THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) is set to launch a mobile text messaging scheme for the "convenience" of the foreigners applying for an alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card).

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced Friday that starting March 1, applicants for the ACR I-Card will now receive the status of their application through text messages.

ACR I-card is required for foreigners who have been issued immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

The said card replaced the paper-based ACR that foreigners used to obtain. The old ACR were cancelled when the Immigration launched the I-Card project in 2004.

“This scheme is being implemented without any cost on the part of I-Card applicants. It will also relieve them of the inconvenience of having to go to our office to follow up their I-Card application," the BI chief in a statement said.

Morente said that once an I-Card application is recorded for release, an electronic text message will automatically be sent to the applicant asking him to claim his card at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Under the alien registration act, all foreign nationals registered with the BI must obtain their ACR as proof that they are legally staying in the country.

Aside from proving an alien’s legal status, the I-Card, which was launched in line with the agency's continuing efforts to cut red tape in the BI also serves as the holder’s re-entry and exit permit whenever they enter or leave the country. (SunStar Philippines)