Are foreigners allowed to establish a business in the Philippines

Dear Calif-Native

Your explanation regarding having a business in Philippines is quite extensive and informative, I will certainly read through it thoroughly bit later but I really appreciate your professional approach to explaining all the fine detail.

Many thanks

Sadly Karen I'm yet to hear of any good stories about this and the 1 point I'd like to make is that we are foreigners and called foreigners here not Australian , English , American etc because the word foreign means it doesn't belong but if you were in my country you would be called Filipino

Hi Mattrey

Just read your message here and its funny you pointed out this and yes you are absolutely correct. I am an Australian and if I met a Filipino person here in Australia I would refer to them as Filipino.

Thank you for sharing this,

It only takes one or two bad experiences to ruin it for the rest.....

Great post Kaaren, nothing but respect to you ad your country.

Foreigners can lease land in the Philippines for up to 50 years. Most leases are usually for 25 years with the right of renewal for another 25 years, thus a total of 50 years. Therefore if the foreigner builds on the land, he or she owns the building, not the land.

agree. but there are some exceptions so foreigners could also own a land :)

I don't know of any foreigners who own land outright in the Philippines. A foreigner can own 40% of the property but the remaining  portion of the property must be owned by a Filipino. A corporation can be formed but the majority of the corporation will still be controlled by Filipinos. Currently there is no way a foreigner can own land outright here in the Philippines. A foreigner can lease land but will not own it..

Lack of knowledge arises from lack of information  😇

I totally agree, believe only 5% or less of what you hear, particularly from expats. There are a lot of so called experts out there.

Good day to you

My girlfriend in the Philipppines wishes to buy a salon of some Filipinas as they want to move abroad, now l am a non resident and will be funding this business opportunity for my girlfriend,  but l want my name on the Bill of Sale, does this sound like enough documents for us to legally own this salon and am l legally able to be part owner ???


Macca777 :

Good day to you

My girlfriend in the Philipppines wishes to buy a salon of some Filipinas as they want to move abroad, now l am a non resident and will be funding this business opportunity for my girlfriend,  but l want my name on the Bill of Sale, does this sound like enough documents for us to legally own this salon and am l legally able to be part owner ???


you may but not viable coz you'll be paying high income tax. you may opt to put up a corporation and put your name as one of the incorporators. :) pm me for more questions

How much do they want for the salon? Have they shown you P&L's?

@ MECCA777,

Your question details are bit different from your title but you still need to move slow and with great caution.  You/your GF will need to seriously consider doing the following to collect as much data as possible (prior to directly spending 1 peso on deposit/purchase):

1.  Investigate/obtain proof of current business documents:
- BIR records, permits and related history with clear and current name(s)
- 3+ years of the latest tax returns that will show declared profit/loss figures.
- City/mayor's permit that shows actual location with name(s) the business is permitted to.
- Lease agreement that supports/allows a new human(s) or judicial owner.
- All related TD (Tax Declaration) history.

2.  Investigate/obtain receipts of all equipment to confirm the actual owner(s).

3. Do not place your name as the buyer if it involves land (TCT) or a business listed in the Negative A/B lists as not allowed to be owned by foreigners without breaking into the $2M USD deposit requirement realm, as that can cause the transfer and lic/permit to be voided.  You can not legally own or purchase a business that is illegal for a foreigner to buy or own.

4. Sign/notarize a private agreement (between you/GF) regarding the investment actions you are taking and explain the money source/lending strategy ( loan terms, etc.) between you/your GF and how it (the money) will be "landed" in the Philippines.  Keep your "investment" money source or path clear and legal and use bank transfers each time. No cash transactions!!!

5. Investigate/obtain all needed steps/rules for establishing a Filipino corp with a foreign board member (that will not be structured/active as a corporate officer/employee).  Review SEC & Constitution for the best understanding.

6.  Consider registering for an SIRV (Special Investor's Resident Visa from BI) if your investment funds are at least $75K USD.  More details at:

7.  Avoid paid advice from an attorney, if possible.  If you still feel you need legal advice, at least wait until you/your GF have completed your investigations and understand all of those data collections.

Best wishes.

I have asked for P&L but its only 4 months old and wasnt open every day, asking 350,000

On first review, it seems a bit much/to risky for a new/unknown business.  They (the sellers) should be able to provide startup cost receipts so you can see the actual costs vs their intended profit.  Since Php 350K / $6860 is beyond so many locals, be careful here.  Please plug-in /turn on your "SCAMDAR" to reduce possible scamming.

Just slowly follow the items I outlined and get full answers.  If all of this is in a rented or leased space, then what does P350K really buy? 

Consider further evaluations that add to what I have already outlined with a listing that spells out such details as who owns/will own:
Trade name? If any
Internet domain?  If any
Existing website or ????

It is my opinion that you are missing well over 85% of the vital info needed to make a wise/well informed buy/investment decision on this matter.

Lastly, it is possible that you/your GF are new to the investment evaluation process and may never see a ROI.  As a minimum, consider learning as much as possible about this term "ROI".  After completing your detailed research and obtaining 4 months of operational performance data, fine-tune your numbers on the conservative side (be as realistic as possible with only 4 months of data) and plug in the numbers along with your $$$ numbers to the below provided "ROI Calculator" for your own peace of mind.

Again, best wishes.

I have screenshot your previous recommendation,  l truly appreciate your advice thank you


You are very welcome and I hope it helps you make the most informed decision.

Yes again thank you kindly


Moderated by Bhavna 2 months ago
Reason : Ad
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

@ Paoyo,

Please explain your attempts at providing false and or misleading information to expats?  A money changer business must be either a sole proprietor, corporation or partnership.  It is illegal for a foreigner to be a sole proprietor in the Philippines without a $200K min. investment. 

It is misleading when you fail to post these facts. 

In addition to the requirement that one must also apply to the SSS, Pagibig, DOLE and Philhealth, there is a Central Bank requirement to attend their Anti-Money Laundering Seminar.  Obtaining SSS is legal but very complex for a foreigner (based on Citizen's Charter of the Social Security System, 1st Edition, December 2009).  However, there are BI and DOLE registration requirements.   

It is misleading when you fail to post these facts.

After all of the above, please address why you are attempting to offer "commercial real-estate" to expats on this section of the forum?? 

In addition to forum rules, please be reminded of certain provisions under RA 9646 (June 29, 2009), ARTICLE III LICENSURE EXAMINATION AND REGISTRATION, Section 19. Revocation or Suspension of the Certificate of Registration and the Professional Identification Card or Cancellation of Special/Temporary Permit for:
(a) Procurement of a certificate of registration and/or professional identification card, or special/temporary permit by fraud or deceit;

(b) Allowing an unqualified person to advertise or to practice the profession by using one's certificate of registration or professional identification card, or special/temporary permit;

(c) Unprofessional or unethical conduct;

(d) Malpractice or violation of any of the provisions of this Act, its implementing rules and regulations, and the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for real estate service practitioners; and

(e) Engaging in the practice of the profession during the period of one's suspension.

And ARTICLE IV PRACTICE OF REAL ESTATE SERVICE, Section 29. Prohibition Against the Unauthorized Practice of Real Estate Service. Which states:

"No person shall practice or offer to practice real estate service in the Philippines or offer himself/herself as real estate service practitioner, or use the title, word, letter, figure or any sign tending to convey the impression that one is a real estate service practitioner, or advertise or indicate in any manner whatsoever that one is qualified to practice the profession, or be appointed as real property appraiser or assessor in any national government entity or local government unit, unless he/she has satisfactorily passed the licensure examination given by the Board, except as otherwise provided in this Act, a holder of a valid certificate of registration, and professional identification card or a valid special/temporary permit duly issued to him/her by the Board and the Commission, and in the case of real estate brokers and private appraisers, they have paid the required bond as hereto provided."


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