Monday, July 6th, 2015

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How Can I Live in the Philippines Legally? All Philippines Visa Types Listed with Description and Explanation



Many people I know, including myself, come to the Philippine Islands on a vacation, a temporary escape from our lives in our home country…and we love it so much that we want to stay for a while, for a few months, a few years, or even permanently. If you find yourself in this way of thought, or if you have met a girl here that you want to be with, you will be starting to ask yourself questions about what needs to be done in order to stay legally, the key word being legally, in the Philippines for a long time.

Since I have been through this already, gathered the information on types of visas, rules, duration, and costs, I will share this information with you now to save you some trouble.

There are two basic categories of visas, Immigrant Visas and Non-Immigrant Visas.
Immigrant Visas are visas that allow a foreigner to stay in the Philippines as a resident. Non-Immigrant Visas are temporary visas that expire.

If you have come to the Philippines for the first time, most likely you just brought your passport and got a 21-day stamp from Immigration at the airport. Or possibly, you prepared a little bit beforehand, and got a 59-day visa at the Philippines Consulate in your home country before you left to come here. Either way, these are both considered Tourist Visas and are under the Non-Immigrant Visa category.

If you want to stay for up to 16 months on a Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa, that is possible, and many people do that by going to the Bureau of Immigration Office every 2 months and getting a Visa extension. See my article,”Tourist Visa Extensions in the Philippines, Duration and Cost“. After 16 months, you must leave the Philippines. However you can come right back and start the whole Tourist Visa Extension process all over again for another 16 months if you wish. But this is not the most cost effective way to stay in the Philippines, and can get pretty expensive. However, if you are not married to a Filipina or Filipino, this is the most common way that foreigners stay in the Philippines for a long time.

For foreigners not married to a Filipina or Filipino, there are a couple of other (still expensive) options for staying long-term or permanently in the Philippines. There is something called a Special Retiree’s Resident Visa, or SRRV for short. This Visa allows you to become a permanent resident of the Philippines without having to get married to a Filipina or Filipino. This would appeal to most people who want to stay single and free, and to other foreigners who are already married to someone in their home country. The major setback of the Special Retiree’s Resident Visa, or SRRV, is the financial requirements. I have taken the below qualifications for the SRRV off the BI website:

  • With Pension – 50 years old and above – the required time deposit is US$10,000.00 plus a monthly pension of US$800.00 for a single applicant and US$1,000 for couple.
  • Without Pension
    1 – 35 to 49 years old – US$50,000.00 time deposit
    2 – 50 years old and above – US$20,000.00 time deposit
So basically, if you are 50 or older, have a monthly pension of at least $800 US, and you can spare $10,000 US as a deposit to a Philippines bank (you cannot withdraw it), it might be a good deal for you, but if you don’t have a pension, you will need $20,000 US, and if you are under 50 (and at least 35) and you don’t have a pension, you are going to need $50,000 US so it can get very expensive indeed.

Other options for a person not married to a Filipina or Filipino, would be a Working Visa, Student Visa, or the new Special Visa for Employment Generation, or SVEG. All three of these types of visas are Non-Immigrant and temporary, however, they can be attained for longer periods of time and renewed without having to ever leave the country, and unlike the Tourist Visa, there aren’t any fees, or any need to get a visa extension every two months.Working Visas and Student Visas are self-explanatory. For a Working Visa, Sec. 9G, for pre-arranged employment, most of the time, the company that hired you will get, and pay for the Working Visa (if you have a special skill that they need). But if it’s up to you to get the Working Visa, you will need a notarized promise of employment, an Alien Employment Permit (or AEP), your employment contract, a few other tax-related paperworks, about P20,000, and a lot of patience. Keep in mind, if you quit or get fired, not only does your job end, but your Working Visa becomes void, and you will have to pay about P8,000 to get it converted to a Tourist Visa.For a Student Visa, Sec, 9F, you need and official Notice of Acceptance (NOA) from a University or College, have multiple medical examinations, FBI clearance, some other notarized documents, about P10,000 to P15,000, and again, plenty of patience. Of course, if you fail or drop out of school, your Student Visa becomes void and you will have to pay about P8,000 to get it converted to a Tourist Visa.

And finally, the new Special Visa for Employment Generation, or SVEG. What is the SVEG? Well its a new visa created under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration which gives a foreigner who employs at least 10 Filipino employees the right to stay in the Philippines for as long as he/she keep up with the regulations for the visa. Again, as with the Working and Student Visas, it is a very precarious situation because if your employees drop below ten, or if you violate one of the many details of the SVEG, you can find yourself with a voided visa. Besides that, it is very expensive to maintain the SVEG.

If you are a special person with a special situation, there may be a special visa for you, but mostly, for a foreigner not married to a Filipino citizen, the above are your only options.

Now, for a foreigner who is married to a Filipino citizen, you are eligible for two of the most convenient visas available: the Balikbayan Privilege (not actually a true visa) and the 13(A) Resident Visa.The Balikbayan Privilege is like the 21-day Tourist Visa stamp that you get at the airport… in the respect that it is also stamped at the airport upon entering the country (it’s not a visa in which you apply for at the BI office) and it’s free. The difference is, that instead of giving you only 21 days in the Philippines, it gives you one year. You never have to pay anything, and you never have to visit the BI office. The requirement for the Balikbayan Privilege is that you must be the spouse or the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a Philippines citizen, you must show satisfactory proof of your relationship to the Philippines citizen, and the Philippines citizen MUST be traveling with you. So even if you are married to a Filipino, if your spouse is not physically with you when you enter the country, you cannot get the Balikbayan Privilege. If your spouse is physically with you but you don’t have your marriage certificate, you cannot get the Balikbayan Privilege. This stamp is, in my opinion, the most convenient and most affordable (it’s free) way to stay in the Philippines for a foreigner married to a Filipino, but it is still only good for one year, it’s not a permanent resident visa.

The 13(A) Resident Visa is an Immigrant Visa available to a foreigner who is married to a Philippines citizen. If you are planning to move to the Philippines permanently, this would be the visa that you should get. It’s permanent, you never have to leave the country, you never have to renew it or extend it. And no, you will not lose your citizenship in your home country. You will need to bring to the BI office an authenticated copy your spouse’s birth certificate from the National Statistic’s Office (NSO), a NSO authenticated copy of your marriage certificate, a notarized letter from your spouse petitioning the BI to allow you to receive the 13(A) Resident Visa, a copy of your passport, and again, patience. The cost can run from P10,000 to P15,000 or more depending on how easy or difficult it is to get all your documents. After you submit all your documents, the processing time might be one to two months or longer. If you are approved, you will get a Probationary 13(A) Resident Visa which is good for one year. After one year, if you don’t get into any trouble, you can convert it to a Permanent 13(A) Resident Visa by going back to the BI office and paying about another P10,000 in fees and handing in the required documents (pretty much the same documents as you submitted the first time).

These are the different types of Philippines visas you can get if you wish to visit the Philippines for short-term, or long-term, or move here permanently.

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123 Responses to “How Can I Live in the Philippines Legally? All Philippines Visa Types Listed with Description and Explanation”
  1. jan says:

    A little extra information:
    After a Balikbayan status (it is not a visa) expires one can go to the Immigration and have it changed into a tourist visa. First for two months and after that another two and so on.
    Usually a tourist visa ends after 16 months, but there are possibilities to have this extended as well. The head of the Immigration office has to approve extra extensions.
    I have to go there soon to do that, and I know it is possible. One of the officers at immigration told me so.
    I'll keep you informed.

  2. Cody says:

    Ok Jan, thanks for your input and sure would be interested to know how it goes with your experience extending your tourist visa past 16 months, the costs, requirements, etc. I was also told that it's possible to extend a tourist visa past 16 months but you have to apply directly to the Manila office with a request for a special situation. And you still have to pay.

    And regarding converting a Balikbayan visa to a Tourist visa, it doesn't make sense to me. If you are married to a Filipino citizen, why would you choose to convert to a Tourist visa (which has to be extended every 2 months and gets to be very expensive), when you can get a Permanent 13a resident visa…or you can take a cheap flight to a neighboring country once a year, get stamped as a Balikbayan, and never pay a centavo?

  3. jan says:

    You are right. Why not ask for the 13a visa when married to a Filipina.
    A tourist visa is costly every two months and you have to go to an immigration office to have it done.
    There could be reasons just to stay on a tourist visa. For example: if you do not have all the necessary papers. Just like my case. But I am working on it and hope to have them all very soon.
    In a few weeks my tourist visa will expire again. I am here now in my 16th month as a tourist and have to go for the special extension or (if my papares are ok) for the 13a visa.
    I’ll keep you informed.

  4. Cody says:

    Ok, be careful Jan. Don’t let your visa run out. I think even if you are applying for a 13a, you still have to have a valid visa until you actually get the 13a.

    So you may have to do both, apply for the extension past 16 months AND apply for the 13a.
    Or you might want to take a short trip out of the country. Might be easier.
    Thanks for your comment.

  5. Randall says:

    Interesting. Never really read all the requirements before. Never stayed over 16 days. What are the costs for renewing a tourist visa?


  6. iruya says:


    What about two foreigners hold 9F visa student, then the wife gave birth to a child. What will be the citizenship of the baby? And what’s the requirement for the baby to stay in the Philippines?

    Thank u…

    • Cody says:

      I don’t know Iruya, contact Bureau of Immigration at the email address on their website and ask them, they are pretty efficient at answering questions from the public in my experience. And then post back here and let us know.

    • jamesmum says:

      The baby’s citizenship will be based on his/her parents’ citizenship. The Philippines follows the jus sanguines (by blood) rule. One can only be a Philippine citizen if one parent is a Filipino at the time of birth, or through naturalization.

      Your baby will need a visa to stay in the Philippines. You have to provide the immigration department with copies of your 9F visas, passports, the baby’s birth certificate, aside from the usual requirements.


    • twohl says:

      The citizenship of the baby will be the same as the two foreigners, the Philippines, unlike the United States, does not grant citizenship to babies that are born on their soil, so you will have to get a visa for the child to stay in the country. You will need to go to your embassy and register the child with your embassy so that the child will be able to return with you to your home country.

    • Lukey says:

      You have to decide on the nationality yourself, can be Filipino or do as I did, my daughter is Australian by decent so she has the Australian passport and citizenship certificate from birth, but now they can have duel citizenship so look at that option aswell

  7. John Jackson says:

    The requirement for the Balikbayan Visa is that you must be the spouse or the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a Philippines citizen, you must show satisfactory proof of your relationship to the Philippines citizen, and the Philippines citizen MUST be traveling with you. So even if you are married to a Filipino, if your spouse is not physically with you when you enter the country, you cannot get the Balikbayan Visa. If your spouse is physically with you but you don’t have your marriage certificate, you cannot get the Balikbayan Visa.
    I think there are a couple of flaws in that paragraph. It is a ‘former’ Philippines citizen, not a Philippine citizen for the Balikbayan status. Also just because you don’t have your marriage certificate with you doesn’t mean you won’t get the visa stamped in your passport. It is better to have it in case they ask for it. I’ve gotten this visa 6 times now and even including the 1st time, I have yet to be asked for a marriage certificate. But they could ask at any time, so I do carry it with me when traveling.

    • Cody says:

      Yes I think you would be asking for trouble and taking a big risk if you don’t have your marriage certificate with you to prove your marriage.

      Yes, the Philippines citizen should be currently a citizen of the Philippines or a former Philippines citizen I believe.

    • twohl says:

      With the balikbayan visa, the spouse can be a Philippines citizen but must have been out of the country for more than one year from the last departure date in their passport. If the citizen has been out of the country for more than one year, they are considered balikbayan or returning citizen.

      • Cody says:

        twohl – Are you sure they must be out of the country for more than a year? I am not so sure about that. Can you post a quote and name your source for that info?

  8. BY says:


    I hope you can help me here. I’m looking to apply for the 13a and was wondering what exactly is a NSO authenticated copy of your marriage certificate? My wife and I married in the U.S. and have a U.S. marriage certificate… So do I have to bring my U.S. Marriage Certificate to NSO and they will Authenticate it or something like that? Hope you can help…

    • Cody says:

      I think NSO authenticated documents apply only to Philippines documents, not U.S. documents. If it’s a U.S. marriage certificate, it should be authenticated in the U.S. at the Philippines embassy nearest to the place where you got married.

      If you are already in the Philippines…well I am not too sure…maybe someone else can help with this…
      If I had to guess tho, I would say that you would first have to REGISTER your marriage here in the Philippines,as they have no record of it, if it was done in the U.S. Then, once it’s been registered, you would need to apply for the NSO authenticated Philippines marriage certificate. Then you could go ahead and use that for your 13a. That’s just a guess.

      But if you are currently in the U.S., it might be very easy if you just go to the nearest Philippines consulate, then they could grant you a 13a with only your U.S. marriage certificate. And there is no one-year probationary period if you get the 13a visa in the U.S.

    • jamesmum says:

      If your marriage took place in the US, you need to register at the nearest Philippine consular office that has jurisdiction over the state where the marriage took place. The Consulate will then transmit the report of marriage to the National Statistics Office in the Philippines through the Department of Foreign Affairs. After about 3 to 4 months, you can get a copy of this report of marriage printed on security paper from the NSO (this is what is referred to as the NSO-authenticated marriage certificate). This will be the marriage certificate you will be using for any transaction that requires you to submit this document. Please note that your American marriage certificate will not appear in the NSO marriage certificate.


  9. Jen says:


    I have still to contact other agencies/offices and the Bureau of immigration here in the Philippines for more details but for now since i saw this website i hope you give me some insights. Thank you.

    I have a Belgian friend who wants to migrate or live in the Philippines for good together with his two little daughters. What is the best way for him to do? By the way i dont know if he falls under any category but he is 30 years old and has work in his home town Belgium.

    Kinldy please i need answers so bad thank you in advance and hoping for your kind response. Thank you for taking time to read my message.

    More Power.

  10. mike says:

    About the time deposit for SRRV requirements, when can you actually withdraw it or what condition? Can you withdraw it after a period of time? Or until you cancel your residence permit?

    • Cody says:

      Hi Mike,
      You cannot withdraw the time deposit unless you will use it for purchasing or leasing real estate in the Philippines or possibly some other business investment within the Philippines, and there would be additional fees for using it for those purposes. If you will cancel your SRRV, I believe you can withdraw the money. Please see the below two websites for more info:

  11. Jannah says:

    I was recently married to a foreigner,but he is not permanently stayin here n philippines,if he wish to study,does he still need student visa?

    • Cody says:

      Hi Jannah,
      Your marriage by itself does not give any kind of visa or residency rights to your husband, it all depends on what kind of visa he has in his passport.

  12. Chris says:


    me and my filippina girlfriend have been living here in the uk for the past 2 years. My girlfriend has recentley had to go back to the Philippines, and i would very much like to follow her out there for a year or maybee more.

    We are not married yet as she is still waiting for an anulnment from her last marrige, but i would like to marry her when its all gone through.

    I was just wondering what would be the best way for me to get out there and be with her, and at the same time being able to legaly work in the Philippines.

    I have done a little research online but can not find the straight answer that i am looking for. I am wondering, Would it be possible for me to go to the Philippines on a Tourist Visa, and find a job say in a telecom company, and then update my Tourist Visa to a Working Visa without having to leave the Philippines?

    If anyone could give me some advise it would be most appreciated.

    • Cody says:

      Hi Chris,
      “Would it be possible for me to go to the Philippines on a Tourist Visa, and find a job say in a telecom company, and then update my Tourist Visa to a Working Visa without having to leave the Philippines?

      What comes to mind is a magic eight ball answer: “It’s possible but not likely.”

      Do you have a special technical background that would make you valuable to a Philippines company, a skill that cannot be found in any Filipino employee? If not, chances are it’s going to be difficult to get a job. And the salaries in the Philippines are much lower than in the UK, you might not feel the work you are doing is worth the pay you are getting.

      But updating a tourist visa to a working visa is possible without having to leave the Philippines, however, it costs money, and getting all the paperwork and permissions for the working visa could be so frustrating that you might want to give up. If you do succeed (you will spend the equivalent of about 1 to 2 months salary just to get the working visa), and then if you quit or get fired from your job, you will have to pay more money to convert back to a tourist visa because you cannot use that working visa for another job, you will have to find another job and apply for the working visa all over again and pay again all the fees.

      If you are really serious about trying to work in the Philippines, it would be better to get married to your girlfriend first, and apply for a 13(a) residency visa. That visa would allow you to work.

      • Chris says:

        Thank you so much for your reply Cody.

        As you know i cant marry yet because she is still waiting for an anulnment. I do have 2 years experience in a small ICT company developing websites using html coding, and am experienced with customer support.

        My girlfriend said that she spoke to global telecom in the philipppines and that they said that they would need to interview me in person, meaning that i would need to go there to sort it all out.

        Im just worried to give up my job and flat and commitments here in the uk.

        Is it really that hard to secure a job out there? I dont care about the wage, as long as we are together, it doesnt cost alot to live there, especially as i will be living with her and wont have to worry about rent.

        what do you think that i should do.
        Should i just go out there on a tourist visa and enquire?

        • Cody says:

          Hi Chris, try it out on a tourist visa and go for the interview but it may be wise not to burn any bridges in the UK. Remember tourist visas can be extended if you want to stay longer than you originally planned. If you are offered the job, keep in mind the requirements you will need to get a working visa (as currently listed on the BI website):

          Checklist of Requirements for Conversion to Pre-Arranged Employee – Commercial

          Duly notarized letter request from the petitioner/applicant, with a statement that all documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies;

          General Application Form duly accomplished and notarized (BI Form No. MCL-07-01);

          Original copy of employment contract, or Secretary’s Certificate of election, Appointment or assignment of applicant, or equivalent document, with details of exact compensation and duration of employment;

          Certified true copy of SEC Certificate of Registration and General Information Sheet, in case of corporation or partnership, or certified true copy of DTI Certificate of Registration of Business Name in case of single proprietorship;

          Certified true copy of the latest Income Tax Return or Audited Financial statements stamped “RECEIVED” by the BIR, if available;

          Certified true copy of the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by DOLE;

          and original newspaper clipping showing publication of the application for AEP;

          Photocopy of applicant’s passport showing its bio-page, admission and authorized stay of at least 20 days from the date of filing;

          and Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate.

        • twohl says:

          The only job you might have a chance at getting is applying to a call center in manila or cebu or baguio city. I have a filipino friend who is living here in the U.S. at the moment, but he said that he worked at a call center for a couple of years and that they have hired foreigners to work in their call center especially if you’re american, canadian or british. Take a tourist visa and find the call centers and apply. If one does hire you, ask them if they will help you process a work visa. Otherwise you can pretty much forget about getting a job legally there.

    • Aiza Hyry says:

      Chris, just keep a low profile if you plan to live in the Philippines with a woman who is still technically married to another man. You can be arrested and end up doing hard time in jail for adultery if the woman’s husband wants to make trouble for you.

      You may think the marriage is safely over now that the annulment is filed, but it is not unheard of for a jealous soon-to-be-husband to make trouble just for the hell of it, or perhaps to extort money from you:

  13. Chris says:

    Is there no partner visa that i could get there meanwhile, like you can get here in the UK.

  14. BE says:

    Hi Guys,
    I been in the Phil. many times, as i spend my last 40 years working in different countries in Asia.
    As I am retiring and my wife is a filipina, we intend to leave every year a few months in the Philippines and I want to avoid getting through all the hassle of extending the tourist Visaor any other Visa, or becoming a Resident. We already have an apartment in Manila where we usually stay for a few days every year for seveal times a year. We want to sell the property and buy a condo in Cebu and spend a bit more time in the Philippines.

    Getting a 1 year Balikbayan privilege stamp in the passport when entering together and showing the immigrration our marriage certificate should not be a problem..How about if we leave the Phil. after a few weeks/months 3 or 4 times a year.When we go back together after each trip overseas, is the 1 year Balikbayan still valid or do we need to re-apply each time we enter or only once every year just before it expires??..Is it possible to get the Balikbayan Privilege at a foreign [Phil.] consulate before entering??,,as in Hongkong they told me this is not possible. (currently live in H.k.)

    • twohl says:

      If you get the balikbayan stamp it is valid for one year and you may leave the country anytime before the one year expiration date. But you can only receive the balikbayan stamp only once a year, meaning you have to wait one year after the last departure date that is shown in your passport.

      Now I am reading on the Philippine consulate of Los Angeles website that states, The Commisioner of Immigration Andrea Damingo informed the Dept of Foreign Affairs Dated June 4th 2001 that all Immigration Officers that are authorized ports of Entry shall grant the balikbayan privileges to all balikbayan every time they enter the country for a visit no matter how many times they have entered during the year. That being said, whether they would grant you the balikbayan stamp would be up to them. I am just stating what it says on the Philippine Consulate of Los Angeles site.

  15. Chris says:

    Hello Guys

    If I go to the Philippines and get a tourist visa, do i have to show that i have a return flight ticket to go back home before they allow me the visa? And do i have to show a certain amount of money in my account? I have heard different storys and dont know what to believe.

    • Cody says:

      Hi Chris,
      You probably have heard different stories because the experiences are different for different people. Sometimes they check and sometimes they don’t. So to be safe you should have a return flight and some proof of funds in your bank account with you when you travel.
      In my personal experience, the chances are greater that you will be asked for a return or outbound ticket than a proof of funds and actually some airlines won’t allow you to depart your own country if you don’t have a return or outbound ticket leaving the Philippines before the expiration of the 21 days visa stamp which they will give you at the airport when you arrive in the Philippines… (Or within 59 days if you have secured a 59 days visa at the Philippines Consulate in your home country before leaving…which would be a good thing to do!) .
      To get even more specific, technically the rule is that you must have an outbound ticket, any ticket leaving the Philippines (to any country) departing before the expiration of your 21 days visa stamp (or 59 days if you got the visa before you left)…however, I have heard and read stories where certain officials, either in immigration or working for the airlines, have rejected outbound tickets to neighbor countries and required a return ticket to your home country. This is rare but I have heard of this happening and I do wonder about the legality of it and what rules it’s based upon. If anybody reads this and has had a similar experience where they have been required to show not just an outbound ticket, but an actual return ticket to their home country, I would be grateful for your post and to hear your story or any info you have regarding this.

  16. Ekonomizta says:


    I would like to add on the list about Philippine Visa, There is another kind of visa that a foreigner can apply, it is the 13Quota Visa. It is Permanent resident visa for those foreigner who wants to live, do business or practice their profession here in the Philip. 13Quota is given to those non-restricted citizen fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year. Even if you don’t have a Filipina wife, You can apply also your family as dependents to this application.

    Requirements are the following:

    1.1. ( ) Notarized letter-request stating that:
    a. he is possession of a valid passport (or equivalent document) and visa at the time he
    files his application;
    b. he does not belong to any class of excludible or deportable foreign nationals
    enumerated under Section 29 and 37 of the PIA;
    c. he is possessed of qualifications, skills, scientific, educational or technical
    knowledge which will advance and be beneficial to the national interest of the
    Philippines or he has sufficient capital for a viable sustainable investment in the
    d. all of the documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding
    government agencies.
    2. ( ) General Application Form duly accomplished and notarized (BI form No. MCL-07-01)
    3. ( ) Plain photocopy of the applicant’s passport showing admission stamp and authorized stay;
    4. ( ) Proof of applicant’s special qualifications like academic degrees, awards, certificates of
    recognition, and other documents attesting to applicant’s special qualifications, skills, or
    knowledge, or
    ( ) Proof of financial capacity or investment, including but not limited to:
    a. ( ) Bank certification of inward remittance amounting $50,000
    b. Condominium
    c. Duly certified documents showing ownership of or investment in the existing corporation or enterprise
    5.Bureau of Quarantine
    6. Bi Clearance
    7.NICA Clerance (you will get in Bureau of Immigration-Main)
    8. Police Clearance from your country of origin (have it authenticate in Philippine Embassy in your country) Need to be red ribbon(authenticate) here (DFA)
    9. NBI Clearance (can secure in any NBI Branch be sure to get up early)

    processing time after the interview is one month. Hope I can help with this info. Pls. see the Bureau of Immigration site. Glad they already update. Filing fee is not 2,500 but 11,500. Many applicants confused they updated last Feb. 24,2012.

  17. algen says:

    Good day!

    Is there a visa called “commercial visa?” It’s when someone makes a business in Philippines under a corporation. I want to go back and forth to philippines since I have a business here. What would be the best visa for me?

  18. Alessandro Lepri says:

    How long does it take to convert a Probationary 13(A) visa to a Permanent 13(A)?
    Thank you

    • Cody says:

      There is a one year probationary period.

      • Alessandro Lepri says:

        I know that there is a probationary period. I am in probationary period right now. My question is:

        How many time it will take to convert the 13(A) probationary visa to the 13(A) permanent visa?

        Thank you.


  19. amaw says:

    I am married to a filipina and already have my permanent visa but we are going to annul our marriage soon,my question is what will happen to my permanent visa after our annulment?will my permanent visa become invalid?
    I have business in philippines,am I still qualified to operate my business in philippine after the annulment?

    • steph says:

      the best would be to get married again after the anulment is done..

    • twohl says:

      If you annul your marriage to your wife you will forfeit your 13A since your 13A is based on being married to a filipina. And as for your business, you cannot legally run a business if you are no longer married and no longer a permanent resident. Also most likely your business is in your wife’s name since you cannot own a majority of a business in the Philippines so chances are your wife will take the business from you.

  20. steph says:

    hi, can i start and get a 13(A) Resident Visa from my own country by going to the philippines embasy?

  21. morfii says:

    im iranian,i already have student visa, and also i got filipino married,
    i wana request for TRV, i need to convert my visa to turist visa for my document and after convert i can to request for TRV.
    i wana know , how can i convert my visa from student to turist visa???

  22. Shaun Elijah says:


    I have a situation that is probably not that unusual but it never gets addressed. That is, I can’t find anyone who has ever addressed this anywhere on the web. I’m running out of places to look for an answer. I’m desperately hoping you can help me out.

    I met a Philippina about 3-4 years ago on a website. During this time we have sent 100’s of e-mails back and forth. And during this time I have also traveled to the Philippines twice to visit her. I even had an opportunity to meet her wonderful family, (she is one of 14 children!). I learned recently that she has had my child, (I had no idea she was even pregnant).

    We want to get married and have decided to live in the Philippines. From research I’ve done so far it’s obvious that what I should be trying for is a “13A Resident (permanent) Visa”. But, as I understand, I probably won’t be able to qualify for one because we are not married yet. So I’m thinking I may have to move to the Philippines on some other semi-long term (renewable?), tourist-type Visa, and then apply for the 13A once we are married???

    And, I if I go this route and get married, when I go to the Philippine Visa office do you think that I will be able to qualify for and receive the 13A then, (after proving to them that I am now married to a Philippina and we have a child)?? Does my plan sound right or can you suggest alternative, (better) routes from here?

    Or do you think there is any chance I may qualify for a 13A right now, when they learn I have a child already and want to marry her Philippine mother…maybe with some kind of stipulation that me must get married in 90 days or something??

    What would you do in my situation? Is there any person, organization or gov office you can think of that could give me 100% accurate information on my situation? If so please list contact information.

    If you help me out here maybe there will be something I can do for you later in the Philippines or? Thank you so much. My e-mail is ————–.

    Shaun Elijah

    • Cody says:

      What I can tell you is that the law is pretty clear. You have to be married first before you apply for the 13(a).
      After you are married, you will need to show your marriage certificate as proof.
      Your wife will also have to write a letter requesting that you be granted this visa.
      John Miele has a great article on his experience getting the 13(a) visa, I suggest you read it:

      So you can marry in your home country or you can marry in the Philippines (be aware that divorce is illegal in the Philippines).
      Once married, if you are in your home country, you can apply for the 13(a) at a Philippines Consulate there (usually easier and cheaper).
      Or you may arrive first in the Philippines, and stay for up to 16 months on Tourist visa by extending your visa every 2 months for a fee at the Bureau of immigration office nearest to where you are staying. Then you can marry and/or apply for the 13(a) in the Philippines. You will most likely be granted a probationary 13a, then after a year you will go back, and they will convert it to permanent 13a (I am assuming you are from a country that is not restricted).

      “What would you do in my situation? Is there any person, organization or gov office you can think of that could give me 100% accurate information on my situation?”

      I am pretty sure that is 100% accurate. Your situation is not that complicated really.
      But you cannot get a 13(a) resident visa by promising to get married, you have to already be married. If you are not sure you want to get married, but you want to stay in Philippines for a while, you can, as I mentioned above, enter on a Tourist visa and extend it every 2 months. After 16 months, you need to leave the country, but you can come back again, and start the extension process over again for another 16 months.

      “If you help me out here maybe there will be something I can do for you later in the Philippines? Thank you so much.”

      It’s my pleasure to help you out, no reciprocation is necessary. However, if you insist…I do accept donations to pay the fees to maintain this website and keep it online, my Paypal is :)

  23. Joy says:

    Hi, I am married to a half Spanish-Irish guy, we got married in Singapore (8 years ago). But things didn’t work out well between us & parted our ways. He went back to his mom in Spain, then I decided to stay here in the Philippines. Recently, he talked about working things out since we’re not getting any younger & he wants to follow me here.. probably start a business for us.

    I’m doubtful as we’ve been separated for 7 years and suddenly he wants us to fix our marriage. We didn’t apply for annulment though… and I didn’t register our marriage here.

    I would like to help him to start a business (since he’s still a friend), but I don’t want to register our marriage… he has a copy of our marriage certificate.. can he use that entering Philippines?

    He also has plans of buying properties and asking for my help if this is possible for a foreigner like him… as per our conversation, the most convenient way to get things done is to use his marriage with me.

    Please advise.. if there’s any other way. Thank you :)

    • Cody says:

      Hi Joy,
      I will give you the short, simple answers which are to the best of my knowledge.
      Others might have more detailed information.

      “he has a copy of our marriage certificate.. can he use that entering Philippines?”
      He can try to use it for a Balikbayan stamp at the airport but he will probably be denied as usually you would have to be physically with him, entering the Philippines at the same time, together with him, in order to avail of that privilege. I would not recommend that he even try it because he could get stuck at the airport for hours and it could make things more complicated. It would be best for him to just come in on a Tourist visa.

      “He also has plans of buying properties and asking for my help if this is possible for a foreigner like him… as per our conversation, the most convenient way to get things done is to use his marriage with me.”
      As far as I know, foreigners cannot own property in the Philippines (at least not 100% of the property?), so you would have to put your name on the paperwork, and you would be the legal owner. But you would have to register your marriage in order to do that.
      He could, however, buy a condo, without your help, and own it, 100%. That is legal.
      I hope some more readers will see your comment and add their knowledge as I am not completely aware of all the laws and rules regarding property ownership and marriage registration. However, I hope I have helped a little.

      • Joy says:

        Thank you very much for answering my questions Cody. It helped me a lot… at least I can sleep well tonight… :)

  24. steph says:

    Hi, well I’m married and will apply for a 13(a) visa from my own country, but when going to the Philippines my wife will not go with me right away. So with a 13(a) visa, do I need her to enter the Philippines? Thanks.

  25. iliyas says:

    hello sir

    i have a small doubt in how many days can i get working visa to phillipines

    iam an indain

    • Cody says:

      For more information on the 9(G) Employee Visa, please go to the BI webpage here:

      Checklist of Requirements for Conversion to Pre-Arranged Employee – 9g Commercial

      1) Letter request from the petitioner / applicant, with a statement that all documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies;

      2) Consolidated General Application Form duly accomplished and notarized (BI Form No. RADJR-2012-02);

      3) Photocopy of Employment Contact, or Secretary’s Certificate of Election, Appointment or Assignment of applicant, or equivalent document, with details of exact compensation and duration of employment;

      4) Photocopy of SEC Certificate of Registration, Article of Incorporation, By-laws and General Information Sheet, in case of corporation or partnership, or photocopy of DTI Certificate of Registration of Business Name, in case of single proprietorship;

      5) Photocopy of latest Income Tax Return or Audited Financial Statement stamped “RECEIVED” by the BIR;

      6) Photocopy of Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by (DOLE);

      7) Original copy of newspaper clipping showing publication of the application for AEP;

      8) Photocopy of applicant’s Passport showing its bio-page, admission and authorized stay of at least twenty (20) days from the date of filing; and

      9) Original Copy of Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clerance Certificate.

      If in the application, the applicant is joined by his/her spouse and unmarried minor children:

      1) Original copy of Marriage Contract of applicant and spouse and/or Original copy of birth Certificate of unmarried minor children, certified or authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate in or nearest the place where marriage is solemnized or place of birth, with English translation, if written in other foreign language, as the case may be, and;

      2) Photocopy of Passport(s) of foreign national’s dependents showing its bio-page, admission stamp and authorized stay with at least (20) days valid stay.

  26. Dan says:

    Very useful article, but I have a question …. you are mentioning “with pension” only for 50+ years old …. I am a 48 yrs old american citizen and receive “social security disability” (which is just another type of monthly pension) … what would be my options to reside long term in the Philippines???….

    Thanks for your help …

    • Cody says:

      Hi Dan, I really don’t know, but I don’t think disability payments would be accepted for the SRRV, as it is not the same thing as a retiree pension, but you would have to research that further, I could be wrong. This is the page from the BI website where I took the information for the SRRV or Special Retiree’s Resident Visa. You can see that the wording implies that the visa is for a foreigner who has retirement status from a career:
      You may also want to check this website:
      Listed as one of the requirements for the SRRV application “with pension” is:
      “For those who selected the “With Pension” option, Certification of Retirement Benefits issued by the concerned government and/or private entity authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consular Office is needed.”

      Probably the easiest thing would be to do as most foreigners who are not married to Filipinos do, which is to just keep extending your Tourist visa and leave the country on a visa run every 16 months. Or if you eventually get married to a Filipino, then you can apply for a Resident 13(a).

  27. JDP says:

    We would like to know what is the proper and legal process of converting the Student Visa to Working Visa. We would really appreciate if you could give us some guidelines or a walk-through to understand and comply with the immigration policies.

    My boss’ son (German passport holder), is currently under Student Visa that will expire by November 2012. He already graduated here in the Philippines with his 1st course and has his diploma, but he took up another degree. Recently, he decided to apply for a job and qualified for employment. The company is willing to help him processing his working visa and would like him to start his employment contract by 1st of September, but as of now, he’s still holding a student visa.

    We’ve been calling Immigration’s hotline and we were told that he needs to leave Philippines in order for him to obtain the normal tourist visa. We are getting confused if does leaving Philippines means he needs to go back to his home country (Germany)? Or he can go to other foreign country like Hong Kong or Singapore then come back to Philippines?

    If ever he’s allowed to go to other country like Singapore, we are just worried that the Singapore immigration might ask him for a return ticket to Germany because he’s entering there as tourist, and might prevent him from coming back here. Can we request the Philippine Embassy for a letter to guarantee that he needs to come back to Philippines for employment?

    We will appreciate your immediate response.

  28. Cody says:

    Hi – I believe you have to first convert/downgrade from his Student visa to a Tourist visa, and then you can convert/upgrade from the Tourist visa to a Working visa.

    Conversion/downgrade to a Tourist visa would cost around P8,000 at the BI office, BUT (and I believe this is why Immigration advised him to leave the Philippines) if he simply left the country and entered again with a Tourist visa stamp at the airport, it would solve the problem and probably be cheaper. A round trip ticket to any neighboring Asian country would do, and sometimes there are some really inexpensive promos with budget airlines like Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Cebu Pacific and others.

    If he departs Philippines and then enters again (do not show student ACR I-card and do not mention anything about working in the Philippines), he should get a Tourist visa stamped in his passport good for 21 days. Then once he has entered back into Philippines, you can go ahead and start the process of conversion to Working visa at the BI office by submitting the required documents and fees (please see above).

    Important note: He will also need to buy a “throw-away” one-way ticket going out of the Philippines to any other country for within 21 days of his arrival back to satisfy the requirement for an onward or return ticket when he enters back in to the Philippines. This also could be bought at a cheaper price if there is an airline promo. (He could be required to show an onward or return ticket by the airlines in order to board the airplane back to Philippines and possibly also by Immigration at the airport.)

    Reviewing your comment, I noticed that you mentioned that you want him to start work by the 1st of September. Considering the short time span, cheap flights might not be available (since promos usually need to be purchased months in advance). With the round trip ticket, additional one-way “throw-away” ticket, and any other fees and costs associated with taking a trip to another country, he might end up paying P8,000 anyway. In that case, you might want to go to your nearest BI office and request to convert/downgrade his visa from Student to Tourist. And then after that, you can upgrade/convert again to Working visa.

    This situation is new to me and I am not 100% sure, so your first step would be to go to any BI office or satellite office and speak with an employee there so you can get 100% accurate information. Would be appreciated if you can post back and update us on your situation.

  29. mark says:

    its not so true….
    i extended my visa 16 months then went to HK. Came back for anther 16 months then went again after 16 months to singapore and this time in the airport the immigration lady looked at my passport and asked me what i do long time in ph? i told her tourist, but… she told me last time next time she will not be so nice…or that i change my status other then tourist…

    • Cody says:

      That’s interesting. Did you have a return or onward ticket when you came back from Singapore? As far as I know, technically and legally there is nothing preventing you from leaving the Philippines any number of times and coming back any number of times to start over with a new tourist visa, and I know of some ex-pats who have been doing this for decades without a problem. Can you post more details about your own experience? Anybody else had any experience like this?

  30. Peter S (UK) says:


    I have a filipina fiancee and wish to get married in her home town in the Bicol region and not to upset the childrens (not my children but I look after them from afar) schooling I will retire to the Philippines. I currently support her from the UK by ensuring she has enough money to pay her rent and feed the family.

    I am currently mid plans on moving to the Philippines with finding out about visa’a etc but find each and all websites, official and unofficial, can be so much different in thier answers. My question is:

    How easy / difficult will it be for me to get a marriage certificate in the Philippines and once married will it allow me to stay without renewals.

    Many thanks in advance

    • Cody says:

      To get married in the Philippines you need first to get a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage OR an Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage (american terminology). For Brits, I believe you guys call it a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI), please see this webpage for more details:

      You can also get a CNI in the UK, might be easier?
      Once you have that CNI, you can apply for a marriage license at your local civil registrar in the Philippines, requirements include:

      1. Birth Certificate – Certified True Copy required of each the contracting parties with the respective registry number.
      2. Parents’ Consent (for 18-21 years old) or Parent’s Advice (for 21-25 years old)
      3. Certificate of Attendance in a pre-marital counseling and family planning seminar conducted by the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Municipal/City Hall in the same municipality or city where the contracting parties applied for the marriage license.
      FOR FOREIGNERS: Philippine law requires a citizen or subject of a foreign country to obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage.

      There is a 10 day waiting period before you can get the marriage license. Once you have the marriage license, you have 120 days to be married either by Civil or Church wedding.

      Marriage itself does not allow you to stay in the Philippines as a resident, and does not change your visa status or allow you to stay without visa extensions.
      After you are married (not sure if there is a minimum waiting period after getting married), you can then apply for a 13(a) Resident Visa in order to stay as a resident in the Philippines without needing visa extensions.
      Please see my article above for more information on the 13(a).

      By the way, as a side note, the Philippines government does not currently recognize any legal divorce.

      • Peter S (UK) says:

        Hi Cody

        Thanks for the reply. It has made things a lot clearer.

        I intend to get the full 59 day extension before I arrive and then extend again after. But as I own a home in the UK I will be unable to sell until I am certain that I can get residence. Once that happens I will be able to purchase a comfortable home for the enire family.

        And thank for the advice on divorce. As I stand I have never been married.

        • Cody says:

          Good idea to get a full 59 days visa before you leave so you don’t have to waste time at the immigration office.

          “But as I own a home in the UK I will be unable to sell until I am certain that I can get residence.”
          — I don’t think you will have much of a problem getting residence after you are married, it’s just a lot of patience and paperwork, however, you might want to consider spending a year in the Philippines getting used to the country and the culture before you decide to sell your home in the UK, maybe you won’t like living in the Philippines, not everybody does.

          “Once that happens I will be able to purchase a comfortable home for the entire family.”
          –That home should be in your wife’s name, unless it’s a condo unit, because foreigners, even with resident status are not allowed to own a house or land in the Philippines. There are certain technicalities and lawyer tricks which you might be able to use to gain more control over your investment in a home.

  31. shruti says:

    hi , i have student visa but is expiring on dec 15 2012 , and as i have changed my school for specialisation course , they r not accredited with immigration so my student visa can be extended……….
    Is it posiible to convert it into tourist visa , without gng to my country

  32. shruti says:

    sry *my student visa cant be extended any more

  33. Juls says:

    Hello all,
    I am here in Philippines on medical since August 2012 due to multiple rocket shrapnel wounds received in Afghanistan.. The Hospital had been getting my visa extended at the cost of 4230 pesos every 4 weeks. I plan to get married in the next month of two and will take my wife to Singapore or Hong Kong for a few days. Do I need a return ticket if we fly back to Philippines? or Can I use my marriage certificate to get back into the country and get a Balikbayan visa? I came here on a tourist visa and the hospital changed it to medical visa. Help
    thank you very much

  34. Juls says:

    one more question Sir, If I take my fiance’ to America and get married there, can we use that marriage certificate to enter Philippines on a Balik bayan visa?

    thank you very much

  35. Ralph says:


    I am an young westerner who got recently married to a Filipina , my sweetheart of many years. I am currently here in the Philippines. I would be grateful if you could help me with these 3 questions (with few sub questions to make it easier),

    1. I am planning to apply for 13a visa, I have to return back to Australia to wrap up things there, so I intend to apply for 13 a from within Australia through the Philippine embassy, and then come to the Philippines

    (i) Do I need to have my wife with me in Australia ? She is still here in the Philippines and will remain here, so does the Embassy needs to see her in person or the NSO authenticated marriage certificate and her letter and photocopy of her passport enough ?

    (ii) Is the 13 A issued by consulates abroad permanent or probationary ? I heard that visas issued from inside the Philippines are probationary for 1 year, and those from abroad are permanent.

    (iii) Proof of financial capacity would US $10,000 in bank be sufficient ? We hope to invest that into some good business in the Philippines

    2. ACR-I card and 13a

    Upon getting my 13a, I hope to spend atleast a vast majority of my time inside the Philippines, however I intend to spend some time in Australia 3 months a year to visit family and still do some small seasonal work here,

    (i) how much time am i allowed to spend outside the Philippines without letting 13a lapse? (ACR I card renewed every year on time).

    (ii) If the 13a is issued from a Philippine consulate outside Philippines, there won’t be an ACR i card issued, therefore, is it ok to enter on that 13a to the Philippines for the first time without the ACR-I card and apply ACR-I card later?

    many thanks and great website!

    • Cody says:

      Hi Ralph, I can see you have done some research before posting this comment and from what I read, everything you said seems to be mostly correct.

      “i) Do I need to have my wife with me in Australia ? She is still here in the Philippines and will remain here, so does the Embassy needs to see her in person or the NSO authenticated marriage certificate and her letter and photocopy of her passport enough?”

      You will also need a “Request Letter from the Filipino spouse, with a statement that all documents submitted were legally obtained from the corresponding government agencies”
      And her signature might be required on the application and/or other paperwork, and she might need to be interviewed. It would be best to have her with you. You should inquire directly at the Embassy in Australia to find out exactly their procedure and requirements for issuing a 13(a) Permanent Resident Visa.

      “(i) how much time am i allowed to spend outside the Philippines without letting 13a lapse? (ACR I card renewed every year on time).”

      Actually for a permanent resident, the ACR I-card should be valid for a period of 5 years. To keep your 13a visa valid, you have to renew your I-card every 5 years from within the Philippines. So as long as you have a current and valid ACR I-card and valid Australian Passport with your 13a stamp, you should not have a problem, just don’t go to Australia if your I-card is about to expire, renew it first.

      Everything else looks ok, you answered most of your own questions.

  36. michael mcglinch says:

    I currently have a fiancé in the Philippines and she is pregnant. Original plan was to get her a fiancé visa to USA and be married here, but she will be more than 7 months by the time this can be accomplished and airlines probably will not let her fly. So, my question is, what is best way for me to go back to Philippines, be there for the birth, stay and work there indefinitely?

    • Cody says:

      Everybody’s situation is different. This is a hard question to answer. First off, let me post a link to Philippine Airlines rules for Expectant Mothers, as they DO allow pregnant women to fly up to 35 weeks (8 months and 3 weeks) with certain requirements:

      Philippine Airlines rules for Expectant Mothers

      Best way to come back to the Philippines and be present at the birth? That’s easy, get on a plane and go. Stay and work in the Philippines indefinitely? That’s a little more complicated. Mostly the working part.

      You can stay up to 16 months paying visa extensions every 2 months at the nearest Bureau of Immigration office or satellite office, you can even stay up to 2 years if you secure special permission from the head office in Manila. If you want to stay longer than that, you can leave the Philippines for a few days on a short flight to a neighbor country and come back again, get a new visa entry stamp in your passport and then start the visa extensions again. Or, alternatively, you can marry your fiance in the Philippines and then you can apply for a resident visa, which would allow you to stay indefinitely without having to renew or extend.
      You can also apply for a resident visa if you open a business and employ 10 or more Filipinos.

      You said you want to work in the Philippines. You didn’t mention your line of work, but as you know, it’s a poor developing country and there is a lot of competition for jobs. The laws are such that foreigners have a hard time to find a way to work. Jobs in the Philippines are meant for Filipinos. However, if you have a special skill which lets you do some work which no Filipino can do, you can get a job and a work visa. Otherwise, you might have a hard time finding work. And even if you did, you might not like what they pay you, salaries are MUCH lower than in America, and hours are usually longer.
      You might be able to make a living doing some remote online work, internet entrepreneur, etc., if you know how, and you are good at it, but it’s also not as easy as it may seem, especially if it would be your only income.

      My best advice would be to get her to the U.S. if it’s possible.

      Another thing I wanted to mention…you said you will be going “back to Philippines”. I am assuming that you came to Philippines, met your fiance, and after you returned to the U.S., she told you that she was pregnant. This is just an assumption, so forgive me if I’m wrong.
      I also don’t want to doubt the honesty of your fiance, but I think that it would be wise to get some confirmation that you are actually the father of the baby (in the form of DNA testing, person investigation, etc.), as, sadly, paternity fraud is a real danger, and some women have been known to lie about these things.
      Thanks for your comment.

  37. Doug D. says:

    I have been married for 23 years and my wife is still a Philippine citizen. She is currently in the Philippines and I am working in the Middle East as a defense contractor. My contract ended and my company is giving me a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world. Of course, I want to go where my wife is.

    My question is this: I will only have a one way ticket to the PI. I want to stay in country until a new position overseas opens up for me (30 -120 days) and I will be with my wife the entire time. Is it possible to enter without an outbound ticket on a standard 21 day tourist visa while married to a Philippine citizen?

    Obviously the simple answer is “no”, but I was hoping there would be another way without having to buy a ticket to some other place.

    Thanks for your time :)


  38. Geoff says:

    Hi I’m Geoff from the UK, here in the Philippines on a Balikbayan visa. I intend to stay here in the Philippines with my Filipina wife. Could I consider a 13A visa? Could i get a balikbayan visa again when it expires in November? Thank you, and I’m hoping for your reply soon…..Geoff.

    • Cody says:

      Hi Geoff, yes, you could do any of those things that you mentioned I believe.

    • vic fowler says:

      Hi Geoff,im also from the uk and im married to a Filipino,i have been here 3 years now,yes you can renew your visa every year,all you need to do is before the visa expires is go out the country even for 1 day and return your passport will be stamped,but remember you must have your wife with you to get the stamp and also there is something i haven’t seen in these posts and that is if you intend to go out of the Philippines and then return for your next 1 year visa stamp you must also have a valid ticket to say you intend to return to your own country,so to sum up you need,,your wife to be with you,,your marriage licence,,your return ticket to your home country,,have these and you will get your passport stamped for another year with the BB stamp

  39. Mark says:

    Hi, I was born in the Philippines but left the country and moved to South Africa and eventually became a Citizen…can I still live in the Philippines permanently since I was born there or am I seen as a foreigner now?

    And also what should I do if I want to come back for good and work there?

  40. Bud braman says:

    Hi my name is Bud. I have a Pilipina wife. Can you tell me what the requirments are for a 13a visa to live in the Philippines with my wife? What all do i need before i apply and what is required.

  41. Maleen says:

    Hi! I’m a Filipina. I went to the BI but no one was able to help me out. I met my boyfriend here, he’s Iranian and we want to marry. I want to make him a permanent resident here but he only has a student’s visa. I need help and info pls.


  42. Maleen says:

    Another question is…when we are married, can he finally work here as a regular Filipino without all the hassle? I mean, of course I can’t be the only one working for both of us and of course my family can’t support him and me if we’re ready married right? I need to be independent from my family’s financial support by then…

    But I’m going to need his help.

    So…pls help. I badly need info.

    • Cody says:

      No one was able to help you at the Bureau of Immigration office? That’s surprising.
      Getting married and applying for a resident visa are two separate tasks.
      Search Google for requirements for marriage in the Philippines and I’m sure you will find an abundance of info.
      The requirements for application for a 13a resident visa are listed on the BI’s website and have been listed here in the original post and also again in the comments.
      After residency has been attained, he can work, but actually finding a job, since he is not a Filipino, but an Iranian, might be difficult.

  43. ian says:


    my visa runs out this june17th we are just waiting for the marriage license for us to get married.the BI told us we need to exit 24hrs and upon arrival to the airport the BI will put a stamp on my passport as BB with our marriage certificate to be shown as question is that if i have the BB stamp as they said that is a year visa,does it mean i can stay in the Philippines for a year also or do i have to comply straight away to the BI for the 13A application?i need your help it made me confused.if i have the 13A also do i have to exit yearly or not at any all.hope u can answer to my troubles because if i have to apply 13A they are asking for my police clearance but when i went to British embassy they told me they do not issue police clearance.can u give me any option how could i get it please?

    thanks so much

    • Cody says:

      “my question is that if i have the BB stamp as they said that is a year visa,does it mean i can stay in the Philippines for a year…”

      Yes, it means you can stay in the Philippines for a year on the Balikbayan privilege.

      “they are asking for my police clearance but when i went to British embassy they told me they do not issue police clearance.can u give me any option how could i get it please?”

      I have heard about this new requirement too, but I don’t have any idea how to get it. It does make things much more difficult, however, I do see the necessity for it, to prevent criminals and undesirables from settling in the Philippines.

  44. Earl says:

    Wanting to be able to stay married here to Philippine woman for over a year now and she has petitioned for permanent stay for me and I do have probationary I card and want to file for permanent one now but they have put in some requirement that they want a verified criminal back ground paper verified or authenticated by Embassy/consulate of The Philippines in the United States.

    • Cody says:

      Yes, that is the new requirement, as mentioned in the previous comment.
      I can understand it from the BI’s point of view, to prevent undesirables, but I can also see how it would make it much more difficult for ALL foreigners, because it’s a difficult thing to get.
      I have no advice on how to get it, short of actually traveling back to your home country.
      If there was a way to prevent undesirables without making things so hard for everybody, it would be better.

  45. Ken says:

    yes I read earlier that if I were to apply for my 13(A) visa here in the United States, that there is no
    one year probationary period, therefore am I to assume that you would be issued your permenant
    ACR-1 Card. One other question I have, I married in the Phillippines back in 1967 the ceremony was
    performed by the local Catholic Priest from the local town, and my marriage certificate is on file at
    the local church, does that mean that the record of my marriage is already registered with the NSO or do I just need to take the original there so that they could verify it.

    Thanks so much/ Ken

  46. Nick says:

    Hi guys, can anyone please try and help me with info on a refugee and asylum visa in Philippines? I read that refugees are allowed to work/study in Philippines, is it true? And how does the refugee route work? Any hopes of getting permanent residency with this route? Are they in camps or can they live in urban areas as well?

    • Cody says:

      Nick, I never heard of any refugee visa type for the Philippines, and I could not find anything when searching for it online. Can you post the link to where you read about this kind of visa?

  47. karl rudolph says:

    Need an answer:
    I am married to a Filipina, we have an NSO marriage certificate. I want to get a BB visa upon entry to the Philippines. I have traveled to and from the Philippines 9 times in 4 years, and I need to return to the U.S. to tend to business. I will be going alone, as my wife will stay with the kids here in Philippines. (Also it is expensive for two round trip tickets when I will only be in the U.S. for 2 weeks.)
    My question is, will I be allowed the BB visa when I come back to PI alone?

  48. LInda says:

    Hi Cody, my husband is a Filipino and we met, married and currently live in the US with our two young children. We are contemplating a move back to the Philippines where I could go to University to become a midwife and he could work since he is a citizen still. Have you heard of many Americans going to school in the Philippines, and what would that entail in terms of visas….I am assuming I could come over on the Balikbayan Stamp for the first year and then convert to 13(A) but since I plan to go to school would I need something else, Student Visa? Also do you know if they charge foreigners more tuition than citizens, part of the reason to go there for training is the amazing cheap tuition which is why I don’t do the training here in the US. Thanks for any help/advice you might have.

    • Cody says:

      Hi Linda,

      I do believe you will pay more as a foreigner, but not sure if that applies to resident foreigners, as with most places (even states in the U.S.) tuition is reduced for residents and higher for non-residents. But it really depends on the university you will attend, and the first thing you should do is contact that university with all your questions, as they could give you more definite and specific answers.

      I can tell you that you won’t be able to attend school on the Balikbayan stamp, but you will be able to once you are approved for a 13a Permanent Immigrant visa. Keep in mind, that if you apply for the 13a here in the Philippines, and you are approved, you will first be stamped with a Temporary or Probationary 13a visa, and after a year, it can be converted to a Permanent 13a. It is my understanding (although my understanding of things in the Philippines, especially with regard to rules and regulations is far from being fact), that you can attend university on the Permanent 13a, but not the Probationary, meaning that you will have to wait one year after receiving your first 13a visa before you can go to university.

      If you are planning to enter on a Balikbayan stamp, then after a year apply for the 13a, then you will have to wait another year until you can get the Permanent 13a, that means you won’t be able to go to school until after 2 years of being in the Philippines. Is that what you want?

      I’m curious – why will you enter on a Balikbayan privilege? Why don’t you just apply for a 13a Resident visa at the Philippines embassy nearest to you in the U.S.A.? If you did that, there is not a one-year Probationary period, so you could actually enter the Philippines as a resident immediately on your arrival.

      You don’t need a Student visa if you are a resident, and I think the Student visa would be a waste of time and money for you, since you are married to a Filipino citizen and allowed to apply for an immigrant visa.

      • Linda says:

        Thanks for the tip about applying for the 13(a) visa before we move. I don’t want to have to wait 2 years to start school for sure! I have always been granted the 1 year Balikbayan stamp in my passport each time we have traveled back to the Philippines because we usually stay for over a month so I just assumed that is what would happen when we moved. I didn’t realize I could apply for the 13(a) from here. This is very helpful advice. We have to register our son’s birth with the Consulate before we travel in Dec so I will ask them more details when we see them. Thanks!!

  49. patrick says:

    This site has helped me so much, I’ve found out so much by reading answers to many questions. Thank you and keep up the good work, it helps so many.

  50. Harry says:

    I’m married with filipina and have 1 baby. After marriage i had brought her with me in india and she stayed 3 months, after 3 months she went back to philippines where she gave birth to my son. Now i’m planning to go back to philippines and want to bring her back in india but which visa do i need to go philippines this time coz i can’t get Balikbayan visa coz she isnt with me.

    • Cody says:

      Since you didn’t apply for a 13a permanent resident (Immigrant) visa with your wife in India while she was there with you, then your only option, as I can see it, is to enter as Temporary visitor (Tourist) visa. I believe India is on the restricted countries list so you will have to apply for a Tourist visa at your nearest Philippines Embassy or Consulate in India before traveling.

  51. David says:

    I am planning to come to PH in April to live with GF (I am divorced, she is never married). I was told that if I enter country at Manila airport, I can get 59-day extension upon entry — for fee, of course :-) . My question is: Since I am planning to stay at least 16 months . do I really need to have proof of return ticket? .. If so, it;s seems like just a gift to the airline. :-) Perhaps just proof I have ability to pay for return ticket? .. Any thoughts

    • Cody says:

      I can give you advice, good advice, but whether you will take my advice or not is up to you. I have often given people good advice and they disregard what I say.

      My advice?… Do not attempt to enter the Philippines as a Tourist without a return or onward ticket within 30 days. Do not try to get your 30 days extended to 59 days at the airport. And do not, by any means, try to explain to Immigration that you are planning to live here for 16 months.

      Instead, do this: Enter as a Tourist on a 30 day stamp at the airport with a return or onward ticket within 30 days, say nothing about your plans to stay longer. Before 30 days are up, go to the nearest Immigration office to where you are staying in the Philippines and extend for the max 2 months. Or go to the main office in Intramuros, Manila and extend for the max, 6 months.

      Keep extending every 2 months or 6 months to the 16 months.

      You can also get a 59 days visa at the Philippines Embassy nearest to you in your home country before you leave and that would be cheaper and easier than doing it here I believe. You will still need a return or onward ticket within the 59 days in that case.

      You might not even be allowed to board your plane without a return or onward ticket, depending on which airlines you are flying. There is a good chance you will need to show a return or onward ticket flying out of the Philippines at check-in to be allowed to board the airplane going to the Philippines.

      My advice: keep it simple, and don’t make any hassles or give any explanations at the airport. If you don’t want to waste money, you can buy a fully refundable ticket and then get it refunded after you arrive in the Philippines.

      That’s my advice. Your choice whether to take it. :-)

  52. Michael says:

    i got a question, ive been in a amazing relationship with a girl who is a citizen of the philippines (im 28 & shes 22) for 15 months, & her parents approve of me, i got a job here in the US as a mover & past the last 7 months ive been sending her 200 dollars a month (no hair off my back, moving pays good plus tips from customers, i could get that in 2 days of work), even though she didnt ask for the money, im doing it to show her parents its a real relationship, even though im halfway around the world, any way she wants me to move there, & from what ive seen its a big process, & i have so many questions that the answers are kinda in a grey area…she said it is possible to get married in that 3 week window if we start working on mailing papers that we need (like photocopy of my birthcertificate), like if she starts getting the papers processed & wedding planned 2 months before i get there (most of the papers void after 120 days, so thats why we dont start sooner) so if i get there & i get married to her, would some officials kick me out back to my country if her & her parents are fine with me being there? cause i read that i need to be married & have a visa to stay there, but one of the requirements of the visa is proof to show that i can support a family, but as soon as i get to the philippines im gonna be unemployed, her mother owns a seasonal dress making business & her father is a jeepney driver & the girl (casey) helps her mother with her business by cutting cloth, & her mother also wants her to start a business of her own, something she enjoys, & im sure i would be cutting cloth or something, but i cant fill out that part of the visa that proves i can on my own support a family, so after already being married could i get kicked out of the country? which that would be horrible, cause i would be back here in the US jobless & getting jobs with my resume is impossible with the job shortage going around, so i would have no money to save up for another plane ticket & no money to send & spoil my wife & we would be back like the beginning of our relationship, no money, no jobs or getting together again in person in site, & that would be devastating, im all for saving up for years & years with this good moving job i got till i got a nice nest egg (i know since im 28, i should have some savings already, but i was never one to save, know i see what everyone was trying to tell me, ive got $1500 to my name, & its gradually building) but the girl i love believes its possible for me to get there, marry her, & i wont get kicked out of the philippines & wont have to worry about being sent back to the US jobless with no hope in sight all over again, & i like to make her happy cause she always makes me happy & i have no problem picking up & starting a life in the philippines, i just dont want to make this giant leap if im gonna be kicked out & back to my relationship typing, especially after i saw her in person, man that would be the worst! i know im rambling, sorry, so my question is ‘If i get married to a philippines citizen & dont have a job to get the permanent visa, can i get kicked back to the United States?’ ( i mean i plan on getting a job of course, but its the time limit that im aloud to be over there is the problem, the 3 weeks, the extensions, all the fees, i have this feeling that after im married & waiting for certain papers, my time will run out & officials or something will show up on her door step & see i dont have a visa & no extension & will send me back here)

    • Cody says:

      Hi Michael, you do ramble and it’s a little difficult to read.

      Have you investigated this girl? Do you really know anything about her? From what you said, she has no job other than helping her mother make dresses and you are sending her $200 a month, which, considering her parents occupations, could mean that you (and maybe a few more online boyfriends) are supporting them all.

      Then you are saying that you plan to come to the Philippines and work for her mother cutting cloth? Do you realize that your salary might be about $2 a day for that work?

      Another thing: your birth certificate is not a requirement for marriage in the Philippines. In fact, there is nothing at all you can do to get started with the marriage process until you are actually here, because all the steps require you to be here in person.

      To answer your question, you won’t get kicked out of the country if you stay out of trouble and keep your tourist visa current with extensions. But you do run the risk of coming here, spending all your money and having things not work out as you had hoped or planned.

      One thing I can tell you, is don’t count on being able to get a job here. In most situations, it’s illegal for a foreigner to earn a wage, and even if you were able to get through all the red tape and get an alien work permit, and you found a job…you might not like it, since your pay would be MUCH, MUCH less then what you are making now.

      You really need to do more research about the Philippines before you come here. Use Google and do some reading, there’s a lot of good information online. Then, before you throw away a good job and leave the States to live someplace you have never visited, with someone you have never met…get some time off from your work, and take a visit as a tourist for a couple of weeks so you can see how you like it. The Philippines is a much different place than the United States. I would also strongly advise that you spend time in person with your girlfriend before you begin making plans to get married.

  53. Theresa says:


    My brother has been coming to the Philippines for a couple of years now for six months at a time. He lives there for six months, then comes back to the US for six months to visit his girlfriend. He is a retired service member over 50. So is he fine just to go every six months and come home without paying any fees or getting a Visa? Thanks for your responses.

    • Cody says:

      No. A visa needs to be secured before traveling to the Philippines for a stay longer than 30 days OR you may enter the Philippines on a 30 days Tourist visa and then extend your visa at a Philippines Immigration office by filling out the correct forms and paying the required fees. Be prepared to spend a whole day at Immigration extending your visa. More information on visa extensions can be found on the Bureau of Immigration website.

      If your brother has been visiting for 6 months at a time for the past couple of years, why didn’t you just ask him, are you just confirming what he told you?

  54. mojtaba says:

    Hi good day,
    I want to know how long does it take to get a bi clearance certificate?
    can i get that the same day i apply for trv visa in main office? or do i have to apply for that before trv visa (temporary residence visa by marriage)

    and another question: who is the petitioner in the bi form for trv by marrige?
    and the last question: how long does it take to get trv visa after i apply?


    • Cody says:

      Mojtaba – I believe the BI Clearance Certificate is issued at the Immigration office on your day of visit, it is part of the processing they do when you submit all your forms, you don’t need to get that beforehand.

      The petitioner is your Filipino spouse. Processing time varies, best to ask at Immigration about that. Thanks for your comment.

  55. LHIZA says:

    me and my american fiance are planning to get married here in the philippines this year,and he wants us to lived here forever.i just want to know how can he lived here legally ?what are we going to do? what visa are we going to apply at the philippine immigration ? what are the requirtements? does he need to show a proof of monthly income from the social security or amount of money deposit in the bank? he is a retired 63 year old american and im 51 years lold filipina woman.

  56. RMoore says:

    I am married to a Filipina and we have 1 son together, currently in the process of buying a house in Cebu and applying for my 13A visa. My ex-wife and my 3 American kids(Ages 16, 9 & 5) will come to live in Cebu. What would be our best visa options for the kids and my ex-wife?

    • Cody says:

      Your American kids can be added to your 13a visa as dependents if they meet the qualifications, I believe, best to check the BI website for more info on that.

      Your ex-wife would have to get her own visa, she can enter on a Tourist visa and extend every 2 or 6 months. If she marries a Filipino, she can apply for a 13a Spousal visa.

      I’m not an expert so you should explain your situation to the BI and see what they say, I think they can advise you better than I can.

  57. Alison says:

    I am married to a filipino and already have my 13a visa on the 1 year probationary period, this expires August 2015. However, due to unforeseen circumstances it is looking likely that I will have to return to UK for a period of time and this will correspond with the renewal time of my visa/ACR. I will be returning to the Philippines to reside with my husband again but this may be a couple of months after the lapsed time. Can anyone advise me on what my options are to overcome this issue?
    Many Thanks in Advance

    • Cody says:

      As I understand it, you will lose your visa if you don”t amend it to permanent before the expiration date. You will then have to come back into the Philippines on a Tourist visa and start the process over again and get another probationary visa for one year.

      You might be able to explain to Immigration that you have to go back to the U.K. and ask how early you can apply for the amendment to permanent, maybe you can do it before you leave. You can also ask them if it would be possible to get an extension for your probationary visa before you leave so that you can amend it to permanent after you come back to the Philippines. That might be possible but I am not sure, I think I remember reading something about an interim extension or grace period for a probationary visa on the Immigration website, try to search for it.

      Lastly, well, why don”t you just leave and then apply for a resident visa at the Philippines embassy in the U.K. during the months you will be staying there? Then, when you come back, you can enter as a permanent resident.

      • Alison says:

        Thank you…I was unaware that I could apply for residence in UK so this may be a viable option but will also research the seems that I have options to be able to gain my residency without having to start the whole process again..

  58. Todd says:

    HI, I have been told that U.S military Veterans have a “special” status in the Philippines and can live there if they choose and that they also have or get special privileges etc, is this true?

  59. James Ward says:

    Cody I have a bit of a unique situation. I am married to a Filipina and want to someday retire to Baguio. My Problem is this, In my past I have a Felony conviction ( ownership of an Illegal style of Firearm ) I did no jail or prison time as my only crime was ownership, but I did have to pay some pretty stiff fines. All this is done and taken care of but I still have this in my background. Looking at the requirements it looks like this will prevent my getting a 13A Marriage Visa or a Retirement Visa for that matter. So what are my options? Will I have to keep playing the expensive game of extending my Tourist Visa like a Tourist and every 16 months leave the country to start it over? If I do this is going to be both expensive and a pain the butt. Thanks for any insight you may be able to offer.

    • Cody says:

      James, I’m assuming your conviction was in the U.S., not the Philippines? The requirements for most, if not all, resident visas include a “Valid Police Clearance from country of origin or residence” and a NBI Clearance from the Philippines. It is not stated that a conviction will necessarily disqualify you from getting a visa, however. You can try.
      If you don’t get a resident visa, another option would be the Balikbayan privilege which is a one-year stamp (free of charge) that you can get at the airport on arrival if you enter the Philippines together with your Filipino spouse and you’re able to show a valid NSO-certified marriage certificate (if married in the Philippines) or if you were married in the U.S., then have your U.S. marriage contract authenticated at the nearest Philippines embassy or consulate. After the one year is up, you can either go out of the country on a visa run and come back again and get another Balikbayan stamp, or you can stay in the Philippines, convert to a tourist visa and get Long Stay Visitor Visa Extensions (LSVVE) every 6 months up to 36 months. Hope that helps.

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