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PHILIPPINES – Cancellation of Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card Requires Downgrading of Visa

The Bureau of Immigration has announced that, effective immediately, foreign nationals wishing to cancel their Alien Certificate of Registration I-Cards (ACR I-Cards) are first required to downgrade their visa to a 9(a) temporary visitor visa. Previously, the requirement to downgrade the visa to a 9(a) temporary visitor visa was not strictly enforced.

Who is Affected?

Holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas (including 9(g) work visas) that have not been downgraded, and who wish to leave the Philippines for good.


A foreign national holding a valid immigrant or non-immigrant visa (such as a 9(g) work visas) and wishing to leave the Philippines for good, is required to downgrade their visas to a 9(a) temporary visitor visa, cancel their ACR I-Card and obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).

Companies in the Philippines wishing to terminate the employment of a 9(g) visa holder for any reason, including the expiry of the employment contract, usually submit an application to downgrade the employee’s visa to a 9(a) temporary visitor visa. This ends the legal employer-employee relationship, and means the foreign national can no longer work but has more time to secure another job or travel as a tourist before leaving the country.

Action Items

  • Holders of 9(g) work visas that have not been downgraded, who wish to leave the Philippines for good, will need to allow extra time for the processing of a visa downgrading application before they can cancel their ACR I-Card, obtain an ECC and leave the country.
  • Employers are advised to check the latest requirements with an immigration specialist.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Follosco, Morallos & Herce.

Peregrine builds software and provides consultancy and training for global immigration management.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.