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Moving to and living in the Philippines

By: Gene Davis Posted: September-12-2009 in
Gene Davis

Types of Visas to Live in the Philippines---

Many readers here are looking to move to and live in the Philippines. I am sure many of you have researched the hows and whys of moving here but I thought it might be of interest to those who have not.

The information I will give will be as accurate as I can find, but realize the laws here change and some of my research might be out dated. So I suggest you verify this information yourself before making the big plunge.

Citizens of the US, most European and Asian Countries can enter the Philippines as a tourist with just a passport for 21 days as long as their passport is valid for 6 months from their date of arrival. Also they must have valid tickets for their return travel.

What I did was to visit a Philippine Consulate and purchased a Tourist Visa good for one year, even though I needed to extend my visa every 59 days at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) here. They have now increased stay here for 16 months and can also be extended to 2 full years as long as you file with the BI before you reach the 16 months here. This is because they have to send the request to Manila for approval. After you reach the end of your extensions, you must leave the country and return showing your exit stamp and the stamps of the visiting country when you return.

The 2 options when you first travel here would be as Tourist or Balikbayan. There are others such as a work visa, student visa, and missionary visa and investment visas. I will not get into this since most readers are looking to just move here. I do believe you can file for the Retirement visa prior to moving here, but I will explain as if you’re already here in the Philippines.

A Balikbayan is if you’re married already to a Philippine Citizen with a valid Philippine passport. You must arrive together and have with you a valid Marriage Certificate. This will give you (1) year of stay and can be extended to 16 months.

Once you’re here and you would like to remain and not have to travel outside the country every year and a half to 2 years and you get tired of going to BI every other month to file an extension and pay the fees there is 2 options I know of. One is marrying a Filipina and filing for a 13(a) Permanent Residency Visa or file for a Retirement Visa.

For the 13(a) Permanent Residency Visa you first have to be married to a Filipina or Filipino of you’re a female visitor. After you are married, and your marriage is registered at the NSO (National Statistic Office) you go to BI and file. Once approved you will get a 1 year Probationary Residency. About 2 months before the year is over you have to re-file. After you are approved, you have permanent residency. Then you only have to go to BI once a year during the months of January and February for their “Annual Audit” where you pay a small fee.

The other option is the Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV). With this you do not have to be married. There are different requirements for different age groups and if you are receiving a pension. There is also a requirement to invest an amount of money into an approved Bank Time Deposit.

The requirements are as follows:
1. 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$1,000.00 for couple
2. Without Pension
o 35 to 49 years old – US$50, 000.00 time deposit
o 50 years old and above – US$20, 000.00 time deposit
o Former Filipino Citizens (at least 35 years old, regardless of the number of dependents – US$1,500.00)
o Ambassadors of foreign countries who served and retired in the Philippines, current and former staff members of international organizations including ADB (at least 50 years old) - US$1,500.00
3. A resident retiree can bring with him, without additional deposit, his spouse and a child who is unmarried and below 21 years old or if the spouse is not joining, two (2) children (provided they are unmarried and under 21 years of age.) Additional children with the same qualifications may also be allowed to join the principal retiree provided there is an additional deposit of US$15,000.00 per child. The said time deposit however, is subject the same and conditions with that of the principal deposit. This does not apply to former Filipino Citizens.

After (30) days of receiving your SRRV you can convert your time deposit into another form of investment

A retiree can choose to invest their required deposit through the following means:
a. Purchase, acquisition and ownership of a condominium unit
b. Long-term lease of house and lot, condominium or townhouse for a period not shorter than twenty (20) years.
c. Purchase, acquisition and ownership of golf or country club shares.

I hope this information taken from another site is helpful. Just be sure to get all the current information from the Philippine govt. This is posted as a general overview of information and may or may not be current fact or law.


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