I'm a U.S. Citizen and I have been overstaying in the Philippines for 5 years. I want to go back to U.S what's the penalty?
I don't have enough money to pay a big fine, is there a way to avoid that?
As noted in one of the comments, your fine could be as much as 300,000 Philippine pesos, which is about $6300 at the moment. Being unable to pay, particularly given your very lengthy overstay, will probably result in a significant prison term, and/or stay in an immigration detention center, neither of which are a place you want to be.
Bottom line, you need to get together enough money to pay the fine, or you'll you'll get a taste of hell on earth. If you don't have people you can beg or borrow enough from, you should consult with the US embassy about the repatriation loan program* and other assistance they can offer, which can include a waiver or reduction in immigration overstay fees.
*The link is to a different embassy's site, but it's a State Department program, not an embassy specific thing.
As authorized by section 4 of the State Department Basic Authorities Act, the Department of State‘s Repatriation Loans program provides emergency loans to assist destitute Americans abroad who have no other source of funds to return to the United States. They include Americans temporarily abroad who are without funds because of unforeseen events such as theft, illness, or accident; individuals suffering from serious physical or mental illness who need to return to the United States for medical care; Americans residing abroad with an alien spouse needing assistance to escape an abusive situation; and individuals caught in a disaster or emergency abroad who need to be removed from harm‘s way. Approval of a repatriation loan is not based on an applicant‘s credit worthiness but rather destitution. State repatriation loans are provided for temporary subsistence and transportation to a U.S. port of entry.
There's an online site liveinthephilippines that covers this:
If you have overstayed, and go to the airport to leave, they will catch you, there is no way around it. What happens if you don’t have the money to pay the fines that are due? Well, if you can’t pay they still won’t let you leave, but they also will not release you. No, they have a place for you to stay! In jail. Most people who are jailed for immigration matters are sent to the Bicutan Prison in Taguig. You will stay there until you pay the fines.
It does depend a lot on your type of visa, and whether you go and pay the fees / fines in advance, instead of upon being caught, from the sounds of it. You will also likely be blacklisted if it's been longer than 12 months.
I'd have a read of that article - but the short version is - you're paying the fees, or potentially serving some jail time until you do. Maybe consult a lawyer for more advice too, and the US Embassy. Good luck!
Actually, you can ask the US Embassy for help. The consul will write a letter to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration. They will let you out, the consequence would then be going back. Because they will put you in the Blacklist and you won't be allowed to enter the Philippines unless you pay the fine. This happened to me so I know. If there is no need for you to be back in PH then you can just directly do that. I actually went back to the Philippines a few months ago. I paid the fine of almost half a million pesos - $7,700 dollars.