Visa application at the Dumaguete Bureau of Immigration
The entrance is a little hidden inside an alley, but the outside sign shows that this is the entrance to the Bureau of Immigration here in Dumaguete City. Door number 8. Almost at the end of the building.
I went in around 10.00 am, had to get a photocopy of that funny little registration-slip they stapled in my passport last page and new photos, for mine were not the right size. (weird but in Batangas Field Office they used those without problems) that all could be fixed next door at the travel agency for 60 pesos for 4 photos and 2 pesos for a Xerox.
Back to the BOI, I handed over the forms, they checked them, I paid my fee and 11.30 am, I found myself outside on the street, without a passport or payment-slip or any proof that I handed over my passport and 2,240 pesos less in my wallet (44.80 euro). I could try in the afternoon or tomorrow to see if my visa was granted, so I was told.
Applying for a visa is always confusing, but I must say this one was more confusing than the Batangas office. Nice and patient office staff and officer, but a messy little office with no privacy whatsoever. A bunch of un-informed expats and tourists that are impatient and sometimes even impolite and try to cut the cue. And busy as hell.
I got number 30 in line, by the time I got back with my photos they handed out number 59. And when I opened the door to leave they were at number 67.
It seemed to me that I was the only one with all the paperwork ready to hand over. It was just that every bureau seems to have its own little extra thing about what to bring for additional proof, that I had to get another Xerox and new photos. But I came prepared.
And it isn’t all that hard you know. As a tourist, you just download the form from the website of the Bureau of Immigration and fill it out. Follow the checklist (which you can download also) and you are ready to go. Make sure to bring enough cash since they do not accept credit cards. But even the prices are on the website. So that is just a quick calculus.
1-month extension 1,740 pesos, 2 months (which is the maximum you can ask for at a field office) 2,240 pesos.
Bring that and a lot of patience and respect, dress properly, and the officers will like you for that.
I gave it a try around 3 o’clock and went back to see if my visa was granted. They took my passport and visa application form that days pile they were processing that moment, checked my passport number with the Philippines Hold lists, blacklists or Intelligence Derogatory Records at the date and time I applied for my visa end there it was: the magic yellow sticker with the BOI seal and barcode and yet another two months of legalised stay in the Philippines.
Next time I have to pay the Bureau of Immigration a visit is the last week of March.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.