visa and more

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To be able to enter the Philippines you do not always need a visa. It depends on your citizenship.
I receive many questions about what type of visa would be the best for short and/or long stay in this country. The only answer I can give is: it depends on what is the purpose of your travel to the Philippines.
For that reason, I have gathered some information and web pages where you can find more information.
Please note that the website of the Philippine Immigration cannot be reached all the time. What is the reason for it, I do not know.
On almost every link page to the Bureau of Immigration, you will find links to:

  • Checklist for requirements
  • Forms to download
  • Additional information

On that page you will also find the latest instructions how to apply and where, and a table of how much it will cost you.

But let’s start with balikbayan, because I get many questions about it:


What is a ‘balikbayan’? (Former) Filipino citizens and their families are considered ‘balikbayans’ when they visit the Philippines after been outside the country for more than 12 months.
Balikbayan is not a real visa. People who are granted entry in the Philippines under this Republic Act get a ‘balikbayan privilege status’ which is valid for 12 months. Check the . Note that a foreigner, married to a Filipino, must be accompanied by the spouse upon entry in the Philippines to be able to get the ‘balikbayan’ status. The same goes for children.
Check also RA 6768 and the revised version RA 9174. You can easily find them by typing the RA+number in your browser search bar.
If you intend to stay longer than 1 year, you need to apply for the LSVVE visa. See further in this post.

Temporary visitor’s visa

A temporary visitor’s visa is available for foreigners visiting the Philippines for:

  • Pleasure, holiday and visit to friends of family
  • Business, for meetings, contract negotiations and the like
  • Health reasons, people seeking for cheaper health care (provided not contagious, loathsome and/or dangerous diseases)

Check the website page for more information.
The requirements to visit the Philippines can be found at this page, points 8 and 9. Here you can also read if you need an entry visa or not.
The basic entry visa can be extended with 29 days for a total stay of 59 days.
Check this link for an extension until 59 days.
For extensions beyond these 59 days you need to check this page. Or check extra visa extension information.

If you plan to stay longer than two months:

Visa extensions through LSVVE

The Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) new Long-Stay Visitors Visa Extension (LSVVE).
This (new) visa, which is the ideal vehicle to market the country as long stay destination including overwintering and second home destination. The new LSVVE allows foreign travelers to extend their stay to six months from the previous two-month extensions. The visa can be obtained in succession thereby allowing a foreigner to stay in the country up to 36 months, with approval from the BI.
Read an explanation on this YAHOO news page.
The webpage with requirements and fees can be read here.

SRRV program

visaSRRV stands for Special Resident Retiree’s Visa and is a government program to attract foreigners to live in the Philippines. The SRRV has 4 different programs at the moment. There are some restrictions and terms for those who like to use this program. It is developed for foreigners, not having a Filipino spouse, but just like to retire in the Philippines.
Check the website of PRA (Philippine Retirement Authority) for the different programs they have.
If you are interested, and have questions: Do not ask me, but become a member of PRA and ask them!

So far the most common visas. There are several more, like: student visa, missionary visa and business visa. They are not often used for expats like most of us.

Exit Clearance

An exit clearance is required if you have been in the country for 6 months or more. The deeper details can be hard to find and understand.
1. If you are here on a tourist visa 6+ months (you already have an ACRI card), you will need the ECC-A.
2. If your spouse is Filipino and you are on a 13A visa with that type of ACRI card, you can process an ECC-B. The ECC-B is your Re-entry Permit (RP).
See the complete website page for this item and read it well.

ACR-i card

The ACR-i card is your identity card in the Philippines. You always need to bring it with you.
The current ACR-I card from BI is that Tourist Visa holders are required to get the ACR-I card after the first 59 days of extension. This version is good for 1 year only. The ACR-I Card for married foreigners (13A Visa types) is very different and is issued as temporary (1 year) and becomes a 5 year permanent type upon application for that status.
Check this page for more information about the card.
And how to apply for an ACR-I card on this page. Note that the fees mentioned on this page are for the card only. The visa extension or application for immigrant visa needs to be paid as well.

Annual reporting

The moment you have your ACR-I card you need to report at the Bureau of Immigration during the first two months of every year. The costs are 310 pesos.
Check the Applications for visa upon arrival

    A qualified non-immigrant foreigner who shall actually employ at least ten (10) Filipinos in a lawful and sustainable enterprise, trade or industry needs a special visa
  • Latest guidelines for 2015

    Go to this pdf document


    All foreign nationals who are existing ACR I-card holders whose basis of renewal is any of the following:

    • Expiration of the one (1) year validity of the card
    • Re-registration of alien upon reaching the age of 14
    • Change of visa status
    • Replacement of ACR as required under the Alien Registration Act (ARA) of 1950, as amended

    ARA of 1950document.
    Renewal of ACR-I card

    Other important pages:


    If you intend to get Philippine citizenship, here are the requirements
    Reacquiring Philippine citizenship
    document 1 and document 2

    Application forms download page

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