Metro Manila · Staying in Manila: Visa for the Philippines

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Here we provide all basic information regarding the most important types of visa for the Philippines, for all foreigners who want to travel, study, work, or retire in the country.

+++ Update July 31, 2013 +++

The Bureau of Immigration recently announced that starting August 2013, the visa-free entry privilege for citizens of 151 countries will be extended from 21 days to 30 days. The extension is part of government efforts to spur foreign tourist arrivals in the country.

You can get the most updated information about visa requirements and procedures from the website of the Bureau of Immigration(BI), from your local Philippine embassy or consulate or from a travel agent.

Many travel agencies in Manila also facilitate visa applications and extensions. It takes them less time than if you try to make your way through the Philippine bureaucracy jungle yourself, and it will definitely safe you a lot of stress.

There are two types of visa, for non-immigrants (Section 9 visa) and for immigrants (Section 13 visa). Non-immigrant visas are for tourism, business, transit, study, employment, and other temporary visits. Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who wish to become permanent residents.

Tourist Visa

Citizens of most countries obtain a 30-day visa by arrival. All they need is a passport valid for at least six more months and a return ticket to their country of origin or to their next destination. Usually you will already be asked for that during check-in at your airport of origin, so make sure to have the return ticket or a copy close at hand.

When the visa-on-arrival was still 21 days, the stay could be extended for another 38 days (Section 9a, valid until July 31, 2013). The extension fee was 3030 pesos. We will inform you about the new regulations as soon as the BI has updated the info. If you want to stay longer, you need to get the I-Card for tourists, a microchip-based credit card-sized identification card issued to registered foreigners.

Work Visa

Pre-arranged employment visas (Section 9g) are issued to foreigners proceeding to the Philippines to engage in any lawful occupation, whether for wages or salary or for other forms of compensation where legitimate employer-employee relations exist. They may be professors and teachers for educational institutions, doctors and nurses for hospitals, scientists, professionals and other workers for banking, commercial, industrial, agricultural and other business enterprises. It is valid for one year and costs several ten thousand pesos. The work visa can be extended for a total maximum period of ten years. The employing company usually takes care of the application and informs you about required documents et cetera.

Student Visa

Student visas (Section 9f) are for students over fifteen years who intend solely to take up a course of study higher than high school at a university, seminary, academy, college or school approved for such alien students. Apart from the usual requirements, applicants need proof of having means sufficient for their education and support in the Philippines, a police clearance, a medical examination report, evidence of education to date, and a notice of acceptance from the respective school. The visa is valid for one year and costs roughly 10.000 pesos.

Retiree Visa

The Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) is for retirees who want to spend the rest of their life under the Philippine sun. Single retirees have to proof that they get a monthly pension of at least 800 US Dollars, for couples it is 1,000 US Dollars. Without monthly pension a time deposit is required, amounting to 50,000 US Dollars for applicants 35 to 49 years old, and 20,000 US Dollars for applicants 50 years and older. Once obtained, retirees do not have to extend their SRRV anymore.


Interested? Read more:

The Bureau of Immigration (Intramuros)

Lost in the Bureau of Immigration

Work Visa & Work Permit

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Did you forget to renew your tourist visa? Do not worry; the Bureau of Immigration can fix that with their alien registration program. 

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'In order to save some money and because I was curious getting to know the notorious Philippine Bureau(crazy) of Immigration, I dared to take care of the paperworks myself instead of just hiring a travel and visa agency', Jo, Megacitizen

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The Bureau of Immigration has its main office in Intramuros, Manila City. Hundreds of foreigners and Filipinos go there everyday to extend visas, get clearances, or change their residence status. Here is the Megacitizens survival guide for the Bureau of Immigration.

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In order to work in the Philippines, you normally need a certain visa, a work permit, and pay taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The  Philippine Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It allows a foreign national to work in the country and is usually sent in with a pre-arranged employment visa.