It must have been about 7 or 8 years ago that the Philippine Government implemented the ACR I-Card Program where most foreigners living here had to register to get an ACR I-Card, sort of like the equivalent of a “green card” (which actually is not green!) in the States.
Earlier this year, when it was time for the required Annual Report for foreigners, which must be done in January or February of each year, it was a hugely expanded process this year compared to normal. We were all told that this was a one time thing so that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) database could be updated and improved to keep track of all foreign residents of the country.
One time thing?
Well, it has now been announced that a new program called “Alien Registration Program” will start on October 1, to be known as “ARP”. Immigration Commissioner Siegfried Mison just announced this on his weekly radio program.
Under this new program, fingerprints will be taken and digital photos so that facial recognition software will be able to identify all foreigners living in the Philippines. I thought that all of this was already in place using the ACR I-cards?
1 Year to comply
Under this new directive, all foreigners have from October 1 of this year until September 30 of 2015 to comply and register. Under the information in the article that I linked to above, it seems that ALL foreigners who have been in the country for over 59 days must register. The article says that those who are registered with the BI and those who are not must comply. To me, this would mean that those on a Balikbayan Privilege and also SRRV holders would be included this time around. Of course, we will see what they say when official information comes out.
So, looks like we will jump through the hoops again soon. See you at the Immigration office!