old now and she’s still here at the Philippines but we’re gonna go in Us this August 2019. What would be the process or requirements for her to leave the Philippines with out any trouble? Do we need to pay penalties? or can i just get here Philippine passport? Awaiting for your response.

Thank you!

I had the same issue my child was born here in the philippines and acquire u.s citizenship last 2017 and now a u.s passport holder. We are still here in ph. And getting ready to u.s by august. I need also to have ECC permit to travel . How much does it cost and what are the requirements needed to have ECC.

i wanna ask about my daughter she was born in Philippines
and she has indian passport but we get her indian passport last june 24 2019. do we need to pay penalties because she doesn’t have visa.

Thank you.

Good afternoon,
We need to pay penalties and how much.How to get ecc and what is the requirements.
Please advise what we can do.

Thank you.

Good afternoon.
Can you help me how much the cost for her penalties because she is almost 15 months but we get her indian passport last june 2019 and her mother is Philippine citizen.

Please help us

Thank you

Even we get her passport last June 2019 and she was born in Philippine last June 2018 and her mother is Filipino she still pay the penalty.
please advised what we will do the best thing because she is indian nationality and they not allowed dual citizen in india.

Please help us.

admin,

I get her indian passport last june 2019 now she dont have visa how many months penalty i need to pay

Thanks

Hello. I am holding a 9G Visa. Last July 15 I just left the Philippines and came back last July 31. I already paid the travel tax and exit clearance in the airport. Now I want to leave the Philippines again in October. So do I need to pay the travel tax, the exit clearance, and terminal fee for It has been just for 3 months since my last time of leaving and coming back to the Philippines?

1

My two kids (6 & 5 yrs old) who were born in the Philippines and later acquired their Canadian citizenship. They will soon travel to Canada for the first time. Do you have any idea how much is the fee to secure their ECC? Thanks for your reply.

Hi there, my 2 kids aged 10 & 8 were canada born & stayed in the Philippines for 2 years. We report their live of birth here in toronto this may 2019. They were about to come back yesterday when they were stop at the immigration with my husband accompanying them at the airport because they dont dual certificate accordingly. So, I call back the phil consulate Toronto & told me the best thing to do is apply for Exit ckearance certificate. Therefore, how much is the cost & how long is the process? Since my family all Canadian citizens need to come back asap.pls I really appreciate your soonest reply right now pls..thanks much!

Hi admin, I stay in Philippines almost for 3years with my live-in-partner as a Tourist visa. I keep on renewal my visa every month. And now, I need to go exit according to BI. They told me, I can come back again and to settle for my marriage rather than spending the money on payment for tourist visa. I already book my ticket to Singapore and back again to Philippines. So, which type of ECC I need to apply? Can I apply inside airport before 4hrs of my departure? How MUCH fee for ECC? What are the other documents required to show in Philippines Airport when I came back? My partner, she gave me her original NSO birth certificate, Postal Id, Some marriage application which had been pending with her own finger print and duly signature. I told her to be at airport, ifever BI ask for some proof. Hope you understand and give me some hints to face any trouble in airport.

Hi, so I was at the branch in BGC, I never knew tourist Visa holders were charged annual report fees and apparently mine had expired (which they hadn’t picked up last month when I did my extension), so upon applying for my ECC I was charged the fee 300pesos the fine 600pesos and then a “legal research fee” 20pesos. I was about to be charged 1400 or so extra for some CR or CT thing which they couldnt explain to me, until one of the officials checked my passport and said it was paid. And of course 500pesos for “Express lane” which is a 3day wait to get my ECC.

My main issue, the stub they give you with the receipt attached to collect your ECC, must have fallen out of my book on the way, I cannot find it anywhere, I’m panic struck because I leave on Friday and I’m supposed to pick everything up on Wednesday. Will this pose a problem? I have a picture of the original receipt, issued prior to payment.

That was true in my case. Went to Olongapo BI office for ECC yesterday but they told me to go to Angeles,, hwich is where my last visa extension was made.

Hi Admin,
I am from CHINA, arrive PH on 28 October 2018 with business visa and plan to leave PH by 27 April 2019 (total 181 days) is this consider more than 6 months? ECC required for my case?
Thanks

I know this sounds stupid but I just want to double check without getting any trouble leaving the Airport haha…My partner is Philippine and will be travelling back to live with me in the UK, I just want to make sure she doesn’t need an EEC before we leave because I know once we are in the airport, we can’t get one then!
Thanks

1

Hi. I am a British national with British passport. I have been in the Philippines continuously since October 2018 (so more than 6 months). I am due to exit the country on Tuesday 23 April 2019 at 9am. I will not return for around a year.

I have been extending my visa through the same visa agent. In November I paid for my ACR card. Each time extending after that I was told ‘it’s not ready yet’.

My agent became aware I was now exiting the country. They told me about the ECC and printed off the relevant forms and made copies of my passport, visa extensions etc for me. I also have the required 2×2 photos.

I went to Angeles immigration at Marquee mall this morning. I was immediately asked for my ACR card. I told them I don’t have it, as each time I’ve been told it’s not ready. They told me to go to a counter and ask for it. The guy came back with my card, made me sign for it and I thought everything was OK. But when I went back to the original lady, she told me it had not been issued a SSRN, indeed the space on the card is blank. She told me their system had been down for “3 weeks” so they couldn’t help me and I should “go to Manila”.

It was too late for me to go today (Wednesday) and the rest of the week is Holy Week, so Manila immigration is closed. I now intend to go there first thing 8am on Monday 22nd April morning. However my flight out of the country is the following morning, Tuesday.

Will it be possible for them to ‘expedite’ my forms? Can I do anything at the airport? I am prepared to pay extra if required. It isn’t my fault my ACR card wasn’t ready for months, and that Angeles Immigration’s system has been down for weeks. If I don’t fly out Tuesday morning as scheduled I will lose considerable money on flights and Air bnb reservations.

Any advice is welcomed, thanks.

Thanks for replying.

Yes, I have the official receipt for the ACR card from the Bureau of Immigration, it is dated 26 November 2018. I now physically have my ACR card, and according to the date on the card it was issued 21 Jan 2019, and therefore expires Jan 2020.

And yes that’s correct, I don’t have the ECC. When I went to Angeles immigration yesterday (Wednesday 16th) to process this, they said they couldn’t as 1. my ACR card hadn’t been issued a SSRN number (the space on the card is blank ), and 2. they couldn’t allocate me one as their “system has been down for 3 weeks”. Their only solution was I go to Manila. I would’ve gone today (Thursday 17th) if it wasn’t Holy Week.

So the forms I have (given to me by the travel agent used for all my visa extensions) are the “Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) Application form” and “Alien Registration Program (ARP)” form. Both are filled in (by me with the help of the travel agent) but not yet processed by immigration (as that’s what I was hoping Angeles immigration were going to do yesterday).

So I have these forms, copy of my passport photo page, copy of my passport’s Ph visa page (valid until 7 May 2019), copy of all my visa extensions (including the originals), copy of both sides of my ACR card, copy of my flight out of the country on Tuesday April 23 2019 at 8am, and 8 2×2 photos.

The issue is whilst I’m intending to be at Manila immigration for opening at 8am on Monday April 22nd, my flight out of the country is literally 24-hours later. I’m wondering whether they will ‘expedite’ my documents on the basis that Angeles’ systems were down and that it was Holy week. I will gladly pay them 1k extra peso or more if they turn it around same day, as I stand to lose 12k peso on my flight.

What I’m unsure about is whether they will do that at all and whether offering ‘extra money’ will be poorly received. I would of thought they can make compromises in exceptional situations. If they tell me to come back in days or even a week, I am in a bad position as I will waste both a lot of time waiting around in Manila and lose hundreds of pounds on my flight, hotels etc.

Can I ask, how soon was your ECC issued to you (and where), and why do you think my ACR card was not issued with a SSRN number? Is the SSRN issued when the ECC is done?

Thanks again.

Thanks again for replying.

I don’t have a SSRN number, as that was the reason Angeles immigration gave for being unable to process my ECC. She pointed to where the void was on the SSRN area of the ACR card and said they can’t process my ECC as there was no SSRN on the card.

I’m banking on what you’ve said re asking Manila immigration to expedite my ECC. I have printed a copy of the next day’s flight to prove to them I’m due to fly out. I will also emphasise Angeles’ systems were down and that it was Holy week. I’ve even thought of having a 1k peso note in my wallet, opening it up and showing them the note whilst saying “I will pay extra if do today”…

I can’t really do what you’ve suggested in terms of exiting without the ECC, as at the very least I’m expecting Manila immigration to process my ECC within 1-2 days (if they can’t do it same day), meaning when I go there the day before my flight they will have retained all my documents, ACR card and passport (?), and clearly I can’t fly out internationally without my passport.

I have an AirAsia flight booked to Phnom Penh for Tuesday morning and an Airbnb reservation there. I can actually defer the Airbnb so that I don’t lose out for the nights I don’t stay (I get a refund) but I can’t get a refund on my AA flight. And looking at prices now, there’s a massive premium when booking last minute. On top of that I’ll have to pay for hotels in Manila whilst I’m waiting for the ECC to be done. That’s why I’m prepared to pay even 5k peso extra if it gets the ECC done on the Monday, as that’s still going to be a fraction of what it’s going to cost me if I end up staying in Manila for days.

I wish there was a flat fine at the airport for no ECC as I would’ve just bit the bullet and done that. I’m generally a planner and meticulous person, so I’m feeling very frustrated about this whole ECC thing. It’s partially my fault for leaving it on holy week, but I had no idea Angeles’ systems were down. Also, my visa agent gave me the impression if I go a week before I’m due to fly that’s the appropriate timescale – well I’ve now learned the ECC is valid for a month, so that’s particularly frustrating for me as I booked my flights out of the country a month ago, and if I knew the ECC was valid for a month I would’ve applied for it much sooner than 7-days prior to flying out.

Thanks again.

Hello i have the exact same issue, Ater the angeles marquee mall office told me that they couldnt process my ecc i went to manila north edsa satellite and after that went to the main migration office in manila, they both told me (north edsa and the main office) that they couldn’t process my ECC because it can only be processed by the last satellite where i get my last extension (angeles) and they kept me back and forward (angeles and manila offices), i hope this doesn’t happen to you and i just want to save you some time and to try to put you ahead of what it might happen, if its the case of course which i truly hope it isn’t……. Because due to this migration lack of communication (negligence) in between offices i lost my flight, i just now made an advanced extension (may to june) in the 1st office where i started my extensions after i arrived in the Philippines (north edsa) in hopes that this monday i can finally (hopefully) start my ecc process again because, unfortunately for me, now i need to leave the county urgently. Keep calm and keep us updated!.

Take care.

Hi again. I’ve been meaning to update but only just got around to it.

Firstly, F.R, man, that sucks. If head office in Manila said that to me when I went there last Monday, my head would’ve exploded. I now further realise how lucky I’ve been..

So to recap: I did all my extensions in Angeles City, having been there almost 7 months. I went to do my ECC the day before Holy week holidays began, but was told by Marquee mall immigration they can’t do it as their systems were down and my ACR card hadn’t been allocated a SSRN, so the only solution was go to head office, which wasn’t open again until Monday 22nd, the day before I’m due to fly.

I went to Manila in the middle of the night Sunday, using the Genesis point to point bus. A Grab from NAIA 3 to my hotel was 250 php. My hotel wouldn’t let me check-in that early (6am), so I decided to just go to immigration early. I actually walked it as it was only 15-mins from my hotel.

I was told by AC immigration the Manila head office opened at 8am, and Google said the same, so I was kinda annoyed when I got there at 7:20am to find it was already open with a long queue (it opened at 7am). Once in, the ECC section is on the left. There was no queue for the ECC process, so I was seen immediately. Straight away the guy checking the forms tells me I only have 1 set of the necessary copies (passport page, visa page, ACR card, visa extensions etc). He said because I was processing my ARP and ECC at the same time, each required a set of copies. That annoyed me immensely as I had my visa agent in AC triple check over my documents before leaving AC.

There is a photo copying service within the same area, just sectioned off. So I go in there and the staff won’t let me operate the copiers themselves, and they’re too busy talking so they make me wait 10 minutes. The fee comes to 20 php, I only have a 100 note. She looks at me in disgust and starts yelling “too early! too early! You come here too early!”. Sorry dear but if the office is open and so are you, that’s not too early.

I go back to the ECC counter, the guy checks everything over and tells me to sit down. I ask him “don’t you need my ACR card?”, to which he shakes his head and has a look of ‘why would I need that?’. I say to him I’m flying out the next day, and if I pay extra, can this be processed today. He shakes his head dismissively and tells me “always 3 days minimum”. Damn. By now I’m feeling mixed emotions, as I’m glad to be in and having my forms processed, but I’m feeling livid as AC immigration cited missing information on my ACR card as to why they couldn’t process my ECC. I believe someone else posting here also said their ACR card wasn’t needed for ECC.

I sit and wait for 10 mins, then the guy who does the bio stuff (finger/thumb scans and webcam photo) calls me over. We do that, and I’m told to sit back down. 15 mins go by then the original guy tells me to go sit in front of the counters and wait for my name to be called from counter 10. I see that counter 10 is titled “ECC release” (or something similar), so I’m thinking ‘omg, they’ve done it today!’. But when my name is called, it’s just the guy who wants me to pay for the ECC (500 php, at yet another counter) and then he gives me the receipt. I tell him ‘I am flying tomorrow. I have problem at Angeles immigration so they tell me come here. Then for 3 days you have holy week holiday. Please, if I pay extra can you do today?’. He says no, it’s usually 3 days. Crap.

I’m about to walk away, but the he asks ‘you have copy of flight ticket?’. YES, I damn well do as I printed it off on a hunch. I show him the ticket and he says ‘ok, we do today. Come back 3-4pm’. I’m shocked and lost for words. I offer him more money if he really does do it today (as I’m paranoid he’s just telling me what I want to hear to get rid of me) but he laughs and says ‘no need sir, just come back this afternoon’. Amazing. I go back at 3:15pm and am praying I see the same guy but he’s nowhere to be seen. So I approach counter 10 and tell the lady I’m here for my ECC, I processed it this morning and because I’m flying tomorrow, I was told it would be done today. She grabs a pile of outbound ECCs, and begins flicking through them. She goes through them all but doesn’t pull mine out. Oh crap. Then she goes through again and like a rabbit out of a hat, there it bloody is. I want to leap over and kiss her but there’s glass/plastic barrier dividing us designed to keep idiots like me at bay. She hands it over and sternly says “next time you come one week before”. Ok love.

I left the following morning as originally planned. Handing over the ECC to the immigration officer was highly satisfying.

My only bit of advice: the ECC is valid for up to a month. If you’ve booked your flight out of the country, and it’s within a month away, get that ECC as quick as you can. You may have to jump through some hoops, but it’s better to be doing it with time to spare than 24-hours before your flight!

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I forgot to add: whilst I was back in my hotel room crossing my fingers and hoping the ECC was being done, the earthquake hit Manila. Initially I heard what I thought was a burst water pipe, but it turned out to be debris falling off and scattering down the building. Then the whole place start shaking and the power went out. People were running in panic and fortunately my room was literally right next door to the fire escape.

The streets were flooded with people. We were allowed back into the hotel after about 30 minutes. Everything was OK in the end, but it was quite an eventful Monday!

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