<big><strong>How long can I stay?</strong>
I need to emphasise here that while this information can be used by Expats who have Filipino spouses, and wish to stay for an extended time, that they do have other less expensive options available to them. We will be looking at these options in depth during the course of this Wiki series.
Firstly, to clarify who this regulation applies to:
a) Below there is a link to a list of countries where visa’s are required before leaving the country of your passport or your country of residence:
b) Also there is a link to a list of countries whose citizens are not required to have a Sec 9a Non Immigrant Visa, (Tourist Visa) until they enter the Philippines. Not all initial Sec 9a Non Immigrant Visa, (Tourist Visa) are of 30 days duration, so please check the duration applicable to your passport before making plans. In many countries travel agents will do this for you, but it is always better to be responsible and double check as you are buying your tickets. Now before anyone panics, just check these links and more importantly check for the latest updates with the Philippines Embassy in your country of origin or where you are when you decide to visit this beautiful country.</big>
There is no charge for the initial 30 day visa on entry
<strong>A. Countries Whose Citizens Require Visa’s prior to arriving in the Philippines;</strong>
<strong>B. List of Countries Whose Citizens are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa: </strong><strong>Both lists are based on Foreign Service Circular No. 22-10 dated 22 February 2010:</strong>
<p>http://www.immigration.gov.ph/index.php/component/content/article/10-faqs/33-general-information is the link that will get you both lists</p>
Having sorted out your personal situation you can then look at options. Many visitors extend their visitors visa beyond the initial number of days entitled to on, arrival in the Philippines.
<p> If you wish to stay longer than the duration of your initial visa you must apply for an extension. You have three choices for doing this.
1. If you know ahead of time that you wish to stay beyond the duration of your initial visa days then you can apply for a visa from the Philippines Embassy in your country or the one serving your country for a period including what is known as a visa waiver. For example UK citizens and Icelandic citizens can apply at the Philippines Embassy in London, for a 59 day visa for an application fee of $50 US. The embassy provides an outreach program to other parts of the UK from time to time, which can reduce the amount of travel for you. Processing times for local approvals are two to three days, plus post time, whereas applications requiring clearance from the DFO in Manila can take up to two months. Applications that may require DFO clearance include: those where the applicant may have a criminal history, a chronic medical condition, where previous requests have not been approved.
Similar services are available to US citizens, with similar timelines and costs. These are normally routinely approved locally, but ensure you answer all questions fully and accurately to avoid delays.
2. You can no longer get visa waivers at airports
3. You can attend one of the Bureau of Immigration Offices listed in the link below that is able to process the visa waiver and for the same PHP3030 obtain your visa waiver.
If you are planning on attending a Bureau of Immigration Office:
a) Be aware that there is a dress code for both yourself and your companion/s. It is unevenly policed, but it is not worth taking the chance of being sent home for non-adherence. The code was revised in July 2013 with the promise that the new code with more latitude than the old is the new MINIMUM DRESS CODE and will be vigorously enforced
A. FOR MEN
Top: Sleeved-shirts that cover the shoulders and waist in its entirely are required.
Bottom: Men wearing shorts will be allowed access to the Bureau, provided, that it is at minimum knee length. Sports shorts and sweatpants are not allowed.
B. FOR WOMEN
Top: Women wearing tank tops with straps that are the width of three (3) fingers are permitted entrance into the building. Any thinner straps (I.e. stringed-straps) will be denied entry. Shirts must cover the cleavage and waist in its entirely.
Bottom: Women wearing shorts and skirts will be allowed entry to the bureau office, provided, that said apparel must not be shorter than three (3) inches above the knee. Sweatpants, sport and workout shorts are not allowed.
II. STRICT ADHERENCE
A. DECENT ATTIRE
The proposed dress code only identifies the minimum requirements for entry. All articles of clothing and footwear must also be worn properly and in good condition (i.e. no holes, rips, stains, etc.). Undergarments must not be visible.
B. BUSINESS ATTIRE
For attendance in hearing or official meetings with key Immigration Officers, business/ office attire is required.
The Dress Code Policy may be waived in emergency cases provided the clients duly inform the guards on duty of such emergency.
Remember many of the staff at government offices throughout the Philippines are Muslim and some of our more relaxed dress codes contravene their laws and traditions. This isn’t a debate, but a statement of what is, in a country in which we are visitors.
b) You will need the following documentation.
a) 2 photocopies plus the original of the passport pages with the Philippines entry stamp for your latest arrival, this should show the date your visa expires.
b) 2 photocopies and the original of the page of your passport with your picture and biometrics on it.
c) Your departure card which is usually placed inside your passport on arrival
c) On arrival you will be asked to fill out the consolidated general application form (CGAF) obtainable here:
Given the fact that you are on holiday you might consider using the services of your hotel or a travel agent who will do all the legwork on your behalf for a fee ranging from PHP500 – 4000 (USD12.50 -100.00). Make sure the fee is agreed and you are aware of the total cost before you agree.
<strong>Part Two</strong> will cover obtaining further extensions to your Sec 9a Non immigrant Visa</p>