The “Skinny” on Philippines Visas
There is a huge range of Philippines Visas available.
Each enables you to stay legally in the Philippines if you meet the criteria.
However, people living here long-term use of only a handful of those available.
It is important to know all the visas you are eligible for if you want to stay. Having the most options available to you is important for informed decision making.
What Philippines Visas We Are Going To Explore
Those Philippines visas that could benefit you as a person wishing to stay here for a long time or permanently.
A long time is considered in excess of 6 months.
Non Immigrant Visas
Basically, visas where your residence in the Philippines is expected to have an end date.
- The Sec 9a Tourist Visa, is multi-faceted.
- The Sec 9g Work Visa. If you have a special skill and an employer can show that there is no suitable Filipino applicant. You may be able to get one of these. These last up to 12 months and can be extended. There is a distinct process for commercial and non-commercial versions of the visa.
- A Sec 9D Treaty Trader or Investor visa. A foreign investor is entitled to enter the Philippines as a treaty trader if s/he is a national of a country with which the Philippines has in place an agreement for the admission of treaty traders or investors. Currently, the Philippines has such an agreement with the United States, Japan and Germany.
- The Sec 9E Student visa is for those 18+ years wishing to study at a BI accredited university or college.
- A Special Study Permit (SSP) which is issued to a foreign national below the age of 18 taking non-degree courses in the Philippines. An SSP is a PERMIT, not a visa. It is issued under the Temporary Visitor’s Visa of the foreign national.
This is different from:
- The Sec 13a Permanent Residence by Marriage, is a Non Quota Visa.
- Sec 13 Quota Visa.
The Special Visas
Visas that have been introduced by subsequent legislation or proclamation of the President which are not classified by the Philippine Immigration Act as being a Section 9 or Section 13.
- SIRV (Special Investor’s Resident Visa.)A visa for foreign nationals and their dependents who have shareholdings in Philippine corporations. The corporation must be engaged in the manufacturing or services sectors. They must be involved in projects listed under the Investment Priority Plan, or listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. This visa is issued by the BI in coordination with the Board of Investments.
- SVEG (Special Visa for Employment Generation.) This is a visa granted to foreign nationals and their dependents who employ at least ten Filipinos in a lawful enterprise or business venture. It gives the holder the right to remain in the Philippines provided all the conditions of the visa are adhered to. It is issued by the BI on the endorsement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
- SRRV (Special Resident Retiree’s Visa.) This is a non-immigrant visa granted to foreign nationals and their dependents who wish to retire in the Philippines. This visa is issued by the BI in coordination with the Philippine Retirement Authority.
The Information We Will Provide You With
The Criteria For Eligibility.
- Do you qualify you for a particular Visa.
- What you must do to ensure that you remain entitled to that Visa.
- What to do if you lose your eligibility.
Not All Philippines Visas Are Created Equal
- Some visas have to be applied for outside the Philippines.
- Not all offices of the Bureau of Immigration are authorized to issue every type of visa.
- It is unclear if this a resource or strategic issue. Whatever, we will try to keep you up to date with any changes.
The Process And The Documentary Requirements That Apply For Each Visa.
- A step by step guide to the process.
- A list of the documentary requirements for all parties.
- A primer on how to obtain those documents if you don’t have them right now.
Taking A Step Back – The Overview
It’s easy to assume that everyone applying for a specific Philippines Visa, clearly understands the prequels or backstory to their application. We are not going to make that mistake. Our first task is to make sure you understand the foundational concepts.
What’s A Visa Anyway?
Not understanding both the privileges and responsibilities that come with the granting of a Philippines Visa causes more strife to travelers and expats than any other issue they face with immigration authorities.
- A visa is issued by the authorities of the country you are visiting. It’s continued validity is dependent on:
Visa Specific Conditions
- You to stay in the country for a specific time or under certain conditions. For example:
- As a tourist for thirty days.
- As a self-supporting student studying a certain course at a specified tertiary institution, for a certain period of time.
- Remain indefinitely while married to a Filipino citizen.
- All visas are conditional and you need to be aware of the conditions that apply to yours
Activities That Will Invalidate All Philippines Visas
- Some things will get you arrested, charged, imprisoned and sent home no matter which visa you are here on:
- You are found to be here by means of false and misleading statements. That includes failure to disclose convictions on offenses such as drug use or supply, violence including rape, or child abuse, in another country.
- Defrauding a creditor by absconding with or hiding their property to prevent it from being repossessed.
- You are convicted and sentenced to a term of one year or more for a crime involving moral turpitude committed:
- Within five years after entry to the Philippines.
- More than once at any time after arriving
- Involved in any form of sex crimes including:
- Practicing prostitution real or virtual.
- Living in a brothel or cybersex establishment.
- Involved with the management of a brothel, real or virtual.
- Acting as a pimp for sexual encounters real or virtual.
- Is involved in any way with any enterprise involving sexually exploiting minors. Remember that is eighteen years of age in the Philippines.
- Being convicted and sentenced for a violation of the law governing prohibited drugs. There was in the past a certain amount of turning a blind eye on the use of marijuana, but this is no longer the case.
- Any crime resulting in a prison sentence of more than 12 months
- You become indigent within five years of entry. If it can be shown that this was because of your inability to sustain yourself long-term prior to entry.
- Sedition. Recommending violent overthrow of the duly elected government. No matter how you feel about the election it’s up to Filipinos to decide on any action to be taken, not you.
- You are involved in party politics, supporting a party or a candidate. Under the current administration, I would suggest that you are very careful about any public criticism of it. Do not align yourself with any anti-administration causes.
- You engage in profiteering, hoarding, or black-marketing.
Criminal (Moral Turpitude)
Running Out Of Money
Crimes Against The Government
Despite all the folklore I have yet to find a case where an expat has had their visa invalidated for shouting at a Filipino. All the examples quoted reveal expats with a long-standing violent disposition, where the example used is just one of many instances where the individual has been reported.
However shouting at or threatening departmental officers can get you into hot water, as we reported recently.
As in any other country, guests are expected to behave in a way that doesn’t make the host regret they allowed you in. If you decide to flout the law of the land and the conditions of your visa, expect to feel the full force of Filipino displeasure.
Live within the law and the terms of your visa and your stay will be uneventful with regard to your interaction with immigration authorities.