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user555

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About user555

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Member # 328598
  • Location Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • State
    California

Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    IR-1/CR-1 Visa
  • Place benefits filed at
    Chicago Lockbox
  • Country
    Philippines

Immigration Timeline & Photos

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  1. user555

    Dreaded Sputum

    Yea, SLEC is pushing sputum tests on people with little to no evidence. I think I included the evidence in that post, but SLEC has a 93% error rate in reading those x-rays. Of those flagged, only 7% actually have TB. The US has chosen SLEC to be the only authorized hospital in the PH. That does not give me much trust in the CDC. Here's another kicker. We arrived in the States, and our local health office called us saying they want us to do TB testing again. Why? "We just want to double check what SLEC did." So even the US side doesn't trust SLEC!
  2. After the interview, the visa took about 2 weeks to arrive. We sent the picture of the visa to the CFO rep because we did that before the interview and proof of payment. She sent us an email of the temp certificate and said the real sticker would arrive by mail. After seven days, it still hadn't arrived. It shipped from metro Manila to metro Manila. It shouldn't have taken that long. I don't even think they sent it. I had booked both our tickets through Japan Airlines because I was in Manila with my wife. We both downloaded the Traze app and filled in our info. We arrived at Terminal 1 at 5:45 AM, but they wouldn't let people enter until 6:30 AM. The guard asked for our Covid test before entering the airport, but we said we were going to the States. No test is required for now. We never had to show anyone the Traze QR code (even though they claim it is mandatory). Also, BoI requires that all departing Filipinos fill out a Travel Declaration form that says they are aware of the risks. I didn't have to fill that out. My wife paid the travel tax, but I didn't have to do that. At the JAL luggage counter, she showed the employee her temp CFO certificate and her passport, and she got her boarding pass. Going through immigration was easy. There were hardly any other passengers in line. We left on time, and when we landed in Narita, they made the people entering Japan get off first. The flight was about 80% full. The rest of the transit passengers got off and walked down this corridor to do a final security check. They just check for scissors or knives. Once through, we stayed at the gate for an hour before we boarded. It seemed like 80% of the airports shops were closed. We departed Narita on time and except for the crying kids in the row in front of us, the flight was great. It was only 50% full. They fed us from MNL->NRT and then twice from NRT->LAX. It was good food with some Häagen-Dazs as a bonus! You had to wear your face mask on the plane except for when eating. At least they didn't require the plastic face shield too. LAX airport was a ghost town. Usually, there are Automated Passport Control Kiosks that you can walk up to and enter your info. All 50 of them were shut down. They made all passengers go to 1 area. We walked to the immigration officer's booth, he looked confused about her IR-1 visa, made a phone call, and then stamped her passport. Total time was 5 min. His only question was verifying the mailing address for the green card, and then he said, "Welcome to the USA." We got our bags and left.
  3. As the final chapter in this journey, here is the ECC ruling. I came to the Philippines with the Balikbayan Privilege, stayed a year, converted to a 9a tourist visa, and stayed for 3 months. BOI said, "Please be advised that if you were given a Balikbayan Visa upon your arrival in the Philippines, you will only need to secure an Emmigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) if you stayed for eighteen (18) months or more." So the BB is free of ECC, but once you get the tourist visa, that's when the timer starts for ECC. I had been in the PH for 15 months when I left and didn't need an ECC because 12 months was counted under the BB program (no ECC). I still had to show airport immigration my ACR card and 2 visa extensions, but they just stamped my passport and told me I was good.
  4. I just flew Manila->Narita->Los Angeles last week with my wife. We landed in an international airport in Japan but did not enter Japan (pass through immigration). No issues. We didn't need a transit visa or COVID test. We had a 2 hour layover and continued on to the States.
  5. I live in Manila and have a BB visa now, but it expires in Oct. If I extend it, does it turn into a tourist visa, or does it remain an extension of the BB visa? Do I just have my wife go with me to an immigration office and show our marriage cert, my passport, and fill out a new form? Any clue on the price differences for the different lengths of time? I've looked on the PH's BOI website and they only have this: https://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/visa-inquiry/balikbayan-privilege Those who are admitted as Balikbayans are given an initial stay of one (1) year. They may extend their stay for another one (1), two (2) or six (6) months provided that they present their valid passport and filled out the visa extension form and submit it to the Visa Extension Section in the BI Main Office or any BI Offices nationwide. I was contemplating leaving the country with her again for a few days, but it appears they've temporarily stopped issuing the BB visa at the airport.
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