Move to the Philippines in 30 days? There’s headline you don’t see every day. Many folks I know spend years thinking and planning. My wife and I spent 6 years in the USA, waiting mainly for the time to run its course on my wife’s US citizenship process … but we were planning, researching, re-planning the whole time as well.
But I decided to write this article for those of you who don’t have time to wait. what if something came up, or you finally got “off the pot” and decided it was time to go.
Could you make the move in 30 days?
I’m not sure, but let’s explore the possibility and see. perhaps we’ll learn something along the way.
Long Poles in the Tent
First of all, there are some things that certainly can’t be done overnight. In the military planning world we often called these the “Long Poles in the Tent”. Get the long poles taken care of first, and erecting the rest of the tent is much easier.
You have to have one. It needs to have an expiration date at least 6 months later than the date you plan to arrive in the Philippines. And this is one of the “long poles” you have the least control over … since it’s up to the US State Department to issue you a passport. Typically it takes 6 weeks or more, so our “thirty day plan” sounds like it is a non-starter at first.
However, for a “Few Dollars More” (apologies to Mr. Eastwood), you can get ‘Expedited’ service. If you use an overnight service, like FedEx or DHL, you can get your passport in as little as two weeks. See: Apply for a New Passport, follow the instructions, pay the fees, and our first long pole is out of the way.
There are dozens and dozens of articles on this site, and on many others regarding all the many considerations about what type of visa you can use for permanent living in the Philippines. Which one is best, which procedure costs less, etc. Many routes you might consider take longer than 30 days, so this seems to be a valid “long pole”.
However, I’ve already written on this subject in the past. See:
Just apply the KISS principle. If you are married to a Filipino/former Filipino, just come on a Balikbayan stamp. No prior permission or processing time required at all.
If you are not married to a Philippine citizen/former Philippine citizen, just get on the plane and come over. You get 30 days free stay with a “Visa Waiver Stamp” at the airport. Again, no application/advance notice required … so there goes another “Long Pole” literally chopped up onto kindling wood.
I’d like to stress, again, that I am not at all against the various permanent resident solutions that folks are commonly struggling over. Eventually you may have to decide on one or another. But I maintain it is purposeless to struggle before you go over which one to get, and spend time and in some cases non-trivial amounts of money to get one … and then discover after 6 months or a year that you really can’t stomach living here in the Philippines.
All that time and effort wasted when you should have been here in the Philippines learning, experiencing and making your own decisions based on personal experiences, rather than what you read in some blog.
And it is perfectly fine to buy a cheaper One Way ticket. You have undoubtedly heard and read many a complicated and boring word about the on again, off again issue of the airlines at the insistence of the Philippine government in refusing non-Filipinos and other non-residents boarding unless they have an “onward travel” ticket in their possession … a ticket that is dated within 21 days of their arrival in the Philippines. Big issue? Hardly. Not worth the thousands of words that have been written about it,
Just by two tickets. the one way ticket to the Philippines that suits your price needs, and then, just before you leave, a one way ticket OUT of the Philippines, dated within the 21 day initial stay period.
When you buy this ticket just us a name-brand airline with ticket offices in the Philippines (United, Delta, Cathay Pacific, etc.) and buy a full fare, refundable ticket.
The Cost of the Refundable Ticket Doesn’t Matter Because You Are Going To Refund It
Yes, the initial cost is likely way more than your low fare, restricted, non-changeable ticket to the Philippines. But it doesn’t matter. You aren’t going to pay for it, ever. Stop amaking an easy issue a hard one.
Put the “onward travel” ticket on your credit card, and then when you arrive in the Philippines and get checked in through Philippine Immigration, just proceed at your earliest convenience to the airline ticket off and turn in the “onward travel” ticket for a full refund (that’s why it is called refundable ticket). The airline, noticing it was bought on a credit card will issue a refund directly to that card, and that’s it.
No hassle, no 10,00 words of argument, all done and dusted. Why so many people insist on making this so hard I just don’t understand. Creating problems for themselves when there really is no problem. Next issue.
I Have To Sell My House in the USA First:
Well are you sure you do?
First thing I would ask you to think about is, again, what if the Philippine adventure doesn’t work out as well as you want it too. What if you want to come back to the USA? The easiest way out out the real estate sales conundrum, and temporary avoidance of one of the really and truly “long poles” is to not sell your house now, but to rent it out instead.
Rent It Out:
There are a hundred and one good reasons to hold rental property as part of your “portfolio”. A single family home is not usually the top choice for rental property, but you already own this one.
You can rent out a home in decent shape, at a decent price, in an afternoon in many places in the USA. especially with today’s population of folks who lost their homes to foreclosure, and thus have a credit rating that makes it almost impossible to own a home for many years, decent one family rentals are in demand. Everyone has to live somewhere.
Any decent size city or metro area has professional rental agents available. They can handle all the hassles of collecting rent, making regular inspections of the property, managing repairs if they become necessary, etc., typically for a fee of 10% to 15% of the rent (tax-deductible, of course). The depreciation allowances in your Federal tax alone when you shift a property to rental from residence status will probably cover the agent’s essence.
I’m not a tax advisor, but it’s worth a discussion with yours.
And again, easy to do in one afternoon, much less the 30 days this article started out with.
Another “long pole” reduced to splinters.
Use An Attorney to Sell It:
But let’s say, for whatever reason, you are firm with the idea that the house must be sold, not converted to a rental.
Well OK, again, no problem. There are attorneys everywhere who specialize in real estate. Just hire one to be your representative during the listing period and to represent you at the closing table or escrow proceedings.
This might cost a thousand dollars or two, but it also might save money at closing. The last time I sold a house in the USA, I hired an attorney for $600, which later totaled up to about $750, because of added tasks that I asked for.
The mortgage company was trying to pull off a shenanigan at the closing table which I didn’t realize could happen. They conveniently “forgot” to credit my last two mortgage payments to the amount I owed … and had my lawyer not caught it for me, that money might have been lost forever.
The lawyer saved me WAY more than his fee, and my house went to closing with me not at the closing table .. not even in the country for that matter.
The “other side” seemed a bit miffed that I chose to send an attorney to close. Tough luck. It’s your right in nay state of the union to send a legal representative instead of yourself, so let them feel “miffed”. I’d rather be eon the beach in Boracay sipping an “umbrella drink”.
I sit my imagination, or are we running out of “Long Poles” here?
How Can I Possibly Get My Household Good Shipped in 30 Days:
Store It There:
First of all, if you don’t have a permanent place to stay in the Philippines, maybe you should just pack and store there in the US until you know you are going to stay in the Philippines.
Easy enough in most areas to rent a personal storage unit. But if you are absolutely sure you must have it with you ..
Ship Via Balikbayan Boxes:
With no practical weight limit, you can cram a lot of possessions into every Balikbayan box. Of course, if you don’t (yet) have an address in the Philippines, this sounds problematical, doesn’t it.
But I just checked with my favorite Philippine expert shipping company to be sure and was told, “No problem, you can ship the boxes to yourself, to be held at our main warehouse in Valenzuela City (Part of the Manila Metro), and either pick them up there later, yourself, or have them shipped on to a permanent address”.
Ship a Partial or Full Container:
The same conditions apply. The shipping company will hold the container/container contents for you, for a nominal fee.
One thing to consider also, as I wrote about when I described my actual shipment … how to get your possessions from you home in the US to Loa Angeles (or wherever your shipping company’s primary office might be).
One way is to order a container brought to your home, picked up there, and trans-shipped to the container Port of Embarkation.
A second idea is, load your stuff in a U-Haul van and drive it to the port where you turn it over to the shipper, and then fly out to the Philippines directly. That’s what my wife and I did.
Yes it cost some hundreds of dollars to rent and fuel the U-Haul truck … BUT … we had to get ourselves to Los Angeles also, so if we had not driven the truck, we would have had to pay several hundred dollars each for domestic plane fare. The rental truck costs and the air fare we avoided, pretty much cancelled each other out.
What Do You Feel I Have Missed?
OK, I juts looked down at my word counter and I am up to nearly 2,000 words already …far more than many of you care to read.
So it certainly seems time to close this article out.
Reviewing it, I find I have answered the majority of the “I can’t figure out how to” tough questions I have received over the years.
But certainly I have missed something … especially for the few of you out there who have spent the last 5 or 10 years thinking up all the reasons that you Can’t move to the Philippines.
But overall, I don’t see any long poles left.
When Will You Decide To Apply the KISS Principle and Take Action?
So what stands between those of you who want to go and actually being here in the Philippines in 30 days (or less)?
I really want to know what you think I have missed about how to move to the Philippines?
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