BI reminds departing foreigners to get clearance

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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BI reminds departing foreigners to get clearance


The Bureau of Immigration says foreigners without clearance certificates 'comprised 33% of travelers' barred from leaving the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) issued a reminder on Thursday, March 12, that foreigners should get an emigration clearance certificate (ECC) before leaving the Southeast Asian country.

By doing this, foreigners can “avoid being denied departure” from the Philippines, the BI said in a statement.

Foreigners without ECCs before departure “comprised 33% of travelers” whom the government barred from leaving the Philippines, the BI said.

“It is unfortunate that we have to deny the travel of our foreign friends, but we have to implement the law,” BI spokesperson Elaine Tan said in a statement.

The BI cited Section 22-A of the Philippine Immigration Act. This law “provides that a foreign national who is about to depart from the Philippines temporarily or for good should seek clearance from the Commissioner of Immigration to ensure that the foreign national has no pending obligation with the government of the Philippines,” the agency said. 

The BI said foreigners under the following categories should secure regular ECCs:

  • Holders of temporary visitor visas (tourist visa) who have stayed in the Philippines for 6 months or more
  • Holders of expired or downgraded immigrant or non-immigrant visas
  • Holders of valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas who are leaving for good
  • Philippine-born foreign nationals who will depart the Philippines for the first time
  • Holders of tourist visas with order to leave
  • Seafarers who have stayed in the Philippines for 30 days or more

They can get their ECCs at any of the BI’s offices in Intramuros, Manila; Batangas; Cagayan de Oro City; Cebu; Clark; Legazpi City, Albay; Tacloban City, Leyte; Tuguegarao City; Davao; SM North Edsa, Quezon City; and Sta Rosa, Laguna.

Those who hold valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas, who intend to return to the Philippines, “may secure the ECC at the airport.”

The Philippine government charges a fee of around P1,210 for the ECC.

The BI said applications for regular ECCs “shall be filed 3 days prior to departure and shall be valid for one month upon issuance.” Foreigners applying for ECCs should file the following requirements, the BI said:

  • application form
  • photocopy of passport (bio page, visa pages, latest arrival)
  • original and photocopy of ACR I-Card
  • photocopy of receipt of latest visa extension
  • photocopy of order of downgrading (if applicable)
  • 5 pieces of 2×2 photos 

“We likewise warn our foreign friends against fixers who issue fake and fraudulent ECCs to unsuspecting victims. We encourage them to file the ECCs by themselves or through accredited agents listed in our website,,” Tan added. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email