The Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), although not technically a visa is grouped with them because it is often referred to by foreign nationals as an exit visa, and frankly it has that kind of power, without it you don’t get to leave the country when you planned.
Lot’s of confusion still reigns around this requirement of the Bureau of Immigration. I was on two forums yesterday where inaccurate information was being posted without regard to the issues it could create for those acting on it.
First port of call should always be the Bureau of Immigration website, you can also get your particular questions answered on the Bureau of Immigration Facebook page, usually within 24-48 hours. If those answers leave you confused try http://www.lifephilippines.org if you are scratching your head then you can bet we have been scratching ours and asked the questions you want the answers to. Remember the Ask me feature on the Life Philippines website, where if you haven’t been able to find an answer just ask and we will do our best to get an accurate response in a timely manner.
So back to the ECC:
What Is It?
The Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) is an important pre-departure document issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to foreign nationals who are holders of Immigrant or Non-Immigrant visas leaving the Philippines. It has two types:
Who needs to apply for ECC-A
It is issued to departing foreign nationals to prove that they have no derogatory records in the country and have no pending obligations with the government at the time of issuance.
The following foreign nationals must secure an ECC-A prior to their departure:
Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa (also referred to as tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more;
Holders of expired or downgraded Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas;
Holders of valid Immigrant or Non-Immigrant Visas that are leaving for good;
Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart from the Philippines for the first time;
Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa with Orders to Leave;
Bona fide seafarers who have stayed in the Philippines for 30 days or more and has a duly approved discharge from BI.
Who needs to apply for ECC-B
ECC-B is issued to departing holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas with valid ACR Icards who are leaving the country temporarily. It is a single-use receipt issued to evidence their Special Return Certificate (SRC) (for Non-Immigrants) or Reentry Permit (RP) (for Immigrants) which is valid for one (1) year. It may be secured at the BI Main Office, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila or in the airport upon departure.
Where To Apply
The Bureau of Immigration is continuously adding to the number of outlets that can process this certificate so check at least a week prior to you planned departure whether you local office is able to issue an ECC, or where the nearest office that can is. If you are in Manila the Main Office at Magallanes Drive, Intramuros is open weekdays between 7am and 5.30 pm and will process your application
Be Careful of Scammers
Be careful not to give this task to unauthorized private entities and individuals offering to provide this document, as they may provide you with a fake document. Any person found in possession of such spurious document will be charged for violating the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 or Commonwealth Act 613, as amended.
When Do I Need to Apply?
If you definitely know the office you plan to attend issues the ECC, you need to apply at least 72 hours before your planned departure. To avoid last minute hitches allow a week. The certificate is valid for one month from the date of issue.