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2024 Philippines Online Annual Reporting Requirement Guide for Expats

Get a complete step-by-step guide for the new 2024 annual reporting process for foreigners living in the Philippines. Learn how to use the new online system for virtual annual reporting. Save time at Bureau of Immigration, without missing key deadlines & benefits. minutes

02/20/24

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About the author

Hi, I'm Marco Sison. I worked in finance for Fortune 50 companies before retiring early at 41 years old. I have been an expat for over 10 years, living in over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries outside the USA. I am a trusted resource on personal finance and overseas retirement for US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, Association of MBAs, and the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE.

QUICK SUMMARY- EXPAT ANNUAL REPORTING

  • All foreigners living in the Philippines with ACR I-Cards, except must report to the Philippines Bureau of Immigration by March 1st.
  • Expats on a temporary visitor or tourist visas is exempt from reporting.
  • New virtual option for Annual Report introduced in 2024.
  • No physical presence needed; convenient and time-saving.
  • Annual report requirement still mandatory.
  • Late reporting incurs fines up to 2000 PHP

Annual Reporting By Expats in the Philippines Required By March 1st

The Philippines has one of the most liberal visa policies in the world. However, with any government agencies, expats still need to deal with some annoying bureaucratic filing requirements. The annual report requirement with the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) was one such annoyance.

Previously, foreigner residents between 14 and 60 years old were required to physically check in at a local BOI branch within the first 60 days of the year. This includes foreigners with 13a Spousal, SRR Visa, or tourist visas or in the Philippines under Balikbayan privilege. Foreigners on a tourist or temporary visa are not required to report.

The Philippine government uses this annual reporting process to track foreign residents for national security and policy purposes.

This wasn’t a big deal for expats living near a BOI office, but if you lived on an island or province outside of a major city, this could mean a multi-hour ferry ride, being stuck in traffic, dealing with long lines, and cumbersome paperwork.

Map of the Bureau of Immigration Branches that can process annual reporting for foreigners in the Philippines
Map of the Bureau of Immigration Branches that can process your annual reporting. Image Credit

But starting in 2024, the BOI introduced a streamlined virtual option for your Annual Report. Let’s guide you through this convenient approach to fulfilling your obligations from the comfort of your own home.

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QUICK TIPS- PHILIPPINES

Show a mandatory departure ticket. You cannot enter the Philippines on a one-way ticket if you only have a tourist visa or visa on arrival. You will need a flight ticket with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by showing immigration you have  a cheap onward travel ticket for just $14

Get help with your visa. The Philippines visa process can get complicated. The rules and regulations change frequently. Avoid the hassle of dealing with the immigration bureaucracy by speaking with a Philippines Visa Specialist. 

Learn some basic Tagalog phrases. While nearly everyone speaks some English, learning some basic Tagalog is always appreciated by Filipinos. Get a FREE Language Lesson using the same learning technique used by the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military.

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Introduction to the New Virtual Option

If you’ve been living in the Philippines for a while, you might be surprised to hear that an official government paperwork process—the annual report—now has a virtual option. It’s new, so it might be reasonable to expect some headaches, but in our experience, it’s impressively simple and streamlined! As the B.I. office states:

“This virtual option aims to provide convenience while maintaining compliance through an online registration platform…This service is an end-to-end online process where foreign nationals can book, pay, and report online, from the comforts of their own homes,”

-Norman Tansingco, Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration

From our perspective, Mr. Tansingco is on point: The BOI has met its goals with this new process.

You can complete the annual review online through the Bureau of Immigration’s E-services portal.

Annual review is accessible through Bureau of Immigration's E-services portal.

That’s right—with a laptop, internet access, and some basic computer skills, it’s a straightforward process. Many who traversed the province sun—switching from motorbike to umbrella walk to jeepney to trike–might be relieved to know that the annual check no longer requires this long trip. Many expats report the entire process taking less than thirty minutes in total.

Here is a complete Step-by-Step Guide to completing your Annual Reporting Requirement:

How to Complete Your Annual Immigration Requirements Online Step-by-Step

Step 1) Registering on the Platform

Registering on the new online annual reporting system is your first step towards hassle-free compliance. You’ll want to navigate to the official Bureau of Immigration (BI) website (https://e-services.immigration.gov.ph) and locate the online reporting section. Here’s what to do:

INSIDER TIP: Don’t Use A VPN- If you have issues accessing the website, check to see if you are connecting through a VPN (Virtual Private Network). I had problems getting the website to load until I deactivated NordVPN.

1. Create an Account: Follow the prompts to create a new user account. You’ll typically need an active email address, which will be used for verification and communication purposes.

Registering a new account.

2. Complete Your Profile: Fill in your personal information accurately to ensure smooth processing – double-check spellings and numbers to avoid any mishaps down the line.

Filling up of the Profile Details.

3. Verify Your Email: After signing up, check your email for a verification link from BI. Click on it to activate your account—make sure to check your spam folder if it doesn’t appear in your inbox.

4. Log In: With your account verified, you can now log in. Make sure to safeguard your username and password, as you’ll need these credentials for future reports.

INSIDER TIP: Valid Email Address- This BI system doesn’t like temporary email addresses and frequently rejects @hotmail.com emails. Use a valid email address or sign up for a gmail account.

Step 2) Log In

Use your username and password to log into the system.

Login Button for your new Account.

Step 3) Complete Yearly Report Online Registration

Screenshot on where the foreigners need to start their online annual reporting in the Philippines

Once you’re registered and logged into the platform, you will need to provide accurate and up-to-date information to complete your annual report. Including:

  1. ACR-I Card: Complete your Alien Certificate Registration (Acr-I) Card details
  2. Personal Appearance Requirement: Choose between the new Virtual Check-In Meeting or Traditional In-Person Meeting at your local BOI branch
  3. Personal Details: Enter your personal information including full name, nationality, and marital status. Double-check accuracy for any typos; this form will be cross-referenced with official documents.
  4. Immigration Information: Input specific immigration details, including your passport data and the type of visa you hold.
  5. Residential Address: Update your current address in the Philippines, including your Barangay
  6. Spousal Information: Complete if applicable
  7. Review and Submit: Before submitting the information, review all the details thoroughly. Any errors could delay processing or result in having to restart the application.
  8. Keep Records: Save or print the acknowledgment receipt or confirmation page for your records after submission. This serves as proof of compliance and can be helpful for future reference.
screenshot of information needed for expats to complete annual reporting in the Philippines

Step 4) Make Your Annual Report Payments

After you fill out the form, choose a date and time for your virtual appointment, then make the payment. Payments can be made through Maya, Gcash, Credit Card (Visa/Mastercard), and Landbank.

If this is your first time completing the process online, we also recommend that you give yourself a two to three-week cushion to schedule your appointment before the annual review expiration date.

Screenshot of Annual Reporting Fees including the additional fee for the virtual interview or Express lane fee

Annual Reporting Costs are 310 PHP Total:

  • 300.00 PHP Annual Report (A.R.) Fee for Registered Foreign Nationals
  • 10.00 PHP  Legal Research Fee (LRF) for each immigration fee except Head Tax and Fines
  • 500 PHP Virtual Fee/Express Lane Fee (I’ve seen both terminologies used)

*Fees are updated as of 06 March 2014 and may change without prior notice.

Verification of the account through a Reference Number.

Wait for the system to generate your Reference Number and QR code. This is your official receipt and verification that your application has been successfully submitted.

Step 5) Prepare For The Annual Report Online Appointment

A zoom video meeting Annual Reporting Requirement for Expats.

What’s this virtual appointment like? It’s just an informal gathering of other foreign nationals who are there for the same reason. It’s the famous Zoom online video call made famous during the pandemic, but you don’t have to sit through any speeches. Instead, some friendly employees of the B.I. will ask for your registration code and usher you into a “breakout room” where you’ll briefly meet with a B.I. officer.

Here, they’ll ask you for a few documents. Make sure you have the following (below) with you. We recommend emailing beforehand to ensure you have all the documents you need. With a new process, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • original Alien Certificate of Registration I-Card (ACR I-Card)
  • Valid Philippines VISA
  • Original valid passport

Step 6) Your Virtual Annual Reporting Interview

Make sure to show up at your appointment on time. Have your appointment registration number and the required documents above ready before seeing the virtual interviewer.

If you forget to save your number or code, you can find them by navigating to the Transactions tab at the bottom on the left side of the page.

screenshot where expats can find the reference number required for the virtual annual reporting meeting

A few minutes before your appointment time, press the Google Meet logo on the “view details” page. This should redirect you to a new tab in your browser for the Google Meet call. Choose the appropriate email address from your email addresses that you want to use for the meet. Then press the button that says “ask to join.”

Once accepted into the call, the officer will give you instructions to send you Ref. number in the chat box. You can simply copy and paste the number when prompted.

You will then wait a moment until a “Join” pop up appears asking you to join a separate room. In this room you will talk with you ACR card officer. Press that pop up.

The interviewer will ask you to hold up your passport data page and ACR card next to your face for verification.

INSIDER TIP: Late Payments and Fees- If you haven’t already paid, your interviewer will send you a payment link after the interview is completed. If you do not pay the total 810 PHP in 24 hours, you’ll need to re-do the process all over again.

Tips to Avoid Common Pitfalls

Don’t Forget!

Remember, failing to comply with the annual reporting requirement can have serious repercussions, including fines and issues with future visa renewals, so take this seriously and start early. It might be easy to forget this requirement when you’re in the middle of many other government-related paperwork tasks.

You may even be caught off guard if you have secured a probationary spousal visa, and imagine that your next BI-related task is not for another 12 months.

However, failure to complete the annual check can result in penalties. The virtual option should help you comply with less of a headache.

Annual Reporting Process Late Fees

The annual filing deadline is March 1st. There is a monthly late fee of 200 PHP if you miss the deadline. A fraction of a month is fined as one full month. However, there is a maximum fine of 2000 PHP per year. 

INSIDER TIP: Past Due Amounts – The Registration Officer (RO) will require you to settle any past due annual filing late fees before making payments for the current year reporting. 

Critical Deadlines and Documents Checklist

To stay on the right side of the compliance track, it’s crucial to keep a sharp eye on deadlines and to have all your documents in order. Here’s a concise checklist to guide you:

Deadlines:

  • Annual Reporting Period: Typically, the first 60 days of the calendar year.
  • Submission Deadline: Ensure your report is submitted before the deadline to avoid penalties or fines.

Documents Checklist:

  • ACR I-Card: Make sure you have your Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card at hand.
  • Passport: A valid passport, which should include your current visa stamp.
  • Registration code: Bring the code that B.I. emails you. You will need to type it when you arrive at the virtual meeting. 
  • Receipt of Previous Annual Report: If applicable, have a copy of last year’s report receipt.
  • Other Supporting Documents: Depending on your visa type or specific circumstances, additional documentation may be required.
Fixing online system errors and technical glitches.

Troubleshooting Common Application Issues

Online reporting systems are convenient, but sometimes they can stumble over technical glitches. If you encounter a hurdle, don’t worry—common issues often have simple fixes:

  1. Login Problems: If you’re unable to log in, check that you’ve entered your credentials correctly. If you’ve forgotten your password, use the ‘Forgot Password’ feature to reset it.
  2. Website Downtime: With heavy traffic, the site may sometimes be down. If this happens, wait for a while before retrying. Avoid peak hours if possible.
  3. Document Uploads: Trouble uploading documents can usually be resolved by checking file size limits and accepted formats (like JPEG, PNG, PDF). For this annual check-in process, expats have reported not needing to upload documents. Instead, you physically hold up your appropriate documents so the B.I. officer can see them. 
  4. Error Messages: Ensure you have javascript enabled. If you continue to receive an error message, take note of its content. Often, it will give you a hint about what’s going wrong, which you can then address.
  5. System Requirements: Ensure your computer meets the website’s required specifications for optimal functionality. For best results, use Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox. Avoid non-standard like Brave or outdated Internet browsers like Internet Explorer.
  6. Buffering or Slow Progress: This is typically connected to your internet speed. Consider switching to a wired connection, or complete the process during off-peak internet hours.
  7. Cancellations and Refunds: Active applications where no payments have been processed can be canceled directly from your user dashboard. However, any online payments completed are non-refundable

If you’ve worked through the usual troubleshooting steps without success, the platform may offer a helpdesk or contact support. Reach out to them providing clear details of the issues faced for assistance.

Key Takeaways- New Online Annual Report Process

The digital overhaul of the Philippines’ Annual Reporting for expats was much needed. The ease and accessibility of Virtual Check-ins promise a hassle-free experience that is:

  1. Convenient: Say goodbye to the inconvenience of in-person queues; the system can be used to make your appointment online from anywhere with an internet connection.
  2. Time-Saving: Without the need for travel to immigration offices, you save valuable time that can be put to better use.
  3. Faster Processing: Digital submissions can be processed more quickly, leading to a more efficient resolution of your immigration status.
  4. Environmental Impact: No more long jeepneys or trike rides to the Immigration office. Plus online reporting significantly reduces the paper trail, contributing to a greener, more sustainable approach to administrative tasks.

Staying compliant with the immigration laws in the Philippines is crucial for a hassle-free expatriate experience. By following this guide, you can confidently navigate the 2024 annual check-in process.

FAQs- Philippines Annual Reporting

Who is required to use the online annual reporting system?

All registered foreign nationals residing in the Philippines need to comply with the Annual Report mandate in the first 60 days of the year. However, no one is required to use the online annual reporting system. Traditional In-Person reporting at a Bureau of Immigration office is still permitted.

What happens if I miss the reporting deadline?

According to Sec 10 Par. 2 of the Alien Registration Act of 1950, missing the reporting deadline, is subject to monetary fines or other penalties, including difficulties with visa renewals or even imprisonment and deportation in extreme cases of non-compliance.

Is there any additional cost of filing online?

Be advised that using online payment methods an additional “Express Lane Fee” of 500 pesos may apply. The BI uses supplementary fee to cover transaction processing costs charged by the payment service provider. 

Why did I receive an appointment cancellation notice?

The Bureau of Immigration reserves the right to cancel your appointment due to unforeseen circumstances, natural disasters, or local holidays. You will receive an email informing you about the cancellation of your online appointment, along with instructions on how to manually book a new appointment date.

Am I exempt from the in-person annual reporting process?

There are exemptions to the in-person annual reporting process. Exemptions include expats in the Philippines who are:

  • Below 14 years, or 60 years and above
  • Hold a Person with a Disability ID
  • Pregnant women and foreign nationals with a medical condition who can present a medical certificate issued by their attending physician or hospital

However, it’s important to note that while these individuals are exempt from personal appearance, they must still comply with the annual reporting process.

For example, while a 14-year-old is not required to make a virtual or physical appearance, the parent or legal guardian is still required to register and report the 14-year-old.


About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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