Time flies and before you know it you have exceeded the maximum number of days your visa allows, in the Philippines, it’s visa-free between 7 to 59 days. Exceed the limit of stay and you’re considered an overstaying alien. Then your nightmare begins, what was considered being a fun time turned sour. Overstay will involve deportation, jail time, fines and getting blacklisted, never be able to go back to the Philippines. As a reward, you might be an instant celebrity by being featured in the news.
The internet is abuzz with a lot of information about getting away with overstaying and not getting caught. Overstaying is a crime and cannot be left unpunished, eventually, the long arm of the law will catch up. So don’t complicate things and keep it simple, write a letter to the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration citing your reasons for overstaying, pay the fine and you might be absolved and allowed to go back to the Philippines. Or mark the last day of your visa-free stopover and register on or before the moment it expires.
Here is a guide on the basics of overstaying and the things that you should do if you exceeded the number of days your visa will permit.
What is overstaying?
As a tourist in the Philippines, you are allowed a visa-free entry between 7 to 59 days depending on your country of origin. Of the 163 countries, only Brazil and Israel nationals can stay up to 59 days without a visa. If you want to stay beyond the allowable limit, you have to go to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and register otherwise you have to pack up and leave.
Things to do if you want to overstay
If you are about to be tagged as an overstaying tourist go to the nearest BI office 7 days before the tourist visa expired and settle the expenses for an extended stay. A request for extension can be granted up to 6 months, most requestors apply for 29 days.
Go through the checklist of documentary requirements for tourist visa extension before going to the BI to be sure that you have all the necessities for an extension.
1. Fill out the application form (TVS-CGAF-VE-2016) and attach the original passport and a sworn statement for overstaying and proceed to the BI Public Information Assistance Unit that processes the Extension of Authorized Stay by Temporary Visitors.
2. You will be issued a BI Clearance Certificate if you do not have any deprecatory records. If you have a record, you’ll be asked to proceed to the Verification and Certification Unit for clearance.
3. After clearance, you’ll be issued an Order Payment Slip for payment at the Cashier. Prepare the amount of PHP 3,030.00 broken into:
- Visa waiver – PHP 500
- Visa waiver application fee – PHP 1,000
- Certification fee – PHP 500
- Legal Research Fee (LRF) for each immigration fee except Head Tax and Fines – PHP 30
- Express Fee – PHP 1,000
5. Upon payment submit the official receipt together with attachments and original passport to the assessment officer.
6. Once everything is in order your passport will be stamped with your requested extension of stay.
If you’ve overstayed for more than 6 months you need to file a Motion for Reconsideration on Updating and Extension of Authorized Stay. Visit the Bureau of Immigration website for a detailed information about visa fees, fines, and procedures.