You will probably need a visa to travel to the Philippines. Find out in this article which type of visa is appropriate for you.
The Philippines is a quite reserved country when it comes to expatriation. In fact, local authorities have established an annual quota system according to which a total of 50 foreigners are allowed to live and work in the country. You must have understood by now that your entry into the Philippines will be highly controlled. But you can still move to the country as a non-quota foreigner under certain conditions. Therefore, you are advised to inquire well about these before proceeding further.
To fit into the non-quota category, you must either be married to a Filipino national, or be less than 21 years old, or the unmarried child of a former Filipino national who is returning to the Philippines, or be a Filipino national going back to his home country.
Otherwise, you will fit into the quota category and you will have to apply for a visa depending on the purpose and duration of your stay in the country. In general, you will need the following documents:
- a duly filled and signed visa application form
- your passport (which should be valid for at least 6 months following your trip to the Philippines)
- passport-size identity photos
- application fees
- your spouse's or children's birth and marriage certificates in the case of a family expatriation.
Note that you will be called for an Interview with the Immigration Department following your request. You are also required to produce proof of sufficient funds to support yourself (and your family) during your stay in the Philippines.
The student visa is issued by the Consulate once it has received approval from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. For this, the student must directly enroll with the Philippine university or higher education institution he has chosen which will then submit the application to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for approval. If the answer is positive, the CHED will transmit its approval to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs who will then allow the Consulate to issue the student visa.
Documents to be produced (in original along with two copies are the following):
- duly filled and signed application forms
- a passport (which has to be valid for at least six months following your trip in the country)
- 6 recent passport-size photos
- certified proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in the country
- the original and the copy of your official medical certificate (Form 11) issued by a licensed and accredited doctor (to be accompanied by a chest X-ray and the results of urine, faeces and blood tests. This document has to be submitted with the visa application to the quarantine officer, once at the border. Note that the medical certificate is valid for 6 months)
- your clean criminal record
- the acceptance letter issued by the university or higher education institution where you have enrolled, bearing its stamp
- the original and the copy of the Eligibility Certificate for Admission (ECA) issued by the Commission of Higher Education (CHED)
- visa fees.
Pre-arranged work visa
The pre-arranged work visa is issued to teachers, lecturers, doctors and nurses in hospitals, scientists, banking professionals and other workers involved in the commercial, industrial, agricultural specialists and other business activities.
The pre-arranged employment visa shall be issued only when you call personally at the Philippines consulate in your home country. In fact, only the consulate has the right to issue and deliver visas abroad on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The employer, for his part, must give a sworn statement that he has hired you. He also has to make the visa request at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The work visa will be issued once the consulate has received the DFA and the DOLE's respective authorizations.
Thereafter, you are required to call at the Philippines embassy or consulate in your home country with the following documents:
- a passport (valid for 6 to 12 months)
- two duly filled and signed visa application forms
- a copy of your employment contract
- your resume
- passport-size photos (to be signed on the bottom front)
- a medical and physical examination report issued by a licensed physician (including a chest X-ray, laboratory reports and an HIV-free certificate)
- application fees.
Alien Employment Permit (AEP) and Alien Certificate of Registration card (ACR I-Card)
Besides the work visa, you must also apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP). You can either apply for this permit yourself at the Philippines embassy or consulate in your home country or request your employer to arrange for it with one of the regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The ACR I-Card will be delivered along with the AEP. It is, in fact, an identity card with a microchip containing all the necessary information for immigration officials (your name, birth date, age, type of visa issued, etc). This card has replaced the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), Re-Entry Permit (RP), and Special Return Certificate (SRC) which were previously required by foreigners wishing to settle in the Philippines.
Special Investor's Resident Visa
The Special Investor's Resident (SIR) visa allows you to live in the Philippines for an unlimited period as an investor. You are eligible to this visa if you are at least 21 years old, you have never been convicted for any physical or moral offense, you are not suffering from any contagious or dangerous disease, you have never been interned for behavioral or mental disability, and you willing or able to invest an amount of at least US$ 75,000 in the Philippines.
The documents required are:
- a duly filled, signed and notarized visa application form, including recent passport-size identity photographs
- a criminal record certificate (duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy)
- a medical certificate issued by the Department of Health (DOH) or any Philippine hospital or health care center (It can be an approved and accredited hospital, a medical center, a laboratory or the equivalent in your home country, and must certify that you are physically and mentally fit. This certificate must have been issued not more than 6 months following the application date.)
- a sworn certification of authorized officers of the accredited custodian bank where you have deposited the amount of foreign currency stated and its conversion into pesos (in case it has been deposited in a non-accredited bank, the total amount of money should be transferred immediately to an accredited bank. But in all cases, the funds should not be transferred within one year prior to application.)
- a certified copy of the Philippine pesos deposit certificate with a maturity period of at least 30 days. (The original certificate will be kept with the custodian bank as a guarantee.)
- a birth certificate or family booklet, authenticated by the Philippines consulate (If the spouse and dependent children are included in the application, you also require a marriage certificate, authenticated by the Philippines consulate.)
- your original passport
- fees applied.
Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV)
The Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV) is issued by the Philippines Immigration Bureau as part of the Philippines Retirement Program under the aegis of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA). It is intended not only for foreigners, but also to Filipinos living overseas who wish to retire in the country. The visa allows you to reside permanently in the Philippines and also to leave the country anytime you want.
You are eligible to this visa if you are at least 50 years old, you can make a deposit of US$ 10,000 in a local bank account and receive a monthly pension of US$ 800 if you are alone. In the case of retired couples, they must be receiving a pension of US$ 1,000 per month. As regards non-pension retirees, they must be able to deposit US$ 50,000 if they are between 35 and 49 years old and US$ 20,000 if they are at least 50 years old.
In the case of former Filipino citizens, they must be at least 35 years old, with or without dependents, and be able to make a deposit of US$ 1,500. Finally, foreign ambassadors and international staff having served in the Philippines and who wish to retire in the country (including those of the Asian Development Bank), must be at least 50 years old and be able to make a deposit of US$ 1,500.
Note that retired foreigners are not required to make additional deposits for their spouse and a one unmarried less than 21 years old child. If they are not accompanied by their spouse, they can be accompanied by two unmarried and less than 21 years old children. In case they are accompanied by more than 21 years old children, they will have to deposit an amount of US$ 15,000 per child. However, this does not apply for former Filipino citizens.
In general, the following documents are to be produced:
- a duly filled and signed visa application form obtained from the Philippine Retirement Authority
- a valid passport
- a Form No. 11 inherent to the medical examination performed by an accredited physician and authenticated by the Philippines embassy or consulate (It should also indicate the applicant's serology and if the examination is conducted in the Philippines, a RSCC form 2 will be required.)
- proof of deposit of funds issued by a bank certified
- 6 passport-size identity photos (2.4 x 5 cm)
- a marriage certificate (authenticated by the Philippines embassy or consulate where the marriage was conducted)
- children's birth certificate (authenticated by the Philippines embassy or consulate if they were born abroad)
- fees applied.
Expat.com - Visas in the Philippines Forum
Bureau of Immigration www.immigration.gov.ph
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Visas www.dfa.gov.ph
Philippine Retirement Authority www.pra.gov.ph/main
Form retiree visa - Philippine Retirement Authority www.pra.gov.ph/main/srrv_form
ACR I-Card www.immigration.gov.ph/index.php/faqs/acr-i-card