Tourist Visas

As a visitor to the Philippines you will either arrive with (a) no visa or (b) you will have obtained a 9a visa in your country of origin.

Entry without a visa

In the first case, arriving with no visa, you are allowed to stay in the country, “free”, for 30 days then you must either leave or extend your visa. If you choose to extend, you will be granted an additional 30 days and this will cost you 3,140 pesos , about US$70. Thus if you arrive on 1st January, you can stay until about 30th January without extending and the 3,140p extension will allow you to stay until about 1st March, 2 months from your date of arrival. This is known as the “visa waiver”.

The following passport holders need to check the special restrictions imposed by Philippines Immigration:

  1. Holders of Brazil passports
  2. Holders of Israel passports
  3. Holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative (SAR) passports
  4. Holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports
  5. Holders of Portuguese Passports issued in Macao
  6. Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports

All visitors should check this web site to find out if their country is one of the ones whose nationals are allowed to enter without a visa or whether they need to buy a visa in their own country before travelling.

Should you want to stay even longer, you can apply at BI for another 59 days, which will cost you 4830 pesos. In addition, at this extension, you will be required under recent changes in immigration law, to pay for an ACR card, which is now mandatory for all tourists who wish to stay in the Philippines for longer than 59 days. This is a credit card sized, plastic card which contains all your passport/visa information. The cost is US$50 and is based on that day’s exchange rate, which currently is about 2400 pesos: you will also pay an additional 500 peso Express Lane charge. The card is valid for one year and need not be surrendered when leaving the country.

You can continue to extend your visa by 59 days and can stay here for a total of 16 months before you must leave the country and re-enter. In certain circumstances you can apply to Manila for permission to remain here for a further 8 months; these circumstances are usually health related problems or if you are in the process of applying for Permanent Residence.

It is possible to extend for just one month rather than 59 days, but the actual savings are very small.

If you apply to extend your visa even one day after the due date, you may be required to provide a written explanation for the delay and you will pay a 1000 peso fine.

All visitors on tourist visas who have stayed for longer than 6 months, need to obtain an “exit clearance” from the BI when they want to leave the country. This involves taking fingerprints, providing photos and currently costs 500 pesos.

Once you leave the country, you come back in again and start the whole process again.

Entry with a 9a visa

You can apply for a 9a visa in your own country before traveling to the Philippines and this will allow you to stay for 59 days without the need to extend. The cost for this varies from country to country and usually provides a small saving on the alternative of coming here with no visa and applying for the 38 day “Visa Waiver” extension mentioned above. However you need to obtain this from the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in your country and the cost of travel/postage may outweigh those savings!

After this you continue to apply for 59 day extensions as detailed above.

The 9a visa causes many problems for tourists because of the lack of explanation by the Embassies and/or the lack of comprehension of the applicant. The visa comes in 2 basic types:

  1. A three month single entry visa.
    • This allows you to enter the Philippines and stay for 59 days without renewing your visa. If you wish to stay longer you must extend every two months as detailed above. You have three months from the date of grant of the visa in which to enter the country. It does not give you the right to stay for 3 months without extending!
  2. A 6 or 12 month multiple entry visa.
    • These visas allow you to enter the country as many times as you wish within the 6 or 12 month period from the grant of the 9a visa, each time you are permitted to stay for 59 days without extending. They do not give you the right to stay for 6/12 months without extending!

Many people are fined for overstaying when they obtain these visas, because like me when I first came here, they think that the sticker in your passport, the 9a visa, saying “12 months”, means you can stay for 12 months.

The simplest way I can put it is:




Permanent Resident Visas

As these are more complex than the Tourist Visas, I intend to give only a brief overview of the options. If you have more specific questions, I am happy to answer all inquiries based on your individual circumstances. You can email me at Once any permanent residence visa is granted, you are only required to visit the BI once a year, within the first 60 days of the new year, show your receipt and passport and pay the annual fee of 310 pesos.

13a Visa

This visa is only available for those foreigners who are married to a Filipino citizen and the application is made by the Filipino citizen, requesting that their spouse being given permanent resident status. About 2 weeks after filing the application form, the couple will be called in to the BI for an interview to assess the integrity and validity of their marriage. If successful, the 13a visa will be granted about 2 months later.

The application can be made either in the Philippines, or via the Embassy/Consulate in your own country, but both parties must be present.

If the application is made in the Philippines, the 13a visa issued is “probationary” and the couple need to return about 9 months after the date of grant for another interview where, if successful, the spouse’s visa will be made “permanent”

If the application is made overseas, the spouse will be required to undergo a medical examination, however once granted the visa is immediately “permanent” and no second interview is required.

SRRV – Special Resident Retiree’s Visa

The options and variables of this visa are too complex to cover completely in this visa option summary, but it allows anyone over 35 years old, without a criminal record, who meets the medical standards to obtain permanent residence here in return for an interest paying deposit with the Philippine retirement Agency. This people I have spoken with who have this visa type speak very highly of the professionalism and helpfulness of the staff. You can obtain more information about this visa by visiting this LINK.

SVEG – Special Visa for Employment Generation

This is a newly created visa option designed to encourage foreign investment and local employment in the Philippines. The main requirement for qualification is the full time employment of a minimum of 10 Filipinos. More information can be found at this LINK.


This a visa granted at the discretion of the Commissioner to a certain number of people from different countries each year. For more details contact us at