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How to secure an ACR I-Card in the Philippines: A step-by-step guide

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Foreigners, also called aliens, who intend to stay in the Philippines for 60 days or longer must apply for an ACR I-Card or the Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card. It is a micro-chip ID under different categories. It replaces your alien registration and is crucial to your immigrant visa process.

Typically, foreigners must submit their alien registration certificate along with their visa application. To obtain it, head over to the local Bureau of Immigration Offices. This guide will explain how to secure your ACR I-Card in the Philippines.

What is an ACR I-Card?

The ACR I-Card, meaning Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card, is essentially a key identification document for foreigners residing in the Philippines. It’s implemented by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines, given to registered aliens (foreign citizens) whose length of stay in the country surpasses 59 days. The I-Card refers to the Identity Card in the Philippines, used primarily as an identity proof for foreigners.

This document isn’t just any regular identification card. It’s a credit card-sized document packed with advanced technological features for heightened security. This includes an embedded microchip with biometric security provisions.

The ACR card in the Philippines comes with impressive data management capabilities. The card’s built-in technology allows it to store, manage, and process crucial data of the cardholder. Moreover, this information is easily updatable electronically, making the ACR I-Card an up-to-date record of the holder’s identity, registration, and immigration status in the Philippines.

Who are required to get an ACR I-Card?

In the Philippines, it’s mandatory for foreigners with immigrant and non-immigrant visas, including Temporary Visitor Visa holders, to obtain an alien certificate of registration if they stay beyond 59 days. This rule applies to all international visitors regardless of their official visa status.

The ACR I-Card in the Philippines comes in various color codes representing different immigration statuses or categories:

  1. Light yellow cards: These are for foreigners or Filipino citizens who live here permanently. This covers several categories like quota immigrants, spouses or minor children of Philippine citizens, and children born abroad to permanent resident mothers.
  2. Bronze cards: These are given to those who were born in the Philippines.
  3. Dark purple cards: These are for special non-immigrants and executives of regional headquarters.
  4. Blue cards: These are for foreign workers with commercial or missionary visas.
  5. Light purple cards: These are for foreigners on probationary residence, including those under a temporary resident visa.
  6. Red cards: These are for foreigners who volunteered to register or are visiting for less than 59 days, like tourists and economic visa holders.
  7. White cards: These are for foreigners who are temporary visitors staying longer than 59 days, including those with special work or study permits.
  8. Aqua blue cards: These are for foreign students.
  9. Gray cards: These cards are intended for international treaty traders.
  10. Green cards: These are for Filipino veterans.

Understanding the color code corresponding to one’s status can help foreigners in the Philippines better understand their immigrant visa and alien registration category.

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Checklist of documentary requirements for ACR I-Card application

Applicants seeking an ACR I-Card in the Philippines must meet specific requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the requirements for the alien identification card as per the Bureau of Immigration (BI) website:

Essential requirements:

  1. A fully completed ACR I-Card application form.
  2. Refer to the provided checklist for the requirements. Please note that voluntary applicants should follow a special checklist.
  3. A photocopy of your passport’s bio-page, as well as the pages displaying your valid visa implementation and latest admission, encompassing your authorized stay.
  4. Two passport-size photographs (2×2) taken within the last three months with a white background. However, this requirement doesn’t apply to voluntary applicants.

Additional requirements for new applicants:

  1. A certified true copy issued by the records section demonstrating the Board of Commissioners (BOC)’s order granting the visa. This copy is for internal verification purposes.
  2. If you’re applying for a student visa, present a certified true copy of the commissioner’s order of approval granting the student visa.
  3. Photocopies of official receipt(s) indicating payment for applicable fees.

Extra requirements for paper-based ACR I-Card holders or late-filing permanent residents:

  1. A written letter of explanation detailing the reasons for the delay in filing.
  2. Original alien certificate of registration (to be surrendered).
  3. Photocopy of either Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR) or Native-Born Certificate of Residence (NBCR).
  4. A printed copy of index card imaging from the fingerprint section.
  5. A letter of undertaking in case of a passport expired – original and photocopy of the new passport, to be presented within 15 days from its issuance.

Additional documents required for voluntary applicants:

  1. A letter stating the reasons for opting for voluntary registration.
  2. Photocopy of an identification document from the concerned agency – PRA, BOI, PEZA (if applicable).
  3. Photocopy of marriage certificate or birth certificate for Balikbayan.
  4. Original paper-based ACR, if applicable.

Fees for the ACR I-Card

Here is a list of fees you will need to pay to get an ACR I-Card in the Philippines:

  • I-Card Fee: ₱ 2,800 ($50.40)
  • Express Fee: ₱ 500 ($9)

Remember that the ACR card in the Philippines processing time is at least three months, but once all the required documents are submitted correctly, the process should operate smoothly.

Applying for an E-Arrival Card in the Philippines

The e-arrival card application in the Philippines is an online process streamlining foreigners’ entry into the country. They should apply for an e-arrival card before their trip to the Philippines. It verifies bio-details and checks for any security risks. To apply, go to eTravel and upload the necessary personal information and travel documents, and once it’s approved, they will receive the e-arrival card electronically.

6 steps to get an ACR I-Card in the Philippines

Obtaining an alien registration certificate is done simultaneously with a visa application. Here are six steps for getting an ACR I-Card in the Philippines:

  1. Compile all essential documents required for your application.
  2. Take your documents to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) office responsible for processing your visa or permit; the specific locations can be found in the Directory of Transactions. Hand over your documents to the person charged for pre-screening.
  3. Pay the appropriate fees and keep the Official Receipt (OR). Mostly, you will be given a scheduled date to come back.
  4. On your scheduled day, be sure to attend the hearing. Afterward, proceed to the registration division, as you may also apply for your alien identification card at the same time. You’ll need your fingerprints and photo taken for the card, and your application can then be handed in.
  5. Wait for your visa and alien registration certificate to be approved. Following the approval, you may be required to submit your passport for stamping.
  6. Finally, you can collect your passport and ACR I-Card. Note that the alien identification card is valid for one year only.
apply for acr i-card in the philippines

Renewing your ACR I-Card

The Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card must be renewed under several circumstances:

  • The card has expired.
  • The cardholder has reached the age of 14.
  • The visa status has changed.
  • The card needs to be replaced as mandated by the Alien Registration Act of 1950, as amended.

Here’s what you’ll need to renew your alien registration certificate:

Primary documents:

  1. ACR I-Card application form.
  2. Renewal checklist.
  3. Current ACR I-Card (this will need to be surrendered).
  4. Copies of the bio-page of the passport, visa implementation page, and page showing the latest admission with valid stay.

Additional documents:

If you possess an Immigrant Visa, a Temporary Resident Visa, a Treaty Trader’s Visa, a Pre-Arranged Employee Visa (Commercial/Missionary), or have MCL 07-021 (Permanent resident visa for Chinese) or MCL 08-003 (Permanent resident visa for Koreans):

  • Provide a photocopy of the Board of Commissioners (BOC)’s order of approval

If you fall under sec. 47(a)2 or Special Non-Immigrant Visa:

  • Supply a photocopy of the Department of Justice (DOJ) endorsement

For Special Subic/Clark investors visa, Special Subic/Clark working visa, or Cagayan economic zone investor/working visa:

  • Submit a photocopy of the endorsement from either the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) or the Clark Development Corporation (CDC)

For student visa:

  • Give a photocopy of the student desk-approved order that granted a student visa extension

Re-registering dependents will require:

  • A certified true copy of the BOC’s Order for a non-immigrant applicant
  • Photocopies of the bio-page of the parent’s passport, the page bearing the visa implementation, and both sides of the alien identification card
  • Two 2×2 colored photos, recently captured with a white background

Philippine Born (Permanent Residents) will need:

  • Birth certificate
  • A certified true copy of the ACR and, if applicable, the Native-Born Certificate of Residence (NBCR) issued by the records section for verification purposes
  • Photocopies of a parent’s ACR (front and back) and the Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR)

Reissuance of ACR I-Card

The Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) can be reissued under several circumstances, including losing the card, damage, changes in personal details, or card rejection due to incorrect applicant-provided information.

To obtain a reissued card, one must undertake a specific procedure. This process initiates with filing the alien registration certificate renewal/re-issuance application form and includes presenting the original ACR I-Card unless misplaced.

In addition, copies of the bio-page of the passport, visa implementation page, and the page indicating the latest admission with valid authorized stay are necessary. For verification purposes, a certified copy of the Board of Commissioner (BOC)’s order that approved the visa will be provided, along with the ACR or the Immigrant Certificate of Residence.

A letter requesting re-issuance for lost cards will be submitted, accompanied by a letter of loss and a police report. In case of a damaged card, official payment receipts for the applicable fees will be required.

Amendments require specific documents for name changes, such as a court order or a birth certificate. Official documents must prove the citizenship, nationality, or civil status change. A residence certificate from the barangay captain and a copy of the ACR I-Card is necessary to change the address.

Apply for an ACR I-Card with Own Property Abroad

Do you want to apply for the alien registration certificate in the Philippines? Knowing the regulations and laws in the Philippines can be challenging, especially for foreigners. Own Property Abroad can assist you through the process, saving you time, money, and effort.

You can drop your details below or write us at [email protected]. We are ready to help you turn your dreams into reality!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where to find the alien registration number on a Philippine visa?

To find the alien registration number on a Philippine visa, look for it on the top-right corner of your visa document or the alien identification card. If you need information on how to get an alien registration number, you must apply through the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines.

How do I check my ACR i-Card status?

You can check your ACR I-Card status online through the official Bureau of Immigration website. You must enter your application code or alien registration number to view your card’s status.

What is an alien registration certificate in the Philippines?

An alien registration certificate in the Philippines is a vital identity card for foreigners staying in the country. The ACR I-Card is a document issued by the Bureau of Immigration that proves your lawful residency.

Can foreigners get a permanent resident card in the Philippines? 

Yes, foreigners can obtain a permanent resident card in the Philippines. This card proves their lawful status and permanent residency in the country.

Your guide to buying property in the Philippines

Written by Matt Timmermans

13 Responses

  1. It seems I cannot apply for the ACR-I Card before I stay more than 60 days. However, I need the ACI-R Card in order to open a bank account. If I currently travel on a multi entry visa, how do I can ever get a ACR-I card?

    Matthias Tockook

    1. Hi Matthias,

      You become eligible for an ACR-I Card after staying in the Philippines for more than 59 consecutive days. As a holder of a multi-entry visa, you should:
      1. Extend your stay beyond 59 days at a Bureau of Immigration (BI) office.
      2. Once eligible, apply for the ACR-I Card at the BI, providing necessary documents like your passport and current visa.
      For detailed requirements and procedures, it’s best to consult directly with the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines. You can contact us at [email protected] to get assistance with your ACR I-Card application.

      ^ Matt

      1. Hi a friend lost his ACR I-card, how many weeks will it take to claim after filing for a re-issuance? Thank you.

    2. can apply for a voluntary ACI-I card before the 59 days. (I’m assuming anytime before the 59 days)

  2. Hi i have an ACR I-Card but i had to renew my passport. Since its stated that the card is bond to the passport does it mean its no longer valid? If so do i have to get one from start, renew, or its fine as it is as long as i have the old passport?

  3. I applied for a tourist visa extension of 2
    months and was approved. They charged fees for ACR-I card. Does this mean I have applied for the card? What do I do next?

  4. Hi, my husband has a 1-year visa stamp on his passport, I’m Filipino citizen. He is planning to apply for voluntary ACR-I card, so he can get Philippine driver’s license and deal with banks. Do you think this pathway is easy? Can we do it in a day if we go to the main office of the Bureau of Immigration? Please help. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sonny. Yes, the ACR-I Card allows multiple entries and exits from the Philippines, making it ideal for foreign nationals residing or frequently traveling in and out of the country.

  5. Hi. I applied for and received my ACR card at the beginning of the year but circumstances have changed and i now need to leave the Philippines and am unsure when or if I will return and wish to surrender my card to avoid having to worry about the annual renewal process etc. How and where do I do this? I may return at some point and will be happy to reapply then should I need to but I do not wish to be fined for not renewing each year. Thanks

  6. Our foreign employee wants to stay here in the philippines for work, how we can get an ACR for them even they are stayed in their country ?what are the step by step of processing of ACR?

    1. Hi Michael! To obtain an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) for your foreign employee, they must first enter the Philippines with an appropriate visa. Once in the Philippines, they can apply for the ACR at the Bureau of Immigration by submitting the required documents, which typically include a valid passport, visa, and other relevant immigration forms. The process involves submitting the application, paying the necessary fees, and attending a hearing or interview if required.

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