Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) Required for SRRV Holders?

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Does a holder of a Philippine Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV) have to get a an Philippine Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) before being allowed to leave the Philippines?  The Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued stricter rules regarding the Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) for those planning to leave the Philippines.

srrv

The purpose of the ECC is to allow time for a check that those leaving the Philippines are not leaving to escape obligations, difficulties or sanctions they incurred while in the Philippines.   The ECC applies to most all foreigners who have not left the Philippines in the last six months.  Formerly, the ECC and the associated ECC fee could be paid at the airport but that is no longer true.  If you need an ECC you need to apply in advance and applications, at present, are only accepted at the Manila, Cebu and possibly Davao BI offices. In my case, I would have to fly to Manila and back to Iloilo to get my ECC before our upcoming trip.  Reportedly, the BI is working to permit additional BI offices to issue ECCs.

This has caused much concern among expatriates in the Philippines. BI officers are required to deny departures to those who need and do not have a ECC. This very thing happened to a friend traveling from Manila to Guam.  He did not have an ECC.  BI refused to allow him to board his flight.  He had to buy a new ticket at full price the next day.

The new BI ECC rules indicate that foreigners with a 13a visa who had not left the Philippines in the last six months are required to get an ECC three days in advance of their travels.  Some advised me that the new ECC rules also applied to SRRV holders.  However, the SRRV visa in my passport explicitly said that SRRV holder are “exempted from the Exit Clearance and Re-entry Permit pursuant to Memo Order No. 118 of the Office of the President dates October 5, 1987”  Said order can be found at http://www.gov.ph/1987/10/05/memorandum-order-no-116-s-1987/

To be sure that we are still exempt from the ECC requirement, I phoned MS. MARCELINA T. CARBONEL
Administrative Officer V/Officer-in-Charge, Servicing Division of the PRA.  She said that SRRV holders are exempt from the requirement to obtain an ECC.

I recently traveled to Vietnam using my SRRV.  There was no problem leaving or re-entering the Philippines.  The BI agent on my return asked if I had my SRRV ID card.  I said yes and started to get it out of my wallet, but he told me not to bother, just to be sure to carry it.  In fact, the BI agent was quite friendly.  The Vietnamese staff of Cebu Pacific in Hanoi were responsible to be sure I had the proper documentation before giving my boarding pass.  I don’t think they had ever seen an SRRV before, but after head-scratching, and looking at the SRRV visa in my passport and my SRRV ID card, gave me my boarding pass.

The new ECC rules are:

Who should apply for an Emigration Clearance Certificate? ECC has two (2) types, ECC –A (also referred to as regular ECC and ECC-B.

The following foreign nationals must secure an ECC-A prior to their departure:

Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa (also referred to as tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more; Holders of expired or downgraded Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas; Holders of valid Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas but are leaving for good; Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart from the Philippines for the first time; Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa with Orders to Leave; Bona fide seafarers who have stayed in the Philippines for 30 days or more and has a duly approved discharge from BI. ECC-B is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards and are leaving the country temporarily.

When should I apply for an ECC?

A foreign national may apply for an ECC at least 72 hours prior to his/her departure from the Philippines.

Does the ECC have validity? Will I be able to use this multiple times? The ECC is valid for one (1) month from the date of issue, however, you may only use this once regardless of its validity.

Comments (9) Write a comment

  1. So here i was with a ticket in hand to travel from Manila to Seattle… then a 2nd ticket, round trip from Seattle to Anchorage, for a 2 week stay, and a 3rd ticket one way from Seattle to San Francisco. Checked my baggage, received my boarding pass, and proceeded toward my gate. But not without first being intercepted by the Philippine immigration on the way. He checked my ticket to Seattle and my passport. Then he asked for my ECC. I said “what?” He said your ECC and proceeded to explain it, and showed me in my passport a small, rubber stamped rectangular statement in 6 point fonts, and smudged no less, which said I needed an ECC if I stayed more than 6 months.

    So at some point in the many times I received my one month and two month extensions, someone stamped my passport with this notice but never extended the courtesy of showing it to me at the time of receiving my passport back in hand. (They always hand the passport back to me closed.) Even though I looked at the yellow extension sticker, I never paid attention to the difficult to read rubber stamped statement. I simply closed the passport, put it in my pocket, and then at home I put it in the desk drawer until the next time I needed to show it to immigration for another extension. I had one 6 month extension, and several others of one month and two month duration. I’ve been here for 15 months – since April 2016. The agent who stopped me at the airport, must have felt like an American traffic cop who just wrote a speeding ticket: Another feather in his cap!

    Well, it cost me over $1,200 for that little oversight on my part. Since then I have learned that my English friend who stayed over 6 months was not required to obtain an ECC when he went home just 2 weeks ago. And also, when I returned to Manila immigration the day after I missed my flight out of country, I met a fellow there from Australia and told him about it. He had been here more than 6 months, and so when he learned what I said to him, he went to the ECC desk and inquired about it. He also was told that he was not required to obtain one. Maybe I’m mistaken, but it seems to me like the Philippine government is only targeting Americans for this ECC requirement.

    I will submit my ECC application and wait a week and then book another flight again, but I will never book another flight with additional flights booked right behind the first and second flights again. Also, I will never stay in the Philippines for more than 6 months at a time because this is a hassle. I would rather fly out of country to Taiwan – even if its only one day – for about $200 round trip, and start my tourist visa all over again at month one if I intend to stay in the Philippines longer. Frankly, I cannot wait to kiss that American soil, and get some USDA inspected meat, homogenized milk, and eat at a restaurant which is required to obey Department of Health laws. I cannot tell you how many times I have been sick from eating at what appeared to be a class A restaurant, but was evidently missing the kind of training or health regulations we take for granted in America. I can appreciate the American Health Department. I certainly have never eaten from a sidewalk food vendor, and I’m choosy which restaurant to eat at, but never the less, it all makes me love my own country even more.

    Reply

    • PS… It seems like it would only be courteous of the Philippine Immigration to require the employees working at the window to pass a paper copy of this document: http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/emigration-clearance-certificate-ecc to each tourist who is getting an extension which will take him over the 6 month point in his visit to the Philippines. Of course I could find this in Google in 2 minutes or less once I had been told about the ugly keyword: “ECC”

      Reply

    • Jerry, I don’t think they are target Americans specifically but people who are obviously foreigners and hence probably need an ECC. Of course there are advantages to life in the U.S. It’s up to every visitor or expat to balance the plusses and minuses of life in the Philippines. I have a Philippine Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) so I don’t need a ECC.

      Reply

  2. hi! my 4 yrs old son is a canadian citizen and stayed in the philippine for almost 2 yrs but paying for his extension of stay. I wanted to travel him this april, and we just payed this march 6 for his 2 month stay.. do we still need to apply for his exit clearance? and where can we apply is it at DFA or BOI

    Reply

  3. SRRV holders (never) need an exit clearance or re-entry permit.

    However, those that have stayed in the country for more than one year, will have to pay Travel Tax, which is payable at the airport or sometimes included in the price of the ticket.

    source: PRA website

    Reply

  4. Pingback: Philippine Retirement Visa: my experience with the SRRV |

  5. I currently have a temporary ACR card, I’m married to a filipino and I’m in the process of getting a spousal visa, or permenant ACR card one the temporary one expires after the one year term.

    Will this effect me? Will I need to go to the BOI before I leave the country now each time?

    Thank you,
    Craig

    Reply

    • Craig,

      My understanding is that if you have been out of the country in the last six months, you don’t need an ECC but if not, you do need one. This must really be creating nightmares for people refused departure at the airports but my understanding is that the BI wants the ECC requirement enforced. Let us know if you learn anything to the contrary.

      Bob and Carol

      Reply

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