Expats And The Philippine National ID

Expats And The Philippine National ID


The "Census" for National ID came to our house today. They are scheduling biometrics capture for December. 
They confirmed that ACR card holders are not included. They do not even need to speak to resident aliens at this time.
This may change in the future, I do not know. Or maybe it is being done different elsewhere.
end update

UPDATE January 2021

They canceled biometrics capturing until further notice. Looks like this may not be happening.
end update

The Philippine National ID, also known as the PhilSys ID, is coming.

PhilSys ID mass enrollment of all Filipino citizens and resident aliens is projected to run from mid-2020 to mid-2022.

This will be Philippines' fourth attempt at establishing a national ID.

What does this mean for foreigners who are living in the Philippines?

Foreigners can use their ACR-I card to get a Philsys ID, but why would they?

Section 3 of the IRR of the PhilSys ID Law states that the PhilSys ID will be required:

a. to establish a single identification system for all citizens and resident aliens.
This is my assumption at this point, but the statement above also appears to indicate that the PhilSys ID will totally replace the ACR-I card. This may not be the case due to the following statement from the Philippine Statistics Authority:
The PhilID, however, does not and will not replace existing government identification cards that serve a purpose beyond identity authentication, such as the driving license (for driving), passport (for travel), and UMID (for social security transactions), etc. 
Although the ACR-I card is not explicitly named, it seems that it will be one of those exceptions. And if this is the case, then it really looks like paying twice for the same thing from an expat's point of view. 

The full story remains to be seen and there may be other as yet unknown uses for the card that make it seem less redundant.

As for what this new ID will cost, Section 6.c.(3) Fees states that aliens will have to pay a fee for the card, but the fee is not yet determined.

Where To Get The PhilSys ID

The Philippine Statistics Authority is in charge of the PhilSys ID project, and lists the following locations for individuals to apply for the new ID:
  • PSA Regional and Provincial Offices
  • Local Civil Registry Offices (LCROs) 
  • Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) 
  • Social Security System (SSS) 
  • Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) 
  • Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) 
  • Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 
  • Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) 
  • Other government agencies and GOCCS as may be assigned by PSA


The information that expats will have to give for the PhilSys ID is much the same as what has been required by Immigration for the ACR-I card and you also provided this to NBI if you had to get an NBI clearance. 

The old ACR cards showed the blood type right on the card. Blood type is no longer shown on the card, but the question is still on the application. One requirement that I do not recall for the ACR card, but which is required for the PhilSys ID is the inclusion of a retinal scan.

Project Owner: Philippine Central Bank

Why is the Philippine Central Bank spearheading the National ID program and producing the cards:
“As payment is considered the first and most used financial service, its availability, accessibility, affordability, and security are crucial in building an inclusive financial system,” says Diokno. “Regular and continuing use of digital payments, especially by the unbanked, can unlock access to other forms of financial services.”
Someday everyone may need such a card to buy, sell, travel and to do many other things in the Philippines or anywhere else on earth.

This comes as the United States is nearing the deadline for full implementation of its Real ID system. The United States is also prepping for an unprecedented vaccine tracking system. Many other nations (likely all eventually) are planning health IDs to track COVID19 status.

The Bottom Line

What the Philsys ID actually means for expats, what it will cost and many other details about the program remain to be seen. Hopefully it will be a good thing for expats and others. Will it be?

It makes sense that all of these identity, banking and vaccination tasks will eventually be rolled into a single globally standardized and accepted platform to provide "secure" buying, selling, banking, travel and every other purpose that an identity document could possibly be used for wherever you may find yourself on the planet.

The ultimate goal is to create an ID platform that is tied to every piece of data relevant to who a person is. This platform will be highly resistant to forgery and fraud. This platform will not be something that you can lose or that can be stolen. The coming global identification platform will be a part of us.

At any rate, this is definitely coming so mark it down on your calendars.