The Annual Report
Once again, it was time to report to our local BI office for my Annual Report requirement. As a “permanent resident” and an ACR-I Card holder (which states permanent), a holder of this status is required to physically report annually to their local BI office, during the first 8 weeks of the new calendar year (this year the deadline is March 4th). In order to avail of permanent residency of this sort, one must be married to a Philippine National and be sponsored for a Philippines 13A Visa, which once approved, is permanently affixed into your passport.
In the past I have printed out the form located on the BI website, filled it out, and presented it with two photos along with my passport and my ACR Card. Last year and also this year, I just showed up with my passport and my ACR Card. The BI officer looked me up in the computer and upon completion of whatever it is that he does, I was finished. After paying the Report Fee of P310, the total time involved in the office was less just under 12 minutes (I had to wait for the one person before me). After completing my check-in, the BI official was looking over my passport and then questioned WHY I did not have a Bureau of Immigration Approval Stamp? … which was supposed to be stamped into my passport when I first reported to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) when I applied for my ACR Card at the office in Intramuros in Manila (nearly 4 years ago!). All I could muster up was “ambut” which is Waray for “I don’t know.” He continued to scour my pages twice again for the stamp that was not there. I asked him how was it that this has been missed during my last 3 annual reports and he said he was not sure. I reminded him that he was the one who checked me in last year and that he overlooked it then (it was probably not one of my most diplomatic moments in history). He seemed a bit miffed that not only did he miss it, but that I pointed it out to him that he missed it. “All is good” he said to me as he handed me my passport. “It’s a good thing you have your ACR Card or you would have a problem!” Huh….?
Anyway, next year is the last time I will need to complete my annual report before my ACR Card expires in July (2018). It will be time for another trip to Manila to apply for permanent residency once again for another 5 years. I think I will check on that missing “Approval Stamp” while I am there this next time.