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Good and Bad News For Sec 13a Visa Holders

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This post contains both good and bad news for Sec 13a Visa holders.
In the past, we have relied upon this information to advise our readers that they should downgrade the 13a to a Temporary Visitor Visa in the event that their marriage breaks down, as defined in that document.
It has been the bone of contention of a few die-hards that:

  • Immigrant Visas are not conditional.
  • That BI itself knows this and is seeking further legal opinion and that it cannot enforce this law until they have that.
  • Well thanks to Orion for finding IMMIGRATION MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. SBM-2014-009. He kindly posted it in our comments section. It makes BI position very clear and has the added weight of a legal review of the interpretation that BI has been following.

    We have quoted the relevant sections from a Memorandum but here is the full document

    Major Points

    1. The dissolution of marriage by declaration of nullity, annulment, legal separation or separation de facto between the foreign husband and Filipino wife shall operate as a ground for the revocation of the foreign husband’s Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. no. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV.

    2. There is one exception:
    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.

    This does not apply if the separation has taken place for other reasons and then the Filipino spouse dies, it is when death causes the separation.

    No matter where the couple were in the process of obtaining a Sec 13a from first application to completion The foreign spouse or a child may petition for the spouse to retain Sec 13a status and for the child to be declared a dependent of the spouse.

    The definition of child is also very important. They must be:

    • Under 21.
    • Unmarried
    • Living in the Philippines.

    So having a married 18-year-old daughter, an unmarried 22year old son or even a 10-year-old daughter with no intention of joining the parent in the Philippines won’t help you retain your 13a visa

    This is certainly an act of an agency recognising the importance of family.

    If this impacts you in any way we advise taking action immediately.

23 thoughts on “Good and Bad News For Sec 13a Visa Holders

    1. mbannist Post author

      Good Question, I would think that they would revoke the visa and return to sec 9a, but I will put the question to BI. Watch this space

    2. mbannist Post author

      Chris my advice is that you should use the next 7 years to work toward either a quota visa under Section 13 or a SRRV. The Sec13a will be revoked once the child reaches 21 or earlier if she marries.

      1. Chris

        Thanks, what u mean with quota visa under section 13a. What kind of visa is that and what are the requirements? May u have a link. Thanks again.

        1. mbannist Post author

          Quota vis is limited to 50 persons per year from countries that have a visa agreement with the Philippines, plus 50 stateless people per year. The cost of the visa is 19,000 and requires some financial capacity. You can find out more here In your circumstance it may pay you to start talking with BI as soon as possible, so you can get the best long term advice.

          1. Chris

            Thanks again. Bank certification of inward remittance amounting to at least US $50,000.00 or equivalent in other foreign currency; Thats a lot of money. This money must stay permanently to the bank or u can use it when u here? I am a little shocked….

          2. mbannist Post author

            I know what you mean, especially on a pension, I had enough to do it when I retired but went the 13a route which I realise now has a lot of drawbacks for many expats. For me it is still ideal because my daughter will not reach 21 until I am 91. Check with BI about, using your money to buy a condo or investing. This is specific information that they won’t give without knowing your circumstances. THE SRRV may be a better option depending on your age. Actually, the 13 is not bad with the US, UK, European an Australian equivalents costing millions of dollars. Let me know how you get on.

  1. Chris

    I was in Visa section 13 a in cebu immigration. I dont have to do something, only when i make my annual report i change my status in widow and give a birthcertificate of my child.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Interesting Chris. The instruction says . In case of petition for (i) adjustment of status from Temporary
      Visitor Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 9(a) to Non- Quota
      Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV; or
      (ii) amendment or extension thereof, respectively, the surviving
      foreign husband, in his own capacity1
      , or the child, as
      petitioner2, may file a petition for Non-Quota Immigrant Visa
      under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a)

      Obviously filing a petition means different things to different people. We will see how others fare over the next few months. Thanks for your input Chris

      1. bob

        The key part of the paragraph is “In case of petition for (i) adjustment of status from Temporary Visitor Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 9(a) to Non- Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV; or (ii) amendment or extension thereof, respectively,”

        People misinterpret documents like this because they ignore the wording.

        This paragraph only applies to you if you are i) adjusting status… OR ii) amending or extending …

        If you have an active 13(a) there is no need to adjust status or amend or extend anything.

        That is why what Chris stated makes perfect sense.

        1. mbannist Post author

          Our aim is to provide the most accurate information to clarify areas of the regulations and the laws of the Philippines. We have personaslly discussed this at length with the top officials at BI and their legal advisors.
          If you are separated from your spouse by way of death or because one or other of you choose not to remain in the relationship, you have no choice but to adjust your status, you are not permitted to remain on a 13a unless your relationship is that of a functioning married couple.
          Hope that clarifies my comments

  2. John Fraser-Ross

    I find 2. There is one Exception strange.

    My late wife passed away in 2010 and I was on a 13A, I have a daughter who was 8 years old when it happened. I rang my local BI Field Office and was told it was fine as I was a permanent resident. When I went to renew my Icard I was told this was not the case and I had to revert to a Tourist visa and pay back penalties which came to 140,000 PHP. If I did not pay it I was going to be deported. This was from the Commissionaire himself in 2013.

    1. mbannist Post author

      John you are correct the memo was not approved until September of 2014, so your encounter was under the old ruling. Furthermore this Memo has only been activated since late last year according to the person who discovered it. See Orion comments. Hope that is helpful

      1. mbannist Post author

        You would definitely be eligible to petition now. If you were in the frame of mind to do so and your circumstances remained the same.

  3. dawggydaddy

    This is why the PRA SRRVisa is a better way to go. It is lifetime if you s desire and not dependent on a spouse living or dying or heading to BI when mad at you to get you kicked out of the country.

    And if you are ex-military, the CD is only $1500.00 with a measly $10.00 per year renewal fee.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Your wife can’t get you kicked out of the country, I work with many couples and on the rare occasion that breakups are not amicable, and animosity is at a level where vengeance is in the mind of the Filipina, they cannot just go and complain. Republic Act 9262.
      The SRRV is an excellent choice if it fits your needs. There is also the Quota visa which gives you 13a rights without having to have a Filipino wife. Cost is about the same or slightly cheaper than the 13a.
      Thanks for your input.

  4. robert shearer

    I am getting an annulment I will have custody of our three children 16,14, and 3 I have had a 13A for 12 years do I get to stay automaticly until my last child turns 18 is there somthing I need to file??

    1. mbannist Post author

      Rob I have not seen anything about such a provision, the only recent change I was aware of was concerning the ability of a non-estranged spouse to remain in the Philippines to care for his children until the youngest reaches 21 years of age. We actually were informed of that by a subscriber in a similar position to yours and found a circular memorandum verifying it buried on the site. Will check tomorrow with BI head office and hopefully will be able to verify it and the term (what age) tomorrow. Sorry can’t be more helpful
      This is the response from BI. Hi Charles. You cannot renew your 13A visa if you are annulled with your Filipina wife. For more inquiries you may contact us at 465-2400 local 441. Thank you!
      Please contact them and let us know how you resolve this. It beats me why this is not an automatic provision, but they would have to consider using their discretion



    My american husband just died last feb 15, 2020. He is 13a spousal visa permanent resident. Do you have idea if I need to report his death to BI? I have difficulty contacting them in landline. Right now ncov19mgcq status imposed close border. I have phobia already about penalties.


    1. mbannist Post author

      Condolences on your loss. It is always wise to report these things, although I doubt you would be penalised for not doing so, You coul report the death, sending a copy of the death certificate and all your husbands details. Full Name Address in the Philippines, Passport number and ACR card number, Send it by LNC and keep a copy. Don’t expect a reply, but you have a paper trail with your LBC receipt and tracking information.
      Hope this helps


    I was wondering once you are changed to permanent and wife has seperated for over a decade but refused to annul should you have to refile a new visa or following the five year rule just apply for citizenship? usa does not honor any citizenship statements unless you your self appear and demand to give up us citizenship so those who become pinos do not need give up citizenship even then sign to become filipino.I have a five year old daughter from someone else and she has 2 from someone else. I have house and lot in son and live in partners name as he is 23. I leave she just gets 600 from ss til daughter is 18.

    1. mbannist Post author

      Lots of people are in your position, with a marriage which has never been reported as over by the ex spouse.
      Like you they have lived exemplary lives contributing to the Philippines in many ways.
      This came about because the rules were poorly documented; the officers of BI were poorly trained and it was believed that the Filipina spouse would readily report the breakdown of a marriage.
      In researching this we isolated documents which were clear about this issue, some of the provisions were at that time fairly recent. These are what is currently in place.
      1. Sec 13a only valid while the couple named in the application are living together as husband and wife. Some couples split, living separate lives, but lived in the same house, that kind of arrangement was rejected.
      2. The Alien applies for a downgraded visa. usually a visitor visa, but could apply as you say for citizenship, provided they have the asset base reqyured for that. They could also apply for a number of other visas, but would do so from the position of a visitor.
      These include SRRV- This requires an asset base as well as an annual fee, but has many advantages.
      A Quota Visa. Only 50 are issued each year to each nationality having reciprocal immigration relationships with the Philippines. The cost is reasonable and a man of your moral standing should have no difficulty in getting one.
      An Employment Opportunity Visa. If you have a business that can sustain regular employment for 10 Filipinos there is a visa, which although listed as Non-immigrant seems to remain in place as long as you employ those 10.
      The only exceptions are those which I outlined in the priginal article.
      When a Filipino spouse who is part of a sec13a visa dies while the relationship is intact, and there are children below 21 years of age for whom they are responsible then the alien or the children may petition for the alien to be able to remain here on the 13a while the children remain in the Philippines and are dependent.
      If you are intentt on citizenship the five years began when you were granted a permanent visa. You have had such a visa for many years, how many they would be see as legal will be up to your ex wife and you to decide.

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