Work visa for the Philippines

visa application
Updated 2023-07-19 07:28

If you're a prospective expatriate looking to start a new career in the Philippines, understanding the visa landscape is essential to ensure a smooth and legal transition. Learn how to obtain a work visa in the Philippines, including the application process, requirements, and relevant regulations.

Work visas and permits in the Philippines

Work visa

The most common type of work visa for expats issued in the Philippines is the 9 (G) visa, also known as the Pre-arranged Employment Visa. It allows employers in the country to employ expats with skills, qualifications, and experience that may be in short supply in the country. Please note that if there is a skilled Filipino who can do the particular job in question, then they will be prioritized for the job. Also, keep in mind that it is strictly forbidden to work within the Philippines with a tourist visa only. Refer to our  Visas for the Philippines article for more information.

Other types of work visas are;

  • International Treaty Trader / Investor.
  • Temporary Visitor's Visa for Business Purposes
  • Special Non-Immigrant Visa Under E.O. 226
  • Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
  • Provisional Work Permit
  • Special Work Permit

The above-mentioned visas relate to investors, people who will be working in the Philippines temporarily or foreign personnel and their families.

Work permit

Foreigners/expats who plan to work in the Philippines are required to obtain a work permit. There are three main work permits, and they are obtained from two agencies – the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration.

The following documents are needed to apply for an alien work permit must be submitted to your local DOLE office:

  • Completed application form
  • Employment contract
  • Employees passport with a valid visa
  • Business Permit

9(G) pre-arranged employment visa in the Philippines

The 9 (G) Pre-arranged Employment Visa is the main work visa for expats/foreigners who come to the Philippines to legally work.  As mentioned, it is imperative to keep in mind that it must be shown that the skills of the expat/ foreigner are invaluable to the particular company/ employer and will not impinge on the local job market.

If the duration of employment is less than 6 months, a Special Work Permit should be acquired, if the employment is more than 6 months then an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) should be obtained by the expat.

If an AEP is required by an expat starting gainful employment for 6 months the DOLE office will require these documents in the link.  The AEP application form can also be found here.

To apply for the 9 (G) Visa, the Bureau of Immigration dictates the following:

  • You must secure the CGAF form either at the Public Information and Assistance Unit (PIAU) at the nearest Bureau of Immigration;
  • Submit the documents for pre-screening to the Central Receiving Unit (CRU) or to the frontline officer or staff of other Immigration Offices able to process this transaction;
  • Pay the required fees;
  • Submit a copy of the Official Receipt;
  • Attend hearing;
  • Proceed to the Image and Fingerprint Capturing Counter of the Alien Registration Division (ARD) and submit requirements for ACR I-Card application;
  • Check the website if the visa application is already approved;
  • If approved, submit passport for visa implementation;
  • If the ACR I-Card (Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card) application is approved, claim ACR I-Card.

Good to know:

The 9G visa must be renewed no later than every three years. The good news is that it applies to most job types; executive, technical and managerial in the Philippines. provided there is a legal employer-employee agreement in place.

The Philippine Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card

As stated above, an application for an Alien Employment Permit is required in conjunction with the principal work visa application for foreign nationals seeking employment in the Philippines. A Philippine Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR I-Card biometrics registration) may be required for the applicant and their dependants. This is required when travelling outside of the Philippines.

Just like the 9 (G) visa, an employee must be petitioned by his/her company and it must generally be shown that the skills of the expat/ foreigner are invaluable to the particular company/ employer and will not impinge on the local job market.

While waiting for the 9 (G) Visa to process  in the Philippines

While waiting for the work visa to be approved do not feel like you are in limbo!  Foreign nationals must obtain a provisional permit to work pending the approval of the 9(g) visa. Also issued by the Bureau of Immigration and will have a 3-month validity. The BI will not issue a 9(g) working visa unless and until the AEP from the DOLE is obtained.

The revised rules include an Ocular (visual) Inspection of Establishments. Under the Order, the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) may inspect establishments employing expats/ foreign nationals to verify the legality and authenticity of the foreign nationals' employment and to ensure that the expat/ foreigner is doing the job for which their permit is being issued.

The grounds for refusal of AEP applications are as follows:

  • misrepresentation of facts in the application;
  • or falsified documents; 
  • a criminal record; or
  • if there is a similarly talented Filipino available to work.

Useful links:

Bureau of Immigration

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Visas

Philippine Department of Labor and Employment

Form retiree visa - Philippine Retirement Authority

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.