Thanks for all the info here... as payback I will contribute what I have learned. I like the EASY WAY of using a travel agent and may try that next.
In an attempt of a complete guide I will use Don’s information and update it for 2012 and my experience.
1. Arrived Philippines 19 April 2012 at the Cebu City Airport (CEB) and had the 21 day visa stamped in my passport before I asked questions. The better plan is to go to the Immigration Supervisor before getting the 21 day visa stamp and pay for the other 38 days for a 59 day visa. The 21 day visa is free and paying for the other 38 at the airport would have saved me about 3 hours and 2 taxi rides to go to Immigration and process for the visa there. They also told me at the airport that the extension would cost under 2400 pesos (there may have been additional costs, I don’t know because I did not get an extension there). At Immigration I paid a total of 3030 for the first 38 day extension. I found the BOI office I used with the address that the folks at the airport provided.
2. Make sure you wear long pants, NO SHORTS, when you go to the Immigration office. Do not wear sandals or slippers of any kind. Tennis shoes or running shoes are ok. There is a sign posted at the office I went to and you are not allowed in without appropriate dress. I wore jeans, shirt with sleeves & covered shoes… no problems.
3. They did not require any copies of my passport. If they wanted any they made them when processing. Total time in the office was under 2 hours. Be careful about lunch time though. People that showed after 11:30 were told to come back at 1:00pm as they could not complete the visa before the clerks lunch period.
4. NO requirement for passport size photos either until 4th extension (get 3 - 2 x 2 inch photos for 72 pesos at a photo shop - $1.72).
5. Be prepared to wait for a while, depending on what city you are in, and be prepared to pay an "Express Lane Fee” of 500 pesos & “Express Lane Fee (CERTIFICATION)” of another 500. I included those fees in the cost below and I don't think you can avoid it so don't even try.
The cost for my first extension of 38 days (total 59 authorized): 3030 peso ($73 @ $1=42 peso currently) – total of 6 different fees
From the fee schedule posted at the office:
2d extension (first 2 month) = 7490 ($179)
3d extension (2 months) = 4050 ($97)
4th extension (2 months when staying over 6 months) = 4240 ($101) Need 3 – 2x2 inch photos for ECC (Emigration Clearance Certificate)
ALL extension after the 4th are for 2 months at a time & cost is 2830 ($68)
I am sure this will not be a problem for any of you but....be very polite no matter what...if you do not agree with in BOI office keep it to yourself. That is the last place that you will want problems.
The BOI office that I went to in Cebu City was crowded but orderly and pretty efficient. They stamped the extension in my passport and gave me a receipt and a certificate showing a clear background check for “Bureau’s Hold Departure, Blacklist, Watch list and/or Intelligence Derogatory Records”.
Good Luck and KEEP SMILIN'
GregOry & Taring
TIMELINE FOR K-1 VISA
19 APR 12 - Arrived in Philippines to STAY until the VISA is ready.
5 MAY 12 – MAILED PETITION FROM PHILIPPINES TO DALLAS, TEXAS
11 MAY – EMAIL NOTIFICATION “… received and routed to the Vermont Service Center for processing.”
1 NOV 12 - APPROVED - Post Decision Activity (email notification DID NOT happen - found out by checking status at USCIS site)
14 NOV - Called NVC: # assigned and sent to Manila embassy 13 Nov.
19 NOV - Physical - Sputum collection ordered & completed by 23 Nov :-( :-( Interview canceled!
28 NOV - Negative initial result on sputum :-) Waiting 2 months for culture result. NEG please
7 DEC - Positive Culture. Called to St. Lukes; appointment Tues 11 DEC :-( Ohhh well
11 DEC - Moved to Manila for TB treatment.
15 MAR 13 - The Clinic Does Not Inform the Patients Well. Ask Questions if You have Them.
10 JUN - Finished treatment and waiting for 1 month for final culture negative.
11 JUL 13 - Back to SLEC for re-Physical (pay fee again). Final culture result of 10 JUL requires entry to USA within 90 days.
22 JUL - Back to SLEC for vaccinations.
29 JUL - INTERVIEW - VISA SUPPOSEDLY APPROVED
20 AUG - Still WAITING. Status said "Administrative Processing" then "Ready" (for interview) then "Administrative Processing" then "Ready" again and the "Case Creation Date" changed to 16 August 2013 from November 2012? "Check in two business days."
23 AUG - Updated to "Administrative Processing" again :-(
26 AUG - ISSUED - YEAH! ! !