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Life Philippines

Status Of Your Sec 13a Visa If You Split Up?

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I have met several expats, both on and offline in the past few weeks, who are here on a Sec 13a visa. Not unusual you might think, but these men, but it equally applies to a woman on the same visa, have separated from their spouse. One is still living in the marital home but both he and his spouse live separate lives, the other has walked away from the relationship and is currently building a new home and is living with a new Filipina. Both believed that they still had visa coverage for living here in the Philippines.

The bad news is they don’t.

This Is The Law Regarding The Status Of Your Sec 13a Visa

A visa granted on the basis of marriage to a Filipino citizen may be revoked if the marriage is void,
a) couples separate or divorce,
b) the marriage is annulled,
c) the marriage was contracted to evade the Immigration Act (CA 613), or
d) loss of citizenship of the spouse.

I know there are many cases where couples have a spat and one moves out temporarily. Most couples have experienced that “going home to mum” or “spending a night or two at the local watering hole” while ruffled feathers are smoothed and/or male pride is restored. That is not the separation being talked about.
What is being referred to is a permanent separation, even if the parties are living in the same house, but no longer live as a married couple. When that point is reached is the time when the Bureau of Immigration can revoke your visa.
If you have ongoing animosity with your former spouse, they can report you as in contravention of your Section 13a visa and you can be on an immigration blacklist, without even knowing it. To be taken aside and questioned, fined and deported, when you next appear for annual reporting or take a trip outside the country.
However the more frequent scenarios are these:
a) Not thinking anything is amiss and talking openly with officials at the Bureau of Immigration about your separation.
b) Being contacted when the annulment papers are finalised and published.
c) Returning from getting your divorce in your home country, answering “divorced” to the Civil Status question and then claiming Sec 13a permanent Residence Status.

The Good News Is That You Can Change To One Of Several Alternative Visas.

You can apply for a change of visa status to one of either the:
a) The Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE) or
b) Revert to the Extension Of Authorised Stay Beyond 59 Days Temporary Visitor Visa, which is available for either one or two months at a time.
In addition if you meet the criteria you can apply for:
a) Special Residents Retiree Visa SRRV or
b) A quota visa under Sec 13g. See the Wiki

The key to successfully achieving this is by fronting up to your local Bureau of Immigration office as soon as your separation is confirmed and discussing your options with them.
Despite what you may read on some forums, these officials are people just like you and I trying to do a difficult job the best way they can. Cooperation, gets positive results.

66 thoughts on “Status Of Your Sec 13a Visa If You Split Up?

  1. Ron Speers

    Misuse of the term VISA is alive and well!

    The better news is that an ICR is NOT a 13a visa! Since Philippine law permits the revocation of the 13a visa the governmeht uses its own definition of VISA,
    A 13a.visa is a consular document

    S:ec. 13. Under the conditions set forth in this Act, there may be admitted into the Philippines immigrants, termed “quota immigrants” not in excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year, except that the following immigrants, termed “non-quota immigrants,” may be admitted without regard to such numerical limitations.cralaw

    The corresponding Philippine Consular representative abroad shall investigate and certify the eligibility of a quota immigrant previous to his admission into the Philippines. Qualified and desirable aliens who are in the Philippines under temporary stay may be admitted within the quota, subject to the provisions of the last paragraph of Section 9 of this Act.

    (a) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one. years of age of a Philippine citizen, if accompanying or following to join such citizen;

    The 13a visa is an ENTRY document. It is NOT the ICR which is a RESIDENCY. The visa may be revoked for loss of relationship with the sponsor but NOT the ICR, the residency.

    Ron Speers

    1. mbannist Post author

      Ron you may be technically correct, I would suggest that that is arguable, as definitions are varied, for example A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. Which indicates that visas are about time. The only ICR in the Philippines is the PRA SRRV, which is not handled by BI because it is considered substantively different from a Visa.
      Most of that conversation is of little interest to the “average Joe or Jane” whose marriage has fallen apart and thinks he or she can stay in the Philippines on the 13a. The advice is for them, because they will be the ones facing the fines or worse still deportation.
      As I said your position deserves consideration and putting those points to Mr Mison through the BI facebook page, will certainly elicit a response and give you an opportunity to air your points regarding definitions “to suit”. I have very robust discussions using the messaging facility, and get replies sometimes within hours and at all times of the day including weekends.

      1. Siegfried

        There are SEVERAL ways to obtain an ICR in the Philippines.

        And the SRRV is NOT one of them!

        I agree with Ron Speers. 13a is NOT a visa. a Visa is just for entering a country. If you have an ICR (which all 13a holders are issued) then you are under ICR.

        An ICR is not a visa!

        If anyone tries to tell you your 13a is revoked, do not let them! You have a ICR, which is almost like being a citizen. You cannot lose that unless you commit some major crime.

        1. mbannist Post author

          There are many errors of fact and interpretation in what you are saying.
          1. If you have an ICR get it changed to an ACR, no one should be relying on the old paper system anymore. SO ACR and ICR are the same.
          2. The original post did not infer that the SRRV was a way to obtain an ACR. In fact, it is a non-immigrant visa, aimed at expats wishing to retire in the Philippines and does away with the need for an ACR and annual reporting. But it does have conditions that must be met to obtain and continue to benefit.
          3. You are entitled to hold any opinion you like but to propagate opinions that could adversely affect your expat colleagues is rash. The 13a is clearly a visa see the BI page
          The ICR is now called the ACR you are correct, but it does need renewing every five years.
          The 13a is not just revoked it is downgraded, this can be accomplished by either yourself or your spouse.
          According to BI Under the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, Section 13 (a) you are eligible for permanent residency in the Philippines. This visa is issued to an alien on the basis of his valid marriage to a Philippine citizen. That is valid at all times. If it is no longer valid then neither is the visa.
          The Bureau has a process by which you can downgrade to a visitor visa. The requirements depend on the type of downgrade but include c. For Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), must come from the applicant or/and spouse indicating their residential address and contact number(s) as well as a photocopy of marriage certificate or contract;
          This is not about fairness or the correctness of the law, only that it is the law.

          1. Randy

            I wholeheartedly concur that the 13A is in fact a Visa. ALL Philippine instructions and nomenclature about such cannot be wrong. The 13A Visa is a non-quota immigrant Visa which is good for the period of one year until such time application is made for permanent residency. Even after the ACR (permanent) is obtained, Immigration officials may still refer to the 13A Visa as evidentuary evidence. Try leaving the country without declaring your permanent residency and see what happens when they notice your 13A in your passport – they will immediatly ask for your ACR card.

          2. mbannist Post author

            Randy, It is not only the Philippines that declares its laws. Allowing for the variations written by individual states, Philippines law rests in the same cradle as International Visa law in general.
            Many countries have visas enabling their nationals to bring Spouses or potential spouses to the country. None of them has laissez-faire entry, with no rules. If a person fails to comply with the conditions of the visa it is cancelled and the person is usually required to leave the country.
            The Philippines has a system where a visa can be downgraded which is very fair.
            So The Philippines has a system and you need comply with it or bear the consequences.

          1. mbannist Post author

            Hi there,
            you will need to get someone here to take your the receipt that expired to BI and apply for the updated ICR as outlined in the post. HTH

  2. John

    My wife passed away 5 years ago and I was told my 13A was still ok. Not the case! 5 years later Downgraded to Tourist and a massive fine paid. Beware..

    1. mbannist Post author

      Thank you John, there are some bush lawyers who say this is not the case, but unfortunately it is the reality, your 13a visa was granted on the basis of your marriage to a Filipina and if that marriage ends for whatever reason, the visa is nullified.

    2. Larry

      Hey John, if you dont mind how much was your fine. My divorce was final last december and I need to downgrade my 13a. I have been here now over 10 years and next week will fix the problem hopefully without being sent tk Bicutan thanks in advance for any info on this

      1. mbannist Post author

        I don’t know if John will see your question Larry, but there does seem to be a pattern to those who get this sorted without to much hassle and those that don’t; that is attitude.
        If your attitude is that you genuinely messed up, it will go a lot better.
        Some things that we have seen that bring negative responses are:

        • Accusing the Bureau of corruption.(Unless your case is iron clad) Especially as part of a scatter-gun rant.
        • Complaining about the paperwork. The staff didn’t invent it some consultant did and they are tied to it as much as you.
        • Complaining about the system in BI, the government, the Philippines.
        • Complaining about your ex or Filipinas in general. Many of these educated people are ambivalent about the whole foreigner male, Filipina arrangement anyway.
        • Complaining about the waiting. It does tend to keep pushing you down the list.
        • Making it personal. These people didn’t know they would meet you today or how it would turn out. They haven’t got it in for you
        • And before someone says these things don’t happen and happen regularly just take a seat at a BI office for the day. It happens

        1. larry


          Got the problem resolved with BI reference my divorce under a 13a visa. Its relatively simple and cost 3500. If you separate or divorce while under a 13a visa you must downgrade to a 9a or other type of visa. Also note that BI can and may issue an order to leave within 15 days. However, i was not ordered to do such probably because I have been here now over 10 years. Anyway, yes you must notify BI of the change and apply for a downgrade.

          On another note and kinda off topic, my downgrade was done in December 2015 and I received a 59 day visa which I will extend next week in order to apply for a new 13a with my current wife do you have any information as regards to the new 13a requirements keeping in mind I have completed all the requirements in 2006 and my 13a visa was valid until Novemebr of 2017, when I applied in 2006 submitted police clearances and quaratine requirements, and have not left the country since my aerival in 2005. My divorce was final in 2014 and I remarried last year. Understanding I need to submit a new Brgay, Police and NBI clearance I personally dont see the need to resubmit medical and other sort of documents. Any thoughts on this issue or has anyone here gone through a similar situation…? Thanks larry

          1. mbannist Post author

            Thanks for the feedback Larry, it is one of the reason I started this site, so we get away from peoples opinions and start dealing in facts, especially when it comes down to such important matters. Since the original post i have been in contact with two other expats in your situation and one took the bull by the horns and after 3 years was allowed to stay after paying a hefty fine, his situation was that his wife had died and that’s why he got a bit of leniency. The other guy was moaning about how wrong BI was about their interpretation of the law as they put him on the plane back to his home country, which proves that facts will never overcome arrogance even if its right in some peoples face.

            Now to you other question, the best advice I have been able to obtain is as follows:

            Your new application will be treated as though you have never applied before and you will have to provide all the documentary evidence. This is listed here

            The process will also be the same as the first time and you will need to get the probationary 13a for one year before getting the permanent visa. The process for the Probationary visa is outlined here

            If your experience is any different to that which was given me please post as we will hold BI to account for the information it provides

    3. orion

      A new circular has been passed, in which 13(a) will remain, in case there are children produced from the marriage. It was done out of compassionate reasons, not to split up the family. The new circular was released just last year. You can confirm it.

        1. mbannist Post author

          I answered this last night and now it is not showing up on my dash board. My apologies if you receive this twice.
          I am not sure exactly what law you are referring to. Philippines Immigration law is conducted under the Immigration Act 1940 and its myriad of amendments. General references in the 1940 Act are often operationalised by the Commissioner of the day. So you may need to look in memoranda rather than a statute. With Reference to the 13a we wrote an article that may help you ascertain, what happened and who it applied to. You can find it HERE

  3. larry

    Also I read a comment from someone here who stated that they could just report every year and pay the tax and just continue living here even afyer divorce or separation…..? My advise is you may get away with that for awhile but your 13a is only good for 5 years then has to be renewed. If you fail to notify BI at that time and provide false information on the application for renewal you will certainely have more problems than you will be able to habdle. Criminal charges being filed, arrest, deportation, blacklisted and everything else. I agree with Mbannist as if you have any problems or concerns with your status be upfront with BI, they have always assisted me and have been very helpfull in resolving my issues. Simply put there is no need to try to pull one ober on BI as if you get caught trouble trouble trouble…….

    1. mbannist Post author

      Thanks for your comment again, can I just rectify one point you made. The section 13a is a permanent resident visa which only requires any attention if your marriage status changes for any reason. Other than that it never needs renewing, it is permanent. What does need renewing is your ACR card, that is good for 12 months while your status is probationary permanent and then every 5 years once your status is permanent. The ACR carries all your biometrics, picture and signature and things like images and signatures address change over time and need renewing. Although you are meant to update your address as it changes the renewal catches the latest, if you fail to do so. They also charge you for that privilege so if you move frequently try to get a permanent residential address (maybe that of the in-laws) to save you the 20USD plus 500php express lane fee check the details

      1. mbannist Post author

        I don’t know if Larry will see this but let me respond again.
        The 13a is a visa that entitles you to live in the Philippines while in a valid marriage to a Philippines citizen. It is permanent while the conditions are met and never needs to be renewed. Read my previous comment

  4. mars

    I have a question about the 13A visa. I know it has never been asked before. I will try and make the story short. I was married to a fillipino for about 10 years. I retired and moved here to the PI. I got the 13A visa. About a year later we got divorced. She went to the US and I stayed here. I had a SPA so I sold the house and renting. She has had no contact with me for over 3 years. No emails or calls. Since then I meet my soul mate. We have been living together for over 3 years. We got married in HK last August. We could not get married in the PI because I was already married to a fillipino and they don’t recognize divorce. Our marriage in HK was leagel and registered at the PI Counslat in HK. We have a copy of the marriage certificate from NSO. Now my question is how do I go about getting my spouse’s name changed on my 13A, or do I need to? The 13A is perminate. The ACIR card is what you have to renew every 5 years. So I am thinking I just need to change the ACIR card. Thoughts please

    1. mbannist Post author

      You may read different opinions on others sites, from “bush lawyers” trying to interpret the regulations on the Bureau of Immigration. These comments are based on my in depth discussions with BI and backed up by the real life experience of expats who walked that path.
      The day you separated from your 1st wife until today your 13a was void. your course of action should have been to change your visa to another that reflected your current situation. The permanency side of a 13a applies only while you meet the terms of the visa, which is that you are in a marriage relationship, with the person who petition on your behalf, while that applies your status is permanent. The renewal of your ACR is for monitoring purposes only. For the period between your separation and now you have been illegal, which means you could be up for serious fines or worse. My advice is as follows.
      1. Read the posts of those who actually dealt with this situation by clicking here
      2. Ring BI and explain your situation. They are very helpful and can arrange for an appointment to discuss the issue with you. Ask any questions you might have on the phone so you are prepared for when you go to the office. Take the attitude that you think you messed up and want to put it right.
      3. When you sort this out and pay your fine and are issued with you new 59 day tourist visa, you can the apply for a new 13a visa the process and charges are outlined here It is a completely new process, not just a name change as the idea is that your partner is your sponsor.
      Hope that helps

  5. Jan-Erik Bender

    Good Day
    My name is Jan-Erik Bender and I am a ACR card holder with visa 13a.
    What hapens with my visa when my wife suddenly died.
    Best regards

    1. mbannist Post author

      Hi Jan, We are sorry for your loss. You will now need to revert to a Visitor visa 9a which will need to be renewed each 2 or 6 months if you wish to stay here.
      You could also consider applying for quota visa under Sec 13 you will find the details here
      Or you could consider a Philippines retirement visa if you are over 35 years of age.
      My final suggestion has more red tape as is more expensive but may be an option if you employ 10 or more filipinos on a consistent basis in a legally registered enterprise. Details of the SVEG are found by clicking on the link
      Hope that helps

        1. mbannist Post author

          Thanks for contacting us John.
          I am a little confused by your statement. Are you saying that having dependent children of the relationship when your wife dies, entitles you to retain your 13a. Then you are correct and that is what the post says.
          However, there are some very specific conditions around that as you can see by reading the original Memo Circular

          • The children must be the offspring of the relationship. “If the dissolution of the marriage is due to the death of the
            Filipino wife and there is/are surviving child/children of such marriage.
          • The child/ren must be under 21 years of age.
          • The Child/ren must be unmarried.
          • The child/ren must have been living with the mother or intending to do so.
        2. If the dependent child/rens status in regard to these things changes they are no longer considered dependent and the foreigner would have his/her sec 13a revoked.
        3. Some things I cannot be 100% about but can make some assumptions:

          • Children legally adopted by you will be treated as children of the relationship. That is not stated explicitly anywhere but is a tenet of Philippines family law.
          • Children of your wife from another relationship will be treated as illegitimate and they would not count as a dependent. That is based on the status of illegitimate children under Philippines law. It has not been tested as far as I can find.
          • Special needs children, will not get special treatment. By this, I mean that caring for a special needs child/ren, may not automatically gain you extensions of your 13a beyond their 21st birthday. As far as I can tell it has yet to be tested in law.
          • Finally, currently you are unable to claim a child from a relationship that was over before the death of the Filipino spouse, as a dependent and thus regain your 13a status. It is possible that this will be tested in law, but until it is you cannot assume that as a defence for breaking the law.

          Hope that helps

    2. orion

      A new circular has been released, if your wife passes away and you have a child from the marriage, then your 13(a) will be allowed to remain out of compassionate reasons. I have confirmed this with the main BI office in Manila. The circular was released last year.

  6. dan nielsen

    i have been here 12 years. i have been mailed to a filipina 19 years i am raising two children here. my wife is living in america and going to school there . she. has been there two years. i have a 13a can i be in troubles and separated from my children she is coming back for a visit in oct.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Your status depends on the your marriage being intact. If it is then it doesn’t matter how you conduct your relationship. Your major worry would be how your wife would respond if ask by BI if the marriage is intact. Many expats rely on their partner to not report a change of status and that can work, while the relationship is amicable, but that state of affairs can change very quickly, with the introduction of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or an argument over money or the kids.
      My advice is if either of you consider the relationship over, then make a decision to report it to BI, and downgrade your visa. Otherwise you are fine and shouldn’t worry. Education is a legit reason for a temporary separation, even of some years.

  7. JOhn

    hi,,my name is John.i live in France,i need informations about 13a visa,i want to go Philippines and i want to live thier in long time with my girlfriend,,i am qualified to apply a 13A visa? can i apply 13A visa before entering philipines?please help.

    1. mbannist Post author

      A 13a is the visa you can obtain only when you are legally married to your Filipino spouse who has current citizenship and residence.
      It comes in two parts.

      A) The 12 month probationary residence visa status

      B) The permanent Residence visa status

      The application form, other documentary requirements and fees can be found here for A.

      And here for B.

      If your intention is not to marry then you could consider a number of other options:

      Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension.

      On arrival in the Philippines you will be given a free 30 day visa.

      This can be extended by a further 29 days through a visa waiver, costing 3300php.

      Then you can apply for a Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE)for the maximum 6 months and your ACR card which will last 12 months

      The Application form, documentary requirements and fees can be found HERE

      Then apply apply for the LSVVE each six months renewing your ACR on the second and fourth application.

      Your last LSVVE should be for only four months and will cost less.

      This will take you to the 36 month point. Then you must leave the Philippines. Take your friend on a short holiday to a place such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand.

      If this is not possible then just book the cheapest offshore destination you can find, stay 24 hours and return.
      You can then reapeat the process all over for as long as you like.

      Another Option is:

      The Quota Visa

      This visa is granted to no more than 50 of any one nationality, or no nationality in any one year.

      It is a permanent Residence Visa, and you are not required to marry your girlfriend.

      The Application form, documentary requirements and fees can be found HERE

      Your other option is to come into the Philippines on:

      A Philippines Retirement Authority (PRA) Visa

      You can find all the details HERE

      The application for this visa can be started online

      Whereas all the others require you to be in the country.

      hope that helps

  8. JOhn

    hello,,thank you for ur replied,,its really helped me lots..i have another question about LSVVE,, can i work in philippines if i have this kind of Visa? for QUOTA VISA,, i think its really hard to get this kind of 🙁 seems like its lotery..

    1. mbannist Post author

      not on the lsvve, because it is a visitor visa, but if you could persude a company that you have skills that a filipino does not have or not in sufficient numbers for demand you could look at getting a work visa, it is renewed annually and quite complicated to get and maintain.
      get details HERE
      Quota Visa for many countries is quite easy and is well worth the try and is quite reasonable in terms of fees

  9. Henry

    Hi I have a question, I have a 13a visa but am now in the UK and will be applying for my family to come and live here. Last time I left a got the 6 month re-entry permit at the airport but I don’t think I will be back until past that date..what will happen when I arrive? I was told once by a BI official that I never had to do anything and my visa would be permanent as long as I paid any annual report I owed..which I don’t trust! I just don’t want to be hit with a big fine when I haven’t even been in the country! Thanks, Henry

    1. mbannist Post author

      From Charles
      You should have an ACR Card that and your passport with the 13a visa stamp is all you should need. The re-entry permit lasts for 12 months normally and is programmed into your ACR. If you experienced differently get back to me or leave BI a message on their facebook page. I offer to do it because it makes sure I have up to date info.

      From Henry
      Cheers for the reply,

      I’m pretty sure mine is 6 months this time, one time I left the guy asked if I was coming back within 6 months, I said yes and it ended up about 1k cheaper than the last time I’d left. I came back within the 6 months anyway, but this most recent time they didn’t ask me anything and I still paid the cheaper price which I’m guessing is a half price one compared to a year. Anyway I will try get some info and I’ll let you know what happens. Pretty sure I’ll have to pay something as always seems to be the case!

      to henry
      Immigration is one of those departments around the world which governments think should fund themselves. Have you seen the cost of US visas. It’s a rip off for us because it really isn’t necessary, but I guess they have to fund the tracking and surveillence of all those drug lords.
      Where in the UK are you from. I was born and raised in South East London.

      I just talked to my contact in BI and he said that the reentry permit is included in the ECC B 2880 for the first trip out each year and 2180 for any subsequent trips. He was very surprised by your situation, said you shoulxd talk to the embassy or consulate nearest you in the UK and sort it out before you leave for PH. They can provide advice that is guaranteed. They will give it in writing he said.

      From Henry
      Yea immigration costs are high, costing 2 grand for my wife’s initial spouse visa to come here and processing time about 3 months apparently!

      June 2016 I paid 2880
      Feb 2017 I paid 2170 – new calender year and this is the time asked if I was coming back within 6 months
      July 2017 I only paid 1670..no 500 express lane fee for some reason

      The RP/SRC halved from 1400 to 700 after he said about 6 months so I just guessed half price half the time. But I’ve read and states very clearly that each time you leave you get a one year validity on the permit. So maybe they just like giving me discounts! Anyway I will try and get some confirmation from them about it and let you know for future reference

      to henry
      Okay Thanks for the clarification. By the way the I think the 12 months is from the time you apply first time, still doesn’t explain the July 2017 cost. This time it’s in your favor, they have moved rapidly from charging what they think we will take, several people I know were charged in excess of 50,000 peso’s for each stage of the 13a, plus having to take the official for a slap up lunch at the best eating house in town, plus out of towners could expect two night hotels food and taxi’s. At least now we have a written price list to budget by.
      I have posted these emails on http://lifephilippines.org for the benefit of others, i will edit out any comment not pertaining to the question you raised.

  10. Robert Sleight

    Is this thread still active. I have a question about separation…. I am not legally separated from my filipino wife, nothing is documented. actually don’t qualify for a legal separation yet..

    If my wife and I live under different roofs, is that considered to be seperated? or should there be a legal separation…I did not abandon her, she got exactly half of my assets..undocumented, but can be proved by bank documents..

    Thanks for any help..

    1. mbannist Post author

      Hi Robert,
      A permanent separation with no possibility of returning to a married state is when you need to declare your new status to BI. Even if you were still residing in the same house but not functioning as a married couple this would apply. You may think it would be impossible for BI to become aware, but it happens when third parties or an angry family member reports you.
      Hope that helps

  11. Paul Gee

    Hello…….I’m hoping that some of you knowledgeable in this area might be able to help us.
    I am a foreigner and many years ago i was in a relationship with a very nice Filipina. We did not end up together but have remained good friends to this day but only thru messaging, never meeting again in person. She is about 40 years old.

    She has been telling me for months of the problems she has with her foreigner husband. He is a heavy drinker, has played around with neighbor woman and uses emotional abuse and threatens physical abuse although to my knowledge he has never followed thru.

    He is here in The Philippines living with her in her family’s very simple home. He has no money to speak of but survives on occasional help from his family and government abroad.
    He has been here for approx 6 months on his 1 year 13A (probationary period???).
    i believe they are still sleeping same room together, as of now.

    My friend wants desperately to get rid of him, calling him the mistake of her life. They met online and married after only weeks of knowing each other in person. She knows this was a stupid move.

    She can’t just abandon him for 2 reasons…..she is not financially in a position to just move to another city but more important, she does not want to transfer the problem to her family as she feels he will just continue to park himself there at the family home.

    Do any of you have any experience with a similar scenario?

    Any suggestions of action she can take would be very appreciated by her.

    Thank you.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Others may have more to offer but here are some things for you to consider.
      She has several courses of action that she can take to separate from her husband.
      She could tell him that the relationship is over and ask him to leave, do this when there are plenty of family around. While the Barangay Captain has no legal authority in matters of legal separation, he or she can be asked to clarify issues for both parties and help them map out the path to legal separation or annulment. This gives her the opportunity to resolve the issue without any acrimony, and get some distance between them.
      Then she needs to go to to BI and say the relationship is over giving the incidents she has already provided. Documented proof or witness statements are always helpful
      He is a heavy drinker.
      Has played around with neighbor woman.
      Uses emotional abuse and threatens physical abuse (which is a form of emotional abuse) this withdrawal of the sponsorship would have his 13a revoked immediately.
      Another action is not to attend the meeting between her, her husband and BI when the 13a would be changed from probationary to permanent. That would automatically cancel the 13a.
      Or she could go to the meeting and say she does not wish to continue to sponsor the 13a application, and ask for protection and assistance in getting him out of her family home. In all of the above the foreigners 13a would revert to a 9a.
      All that assumes that what you are being told is factual.
      Several things are red flags for me in this situation, of course they may not be correct but do bear looking at because they intimately involve you.
      The red flags are:
      1. Why would a newly married woman, maintain contact with another foreigner after her marriage. This doesn’t reflect the normal behaviour of a Filipina freshly married.
      I am not going to speculate except to say that they are normally very exclusive about the marriage relationship and give the institution a good shot before walking away. Six months seems a very short time for this to occur unless there are huge irreconcilable differences, or totally unacceptable behavior on the spouses part, which it could be said there is if his infidelity is true.
      You haven’t defined how you would see your relationship with her in the future, if she and this foreigner did separate. If you have romantic feelings for her and have conveyed that to her then she may see you as better prospect than him.
      2. Some of the information she is conveying to you seems to be about expectations not met. He has nothing, lives on assistance from family and government, which is likely to be a pension of some kind. He has moved in with them. Perhaps his failure to provide for her, yet have enough money to allegedly “play around” and drink heavenly is the driving force behind this.
      My advice would be to convey to her the ways that she can get the 13a revoked, and see what happens, offer emotional support only in getting through this stage of her life
      Hope that helps

  12. Paul Gee

    Hello Charles,

    Thank you for your well thought out and insightful reply.

    Clearly if she really wants to get him out she must focus on using the BI.
    She tells me that simply declaring to him that she wants him gone has been fruitless.
    Your suggestion to obtain witness statements could be very helpful if she goes to BI.

    But if I understand correctly, even if successful at BI, the best she can hope for is the revoking of his 13a and reverting to a 9a (is this just the standard tourist visa….30 days followed by 59 days etc etc?)

    Her actual goal is to have him deported…..however this seems very unlikely in the absence of any actual criminal activity. However you suggest that she might get some assistance from BI in forcing him to leave the family home. That alone would be very helpful.

    This is clearly a prime example of the dangers of internet dating/marriage and how regrettable it might be to lock into marriage before you know who you’re dealing with.

    Thanks again for your helpful reply.


  13. simplegirl

    Hello. I already canceled my 13a petition to my husband. He is still on probationary. My question is, what will happen once the revocation of his visa is finalized? When does he start to overstay, is it from the day of revocation or the day we separated?

    When the revocation of his 13a probationary visa is finalized, will he be given grace period? Or his overstaying starts immediately?

    Thank you.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Immediately you revoked your petition and separated, he should have gone to BI and got his visa and ACR downgraded to a tourist visa and ACR. Unless you are pressing criminal charges he can stay as long as he likes on the tourist visa providing he pays his fees and does the paperwork. He should not wait until the 13a is revoked. that process is for your benefit. He must follow the rules for foreigners as outlined above
      Hope that helps

      1. Genny

        Hi, I have the same situation of Simplegirl. I went to USA last April 2018 holding a fiancee visa. Got Married on the same month and reported the said marraige to the Philippine embassy and petitioned him to get his 13a visa. That’s his plan, to settle and retire in the Philippines. His retirement date was June of last year. He is 63 year old. We came here in the Philippines July of the same year. Went to the BI, submit the documents that the Philippine embassy in USA handed to us for his ACR card application and all other requirements. His ACR card indicate a “permanent resident”. However to my dismay, after 6 months living here I caught him cheating on me. I forgave him but he again did it. I discovered that he is a platinum subscriber and very much addicted to on online dating site. This started to an heated arguments and he showed how violent he was during that time. To cut the story short I ask him to leave because I felt that he has grossly and openly violated my right as a woman under RA 9262 which he always committed in several occasions. I also sustained verbal abused and threaten me of further harm upon his return. He left the country last January 3 but according to his sister in law he is already back in the Philippines end of January. I wonder where he is, probably with another Filipina he met on the online dating site. Is this already grounds for his visa to be revoked? Can I ask the BI to deport him? But we do not know his whereabout. I tried to locate him and contact him but no reply. My friend texted him and lucky enough that he replied. But never said his location. The only things he said is he reported me to police office because I am stalking him. A legal wife trying to locate his philandering husband was reported for stalking. This is insane, he just used our marraige to get a permanent visa and to mess around with other Filipina. Also, he left me with huge amount of debt in my credit card which he asked me to swipe during the time when he was still with me. Now he doesnt want to pay because according to him I don’t have any proof that he is the one who made the transaction. The card is under my name. I want him to-be deported to stop him from victimizing filipino women.

        1. mbannist Post author

          Hi there,
          The moment that you asked him to leave, he should have downgraded his visa, to a Sec9a, tourist visa. So if he is still operating on the Sec 13a he is in breach of the conditions of the visa. Report to BI with as much detail as you can, when you split the reason for the split. BI will check his current status and take appropriate action.
          Regarding his abusive behaviour If you reported this to the Barangay captain or the local PNP you can ask them to give you a copy of the report, or the police blotter and include it in your submission to BI. Photo’s of injuries and sworn affidavits of witnesses are also another way that you could make him culpable. Otherwise it could just become he did she did. I could also suggest you put a message on the dating services he uses and tell others about him and his behaviour. Hope that Helps

      2. Dandy

        Hi Charles,

        Just wanted to check if you are aware of the process on how to get the 13a visa revoked? My husband and I are separated but none of us has filed the paperwork for divorce yet. Although the visa validity stamped on his passport is for 1 year only, his ACR card reflects that it is permanent – apparently one only get a probationary visa if it was applied and issued from the Philippines and his was not the case.

        The information I got from BI is I can only apply for the cancellation of 13a once the marriage is annulled or the divorce finalized – which I know is not correct as per the immigration memorandum circular that I read.


        1. mbannist Post author

          Dandy you are correct as soon as the decision is made to no longer live together the legal course of action is for your husband to apply to have his visa downgraded to a tourist visa.
          Only you and he know when that decision was made but if both of you are clear about it then he should start the process.
          You can also instigate the process but it may be best to contact through the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/immigration.helpline.ph/ it is still a bit of a raffle as to what advice you will get from local offices about a subject especially if they do not deal with it regularly

          When you get to the facebook page just leave a private message asking them to give you instructions on how to report that your relationship is over. They get back very quickly.

          The next time he reports, annual report or visa extension they will catch up with him and he will have to pay fees and fines at the very least.
          Hope that helps

          1. Dandy

            Hi Charles,

            Thanks – I have sent the email reflected on their fb page and they did reply very quickly.

            And you may be right – this is something they probably don’t deal with regularly so there is no straight process. I was told that I need to go straight to legal section and to bring along documents to support the request for cancellation.


          2. Dandy

            Hi Charles,

            As per your comment on 10th July – you replied through email, sorry but just to let you know I didn’t get one in my mail


          3. mbannist Post author

            Sorry about that Dandy.
            What I said in that email was that I was pleased that you got a quick response and it was enabling you to take some positive action.
            All the best for your future

  14. Mike C

    There are several treaties, United Nations and Philippines among them addressing immigration. Philippines is a signer of several international treaties.. If you and your wife split Philippines cannot legally revoked your 13a visa. Your spouse was your sponsor to apply for the 13a, that’s all. Just think about this, a Filipino citizen marries a foreign national and obtains permanent residence status in the foreign spouses home country based of the sponsorship of the spouse. They buy a home, have children then divorce. Is the Filipino citizen going to lose
    permanent resident status ? One country cannot set immigration standards that are unfair and mistreat immigrants. Immigration basic policy is based on cooperation of many nations. With that said, what amount of trouble would it take to fight a 13a revocation ? Would it be worth it ?

    1. mbannist Post author

      Sorry Mike C, I have to disagree in large part with your assertions. Personally I think much Philippines law acts against me as a permanent resident, but I do not think that it breaks any international conventions. I knew and understood this law before I came here and decided to reside here and I accept it warts and all because I am the guest in this country. So my point 1 is

      • 1. The Philippines is a sovereign state that makes it’s own laws no matter how unfair you or I think they are they have the right. The fact that the Philippines is in mutual and reciprocal agreements with about 135 countries regarding immigration law would show that the country is in good standing. I was unable to find any serious concerns about Philippines immigration law expressed by any sovereign nation when I Googled.
      • Only the lawmakers within a country can change those laws, international pressure is not forthcoming because it is not seen as necessary, as they are clearly not breaking any convention.
      • The Philippines certainly aligns its laws with an international standard. The way that Filipinos going to Western countries on marriage visas is an example of this, they can be sent home if a marriage is found to be failing or is not deemed real.
      • At least you and I have the option to downgrade our visa.
      • Or
      • Find another visa option like SRRV
    2. 2. All visas in all countries are conditional, they all have conditions for which you must qualify and which you must maintain to remain qualified. This applies to immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

      3. There is nothing unfair in this law because the conditions are spelt out clearly during the process and on the BI website.

      • Your wife is your sponsor, that is in and of itself a very powerful position to place someone in. What your wife was sponsoring was her belief that you would adhere to the conditions of the 13a Visa. Ask yourself why there:
        • Is a one years probationary period
        • why the officer responsible needs to talk with your spouse again before granting the full visa?
        • Why your wife can report you at any time should you break the terms of the visa, and ask for it to be revoked.
      • The reason is that she has ongoing oversight of you while you are on that visa.

      Remember that is what you signed up for. The only way around it is to become a citizen.
      So it is not a case of how much trouble would it be to fight it? Or would it be worth it.
      You won’t find any Filipino attorney willing to even present such an argument to the court, they may take your money whikle they decide that your petition has no new information from any other gone before the main reasons being:

      • None of the your assertions regarding broken treaties or agreements exists
      • In fact, most countries in the world have similar conditions placed on visas around marriage. The Philippines law is complicated by two other factors, one is the law on foreign ownership of land and the other is the law on divorce

      Sorry the news is not better, but it is the law.


    So if you have an acr i card that says permanent and you have lived here for 20 years and wife left 15 years ago and you have 2 children you sired with another and wife refused /canceled annulment she applied for ? Whew…You raise and support your 2 minor daughters recognized as duel citizens by you at us embassy,you may still apply directly for citizenship and get past this?My son from my x is 23 from my x but i raised him in my home, not hers.He is also got a dual citizenship with her sponsoring him while he lived with me…she has not withdrawn her support of my status. I also built a pi home worth over 5 million php now, on my pension in my son and gf’s name. so when I die they have something… All new to me at 69.I have zero dollars left at end of every month feeding members of more than one family and building a little each month. I have left and returned from usa many times. No one asked me anything about my seperated spouse ever. I have had permanent residency for about 17 or 18 years….So I begin the citizenship route and hope usa doesnt honor pi notification and drop me as a citizen?


    numerous sites say after 2 years and your i-card stamped permanent resident and also when you have the new ten year card probationary clause expires and your marriage status no long applies to your prmanent acr/I-card just like in the usa for filipinas…Is this true because a B.I, OFFICER TOLD ME THAT AS WELL.???

    1. mbannist Post author

      The ACR I Card is not your visa it states your visa but your visa is kept in your passport. When granted it remains in force for as long as the marriage is valid under Filipino law.

      This is from the site of Kittleson Carpo Immigration law specialists. “The 13(a) Non-Quota Visa is issued to foreign nationals who have contracted a valid marriage, recognized by Philippine laws, with a Filipino citizen. The petitioner of the visa should be the Filipino spouse. While waiting for the visa approval, the Applicant can stay in the Philippines under a tourist visa and extend the status as applicable.

      This visa will allow the Applicant to stay in the Philippines indefinitely provided the conditions of the visa are maintained, i.e. a valid marriage with a Filipino citizen, among others.”
      A valid marriage is when both partners are living together as a married couple.
      There is certainly nothing about 10 year cards or a two year limit on the relationship before the visa becomes permanent no matter the state of the relationship, that I can find anywhere, sorry

  17. Judd Sharer

    I have a 13A visa and Permanent Resident ACR card good for another 4 years. I have been married to a Filipina for 9 years. She has a mood disorder which is controlled if she takes her medication. However, she became a heavy drinker in 2019 with several incidents of verbal and physical abuse of me. I am 77 and she is 53. Our marriage is holding together for now, but I cannot cope with her hostility and drunkenness. I invested my life savings into two homes and contributed $96,000 (Canadian) into her survivor pension and I continue to contribute $720 per month until there is a divorce. I have received legal advice to obtain a 90 day Guam divorce. I was told I must file it with the courts here. When I re-enter the Philippines, should I identify myself as divorced or can I wait until my Guam divorce is filed with the courts here? What happens with the division of conjugal assets? Thanks for helping.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Judd, My first response to your situation is to make sure that you immediately get legal representation in the Philippines. Your intent does not affect your status under section 13a. So provided your return to the Philippines will be to your spouse and as far as she and everyone else is aware you qwill be living together as husband and wife, then you can return using your 13a.
      If however you are no longer living together as husband and wife your return becomes more complex as your 13a is dependent upon you living as a married couple and you would have to declare this on arrival and could even be refused entry as 9a visas are not being issued currently.
      So obviously the best situation for you would be the former. Then at least you are here to have some influence on the proceedings.
      So point one is can you get back on your current visa. If only you lnow of your plans, yes you can and it is legitimate to do so. If however you have separated or you have started divorce proceedings then you may not be able to return until (A visas are being issued.
      When you gewt back here, you need to do three things. 1. Ensure your reputation remains intact. ie that you will not be accused of physical or mental violence against your spouse. 2. Engage the services of a reputable attorney to get you maximum protection of your assets and investments in the Philippines. Your investment in two properties may be worthless to you if you did not set up those purchases in a way that enables you to cas them in. For example Condo’s can be purchased and sold by foreigners and then you would divide the proceeds between you, however land cannot be owned by a foreigner and unless you entered into some kind of legally enforceable agreement with your spouse regarding division of the value of buildings and improvements, you may find you have no way to retrieve that investment. An attorney will be able to advise you about legal ways to protect your own assets in the Philippines, such as vehicles, stocks and shares, cash, valuables. Your entitlement to a share of the value of your other assets will depend on the competence of your attorney and how well you execute the next item 3. Talk with your spouse about separating on the most amicable terms possible, Understand that you can only trade what you are entitled to, so telling her that she has the properties and expecting her to release all other assets to you will not work. Your biggest asset is goodwill and you need to use it to the maximum.

  18. Mitch Fernandez

    Hello, do you know if 13a is no longer valid if the holder has spent more than 1 year outside the Philippines? We have not been able to travel during COVID and I wonder whether they’d be more considerate and allow us to simply pay a fne?

    1. mbannist Post author

      I can find no reference to any easing of the rules regarding permanency, so I think you should contact the Immigration helpline on Facebook, send them a private message asking this question. The only ray of light is the recent press release stating that if your EEC return certificate has expired, you have been away for more than a year, that you can get a trusted third party to renew it for you. This means providing BI with the information they need to process this. Otherwise The issues that raise their heads for me are:
      1. you have been able to return to the Philippines as a 13a holder for much of the pandemic and 2. your spouse has always been able to return. So they may take that position, that not returning was a choice. Was there a prohibition on you leaving your country, if so then provide evidence of that. Otherwise you can still return as a Balikbayan for a year at no cost and during that time try and sort out your situation face to face. Explain to officials at the border your situation, so they understand what is happening. After March 28 Philippine Embassies and consulates in the US and UK will reopen and you can talk to them about this. If you need further clarification please ask

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