Today we got a comment and question from Geoff.
This is what Geoff had to say:
John – firstly an excellent set of instructions. Many thanks for the assistance.
I’m just starting the proceedure to change mine from a probationary to permament. However my situation is slightly different to most who’ved shared their experiences………
I’m an English expat currently living and working in mainland China (where I met my Pilipina wife). We were married in Puerto Princesa, Palawan in 2005. We have a family home in Puerto where for most of the time my wife lives with our daughter ( a dual British/Philippine citizen) and her Philippine son.
I manage to fly from China to ‘home’ roughly every 5 or 6 weeks for a 7 to 10 day visit. Sometimes my wife will come back to China with me, but most times she stays at home with our family.
I wanted to commence legal adoption proceedures for her son so that he could take my family name, but one of the primary requirements was Philippine residency, so around 18 months ago we started my application for a 13A visa. before this I had just entered on the standard 21 day tourist visa – no problem!
Now due to the VERY limited time I was able to stay, and the fact that I was a considerable distance from Manila, we decided to ‘employ’ a fixer….well not exactly a fixer, actually a family friend who worked in the BI. we were actually quite content to give him a few thousand peso for his assistance.
Eventually my probationary visa was granted in June last year (while I was back in China) but NOBODY in immigration told me….so it remained unclaimed for almost 6 mothns. It was only a casual ‘what’s happening with my application’ text message which discovered this!
So I flew to Manila, met up with my wife and in January this year I had my passport stamped and left with my new ACR ID card (although both of them actually expire in June 2011).
My first BIG shock was the next time I flew home to Palawan from China in May this year. When I came to depart Philippines, after spending over 90 minutes in the passport queue at Manila airport (it’s now 20 minutes from my boarding time) I’m told I have to pay Php2880 ‘departure taxes’ (ECC, Head Tax, RP/SRC, express lane) and unceremonously dumped out of the line.
I’M NOW IN PANIC MODE. No pesos left, very few $ (planned to use ATM when I arrived), need to board my flight to Hong Kong in 20 minutes and then a connecting flight to LA and then to Phoenix for my firm’s annual international design meeting. I’m in a mess!
Nobody told me about this tax EVERY time I leave (which is about 8 times annually).
Eventually some kind person pointed me to the payment window. Firstly they would only accept Php, but I begged, pleaded, cried at them to take $. (no ATM machines in the airport either) After 10 minutes at the window they finally let me pay in just about every last US$ i had and I ‘escaped’.
A few questions…..
Do I have to keep the official receipts (a 15? long computer printed monster of which only 2? is actually used!!!!!!) and show then next time I enter?
Do I pay the full Php2880 every time or is it reduced?
As I’m also a resident of China (for which my wife and I are exempt from Travel Tax, can I also get exemtion form these ‘departure taxes’?
Due to my very short stays because of my work commitments I cannot wait for 3 or 4 weeks for approval from probationary to permament staus for my 13A visa. Apart from delaying the initial application, I’m hoping this won’t cause any serious problems with this application either? I have to leave the country and return later.
thanks for any assistance you may be able to give me.
This is John’s reply:
The answers to your questions:
1. YES, YES, YES!!!! Keep ALL receipts. You don’t need to show them at entry, but you need them for probationary to permanent, and your annual report to immigration. (Since your probationary is expiring, you need to start NOW on the permanent… it takes some time)
2. Yes, you pay the additional departure tax when you are PR. The first exit per year is about 500P more. Subsequent exits are around 2,300. NOTE: This applies to Coach tickets. Business class and First pay a higher tax (I think it is around 3,200). Filipino citizens (unless OFW exempt) also pay an exit tax, but it is a different tax, and slightly less (You visit a counter unless you buy on PAL from the Philippines and a Filipino travel agent, where it is then included)
3. I don’t know about China. I have only visited there on business or tourist visas (not PR), and the taxes are included in the ticket. As to the Philippine taxes, You wouldn’t be subject if you enter on the passport with your Chinese PR (You enter as a tourist), but I would not enter except on your 13a… If immigration suspects a rat (and they MAY), you could lose your 13a, and that would impact the adoption.
4. You MUST inform the BI of travel at the process berginning, so that you may re-affirm or they schedule around it.