The immigration building in Manila is gigantic. It must cover three or four blocks. The outside area and inside are clean and free of rubble. I found the customer service the best in the Philippines. I had my six-month visa in a flash.
I was impressed with how quick and efficient the immigration officers were at this facility. I’ll never visit another immigration branch. The Manila office knows what they are doing.
Travel to Manila
It was a beautiful day for travel. It’s been raining for two months, so a day without rain is a pleasant surprise. The fields along the interstate were a vibrant green. Traffic was light, so it didn’t take long to arrive at the Philippines ’ capital city.
Face masks are required even inside a car with family members. Building entry requires a face mask and face shield. It’s the rainy season but still in the lower 90s, so walking around with these items on your face makes it difficult to breathe. I’m not sure if they do more harm than good.
Officers looked inside our car at each checkpoint to ensure we were following the Covid lockdown rules. Officers handed masks to people who didn’t have one. The whole country seems like one enormous hospital.
You need an appointment to enter the immigration building. Make sure to print out your appointment information and bring it with you. An immigration officer will check the paperwork and look for your name on their alphabetical list. If your name is not on the list, you cannot enter.
Upon entering the building, the officers check your temperature and spray your hands with alcohol and watch as you rub it all over your hands.
There is also a security check paper to fill out to ensure you don’t have Covid. You can complete this paperwork while waiting inside. Hand it to the officer when you leave.
Getting the Visa
The immigration office will point you to the correct window to start your process. From the entrance, we turned right and walked to the visa extension assessment window. There was no waiting. The immigration officer checked my passport, visa paperwork, and immigration computer database.
The officer gave me a printout of the charges and sent me to the cash section counter. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount. The cost for the two-month visa I had been getting is 6,300 pesos. The charge for the six-month visa is 8,300 pesos. On the website where I signed up, it listed the amount as 11,770.
I arrived at window 13 and was shown where to sit. There were only three people ahead of me, so I was at the window in five minutes. It took only two minutes to pay the cashier, and I was on the way back to the visa area.
By the time I walked over to the extension window, all the paperwork was complete. I was handed my paperwork, and the officer said, see you next year with a smile. It’s the first time I have ever seen anyone at immigration smile.
I had my six-month tourist visa in a half-hour, but it takes all day at a branch office to get a two-month visa. The whole trip took three hours, and we even went through the McDonalds drive-thru.
Philippines immigration website is here.
Here is the first article of this two-part series.
Check out another article here.
Have you visited the immigration building in Manila? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Do you have questions about immigration in the Philippines? Add your question below in the comment section.