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Voluntary ACR Application / International Bank Account

I am a New Zealand citizen but work overseas on a 28/28 rotation and spend only a couple of weeks in the Philippines during each leave period. I am planning to eventually settle in the Philippines and I am currently trying to open an international bank account but each bank I visit says I need an ACR.

A frustrating 2 hours at the Bureau of Immigration determined that since I am only here for short periods, it is not possible (so they say) to voluntarily apply for an ACR for the purposes of opening a bank account.

Can anyone advise regarding their experience voluntarily applying for an ACR and/or recommend a helpful banking institution that doesn't require the ACR in order to open an international / foreign currency account?

Have you tried HSBC?  They have branches listed in and around Manila and one each in Cebu and Davao with access to your funds available through and Plus system ATM machine throughout the Philippines such as the ones used by Metrobank.

I have no personal experience with HSBC, though another expat stated he had opened an account with them while on a tourist Visa. He did not state whether or not he had and ACR-I card.

You might just drop them a line and ask.

Addendum to the previous response.

Seeing as how HSBC is an international bank with branches in New Zealand you may be able to start there.

https://www.google.com.ph/?client=firef … :1,lf_ui:4

Thanks TeeJay.

Yes, I heard similar from an expat mate of mine so I did try with HSBC (Alabang) but the counter staff and their manager were insistent on the ACR requirement and even went on about FATCA and other US taxation forms, suggesting that I "discuss with my tax consultant".

As such I am pursuing with HSBC (Makati) and hope to hear from someone higher up the food chain who might have a better understanding of the rules concerning international accounts.

Also thought it worth asking the forum members to see if there were any avenues to pursue regarding issuance of ACR even on short-term visa.

A friend recently visited the Philippines for an extended period of time. Five days prior to the expiration of his 30 day tourist Visa he went to renew the Visa for and additional two months and was asked to apply for an ACR-I card, which he did. It was approved and he received the card in about 2 weeks, give or take a few days.

He submitted the application at a branch BI office in a Robinsons mall. 

After receiving his ACR-I and taking with him his proof of address and a utility bill from the condominium he was renting, he went to BDO to open an account. He was declined with the reason given being that he was on a tourist visa and they required a permanent resident visa to open the account.

If you have any luck opening an account, please share it with the rest of us.

Best wishes and good luck with HSBC.

@ Ekiptosom,

In mid July last year the BI issued a new I-Card that is color-coded with specific colors designated for 10 different visa types.  These types represent the following categories: Permanent Resident, Native Born Resident, Special Non-Immigrant, Worker, Treaty Trader, Probationary Resident, Voluntary Registrant, Student, Tourist, and Gratis.  I have been here in the PI for 3+ years (minus a visa run of 4 days back in June).  In all this time, my I-Card status has been as a "Tourist".

DO I have a local Bank account?  Yes - After visits to BDO, China Bank and BPI (all of which were ready to set up an account), I selected BPI for their numerous ATM locations that allow both withdrawal and deposits.  In each case I spoke directly with the branch managers and once they confirmed I had a current ACR or I-Card, there was no problem, my account was opened in my name only.  I also have a TIN and they were happy to see that but the law here requires the ACR or I-Card and does not state if it must be from a specific selection of one of the possible 10 types.  When I have an occasion to use BDO for Xoom transfers, 8 out of 10 of the people helping me do not want to accept my ACR as the only ID needed.  After they are schooled on their own laws and the managers agree with me, I only show the ACR card and refuse to show any other ID. 

One very important step that I took was to never, never keep the bulk of my financial assets in any bank in the PI (I try to keep just enough for routine banking, living necessities and limited emergency funds). Your assets will most likely be shared thru any bank here if you dump large amounts into your account. 

DO NOT allow any statements to be mailed to your home …never.  Make sure the bank understands that there is to be be zero mailed documents to your home address.  Since the deposit insurance in Philippine banks is limited to P500,000 pesos or about $10,800 keep a main national bank as your only options and stay away from Philippine rural banks.

FYI - for American Social Security retirees, their monthly retirement payments can be direct-deposited to a few selected Philippine banks.  However, to follow US law, all U.S. public pensions must be deposited to an account in the American's name only — not a joint account with the spouse.  You may want to consider these points also.

Best wishes

Hi,

Yes you will need an ACR I-Card. And for you to avail an ACR I-Card you must extend your tourist visa for 3 months.

***

Best regards,
Stella

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We had the same problem before like you Sir. But luckily after we went different branch of banks we found one. I think it depends of Manager you will spoke and how they will consider you. They will ask only your purpose why you need to open a bank account here in the Philippines.

very interesting forum ! as a novice what is an ACR < I_card ?

Alien Certification Registration Identity card.

Hi,
I am an Indian national. I plan to visit Manila after a couple of months for 10 days and want to open both USD and PESO bank account. When I had come in 2015 I was told that without an ACR  , I cannot open a bank account. I believe that now there is a possibility to open an account without an ACR.

I need more information before I come there. I would appreciate if some could guide me thru this forum or message me your Whats app or Viber contact so that we can discuss in detail. I am also interested in buying a small holiday home in Manila.

Thanks

unfortunately no, you still need ACR, or AEP to open an account. and why would you want to open a dollar account in the philippines if you can open it in your country?

Some banks may allow an account without the ACR card. There are another ways such as:
      Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)
      Special Investor Resident Visa (SIRV)
      or PRA Special Resident Visa (SRRV)

If the above does not work for you try to choose a multi-national bank such as HSBC, Citibank or Deutsch Bank AG to open an account where you live prior to your visit to the PI.

Dollar accounts have value where a person may want to "hedge" against any potential hyperinflation of their local currency while others may have a real need to avoid the banks taking off the top of a US account when money is transferred or the person has retirement payments in dollars.

amanda.O :

unfortunately no, you still need ACR, or AEP to open an account. and why would you want to open a dollar account in the philippines if you can open it in your country?

I need a dollar account as I was told that for internet banking you cannot transfer out of Phil for PESO account but I can do so from the USD account. Hence I can use the USD account for any kind of international transfers and local account for my expense account in the Phil.

I plan to come on visit only for 10 days. How many days will be required to do an ACR.  I was even told that if a high profile local refers me to the bank then I don't need and ACR. I am well known in the Philippine film industry , I could request any one of them to refer me, if there in a possibility.

Thanks

Calif-Native :

Some banks may allow an account without the ACR card. There are another ways such as:
      Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)
      Special Investor Resident Visa (SIRV)
      or PRA Special Resident Visa (SRRV)

If the above do not work for you try to choose a multi-national bank such as HSBC, Citibank or Deutsch Bank AG to open an account where you live prior to your visit to the PI.

Dollar accounts have value where a person may want to "hedge" against any potential hyperinflation of their local currency while others may have a real need to avoid the banks taking off the top of a US account when money is transferred or the person has retirement payments in dollars.

Thanks Bro, I will check with these banks in India

You are very welcome.....

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Banks here in the Philippines required local identification cards for foreign nationals who want to open account.

@Libra1984,

What do you mean by "local identification cards"?  What "local ID cards" are available to a foreign tourist just arriving with less than 30 days, under 59 days and under 90 days other than a mandated ACRI card?  Please clarify.

For sure, BDO & BPI only require tourist visa holders to present Passport with current visa, and ACRI card to open either a Peso or Dollar account.  If the original amount is $10K or more, some additional initial reporting is required based on foreigner's country.

local id like ACR I-Card, AEP Card, Tin Card, Philippines IDs

Try Security Bank (I have colleagues who have an account there but no ACR card). Personally I had one in Maybank when I had no ACR card.

Regarding Valid ID's. - There is a clear distinction between Filipino citizens vs. foreign citizen acceptable ID's in 2018.  Since this forum is for expats we need to always watch the info exchange provided as facts here.  If an expat is coming here for the first time or has not stayed past 30 days in the past visits, they need to review below.

Facts:
1.  An ACRI card is not issued within the first 59 days here to any expat.

2.  Since 2008, The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) has only required banks  to require one Primary ID but few stop at just one ID for the expat.

3.  Some banks require that foreigners must be in the Philippines for at least 180 days, (with ACRI card) to open an account.

4.  AEP- The likelihood of an expat (mostly retired) processing this and paying P8K to get a work permit just to open a bank account seems very unlikely.

5.  A TIN is a "Secondary" document and can't be used alone as ID for a foreigner.  Most major banks here are in violation of Philippine law if they do so.  Example - See BDO list here:  https://www.bdo.com.ph/anywhere/content … d-valid-id

6.  The ACRI card now serves as the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), Re-entry Permit (RP) and Special Return Certificate (SRC).  An expat that processes a reportable bank transaction without a valid ACRI card is putting his/her visa status at risk. 

7.  For a US expat to be here past 59 days without applying for an ACRI card is risky since "All foreign nationals holding immigrant and non-immigrant visas (including holders of a Temporary Visitor’s Visa) – who have been in the country for more than 59 days – are required to apply for an ACR I-Card."

8.  US expats are required to now file a FBAR with no further deferrals past April 15, 2018 if,

"the United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported."

Source: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-bu … ounts-fbar

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