Despite my current writing hiatus, there were recently several comments on my article about the 13a visa from last year. Since that time, I amended from probationary to permanent status, converting probationary to permanent in June.
It was simple, but took three visits to Intramuros. Since there were several inquiries, here is the detailing of my procedure in Manila. Converting in the provinces may be different or take differing amounts of time. Unfortunately, the BI website is not really clear on the requirements, and the request letter text differs from the initial probationary letter… I’m the first to admit that the process is confusing. Stick with it, don’t forget your documents, and just be patient. The conversion process is much easier than the initial application.
1. First visit: Rebecca needed to go with me. Conversion (Ammendment, technically, since you really have the same visa, but the terms are changed) requires a letter similar to the letter required for the probationary application, but differing slightly.
Text of the letter below:
May I respectfully request for the amendment to permanent a non-quota immigrant visa under Section 13, Paragraph A of the Philippine Immigration Act as amended, in favor of my foreign spouse, John Francis Miele, a United States national.
I am Rebecca Carrao Miele, a Philippine citizen. We were married in Abulug, Cagayan on October 8, 2008.
I am enclosing here a copy of the necessary documents to prove my above-cited information and that all documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies.
The letter is signed and notarized onsite, at the public attorney desk in BI. (You can also use one of the notaries standing outside if you need a re-print or change to the letter… Most carge around P300 per document.) You fill out a new application, bringing passport and your ACR. You are then directed to the immigration attorney section upstairs immediately, and interview with the attorney (Have you behaved? Are you intending to stay? Those sorts of questions. Your spouse MUST be present with you.)
The entire process, including interview, took about three hours. When submitted, they return your passport and tell you to look up the status on the BI web site for approval in two weeks (It took three actually… It appears that the website updates about 1 week behind… Note that you have to scroll through each page… Not searchable). You pay the conversion fee at this time (Amounts from the BI Web Site).
|Amendment of 13 (a) to Permanent Resident|
|ICR (Immigrant Certificate of Residence)||
|Legal Research Fee||
|Express Lane Fee||
2nd visit: When your name appears on the BI web site, you can come in and complete the process. They process 13a at Intramuros on Tuesdays and Fridays. Pay “double express” again, and they stamp your passport with your new permanent resident visa. Then, you go apply for a new ACR. $50 for the new ACR card, but you don’t need new photos / fingerprints. They give you a receipt for your ACR (Don’t lose this, or face around an hour of running around trying to document your lost receipt… I’m speaking from my own stupid experience), with a phone number to call after 5 business days. When you call, they tell you if the ACR is ready. Total time for me: 3 hours.
3rd visit: Less than 5 minutes to pick up new ACR.
So, total cost was around 6,000 pesos (including the new ACR). Three trips, but the last one was quick, in and out. Be careful that you start the conversion process no later than one month PRIOR to your probationary expiry, or there could be issues (Check the date on your ACR).
Again, though seemingly complicated, the process isn’t so bad, and you can take heart that you need not visit immigration again except for the annual 5 minute police report and renewal of your ACR after 5 years or changing addresses. I hope you find this information useful.