Leaving the Philippines and Moving On

Find out how to close bank accounts, end contracts for utilities and insurance, export cars, move pets and notify residency officials when leaving the Philippines…

When it comes to moving on and leaving the Philippines, there are a number of administrative tasks which need to be undertaken in order to ensure a smooth departure.

Residency Issues

Foreign nationals who have stayed in the Philippines for six months or more, and are planning to depart from the country, temporarily or for good, need to obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).

The ECC is necessary to prove that the foreign national has no outstanding obligations with the Philippine government.

The ECC is required by foreign nationals in the following categories:

  • Temporary Visitors Visa holders who have lived in the Philippines for six months or more
  • Immigrant or Non-immigrant Visa holders whose visas have already expired
  • Immigrant or Non-immigrant Visa holders who are leaving the country for good
  • Philippine-born foreign nationals leaving the Philippines for the first time
  • Foreign nationals who are Temporary Visitor Visa holders and who have received an order to leave

The clearance certificate may be processed at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Offices in Intramuros, Manila; Batangas; Cagayan de Oro City; Cebu; Clark; Legazpi City, Albay; Tacloban City, Leyte; Tuguegarao City; Davao; SM North Edsa, Quezon City; and Sta Rosa, Laguna.

Application for the ECC must be made at least three days before departure from the country. The ECC is valid for one month from the date of issue.

When applying for an EEC the following documents must be submitted:

  • Application form
  • Photocopy of passport (biodata pages, visa pages, date of most recent arrival)
  • Original and photocopy of ACR I-Card
  • Photocopy of receipt of latest visa extension
  • Five passport-sized photographs

Transferring Schools

When leaving the Philippines, parents must notify their children’s current school of their intention to withdraw their child from school and the reason for leaving. Presentation of valid documents or forms of ID may also be required.

Most schools require parents to obtain a withdrawal form from the school’s Admissions Office.

The child’s current school should forward any documents required by the new school to which the student is transferring.

Cancellation of Registration with PhiHealth and Social Security

Membership for the Social Security System (SSS) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is for life, so contributions are not refunded.

For PhilHealth, payment should simply be discontinued. The membership status will then be categorised as inactive.

For more information, contact:

  • SSS
    Tel: 02 920 6446 to 55
    Toll-free: 1 800 10 2255777
    email

Terminating a Rental Contract

There are no formal or official provisions for terminating a rental contract, whether for a furnished or unfurnished property.

In general, the tenant may terminate the lease agreement at any time, but this depends on the details of the agreement between the landlord and tenant.

The tenant must make sure to inform the landlord of their intention to leave, and agree on the date of termination of the rental contract. The tenant must also ensure that the outstanding balance is settled before termination of contract.

Doctors and Dentists

There are no formal or official procedures for cancelling with doctors or dentists. Most patients just inform their doctors or dentists that they are moving to another country.

The patient can request a copy of their medical records, medical certificates or other related information, from the doctor/dentist’s clinic or hospital records. For hospital records, a written authorization from the patient’s doctor is generally required.

Tax Issues

Foreign nationals who have acquired residence status in the Philippines retain their tax status until they depart from the country. There are no special requirements to be observed for tax purposes on leaving the country.

Resident and non-resident foreigners in the Philippines, who are required to pay taxes in the country and are filing income tax, may claim their tax credits in their home country using the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Form No. 2316. This form, the Certificate of Compensation Payment/Tax Withheld, is a document that employers are required to provide for their employees.

The tax refund is calculated by the employer on or before the end of the calendar year but prior to the end of the last payroll period, to take account of year-end adjustments. The tax refund represents the tax paid in excess of the tax due.

Cancelling Utilities

Electricity

Requests for termination of electricity service for the major electricity service providers in the Philippines may be made by submitting a letter of request for termination of service to the branches or via email. The customer must also provide valid ID and account information.

Usually a member of field staff is sent to validate the service request. The process of termination of contract is then initiated, followed by a final bill.

For more information, customers should contact their electricity service provider.

Water

Only the owner of a property can request disconnection of the water supply by contacting the water service provider. The customer may be asked to submit a letter requesting disconnection, including the reason for the request. This letter should be sent to the Business Centre that covers the customer’s current place of residence.

Disconnection will take place on the dates requested by the customer. The customer will also be asked to settle any outstanding accounts.

Telephone

For Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) subscribers (landline):

Requests for termination of service may be made in two ways. Firstly, the subscriber may send a signed letter of request via email. The subscriber must provide information including their name, account number, landline number, and reason for termination. A scanned copy of a valid form of ID must also be sent.

A subscriber may also go to a PLDT branch and bring the letter of request and valid ID to initiate termination of the service.

If there is an outstanding balance, the subscriber must settle this first before the request can be processed.

Furthermore, if the account is still under contract subject to a lock-in period, the subscriber may be asked to pay a termination fee.

Mobile telephone

For Globe Subscribers:

To request disconnection of the service, contact Globe by telephone or write a letter of request for disconnection and hand in to any Globe branch. Requests must be made 30 days before the end of the contract. If the subscriber wishes to terminate the account before the end of contract, a fee may be charged by Globe.

For Smart Subscribers:

To request disconnection of the service, submit a letter with a request for disconnection together with a valid form of ID. This may be processed at any Smart Store. Outstanding accounts must be settled before the request can be processed.

  • Smart
    Customer Service Hotline: 171

Closing a Bank Account

To close a bank account in the Philippines, it is necessary to go to the bank where the account was opened. The account holder must fill in a withdrawal slip to receive the outstanding balance. Banks may charge the account holder a service fee. They may also require valid ID including the account holder’s passport.

Exporting Pets

When departing the Philippines with pets, an owner must obtain an export permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). Processing for the permit may be done at the National Veterinary Quarantine Services (NVQS) Division, located at the BAI Compound.

The owner must bring a letter requesting an export permit including the reason for the request. Information should include: species and breed of pet(s), sex, age and number of pet(s), expected date of departure, destination country, and address, phone, email address and other contact details of the owner. A health certificate will be released by the NVQS as a requirement for the issuance of the export permit.

In addition, the pet owner must check in advance with the country of destination about the regulations for exporting pets. They should also inquire about pet travel policies and requirements from the airline. An airline-approved crate must be provided by the owner. He or she must also prepare the pet for the trip.