Based on my own experience being in the Immigration can really caused an emotional breakdown, so I decided to help my other fellow friends from Indonesia or any other country’s who are pursuing their studies in the Philippines to get a Student Visa this is for those who decided to get their visa on their own without any AGENT involved unless of course if you want to pay more, but seriously you pay enough just by student visa and ACR- CARD. So, one important thing to prepare is YOURSELF MENTALLY I must say that the immigration people are not the “Friendly” type of person that gives you “Useful information”. Please note that! people here are like your enemies but they are acting as if they are there to serve you. Okay I might sound a bit to harsh on them but this is true! anyways, here are important tips to let you know BEFORE heading to the IMMIGRATION.
1st Make a lot of Photocopies of Important Documents
That includes your passport, bio-page, arrival dates, and quarantines stamp any other important documents needed at least 5 set’s or more of copies because the photocopy at the Immigration is expensive one page for 1.50pesos, you can get as cheap as 50-60cents outside. Another Important thing is PICTURES yes in here people need your 2×2 picture so at least prepare 5 of those.
2nd Go to the Public Assistance/ Affair for your Student Visa Applications form
Some people would directly go to the student desk and start to fall in line and wait, but the first thing for you to do is get the application form you can get at the Public assistance desk as you enter the immigration it’s located in the middle. Also ask NOT just the application form but also the detail forms of the kind of documentation needed. They are in numbers like a checklist for the documents that you must have, your is VISA CONVERSION from TOURIST VISA to STUDENT VISA.
3rd Always Ask Questions if You Don’t Know
When you wait in the line, after reaching the counter sometimes the person behind the counter wont say much, they will start doing things to your documents and give you a note. It’s always important to repeat or ask again or just to make sure so you wont get the wrong idea. This happens when I wanted to apply for the ACR I-Card after getting all documents ready into (2 sets) and filling the ACR-ICARD application I went to the next counter the old man started writing something on the computer and gave out the receipt, and this was a total of 3 different receipts. It was almost 4pm and knowing that the total amount of getting ACR ICARD was alot we decided to go home and come back the next day. The receipt isnt clear they give 3 different amounts 50 us$, 500 pesos for fast lane and 2670pesos legal fee. our bad we thought it was 2670pesos and the 50 was the amount in usd if you want to pay in US dollar. But we were wrong after the next day we ask another person they say the total per person is the total of those 3 amounts which resulted for almost 5300pesos/person. You will experience this a lot, but its always good to come back to the public assistance for questions.
4th Best time to come is in the Afternoon after Lunch
This varies and depends actually but based on my experience going there around 10-11am you will start falling in line for an hour or more then it’s lunch break from them. So it’s best to come around 1.30pm after they have filled their tummy hopefully they are in a good mood.
5th GET The right format for student visa application Letter
Again, when we first heard the information they say we should write a letter that said all documents are legally obtained, but actually they have their own format and we must follow it, so I will give you the format and later you have to go to a Notary Publicy and get it stamped, another tips its better to get the stamps near your home where the price is cheaper arund 50pesos, if you get the notary stamp in Intramuros you will get double than that.
So here are the steps
1. After having all documents compiled, get a file and filed it up according to the checklist numbers (on documents needed) the Public Assistance will check again for you PS: you need to get NICA clearance which takes 2 weeks normally, this is on the 3rd floor (photocopy of passport, bio page and arrivals + pictures 2×2)
2. Go to Student desk (Receiving) Window 6
3. After they check all your documents, you would have to go to Window 8 and give your passport then they will give you a colored note, and receipt in which you have to pay in this case around 6550 pesos/ pax STUDENT VISA, they will tell you to come the next day to get your passport
4. Go to window 13, the Cashier get it payed
5 Go to Window 7 show them your receipt and later you will get your notes stamped “paid” then you would have to call to a number in 10 days
6 Normally this takes 2 weeks, not 10 days after calling you go to Immigration at window 8, they they will ask you to sign and photocopy some papers and ask you to wait an hour or come back again the next day, they would ask for your passport
7. after waiting or come back the next day you will receive the letter of approval from the Bureau of Immigration and have your passport stamped conversion to 9f student visa for 1 year.
8 Proceed to the ACR I-CARD counter window 38, fill in application get the documents photocopied 2 sets (the documents which you receive from window 8 and passporit copies) after photocopied get stamped on window 7
9. Go back to Window 38 she will check again, and refer to the next window 39 which the person will give you the receipt for your ACR amount payment
10. Pay in window 41-42, after paying they will refer back to window 39 the person who gave you the receipt
11. After window 39 already checked your receipt after payment go to window 40 for another check
12. Then go to window 43