|Illegal aliens told: Come out and legalize your stay|
JUNE 19, 2012
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged yesterday aliens who are illegally staying in the country to regularize their immigration status by updating their stay or applying for the appropriate visa.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. called on the illegal aliens to voluntarily surface and visit any immigration office in their locality to have their stay legalized.
“I have instructed our field offices to provide assistance and utmost service to these foreigners so they will be encouraged to legalize their stay and apply for appropriate visas,” David said.
David urged overstaying foreign tourists to “come out, go to the nearest BI field office, update your stay and pay the required fees and fines to the government.”
He explained that in general tourists may extend their stay every two months up to a total of 16 months at our various districts and field offices while extensions after 16 months up to 24 months need the approval of the BI immigration regulation division chief. Extensions after 24 months require the commissioner’s approval.
For aliens who are working without permits, they were advised to apply for an alien employment permit (AEP) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) after which they may file their petition for a working visa with the BI.
David also said that foreigners married to Filipinos are eligible for permanent residence and foreign students must secure a special study permit or visa.
The BI chief issued the statement as he announced plans by the bureau to conduct a nationwide census of foreigners in the Philippines .
He said the survey aims to make an approximate, if not exact, count of the number of aliens in the country and that its results will help the BI craft policies for the benefit of foreigners.
Lawyer Ronaldo Ledesma, BI acting alien registration chief, disclosed that there are more than 200,000 registered aliens who are holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
He said the figures do not include the tourists on temporary stay in the country.###