Foreigners reminded of biometric processing deadline

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has said that all foreign nationals in the country need to present themselves before BI for biometrics and the issuance of a Special Security Registration Number (SSRN).

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The SSRN, the BI says, is an alpha-numeric number assigned to every foreigner who registers under the alien registration project (ARP).

The ARP, which will start this month and will end September 2015, intends to account for, register and reregister, essentially updating BI’s database and provide assistance for visa-related problems.

BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison said the ARP would be helpful to foreign nationals in transacting with the bureau. Mison places the number of foreigners at 1.5 million but only about 200,000 have registered.

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“Registered aliens under this program may be primary beneficiaries of the future social integration and legalization programmes of the government,” Mison explained.

Under the programme, an alien will get a 90-day deferred administrative action to comply with the requirements.

Mison said foreigners who fail to participate in the ARP within the compliance period would be fined 200 pesos per month. That fine has an upper limit of 2,000 pesos per year.

Mison also clarified that foreigners participating in the programme would not be cleared of their other liabilities. “Participation in the ARP is not an amnesty. It will not erase previous violations.”

Foreigners participating in the programme could still be arrested and deported if found in violation of immigration laws. The rules cover all foreigners, from any country.

He said fugitives or aliens facing criminal charges in or outside the Philippines would be immediately deported.

Exempted from the programme are those who have valid alien registration card or I-Card, tourists whose stays do not exceed 59 days and those who are exempt from registration pursuant to law.

The fees for SSRN certification (for undocumented or overstaying) is 700 pesos while I-Card (for newly-registered valid status and voluntary registrants) is $50 plus 500 pesos, excluding postage fees.

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