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.
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.