The Bureau of Immigration will begin implementing an electronic filing and payment system for all foreigners who need to extend their stay. The service is said to be fully functional before the end of this month (May, 2016), but officially will be in service in June.
The Bureau of Immigration has noted that the system will provide a convenient way for foreigners to do their business without stepping a foot into a BI office, waiting in long lines and wasting a large amount of time to perform the simple task of extending their visas.
With the new system in place, all a foreigner has to do is log onto the immigration website at www.immigration.gov.ph and fill out a form for a visa extension – then pay for the extension through their credit card and wait for the printable receipt, which will show up on the screen when approved.
The printable receipt will also indicate the date when the client will report to the BI’s main office to have their passport stamped to match the extension.
Some foreigners are relieved by the service, but others have questioned its intent as they still must show up to BI to have their passport stamped, leading many to believe that they will in fact wait hours for a simplistic visa stamp, though that remains to be seen.
The online service did not say if there were limitations to the timeframe of a foreigner’s extension. Recently the Philippines has allowed six-month extensions through a period of three years. For those living in the province and far from a Bureau of Immigration’s main office, the service is a relief from the constant issues with getting to a BI office for the old and outdated 59-day visa extensions from long ago.