It is necessary for foreigners who have stayed in the Philippines for over 59 days to obtain an ACR I-Card. It is required by the Philippine government and it affects your eligibility in various activities, such as opening a bank account, buying a house, and so on. This is a thorough guide on the ACR I-Card meaning and how to get one.

What Is an ACR I-Card?

The ACR I-Card stands for the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card. It is a smart card and biometric-based identification of alien residents issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines. If you are not a Filipino and you have been in the country for over 59 days, you must secure an ACR I-Card.

ACR I-Card
An Example of ACR I-Card

It is essential for foreigners not only because it is a proof of identity, but also because it contains important data that has many uses. The card has a similar size as a driver’s license and is embedded with a microchip that manages all the crucial data of the cardholder with advanced technology.

Who Needs to Obtain an ACR I-Card?

As mentioned above, foreigners who stay in the Philippines for more than 59 days are required to obtain an ACR I-Card. If you are a foreigner, it is mandatory whether you are on an immigrant visa or non-immigrant visa.

All international visitors should abide by this rule under any visa status. For example, if you are holding a tourist visa and you want to stay in the Philippines for a longer time after 59 days, apart from your visa extension, you need to apply for an ACR I-card as well.

In addition, under the circumstance that you are applying for an ECC (Emigrant Clearance Certificate), a valid ACR I-Card is needed as one of the requirements.

Furthermore, an ACR I-Card is required when you open a bank account, buy properties, transact with government offices, etc.

ACR I-Card Types & Categories

There are 10 various color code types for the ACR I-Card. They are designed for different categories of foreigners or immigrants in different statuses. Understanding these color codes helps you better understand what categories of alien registration you will get.

Let’s take a look at the following table:

TypesIssued toFurther Explanation
Light Yellow CardPermanent residentsIt is issued to foreigners or Filipino citizens who live in the country permanently.
It covers the following categories:
• quota immigrants
• spouses or minor children of Philippine citizens
• children born abroad whose mother is a permanent resident
Bronze CardThe native-bornIt is issued to foreigners who are born in the Philippines.
Dark Purple CardNon-immigrantsIt is specially designed for non-immigrants and executives of regional headquarters.
Blue CardWorkersIt is issued to foreign workers with commercial and missionary visas.
Light Purple CardProbationary ResidentsIt is for foreigners on a probationary residence, including those with a temporary resident visa.
Red CardVoluntary RegistrantIt is issued to foreigners who volunteer to register or stay in the country within 59 days such as economic visa holders and tourists.
White CardTouristsIt is issued to temporary visitors who stay over 59 days, including tourists and those with special work or study permits.
Aqua Blue CardStudentsIt is issued to foreign students.
Gray CardInternational Treaty Traders
Green CardFilipino Veterans

What Documents Do I Need for ACR I-Card Application?

Before you apply for the ACR I-Card, there are necessary documents you should gather. Here are the specific requirements:

Core requirements:

  • A completed application form
  • A photocopy of the passport
    • The bio-page
    • Pages that show your valid visa
    • Pages that show your latest admission with authorized stay
  • Two passport photos of the applicant
    • Size: 2×2 pictures
    • With a white background
    • Taken within 3 months from the application date
    • This requirement does not apply to voluntary applicants.

Besides the above core requirements, there are some additional requirements based on different situations.

For new applicants:

  • A certified true copy issued by the records section, which shows the BOC (Board of Commissioners)’s order granting a visa. It is used for internal verification.
  • For students, you should present a certified true copy issued by the records section, which demonstrates the commissioner’s order of approval granting the student visa. This is for internal verification as well.
  • Photocopy of official receipt(s) of payment for applicable fees.

For paper-based ACR I-Card holders or late-filing permanent residents:

  • A written letter explaining the reasons for delayed filing in detail.
  • Original ACR (to be surrendered).
  • Photocopy of either ICR (Immigrant Certificate of Residence) or NBCR (Native-born Certificate of Registration).
  • A print-out of the Index Card Imaging from the fingerprint section.
  • In case of a passport expires an Affidavit of Undertaking is needed. Original and photocopy of the new passport should be presented within 15 days from its issuance date.

For voluntary applicants:

  • A letter saying the reasons for your voluntary registration.
  • Photocopy of an ID from PRA, BOI, or PEZA (if applicable).
  • Photocopy of Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate for Balikbayan.
  • Original paper-based ACR (if applicable).

How Can I Apply for An ACR I-Card?

The ACR I-Card application process has to be done at the BI main office or a BI office near you. Don’t forget to check the location before you go.

Here are the steps for the procedure:

  1. Get an application form from the BI official website.
Get an application form from the BI official website

Print and fill out the form.

ACR I-Card Application form
  1. Gather your required documents along with the completed application form and go to the BI office that grants you a visa or permit.
  2. You will be given an Order of Payment Slip (OPS). After you make the payment, get the OR (Official Receipt) and submit it to the person in charge.
  3. Make an appointment for your next visit.
  4. Go to the office again on your appointment date and time. Present your claim stub and sign the duplicate copy of the Certificate.
  5. Finally, you can collect your original ACR I-Card and Receipts.

How Much Does ACR I-Card Application Cost?

The cost of obtaining an ACR I-Card includes several items. The BI does not only charge for the card itself. Check out the cost list below:

I-Card FeePHP 500.00
Legal Research Fee (LRF) for each immigration fee (Head Tax and Fines not included)PHP 10.00
Express FeePHP 500.00
TotalPHP 1010.00

The cost for an ACR I-Card application may change over time. You should check with the BI before your application.

How to Check ACR I-Card Status?

You can contact the BI office that issues your ACR I-Card to check your ACR I-Card status. If it is still under the application process, it usually takes a few weeks to get done since it has been digitized and added electronic security features. 

Philippine BI office contact information

When Do I Need to Renew the ACR I-Card?

Your ACR I-Card needed to be renewed under the circumstances as follows:

  • The card has passed its 1-year validity.
  • The cardholder has reached 14 years old.
  • There is a change in your visa status.
  • The card is required to be renewed according to the Alien Registration Act of 1950, as amended.

How to Renew ACR I-Card?

It is similar to the procedure for getting an ACR I-Card for the first time.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Prepare necessary documents

Step 2. Fill out the application form and attach the required documents.

Step 3. Check with the BI if you have any derogatory records.

Step 4. Get an OPS and make the payment.

Step 5. Submit a copy of the Official Receipt.

Step 6. After your application is evaluated and approved, the new card will be printed.

Step 7. At last, present your claim stub and ID card to collect the new ACR I-Card.

ACR I-Card Renewal Fee

Renewing an ACR I-Card does not necessarily cost less than getting a new card. Please pay attention to the currency of payment for each item. Here is the table for the renewal fee:

I-Card FeeUSD 50.00
Express FeePHP 500.00

Fees for renewal of the ACR I-Card may be updated through time. Please check with the BI before you apply. 


Does ACR expire? 

Yes. It is valid for 1 year.

✅ Who is exempted from ACR in the Philippines?

All foreigners in the Philippines need to apply for ACR I-Card. However, foreigners in these situations are exempted from personal appearance at the BI offices:

  • Those under the age of 14 or over the age of 60
  • The mentally or physically disabled
  • Pregnant women and unwell foreign nationals with medical proof

✅ Is ACR mandatory?

It is mandatory for foreigners who stay in the Philippines for over 59 days. For some nationals such as an American, he is required to register if he stays for over 30 days.

✅ How to make 2×2 pictures for ACR I-Card application or renewal?

Making a 2×2 photo online is very easy with the help of AiPassportPhtos. This AI tool will resize and change your photo background to meet the requirements in seconds.

Follow these steps:

Step 1. Take some photos of yourself according to the ACR I-Card requirements.

Step 2. Access the AiPassportPhotos website.

AiPassportPhotos 2x2 picture

Step 3. Tap “Upload a Photo” and select your best photo.

Step 4. Wait 15 seconds and your photo will be successfully processed.

Step 5. Download your ACR I-Card photo for FREE!


The ACR I-Card is an important document for foreigners in the Philippines. Before you go to the country, it is best you understand what it is and how to apply for it.

This article is a complete guide to help you get your own ACR I-Card. Should you have any more questions, you can contact the BI main office.

By Erin Lo

My passion lies in the intersection of technology and storytelling, and I'm thrilled to explore the world of AI and its impact on passport photography. I strive to make complex concepts easy to grasp for readers, sharing the wonders of AI in our everyday lives. Beyond writing, I find inspiration in art, diverse cuisines, and outdoor adventures. Contributing to AiPassportPhotos' innovative approach is an exciting journey, making passport photos and more creative pictures simpler and more efficient through the power of AI.