Apart from the limited numbers that can obtain a Sec.13 Quota Visa, discussed in the previous article. The following immigrants, may be admitted without regard to such numerical limitations, under Section 13 Non Quota Immigrant Visa’s.
This class of visa is available in 7 flavors from 13(a) to 13(g). We are going to concentrate on the most frequently utilised by expats, which is the (13a).
Expats who have been married to a Philippines Citizen for over one year, (and their alien children under the age of 21), and whose marriage is considered in good standing by virtue of the willingness of the Philippines citizen to petition the Bureau of Immigration on their behalf, are eligible recipients.
While all applications are processed in Manila, you can make application at any of the BI sub offices that issue ACR cards and which are listed later in the article.
The process is in two distinct parts. The first is a probationary permanent visa which lasts for one year, and which is the focus of this article.
During that twelve months your marriage must remain viable, and you do not need to come to the negative notice of authorities during that time, as this is an issue that can be addressed in your second and final interview.
Below is the checklist of Requirements for Conversion to probationary Non-Quota Immigrant by Marriage Under Section 13(a)
Letter of request from the petitioner, with a statement that all documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies;
Duly accomplished and notarized Consolidated General Application Form (BI Form No. RADJR-2012-01);
Original copy of NSO issued Birth Certificate of the Filipino Spouse;
NSO authenticated copy of the Marriage Contract of alien and Filipino spouse or if solemnized abroad, marriage Contract Authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/consulate nearest to or in the place where the marriage was solemnized, with English translation if written in other foreign language;
Photocopy of all applicant’s passport showing its bio-page, admission and authorized stay which must be at least 20 days beyond the date of filing; and
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate.
You are also required to attend an interview with your partner, this occurs about a month after your initial application, if filing in Cebu, you will receive a notice in the mail, but keep checking with the Bureau just in case the mail gets lost. The time frames for other centres may vary, check with the Bureau office where you are filing your application.
In the interview a Bureau of Immigration attorney, will ask you a series of questions about your relationship, and your reasons for wanting to stay in the Philippines. The interview can last for up to one hour but usually 30 minutes or less is the norm.
You may hear people say that the interview was perfunctory, and the questions vague. It is true that in the past the interview has been administered patchily, but when administered properly it is not a lip service exercise. You should treat the interview as an important part of the process, as it is being carried out in a more uniform manner nowadays.
You will also be required to make application for a new ACR card, my initial ACR card was only two months old, when I made my 13(a) application, and would have lasted a further ten months, but you have to get a fresh one issued as your status will change. This was a source of frustration to several people in the Bureau on the day we were there, but take a breathe and smile, it’s only an extra $50 USD
PLACE OF APPLICATION/SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
Applications for issuance of ACR I-Card shall be made at the Main Office, Bureau of Immigration, Intramuros, Manila.
For those residing outside Metro Manila, applications may be made at the following district offices:
San Fernando, La Union
Cagayan De Oro
If circumstances warrant and upon request for special arrangement, applications and data capturing may be made at the residence of the visa holder in view of his/her physical incapacity.
I hear stories from time to time about other offices issuing ACR cards, so check with your local BI office before you go running around the countryside. The Bureau is updating it’s systems and its capacities regularly.
The Schedule of Current Fees can be found at the top of the the page you will arrive at when you click
When you pay those fees and have successfully completed your interview you leave the Bureau with the visa stamp in your passport. However you have to return two months later (approx) to pick up your ACR card. Start ringing after 6 weeks and don’t go until they tell you its ready.
Nine months after receiving the probationary permanent visa, you need to return to a BI office with the facilities to issue an ACR, it does not have to be the same one at which you applied for the probationary visa. I applied for the probationary permanent in Cebu and for the permanent in Davao.