Philippine Permanent Visas.
There is a lot of misinformation and half-baked information circulating about this subject in most of the on line Philippines resources I visit, so I decided to do my bit to try to clarify a few things. This is an update of a very popular previous article here on PhilFAQS.com
First, an important DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, I don’t even play one on TV. If you need legal advice … and on citizenship issues you often do … then seek advice from a competent attorney. These issues are not the place to be trying to save money. I have been actively participating in the Philippines visiting, courtship, marriage and immigration process (both to the US and to the Philippines) for about 10 years now. I have seen hundreds of folks get into various legal problems during this time and almost all of them could have been avoided or ameliorated by a simple consult with a lawyer before “throwing the switch”. A word to the wise should be sufficient.
Recently we talked about visiting the Philippines and a tourist visa or tourist visa waiver (automatic
21 30 day stay). Now, let’s suppose you want to stay longer than a tourist normally stays, or want to take up permanent residence in the Philippines. Are there options? Sure there are, let’s explore a few:
Non-Quota 13 Series Permanent Residence Visas
These are special purpose visas that are equivalent in many ways to having resident alien status (Green card) in the US. There’s a very important difference, though.
(Please read this sentence) These types of permanent residency visas are only available to those married to a Filipino or former Filipino citizen.
The 13a is the visa for a person whose wife is a current Philippine citizen,
the 13g is for those married to persons who are no longer Filipinos, perhaps due to the fact they took up citizenship in another country and didn’t choose to re-acquire their Philippine citizenship later.
Requirements to qualify are here Permanent Resident Visa .
You can apply before you come to live in the Philippines (HIGHLY recommended)
or after you arrive in the Philippines.
Once you are granted a 13-series visa you can live in the Philippines as long as you care to … subject only to an annual registration (and a small “head tax” fee) process at the beginning of each year. Downloadable forms and procedures for Non-quota residency visas are explained here.
Still single, you say? or married to a non-Filipino?
No problem, there’s still a couple avenues open to you.
Every year the Philippines issues permanent residency visas to folks without Philippine “connections”.
These are available to anyone who wants them.
The ‘catch” is they are subject to a quota based on the country you are applying from.
In recent years, the quota for US citizens has been 50 … doesn’t sound like much, but according to at least one of my contacts the 50 visas are never all used!
Bitching and moaning about the Philippine visa choices and programs has been a major on-line hobby I have observed as practiced by a number of foreign residents/potential residents … yet I’ve never heard one guy complaining that he applied for one of these visas and been denied.
Most people seem happier bitching about how the system works rather than working the system … as you will frequently hear in the Philippines, “It’s up to you”.
Quota Visa requirements and applications are explained here .
Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)
This is a visa you’ll see mentioned often in various Philippine groups and forums. It’s often accompanied by cuss words and other colorful expletives. It requires an investment … and thus makes a lot of people uneasy. But it also has some great advantages.
- It’s open to any citizen of any country (except the very few that the Philippines restricts anyway … if your family name isn’t Bin Laden you likely qualify)
- It does not require marriage to a Filipino … an applicant can be married to another foreigners (in which case the spouse and up to two minor children are included) or single.
- An SRRV holder can work in the Philippines, come and go without entry and exit permits and in general do pretty much anything legal s/he wishes to do. (Except, of course own property … another big subject which I’ll cover more on soon…
The investment issue always seems to get in the way but many people move here to the Philippines and buy a condo anyway … purchasing a condo is one of the approved investment avenues … so it’s not like the money is being thrown away or just paid for a fee.
(Also since this article was originally written, the required deposits have been reduced in some cases, often drastically).
Also you might want to read this article before you shake your head and surf on:
There are some newer SRRV programs coming on line for those with less to invest but guaranteed incomes (such as government pensions) and even a promising new program that will allow SRRV applicants to trade time teaching at government-assigned schools for a visa. May not be for everyone, but it is well worth checking out. Info here on the various “flavors” of the SRRV.
OK, enough for part Two, next time we’ll talk about going “the other way”, how Filipinos can go back to their fiancee’s or spouse’s home countries … a frequent consequence of a trip to the Philippines ;-). email me at davestarr (at) gmail (dot) com if you have questions or comments I haven’t addressed on Philippine Permanent Visas.