Foreign nationals who enter the Philippines for long-term purposes must have the appropriate visa. The main types of Philippine visas issued for a longer duration include:

  • Philippine Work Visa, which is issued to foreigners who will work for a Filipino company
  • Philippine Student Visa, which is issued to foreigners who will pursue their studies in a Filipino educational institution
  • Philippine Spouse Visa, which is issued to the spouses of Filipino citizens and/or their dependent children.
  • Philippine Retirement Visa, which is issued to foreigners who want to retire in the Philippines and have the necessary financial requirements to do so.

Philippine long-stay visas are issued for six months to three years, depending on the type of visa you apply for and other determining factors, such as the duration of your work contract.

Applying for a Philippines Long-Stay Visa

You can apply for a Philippines Long-Stay Visa in one of two ways:

  • At an Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines abroad; or
  • At the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines, in which case you have to enter with a regular Tourist Visa and then convert it at the BI into the type of visa you need.

See how to apply for a Philippines Visa at an Embassy or Consulate. 

Philippines Work Visa

Foreigners who want to work in the Philippines will have to obtain a Philippines Work Visa. In addition to that, they also need a Work Permit. These two documents are issued by different governing bodies in the Philippines.

How to get a Philippines Work Permit?

There are three main types of Work Permits that the Philippines government issues:

  • Alien Employment Permit (AEP), for foreigners who have a long-term work contract with a company in the Philippines.
  • Special Work Permit (SWP), for foreigners who will work in a Filipino company or do a short term assignment for up to 6 months.
  • Provisional Work Permit (PWP), for foreigners who still haven’t received a Work Visa but want to start working while they wait. This is valid for up to three months and will become void once the Philippines Work Visa is issued.

Your employer has to submit the application for your work permit at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines. They must do this before you start working in their company.

It takes about 2-3 weeks for the DOLE to process an application for a Philippines Work Permit.

How to get a Philippines Work Visa?

Once the application for your Philippines Work Permit is approved, you have to apply for a Philippines Work Visa at the Immigration Bureau in the Philippines. This means that you have to enter the country first with a short-term visa and then change it into a Work Visa in the Philippines.

The Immigration Bureau in the Philippines can take up to three months, so you have to keep extending your Tourist Visa while you wait. Additionally, if you want to start working before your Philippines Work Visa is issued, you have to get a Provisional Work Permit.

What documents do you need for a Philippines Work Visa?

The documents you have to submit when applying for a Philippines Work Visa are:

  • A Letter of Request for the Visa addressed to the Embassy/Consulate (by you and your employer)
  • Copy of the Employment Contract or another equivalent document stating your salary, position, the duration and the nature of your work at the company in the Philippines.
  • Photocopy of your employing company’s latest Income Tax Return (ITR)
  • Copy of your Work Permit, issued by the Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines
    • Your employer has to obtain a Work Permit in the Philippines before you apply for the Work Visa
  • Document showing the number of foreign and Filipino employees working in the company
  • A Certificate of Police Clearance issued by the authorities in your country
  • Health Certificate, including an X-Ray, issued by an authorized medical practitioner
  • Any other documents as requested by the Embassy/Consulate or the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines

Philippines Student Visa

Foreign students over the age of 18 who want to pursue their higher education in an educational institution accredited by the Bureau of Immigration need a Philippines Student Visa.

How to apply for a Philippines Student Visa?

You can apply for a Philippines Student Visa either in an Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines near you. The application process is as follows:

  1. Get accepted into a Filipino school accredited by the Bureau of Immigration
  2. Your school applies to the Filipino Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to approve your application for studying in the Philippines
  3. The Commission on Higher Education notifies the Immigration Bureau on the decision.
  4. If your application was approved, the Bureau of Immigration forwards the decision to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who then notifies the Consulate Embassy in which you will apply for your Philippines Student Visa.

You can also enter the Philippines on a Tourist Visa and then convert it into a Student Visa at the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines.

What documents do you need when applying for a Student Visa?

When applying for a Philippines Student Visa, you need the following documents:

  • Certificate of Acceptance from the school
  • A Certificate of Good Moral Character, issued by your school
  • A Certificate of Police Clearance issued by the authorities in your country
  • Health Certificate, including an X-Ray, issued by an authorized medical practitioner
  • Personal History Statement forms (forms you have to submit to the school you apply to, which detail your personal and family data, your physical appearance, educational background, etc)
  • A list of any contacts you have in the Philippines
  • Previous educational/academic qualifications (diploma or other)
  • Your School Transcripts
  • Your birth certificate
  • Any other documents as requested by the Embassy/Consulate or the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines

Philippines Spouse Visa

The Philippine Spouse Visa is a permanent residence visa, issued to foreigners who are married to Filipino citizens. However, this type of visa is only available to passport holders of the following countries:

Algeria Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Belize
Bolivia Botswana Bosnia & Herzegovina Brazil Canada Cape Verde
Chile Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Czech Republic
Denmark Ecuador Egypt* El Salvador Estonia Finland
Fiji France Gabon Germany Greece Guatemala
Honduras Hong Kong Indonesia Iraq Ireland Iceland
Israel Italy Japan South Korea Latvia Lesotho
Libya* Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Malaysia Malta**
Marshall Islands Mexico Micronesia Monaco Montenegro The Netherlands
New Zealand Nicaragua Nigeria Northern Mariana Island Norway Oman*
Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Russia Saudi Arabia* Senegal
Serbia Singapore Slovak Republic Slovenia South Africa Suriname
Sweden Switzerland Thailand Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey
The United Kingdom Uruguay USA Venezuela

 

*Only male applicants who are married to a female Filipino citizen are eligible.

**Only if the couple has been married for at least five years.

How to apply for a Philippines Spouse Visa?

You can apply for a Philippines Spouse Visa either at an Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines in your country of residence or enter with a Tourist Visa and convert it into a Spouse Visa at the Immigration Bureau.

What documents do you need when applying for a Spouse Visa?

When you apply for a Spouse Visa for the Philippines, you need the following supporting documents:

  • A Letter of Request for the Visa addressed to the Embassy/Consulate (by you and your spouse)
  • Passport of your Filipino spouse
  • Birth Certificate of your Filipino spouse issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and in Security Paper (SECPA)
  • Your Marriage Certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and in Security Paper (SECPA)
    • If you and your spouse were married abroad: Marriage Certificate duly translated and notarized (if it is not in English) and Apostilled/legalized by the Filipino Embassy
  • A Certificate of Police Clearance issued by the authorities in your country
  • Health Certificate, including an X-Ray, issued by an authorized medical practitioner
  • Proof you and/or your spouse have sufficient financial means to live in the Philippines
  • Any other documents as requested by the Embassy/Consulate or the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines

Philippines Visa requirements for the dependent children of Filipino citizens

  • Birth Certificate of the Filipino parent issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and in Security Paper (SECPA)
  • Health Certificate, including an X-Ray, issued by an authorized medical practitioner.
  • If the child is above 15 years of age: A Certificate of Police Clearance issued by the authorities in the minor’s country of residence.
  • Any other documents as requested by the Embassy/Consulate or the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines

Philippines Retirement Visa

The Philippines Retirement Visa is issued by the by the Bureau of Immigration and the Retirement Program of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).

Is is a permanent-stay visa issued to foreigners who want to retire in the Philippines. To be eligible, you will have to make a deposit in a bank approved by the Philippine Retirement Authority. The amount you have to deposit depends on your age and whether you have a pension; if you are a former Filipino citizen aged at least 35, the deposit can be as little as US$1,500. However, normally, you would need to make a deposit of US$10,000.

You can have dependents with you, but the financial requirements will be higher for each dependent.

How to apply for a Philippines Retirement Visa?

You have to apply for a Retirement Visa at the Immigration Bureau in the Philippines. This means you need a Tourist Visa to enter the country and submit the application.

What documents do you need when applying for a Retirement Visa?

The documents needed for a Philippines Retirement Visa are:

  • A Certificate of Police Clearance issued by the authorities in your country
  • Health Certificate, including an X-Ray, issued by an authorized medical practitioner
  • Proof of deposit in a bank approved by the Philippine Retirement Authority:
    • If you have a pension (over the age of 50): A deposit of US$10,000 and a monthly pension of US$800.00
    • If you do not have a pension (aged 35-49): A deposit of US$50,000
    • If you do not have a pension (over the age of 50): A deposit of US$20,000
    • If you are a former Filipino citizen over the age of 35: A deposit of US$1,500
  • If your spouse if joining you: Marriage Certificate, legalized by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in your country
  • If your dependents are joining you: Birth Certificate, legalized by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in your country
  • Any other documents as requested by the Embassy/Consulate or the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines.

Note: All applicants must have a standard set of documents when applying for a Philippines visa in addition to the visa-specific documents detailed above.

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