Living in the Philippines as a tourist
How to do
you married to a Filipina or Filipino? If so read this first.
A foreigner married to a
current or former Filipino
citizen, is allowed to enter the Philippines, without a visa and
stay for up to a year.
No visa fees to pay. No extension fees to pay.
No emigration clearance certificate needed at departure.
The foreigner and their Filipino spouse have
to arrive in the Philippines together and just in case, they should
have their marriage certificate with them to prove that they are
husband and wife. Children of the marriage are allowed to enter for
a year too. So, have the birth certificates for the children too,
just in case. This arrangement is possible because of the Balikbayan
The details of the Balikbayan programme are
contained in Republican Act 6768 and it's amendment,
Republican Act 9174. To learn more about the Balikbayan programme,
click on this link:
Previously, balikbayans required an onward or
return ticket when entering the Philippines However, In 2012, there was an announcement from the head of
immigration that Balikbayans do not need an onward ticket as they
are former Filipinos.
At the end of your first year you can choose to
extend for 2 more years as an ordinary tourist. See below for
If you are not married to a
Filipino or Filipina, start reading from here.
You would think that immigration laws would be uniform across the
country but ask 10 immigration officials and you will get 10
different answers. This information is
subject to change as new
information comes to hand.
- Best to arrange a 59 day (9a) visa in advance before you
arrive in the Philippines, however it is possible to arrive without
a visa and get a 30 day visa waiver.
- Then arrange extensions.
- If you arrive without a visa, the first extension will be at 30
days. It is for 29 days and takes you up to 59 days.
- If you arrive on a 59 day visa. Your first extension will be on
expiry of the 59 days.
- After 59 days, extensions are every 2 months or 6 months until you
have been in the Philippines for a total of 3 years.
- At the extension from 59 days, you are required to
arrange an ACR-I card. ACR stands for Alien Certificate of
- After 16 months, you previously needed permission from head
office to stay in the Philippines but people are now reporting that
this is no longer required.
- At the end of 3 years, you leave the Philippines and go for a
shopping trip to Hong Kong or travel to some other destination. Then re enter the Philippines and
start the 3 year process over again.
- Regardless of when you do decide to leave, if you have been in the
Philippines continuously for 6 months, you need permission to leave
in the form of an Emigration Clearance Certificate. No Emigration
Clearance Certificate when you try to pass immigration at the
airport and you will not be flying that day.
- Here is a link showing the location of all offices of the Bureau
of Immigration so you can find the one closest to you
- Extensions and the emigration clearance certificate can be
arranged up to one month in advance. If your extension comes due on
a weekend or public holiday, you have to arrange the extension before the weekend, not
Extension fees and how to apply for an extension and forms are in
However, here is a simplified version
of fees , given
to me by Paul from Cebu Expat
Services prior to the introduction
of the 30 day visa free entry.
Four additions to the above fee
arrive before November in any given year, your extension in January or February
will have a P310 report fee added to the cost. This is the same
fee paid by permanent residents.
Balikbayans can extend after the first year. The
first extension from 1 year to 1 year and 2 months is the same
as the extension from 59 days to 4 months as listed above
is paying the P1010 motion for consideration for stays beyond 16
months. Everyone I have heard from is paying P510 motion for
consideration. Which means that your extension from 16 months to
18 months cost P3340.
Mandaue Office in Cebu, the Davao office and the Manila office are now issuing
stickers instead of stamps for the 2 month visas extensions and are
charging an additional P100 or P110 for the sticker.
The tourist ACR-I card
is arranged at the extension from 59
days to 4 months. It costs USD $50
plus P500 express lane fee. It is
supposed to only be good for a year.
There is a P250 renewal fee.
Emigration Clearance Certificate
Supposed to be P1010 but in Cebu,
people are still paying the old rate
The only people who are supposed
to be able to pay the fine at
the airport on the way out are
those people who have been in
the Philippines for less than 59
days. All the rest will be sent
to their nearest office of the
Bureau of Immigration.
The fine for over staying is
P500 per month.
- Plus P510 motion for
- Plus the extensions you should
have paid including ACR-I card
- Plus all the missed express
- Plus a letter explaining the
- Plus, if greater than 10 days,
you will have a personal
interview with a senior
- Plus if the overstay is long
enough you may be deported and
What will happen in
reality can vary a lot.
Terminal Fee on departure
Depends on the airport, for example
NAIA terminals 1, 2 or 3 was P750,
Clark was P600 then P450 now
reported as P550
Cebu is about to be P750
If you stay in the Philippines
longer than 12 months, you will have
to pay travel tax on departure. This
is a separate cost on top of the
terminal fee. The travel tax depends
on class of travel. It is P1620 for
economy and P2700 for first class.
Read about travel tax here
are required to hold an onward or return ticket when you enter the
Philippines and be able to produce it on demand at the Bureau of
Immigration when arranging extensions. The return date is
irrelevant. Just so long as you have a valid ticket to depart the