Metro Manila · The Bureau of Immigration (Intramuros)
The Bureau of Immigration has its main office in Intramuros, Manila City. Hundreds of foreigners and Filipinos go there everyday to extend visas, get clearances, or change their residence status. Here is the Megacitizens survival guide for the Bureau of Immigration.
The Bureaucratic Process
Do not get intimidated by the crowds and all the different counters at the Bureau of Immigration. Once you pass security, just go straight to the help desk where a couple of (usually friendly) employees will assist you, hand you the application forms you need, and tell you where to go. They also give you a number for your respective counter. The counters have screens announcing who will be served next, so applicants can just sit down instead of lining up. More often than not, the security personnel will also tell you which way to go depending on what you'd like to process.
You can spend the waiting time filling out your application or, if you did so already, visit the little garden area of the Bureau of Immigration and buy a drink or snack there.
Each step is done at a different counter, but the counters are all located next to each other. For example, to extend your tourist visa you first go to one of the "Assessment" counters to have your passport checked, then you pay at the "Cash Section", there they hand you a receipt and send you to the "Receiving" section where you leave your passport. They keep the passport and give you an estimated time for picking it up again. On a good day it takes not more than one hour, so you can just have a coffee, merienda, or visit one of Intramuros' tourist sights in the meantime. You pick up your passport with the new visa stamp at the "Releasing" counter. Check if they put the right date before you leave.
You can already print out most application forms and fill them out beforehand. This is highly recommended to make sure you have all the required information at hand. The forms are available on the bureau's website under immigration.gov.ph/index.php/downloads/application-forms. In any case, you should visit the website prior to your visit to get an idea of the requirements and fees.
If you need copies of your passport or so, there are copy machines at the left end of the building. One black and white copy is two pesos.
Shorts and slippers are usually not allowed, but try to dress as lightly as possible, as it can get quite warm with all the people in the waiting area.
Location & How To Get There
The main Bureau of Immigration is located in Intramuros, the historic walled city center of Manila. Taking public transport to Intramuros is quite inconvenient so we recommend to take a cab. When you leave, there are usually people in front of the bureau offering to get you a cab. They expect up to 20 pesos for their services. Cab drivers in Intramuros routinely overcharge, especially foreign passengers. Try not to pay more than 50 pesos on top of the metered price.
There are several extension offices in Metro Manila, for example at Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati. If you go to one of them for the first time, call beforehand to make sure they handle your specific application.
Bureau of Immigration Main Office
Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila City
Tel: (63) 2 527 3248
Mon - Fri: 7:00 am - 5:30 pm
You should allow for several hours to complete the whole process. Do not visit the Bureau of Immigration to late, as the cut-off time for releasing passports can be up to two hours before the actual closing time. More complicated applications (such as work visa) take several days to weeks, sometimes months. It is recommended to hire an agency to take care of those cases.