Philippine | INS The Immigration Specialists Inc.

The Philippine Immigration

  • The Bureau Of Immigration

    The Bureau of Immigration is responsible for the administration, enforcement of immigration and citizenship laws and admission of foreigners in the Philippines. This includes the enforcement of alien registration laws, exclusion and deportation and repatriation of aliens. It has regional and branch offices throughout the Philippines headed by immigration inspectors appointed by the Commissioner. The bureau is the agency of the government attached to the Department of Justice (DOJ). It operates under the administrative supervision of the Secretary of the DOJ. The Bureau is headed by the Commissioner as Chairman and two (2) deputy or assistant commissioners as members. The Bureau enforces and implements the immigration laws. This immigration laws refers to the "Philippine Immigration Act of 1940" which is also known as "An Act to Control and Regulate the Immigration of aliens into the Philippines" enacted by the Philippine Assembly and approved on May 2, 1940 under Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended.

  • Different Types of Visas Under the Philippine Immigration Laws of 1940.

    Visa Required Nationals based on Foreign Service Circular No. 22-10 dated 22 February 2010:

    Download: Visa Required Nationals

    As a general rule, nationals from countries listed above maybe allowed to enter the Philippines for a period of 59 days, provided, they have a valid visas under Section 9(a) issued by Philippine Consulate from the point of departure. However, nationals coming from countries NOT listed above shall be allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding 21 DAYS from arrival; provided, they are holders of passports that are valid at least 6 months and valid tickets for return journey to the country of origin or to the next country of destination.

    For visa purposes, aliens are classified by the Philippine Immigration laws, namely: IMMIGRANT and NON-IMMIGRANT.

Non-Immigrant (Visa Categories): (Sec. 9, PIA of 1940)

    The Phil. Immigration provides seven (7) visa categories for non-immigrants UNDER SEC. 9, Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, namely:

    • Temporary Visitor
    • Transient
    • Seaman
    • Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor
    • Foreign Government Official
    • Student
    • Pre-Arranged Employment

    These visa categories are governed by reciprocity agreements with the country of the foreigner who seeks non-immigrant status in the Philippines. Hence, these non-immigrants visas are available only to foreign applicants whose countries grant similar visas for Philippine citizens who seek admission as non-immigrants in any of those countries.

    • Temporary Visitor - (Sec. 9 (a))

      There are three (3) types of visitors. The one coming for pleasure, for business and for health.

      • The most common is for PLEASURE or for holiday purpose. It usually refers to a tourist visa where the stay of the foreigner is intended solely for the purpose of leisurely stay. Hence, if an alien is issued with this visa, he cannot use the visa to engage in gainful employment or business or education. This restriction is usually indicated by the immigration officer upon his arrival at the port of entry.
      • For BUSINESS - coming for business, the alien purpose in coming to the Philippines is to prospect for areas of investments or business. This business may be commercial, industrial or professional character of any legitimate activity which is of temporary in nature.

        Temporary visitors with this type of visa include those attending international conferences, negotiating contracts, educational and business meetings, convocations, consulting engineers, traveling salesmen, newspaper correspondents, writers, lecturers and theatrical performers, professional athletes, treasure hunters movie and television crews.

      • For HEALTH PURPOSES - it is when the intention is to convalence from a serious injury or illness. But the illness should not be contagious, loathsome or dangerous disease, otherwise alien maybe denied entry.

        Alien coming for any of these purposes, maybe allowed entry under temporary visitor. If the alien whose nationality is not listed above, he maybe granted 21 days upon arrival. If not, an alien should secure a visa at the Phil. Consulate of the country where an alien is a national, which temporary visa is usually granted 59 days.

      Extension of Temporary Visitor Visa

      However, this visa maybe extended by the Commissioner. But this extension is a matter of privilege on the part of the alien. The Commissioner may deny the application on certain grounds. No one has a right of an indefinite or long stay. As a matter of practice and policy, application must be filed before the expiration of the applicant's stay. The initial stay is usually 59 days. So, if the alien was granted 21 days upon arrival, upon extension, he would be given initial 38 days to make it 59 days.

    • Transient - (Sec. 9 (b))

      A person in transit to a destination outside the Philippines. He is traveling by a route and Philippines is not his direct destination but he happens to pass by the country and he desire for a temporary stay to engage in sightseeing, visit relatives. Alien for this purpose is granted 9(a) visa.

    • Seaman - (SEC. 9 (c))

      Person serving in any capacity on board a civilian craft; he is on board the vessel seeking to enter the Philippines in pursuit of his calling as a seaman with the intention of departing with the vessel bound to a foreign port.

    • Treaty Trader And Treaty Investor - (Sec. 9 (d))

      An alien entering in the Philippines solely to carry on substantial trade between the Philippines and the foreign state of which the alien is a national or to develop or direct the activities of an enterprise in the Philippines in which he has invested, he shall be admitted as TREATY TRADER.

    • Accredited Officials Of A Foreign Government - (Sec. (9 (e))

      Further classified as:
      E-1 Head of States, members of royal family, etc.
      E-2 Members of the staff of the embassy and consulate, officers of foreign government.
      E-3 Members of the household such as attendants, servants employees to whom the E-1 and E-2 are issued.

    • Students - (Sec. 9 (f))

      Under this category, foreign student must be at least 15 years old, with means of support sufficient for his education, intends to take up a course of study higher than high school in a learning institution which is approved by the Commissioner.

      But aliens who have been granted non-immigrant status or pending immigrant status and their families may be granted with Special Study Permit. (SSP)

    • Pre-Arranged Employment - (Sec. 9 (g))

      This working visa is available to foreigners who are coming to the Philippines to engage in any lawful occupation whether for wages or salary, or in any form of compensation where there is a bona fide employer and employee relationship. This relationship is determined by the following factors: (a) selection and engagement of employee (b) payment of wages (c) power of dismissal (d) employer's power to control employee with respect to the means and methods by which work is to be accomplished.

Immigrant Visas (Visa Categories) : (Sec. 13, PIA of 1940)

Generally, a foreigner may acquire an immigrant visa in the Philippines if his country reciprocally allows Filipino citizens with the same right to become immigrant also in their country. We have reciprocity agreements with the following countries.

Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark Ecuador, Japan, El Salvador, Germany, USA, Spain, Singapore, etc. . Nationals from these countries may also apply immigrant visas in the Philippines.

Immigrant visa has two (2) types: (1) QUOTA (2) NON-QUOTA

  • Quota (Preference Visa) - is governed by an order of preference with or with nationalities on a calendar basis and cannot exceed the numerical limitation of 50 in any given year.
  • Non-Quota - not subject to a numerical limitation or to any order of preference.

If the alien is not qualified to a non-quota category, he may apply to a Quota Category provided:

  • he must have lawful entry into the Philippines
  • no derogatory records
  • not afflicted with loathsome or contagious disease.
  • Possessed qualifications, skills, scientific, educational and technical knowledge.
  • Reciprocity agreement
  • Of good mental health
  • Sufficient capital or investments approved by the Bureau. (Proof of Investment here is USD 40,000.00.

  • 13 (A) and TRV

    This type of visa is issued to a foreigner on the basis of his valid marriage to a Philippine citizen. Valid marriage is very important.

    Reciprocity Agreement between the country of the applicant and the Philippines is important. Thus, if there is none, the applicant will not be issued with this 13 (a) visa. However, Philippine laws on family relations maybe invoked by the applicant in obtaining this visa, and if the applicant is qualified, he maybe be granted the Temporary Visitor Visa (TRV).

    The requirements of 13 (a) and TRV are the same, however the difference lies on the period of validity of the visa. The 13 (a) once approved, an alien is given one (1) year probationary period and before the expiration of one (1) year, the alien may file an Application for Amendment to PERMANENT RESIDENCE VISA under Sec. 13 (a) for which he shall be issued an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and Immigration Certificate of Residence (ICR).

    The TRV has the same probationary period of one (1) year but before the expiration of one (1) year, the alien may only apply for extension (not amendment) but once approved, he is granted only two (2) years per extension. He does not acquire a permanent residence status. He is also issued an ACR but not ICR instead it is Certificate of Residence Temporary Visitor (CRTV).

    Holders of this type of visa may be allowed to work or engage in business under the said visa subject to certain restrictions such as practice of certain professions which are allowed only to Filipinos like to practice law, engineering, etc.

  • 13 (B)

    Is an immigrant visa granted to child of alien born during the temporary visit abroad of the mother, the mother having previously admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, if the child is accompanying or coming to join a parent and applies for admission within from the date of its birth.

  • 13 (C)

    A child born subsequent to the issuance of the immigration visa of accompanying parent, the visa not having expired.

  • 13 (D)

    A woman who was a citizen of the Philippines because of her marriage to an alien or by reason of the loss of Philippine citizenship by her husband, and her unmarried child under twenty one years of age, if accompanying or following or joining her.

  • 13 (E)

    An alien who previously was lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad to an unrelinquished residence in the Philippines. A resident alien who departed from the Philippines without a re-entry permit or whose re-entry permit expired prior to his return from a temporary visit abroad may be re-admitted as a non-quota immigrant.

  • 13 (F)

    The wife or husband or the unmarried child under twenty one years of age, of an alien lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence prior to the date on which this Act becomes effective and who is resident therein, if such wife, husband or child applies for admission within a period of two years following the effectivity of this Act.

  • 13 (G)

    A natural born citizen of the Philippines who has been naturalized in a foreign country, and is returning to the Philippines for permanent residence, including the spouse and minor children, shall be considered a non-quota immigrant for purposes of entering the Philippines.

Investment Visas Granted by Special Laws:
  • SPECIAL INVESTORS RESIDENCE VISA (SIRV) under Omnibus Investment Code.

    Any alien, except nationals coming from North Korea and Cambodia and such other countries that maybe classified restricted in the future and who meets the following requirements: (a) He had not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; (b) he had not been afflicted with any loathsome, dangerous or contagious disease (c) He had not been institutionalized for a mental disorder or disability; (d) He is willing and able to invest the amount of at least USD 75,000.00 in the Phils., can avail of the Special Investor's Residence Visa (SIRV).

    The holder of this visa has the privilege to reside in the Philippines for as long as his investments subsist. He shall be entitled to import his used household goods and personal effects tax and duty free as alien coming to settle in the Philippines for the first time under Sec. 105 (h) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Phils.


    Special Retiree Resident Visa:
    A retiree who applies for a Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV) has the option to enrol to the program based from his retirement status.

    Retirement Option and their Required Time Deposit

    • With Pension - 50 years old and above. The required time deposit is US$10,000.00 plus a monthly pension of US$800.00 for a single applicant and US$1,000 for couple.
    • Without Pension
      • 35 to 49 years old - US$50,000.00 time deposit
      • 50 years old and above - US$20,000.00 time deposit
      • Former Filipino Citizens (at least 35 years old, regardless of the number of dependents) - US$1,500.00
      • Ambassadors of Foreign Countries who served and retired in the Philippines, current and former staff members of international organizations including ADB (at least 50 years old) - US$1,500.00

    A resident retiree can bring with him, without additional deposit, his spouse and child who is unmarried and below 21 years old or if the spouse is not joining, two (2) children (provided they are unmarried and under 21 years of age.) Additional children with the same qualifications may also be allowed to join the principal retiree provided there is an additional deposit of US$15,000.00 per child. The said time deposit however, is subject the same and conditions with that of the principal deposit. This does not apply to former Filipino Citizens.

  • SPECIAL NON-IMMIGRANT VISA under Sec. 47 (a)(2)

    This visa is granted to expats holding elective positions and supervisory, technical or advisory positions for a period of not exceeding 5 years from registration of the company with the Board of Investments (BOI). This is an incentive given to the industries with pioneer status and companies registered with BOI and operating in special economic zones registered with the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).This is filed at BOI OR PEZA, endorsed to DOJ and implemented by BI.

Other Transactions at the Bureau:
  • Special Work Permit (SWP)

    The Philippine Immigration Act, Sec. (9)(a) provides that aliens maybe admitted as non-immigrants, if they are temporary visitors coming for business. The business maybe commercial, industrial or professional in character but does not include coming for employment or for clerical or manual work. The business of temporary visitor refers to legitimate activities of a commercial or professional character, and does not include purely local employment or labor hire.

  • Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC)

    An alien over fourteen (14) years of age who has stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more is required to obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) prior to his departure unless he obtains a certificate of exemption in his favor.

    An alien over fourteen (14) years of age who has stayed for sixty (60) days or more but less than six (6) months shall only be required to pay the ECC fee without undergoing any other formality such as filing in an application, picture taking and/or fingerprint.

  • Special Return Certificate (FOR NON- IMMIGRANTS and TRV)

    The Special Return Certificate (SRC) is issued to an alien non-immigrant admitted to temporary residence in the Philippines who is about to depart temporarily from the Philippines. The SRC allows the holder to return to the Philippines with the same admission as when he is departed.

  • Re-Entry Permit (RP) FOR IMMIGRANTS

    The Re-Entry Permit (RP) is issued to an alien immigrant about to depart temporarily from the Philippines. The RP allows the holder to return to the Philippines with the same admission as when he departed.

  • Dual Citizenship (Republic Act No. 9225)

    RA 9225, otherwise known as the "Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003" took effect on September 17, 2003. It is an act declaring that former natural-born Filipino citizens who acquired foreign citizenship through naturalization shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship.

    Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those born before 17 January 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority shall likewise be deemed natural-born citizens.RA 9225 applies only to those natural-born Filipino citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country.

For more details, you may contact INS The Immigration Specialists, Inc. with business office address at Rm 301 Floor, Madrigal Building, 6793 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines, with Tel. Nos. 891—56-86 to 88.