Can a US Citizen Move to the Philippines?

Can a US citizen move to the Philippines?

(Updated 16 June 2019)

The answer to that question is a resounding YES.



I’ve been reading about, writing about and actually living a move to the Philippines for nearly 13 years now.

It only struck as strange very recently how complicated and obscure my writing and most others writing on this subject have been,  I apologize right now for all those years of making it seem so darn hard.  It isn’t.

If You Want To Move To The Philippines You Can.

Can a US citizen move to the Philippines?Tomorrow if you would like and if an airline has an empty seat to sell you.

“But Dave”, I hear you saying, “my head is swimming with all these details of visas, permissions, planning and all sorts of complicated issues people continually write about.  It can’t really be that simple, can it”?

Well, The Bottom Line Is, It Absolutely CAN Be that Simple.

Let’s Look At Some Common Misconceptions:

I Need All Sorts of Confusing (and Expensive) Visas and Permissions From The Philippine Government.

Absolutely not true.  There is a whole family of different visas you might want to get to live permanently in the Philippines, but an American citizen needs NONE of them.

If you want to move here tomorrow, just DO IT.

Unlike almost any other country in the world, the Philippines will grant you a free, 30-day stay by just stamping your passport on arrival.  You can easily extend those first 30 days, up to a maximum of three full years without any problem.

As a matter of fact, I highly recommend those who have not lived here before to do things this way, because you never know, once you’re here for a month or two or a year or two, you might decide it is not for you.

Why spend money, time and energy on a visa you might decide you don’t want to use after all?

I Need Permission From The US Government, I Might Even Lose My US Citizenship If I Move.

Again, absolutely untrue.  As a US citizen, you have the right to live wherever you want to for as long as you want to.  You don’t have to return to the USA after any specific period of time (you can even renew your passport easily right here in the Philippines).

Many people spend their lives waiting for someone to give them permission to do something they want to do.

Well, you already have permission to move here if you want to.

Get a passport, get on an airplane and go.  It’s your right.

I Don’t Know The Language, I’ll Be So Isolated I Won’t Be Able To Function.

Let me ask you a question.  What is the official language of the USA?

If you said English, BZZzt.  Wrong.

The USA does not have an official language.

But the Republic of the Philippines does.  In fact, it has two of them.

Filipino and English. 

One of the greatest things for a “monolingual” American living here in the Philippines is, a huge percentage of the population speaks English.

Trust me, you spend a little time in remote areas of, say China or Thailand, and you’ll know a lot about how isolation feels.  In the Philippines, almost everyone knows English and a lot of people are eager to talk with you and practice their own English.

At Least You Can Read What Not To Do

And, more important in many ways, the laws are written and published in English.

Even when things are written in Filipino or one of the other Philippine languages, the alphabet used is the familiar one we learned as little children … no Chinese ideograms or Thai/Khmer “squiggles” to give you headaches.

I Have To Make a Long-term Commitment

This is nother old wive’s tale which a lot of people parrot is 100% untrue.

Come and stay as long (or short) a time as you like.

In fact, based on my years of experience here, I counsel everyone I can reach to NOT make long-term commitments.

You may love it here and decide to stay forever.

If so, great.

Every type of visa you can qualify for can be applied for tight here in the Philippines.  No need to leave the country and apply from the “outside.

If you stay here in the Philippines a few months or a few years and then decide you have all your debts paid off and all your other goals accomplished, you don’t really need to do anything to make a move back to the USA (or to some other country which catches your eye).

Just buy a plane ticket and don’t miss your flight.  You’ll be home in 12 to 14 hours flying time.

It has worked really well for me … I’ve been here nearly 13 years and I’ve never had to mess about with applying for a visa yet.

Maybe I’ll Stay 13 More Years

Or maybe I won’t.



But one thing is for sure, a US citizen certainly CAN move to the Philippines?