Philippines visa options are available to foreigners. You can obtain a diversity of immigrant and non-immigrant visas depending on your situation. Following is a number of Filipino visa options that are available to you as a foreigner if you are visiting the Philippines for either a holiday or long term stay. Hopefully, these survival tips will enhance your chances of surviving in the Philippines.

Philippines Visa Options

You will not be able to survive in the Philippines unless you are properly and legally documented. The Philippines has a fairly liberal immigration policy. However, the penalties for remaining in the country illegally are quite harsh. I  certainly wouldn’t recommend you go down this path. Spending any amount of time as a detainee at the Bureau Of Immigration (BI) detention centre definitely does not make for a good holiday.

Tourist Visa

Nationals of over 150 countries do not require a visa for the Philippines if you are planning to visit for less than 30 days (when you arrive at the airport, you will receive a visa waiver good for 30 days). The only real requirement is to have a passport that has a validity of at least 6 months. You also need air tickets for a flight out of the Philippines. This is not necessarily your place of origin, just anywhere out of the Philippines. This will permit you to enter the country for non-immigrant purposes. This includes sightseeing, participation in sporting events, training or studying (that does not lead to the attainment of a title or degree), health (which may relate to a medical or dental procedure), business visit, or family reasons.

If you plan to stay for longer than 30 days you can apply for an extension. This is good for 29 days. Once you have reached 59 days in the Philippines, you can apply for extensions beyond this. These extensions are good for 2 months at a time. If you really are planning to stay for a year or more, you can apply for extensions that are good for 6 months at a time. After the first six months, you will need to apply for a Tourist ACR-I Card (Alien Certificate of Registration). In the long-term, this can save you money rather than apply for a series of 2-month extensions. For more information about costs and other intricacies please click here.

Philippines Visa Options tourist visa extension

The stamp at the top right of this passport is what a typical stamp for a tourist visa extension looks like. These are normally good for 59 days at a time but once you get to 6 months, you need to apply for an ACR-I Card (Alien Certificate of Registration).

One word of advice. If you are planning to visit for a holiday or a relatively short stay, you should leave your contact information with a relative or friend in your country of origin. This could be the hotel in which you plan to spend a majority of your time, or a local phone number if you are able to obtain a local sim card. This is more precautionary than anything, just in case.

9G Visa

This is essentially a working visa and is pre-arranged by the employer for the employee. It is initially valid for 1 year but extendable up to a maximum of 10 years. This is basically available to any foreign national who will be employed in the Philippines. You need to be undertaking a technical, managerial or executive type role to qualify. This visa is also extended to the dependents of the main visa holder.

13A Visa

This is a Permanent Residency visa and can be obtained by a Philippine citizen’s wife, husband or unmarried child under 21 years of age. There is a one year probationary period from your first issuance. After this, you are given permanent residency status. This means you are free to stay in the Philippines for as long as you like. It also allows you to work or own a business (in compliance with Philippine law). However, you are required to do an annual report and renew your ACR-I Card every five years.


The Special Investor’s Resident Visa allows for residency in the country for an indefinite period of time. This permits multiple entry privileges as long as your investment (a minimum of US$75,000) remains invested in approved economic activities. This includes investment in publicly listed companies and companies engaged in the manufacturing or services sector. There are certain privileges available with this visa. This includes the ability to import used household goods and personal effects without the need to pay taxes and duties. You are also able to include your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 on the visa.


Philippines visa options for foreigners

Penalties for overstaying your visa can be quite harsh, depending on how long you overstay for. However, spending any amount of time as a detainee at the Bureau Of Immigration (BOI) detention centre definitely does not make for a good holiday.


The Special Visa for Employment Generation visa is applicable to non-immigrant foreigners. This allows for an indefinite stay and multiple-entry. However, the visa holder needs to employ at least ten Filipinos in a sustainable and lawful commercial enterprise. Inclusions and privileges under this visa are extended to the spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 of the visa holder. The visa holder is assessed annually to make sure they are complying with the terms and conditions of the SVEG visa.


The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa is obtainable by foreign nationals as well as former Filipino citizens considering retirement in the Philippines. Requirements vary but generally speaking, you do not need to be married to a Filipino citizen to obtain this visa (unlike the 13A visa). This visa has financial requirements attached to it. This includes owning a condo or property within the Philippines. Or, having money deposited in an accredited bank in the Philippines (US$50,000). There are a number of exemptions with this visa. This includes non-payment of certain taxes and also the need to apply for entry and exit clearances when entering or exiting the country.

For the next survival tip on Filipino Cuisine And Delicacies, please click Survival Tip #8 to read more. If you missed the previous survival tip on How To Avoid Scams In The Philippines, click Survival Tip #6 to read more. If you have any comments or experiences you would like to share about visas or residency in the Philippines, please feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Philippines Fun Fact:

Over 11 million Filipinos work overseas, which constitutes about 11% of the entire population of the Philippines. Filipinos are the second-largest Asian-American group in the United States, next to the Chinese (courtesy of