How to Apply for Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR-I Card)

For foreign nationals embarking on extended stays in the Philippines, securing an Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR-I Card) is a significant step. Issued by the Bureau of Immigration, this document serves as an official testament to your permitted residence in the nation beyond fifty-nine days. A linchpin for legal identity within the Philippines, the ACR-I Card is indispensable for a variety of transactions, from opening bank accounts to ensuring compliance with immigration upon departure.

Acquisition of the ACR-I Card is grounded in the Alien Registration Act of 1950, a reflection of your commitment to adhere to the country’s regulatory framework. The process is straightforward: equip yourself with your passport and visa, complete the necessary forms, pay the stipulated fee, and you’re on your way to becoming a recognized resident. Annually renewable, this is more than a formality—it’s a facilitator of the professional and personal ease that foreign residents require. Engaging with this process not only aligns with statutory compliance but enhances your living and working experience in the Philippines.

ACR I Card
Credits: Bureau of Immigration

What is an ACR-I Card?

The ACR-I Card is an identification document issued by the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines to foreign nationals residing in the country for more than fifty-nine days. It’s a mandatory requirement for those holding various types of visas, including Temporary Visitor’s Visa, and is essential for both staying and exiting the country.

Legal Basis

The requirement for the ACR-I Card is based on the Alien Registration Act of 1950, as amended. This law mandates that all foreigners staying in the Philippines for an extended period must register and obtain this as part of their legal obligations.

Benefits of Holding an ACR-I Card

While primarily a legal requirement, the ACR-I Card comes with several practical benefits:

  • Legal Identification: Serves as recognized identification for various transactions within the Philippines.
  • Banking: Essential for opening a bank account in the Philippines.
  • Ease of Travel: Needed alongside an Exit Clearance Certificate when leaving the Philippines.


Eligibility for the ACR-I Card includes:

  • All foreign nationals who have stayed more than 59 days on a Temporary Visitor’s Visa.
  • Those under immigrant and non-immigrant visas who have surpassed the initial 59 days of stay.


To apply for an ACR-I Card, you will need:

  • Passport with valid visa
  • Completed application form
  • Proof of address in the Philippines
  • Payment of fees (USD 50.00 plus Php 500.00)

Application Form For Alien Certificate Of Registration Identity Card (Acr I-Card) Certification

The Application Form for Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card Certification requires foreign nationals to fill out the provided form and submit it along with supporting documents to the Bureau of Immigration. The ACR I-Card serves as an important identification for foreigners in the Philippines and has multiple functions. The processing time can vary, so it is advisable to submit the application well in advance.

acr application form
Screengrab taken from Bureau of Immigration

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining an ACR-I Card

  1. Visit the Bureau of Immigration: Locate the nearest office that processes ACR-I Cards.
  2. Complete the Application Form: Forms are available at the immigration office or online at the official Bureau of Immigration website.
  3. Submit Your Documents: Along with your application form, submit your passport, current visa, proof of address, and any other required documents.
  4. Pay the Fees: Fees are payable in USD and Philippine Pesos.
  5. Receive Your ACR-I Card: After processing, you will receive your ACR-I Card, which you should keep safe as it is required for future renewals and when exiting the country.

Renewal of an ACR-I Card

Renewal is required annually and follows a similar process to the initial application. Reasons for renewal include:

  • Expiration of the document after one year.
  • Change of visa status.
  • Re-registration upon reaching the age of 14.

Tips And Reminders For Getting An Alien Certificate Of Registration (ACR) In The Philippines

  1. Familiarize yourself with the requirements: Before starting the application process, make sure you are aware of all the necessary documents and information needed. This may include your passport, visa, proof of address, and other supporting documents.
  2. Consult with the Bureau of Immigration: If you have any questions or need clarification about the application process, it is recommended to reach out to the Bureau of Immigration. They can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information.
  3. Prepare and organize your documents: Ensure that you have all the required documents ready and organized before submitting your application. This will help streamline the process and prevent any delays or complications.
  4. Follow the application procedure: Adhere to the step-by-step procedure outlined by the Bureau of Immigration. This may involve submitting your application form, paying the necessary fees, and attending any required appointments or interviews.
  5. Be mindful of deadlines: Make sure to submit your application within the specified timeframe to avoid any penalties or issues. It is advisable to start the application process well in advance to allow for any unforeseen delays.
  6. Keep copies of all submitted documents: It is important to keep copies of all the documents you submit during the application process. This will serve as a record and proof of your application, which may be required in the future.
  7. Follow up on your application: After submitting your application, periodically check the status of your application with the Bureau of Immigration. This will help ensure that your application is being processed and address any potential issues or delays promptly.
  8. Stay updated with any changes: Immigration policies and procedures may change over time. Stay informed about any updates or changes to the ACR application process by regularly checking official government websites or contacting the Bureau of Immigration.

Video: ACR Card In the Philippines “Alien Certificate of Registration” Identity Card

An Alien Certificate of Residency (ACR) card is necessary in the Philippines for various purposes such as renting an apartment, buying items, and opening a bank account. The process of obtaining an ACR card can vary, taking anywhere from one day to three months. A passport and possibly a birth certificate are required to apply for the document. Once obtained, the ACR card can be used to open a bank account and rent an apartment. It is recommended to apply for an ACR card if planning to stay long-term in the Philippines.



The ACR-I Card is not just a piece of bureaucracy but a key to smoother, more integrated living in the Philippines for foreigners. It facilitates legal and financial transactions and is necessary for those planning to reside in the country for an extended period. By understanding and following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your stay in the Philippines is compliant with local laws and hassle-free. Whether you are here for work, study, or other reasons, having an ACR-I Card will help you navigate your way more effectively in the Philippines.

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