» Can I come on a Tourist Visa to find work?
» How many kinds of employment visas are there?
» How do I apply for an Employment Visa?
» Where do I apply for an Employment Visa?
» Can I hire someone to assist me in processing my papers?
» What documents do I need to submit?
» How long do I wait for my papers to be processed?
» Where can I check on the status of my application?
» How does a valid employment visa look like?
» Aside from obtaining a work visa, how else can I reside in the Philippines?
» Can someone who is not a local sponsor my residency?
» Upon getting my Employment Visa, when can I get Permanent Residency and acquire Citizenship?
» Where can I get information on residency and citizenship?
» If I have a valid work visa / residence, how long is the visa before it expires?
» How long can I stay outside the country before the visa expires?
» Does the country have single and multiple entries for visa? If so, what should I do to get a multiple entry?
» How can I transfer my sponsorship from one employer to the next?
» Is there a grace period to renew employment visa?
» When my work visa expires, how can I re-enter the Philippines and accept a new job?
» How do I make sure I don’t get banned from re-entry?
» What are the government fees I have to pay for while I’m on my work visa? How much do I pay for taxes, visa processing?
» If my passport expires before my visa expires, what should I do?
» What happens to an expat’s child born in the country? What nationality will the child be? What are the issues I need to consider?
» I am a Filipino currently living overseas with a foreign national. What are the requirements for my partner to be able to reside with me in The Philippines?
Holders of the 9(a) temporary visitor visa or tourist visa may not be employed and may not engage in activities that are considered ‘doing business’ as defined by the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.
"To engage" is to embark on a business or to employ one’s self therein. The word "engaged" connotes more than a single act or a single transaction; it involves some continuity of action. "To engage in business" is uniformly construed as signifying an employment or occupation which occupies one's time, attention, and labor for the purpose of a livelihood or profit. The expressions "engage in business," "carrying on business" or "doing business" do not have different meanings, but separately or connectedly convey the idea of progression, continuity, or sustained activity. "Engaged in business" means occupied or employed in business; "carrying on business" does not mean the performance of a single disconnected act, but means conducting, prosecuting, and continuing business by performing progressively all the acts normally incident thereto; while "doing business" conveys the idea of business being done, not from time to time, but all the time. There may be a business without any sequence of acts, for if an isolated transaction, which if repeated would be a transaction in a business, is proved to have been undertaken with the intent that it should be the first of several transactions, that is, with the intent of carrying on a business, then it is a first transaction in an existing business.1
The Philippine entity that seeks to employ a foreign national must file an application with the BI for the conversion of his visa status from temporary visitor to a proper working visa holder as well as an application for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
However, temporary visitor visa holders may be allowed to work temporarily in the Philippines for a maximum period of six months if they obtain a Special Work Permit (“SWP”) from the Bureau of Immigration.2 Examples of foreigners who are required to obtain the SWP are: professional athletes competing for the limited period of their authorized stay, or those otherwise gainfully employed in their professional capacity such as professional instructors, foreigners of distinguished merit and ability entering to perform exceptional temporary services, but having no contract of pre-arranged employment, foreigners coming primarily to perform non-competitive, temporary services or to take non-competitive training who could be classified as temporary workers or industrial trainees, except that they do not receive a salary or other remuneration from Philippine sources, other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay, foreign nationals authorized to search for hidden treasure, movie and television crew filming in the country, foreign journalists pursuing their profession in the country, engineers, technicians and other highly skilled, technical professionals who are engaged in the pre-testing and/or installation of machinery, equipment and other instruments under private or government contracts or grants, agents of foreign principals engaged in screening/interview of prospective clients for employment or placement, foreign or domestic and authorized representatives of an investor who are primarily engaged in monitoring and supervision of the principal’s investments in the country.3
It should be emphasized that the SWP is not a working visa and its holder must keep his 9(a) temporary visitor visa valid during his stay in the Philippines.4
Foreigners who work in the Philippines without the necessary visa and/or permit violate the conditions of their admission and stay as tourists and may be subjected to deportation proceedings.
There are several kinds of employment visas and the type of employment visa that an employer company may choose to apply for would depend on several factors including the way that the company was organized or formed, the nature and scope of its authorized activities, its location, the nationality of the foreigner to be hired, and the nationality of the owners of the company.
The most commonly applied for employment visas are:
9(d) Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Visa
Under Section 9(d) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 a treaty trader visa or treaty investor visa may be granted to a foreign national, his spouse and unmarried children below twenty-one years of age, whose country has entered into a treaty of commerce and navigation with the Philippines for the sole purpose of: a) carrying on substantial trade between the Philippines and his country of nationality or b) developing and directing the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital, provided that citizens of the Philippines are accorded like privileges in the foreign state of which such alien is a national.
Currently, treaty trader or treaty investor status is exclusively granted to citizens of the U.S.A., Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany because these are the countries which afford similar immigration privileges to citizens of the Philippines.5 With respect to a treaty investor visa, the corporation in which the treaty investor has invested or is in the process of investing, or in which he is employed, must be of the same nationality as the holder of the treaty investor visa.6
The dependent spouse and children below twenty-one of holders of this visa may be issued dependent visas subject to the submission of documents establishing the family relationship.
a) 9(g) Pre-Arranged Employment Visa for Temporary Workers
This visa is the most common work visa and is applied for in the absence of special qualifications for other visas under incentive laden special laws. Under Section 20 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, to be entitled to this visa, the petitioning individual or local company in the Philippines must show that no person can be found in the Philippines willing and competent to perform the labor or service for which the non-immigrant is desired and that the non-immigrant’s admission would be beneficial to the public interest. The petitioner must state fully the nature of the labor or service for which the non-immigrant is desired, the probable length of time for which he is to be engaged, the wages and other compensation which he is to receive, the reasons why a person in the Philippines cannot be engaged to perform the labor or service for which the non-immigrant is desired and why the non-immigrant’s admission would be beneficial to the public interest. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the written contract of employment and shall contain such additional information as may be deemed material.7
Pre-arranged employee dependent visas will also be issued for the foreign national’s accompanying dependents – spouse and children below 21 years of age - upon submission of proof of relationship, such as the authenticated marriage contract and birth certificates.
b) Section 47(a) 2 Visas for Temporary Workers
Section 47(a)2 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 authorizes the President to admit as non-immigrants, aliens, coming to the Philippines for temporary periods, under such conditions as he may prescribe.
This authority of the President is exercised by the Department of Justice with respect to visas issued to foreign employees of companies registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) to engage in a preferred area of investment as enumerated in the Investment Priorities Plan8 and to visas issued to the foreign employees of companies registered with the Philippine Export Processing Zone Authority (PEZA).9
One of the incentives granted to BOI registered enterprises is the authority to employ foreign nationals. Under the Omnibus Investments Code, a registered enterprise may employ foreign nationals in supervisory, technical, or advisory positions for a period not exceeding five years from the registration, extendible for limited periods at the discretion of the BOI; provided, however, that when the majority of the capital stock of a registered enterprise is owned by foreign investors, the positions of president, treasurer and general manager or their equivalents may be retained by foreign nationals beyond the five year period and the limited extension periods referred to above. The spouse and unmarried children under twenty-one years of age of the foreign national shall likewise be permitted to enter and reside in the Philippines for the duration of said employment.10 47(a)2 BOI visas are filed with the BOI and approved by the Department of Justice.
An enterprise located in a Special Economic Zone (Ecozone) may apply for work visas under Section 47(a)2 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 for their foreign employees which are valid for and renewable every two years. The foreign national must possess executive or highly technical skills not possessed by a Filipino citizen within the Ecozone as certified by the Department of Labor and Employment. Applications for the issuance of a 47(a)2 PEZA visa are filed with the Bureau of Immigration at the PEZA One Stop Shop.11
The holder of a 47(a)2 PEZA visa is entitled to bring as his dependents his spouse and unmarried children below twenty-one (21) years of age.12
Holders of a 47(a)2 PEZA visa and 47(a)2 dependent visas may elect to apply for ACR I-Cards, they are not required to do so.13
c) E.O. 226 RHQ and ROHQ Visas
The Philippine government grants multiple entry visas to foreign personnel of regional or area headquarters of multinational companies (RHQ)14 and also to foreign personnel of regional or area operating headquarters of multinational companies (ROHQ).15
Foreign personnel of regional or area headquarters and regional or area operating headquarters of multinational companies, their accompanying respective spouses and unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, shall be issued a multiple entry special visa, valid for one year, to enter the Philippines. A responsible officer of the applicant company must submit a certificate to the effect that the person who seeks entry into the Philippines is an executive of the applicant company and will work exclusively for applicant’s regional or area headquarters, or regional or area operating headquarters, as the case may be and that he will be paid by the headquarters in the Philippines an amount equivalent to at least twelve thousand United States dollars per annum. The visa may be extended yearly upon submission of documents showing the subsistence of the conditions for the grant of the visa. Holders of this visa are exempted from securing an AEP and ACR I-Card as well as from making ECC/SRC payments.16
Please note that holders of dependent visas are not allowed to work in the Philippines whether full or part-time. The moment that they work under a dependent visa they cease to be dependents and they violate the conditions of their stay and may be subject of a deportation proceeding.17 By engaging in personal employment each dependent must apply for their own working visa together through an application filed by their employer.18
The application for an employment visa is done by completing all the requirements listed in the Bureau of Immigration’s checklist of requirements for the type of employment visa being applied for, submitting said requirements to the Bureau and paying the appropriate filing fees.
Employment visas are applied for and issued by the Bureau of Immigration.
Those outside the Philippines may also try applying for an employment visa by submitting their requirements to the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consular Office as some of these offices have been authorized to issue employment visas.
Please note that securing an AEP is part of the requirements needed to apply for 9(g), 9(d) and 47(a)2 visas, and that applications for an AEP must be submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Yes, there are lawyers and accredited entities that may assist an applicant in completing the requirements and filing the application with the Bureau.
The requirements needed for a visa application as well as their contents vary depending on the type of visa as well as the circumstances of the applicant but these are generally the type of documents that will be expected to accompany a work visa and AEP application:
I. Documentary and other requirements that must be provided by the expatriate
1. Authenticated marriage contract, if accompanied by a spouse
2. Authenticated birth certificate of dependent children or authenticated adoption papers whichever is applicable, if accompanied by dependent children
3. Fully accomplished application form/s
4. ID pictures
5. Signed curriculum vitae
6. Valid passport19
7. Proof of physical presence in the Philippines on the date of filing as well as on the date that the visa is issued.
8. Affidavit of Support in favor of dependents
9. Income Tax Return (ITR)
II. Documentary and other requirements that must be submitted by the Company
1. Notarized application letter and/or letter request
2. Company registration papers, i.e., certificate of registration articles of incorporation, by-laws, General Information sheet (GIS)
3. Certification issued by a company representative
4. Original employment contract20
5. Tax Identification Number of the expatriate21
6. Company Income Tax Return
7. Audited financial statements
8. Affidavit of Support in favour of the expatriate
9. Secretary’s Certificate if the position of the expatriate is elective
III. Documents to be issued by the Bureau of Immigration and/or other government offices
a) Endorsement letters in applications that are reviewed by more than one government agency;
b) Bureau of Immigration Clearance Certificate and other security clearances; Official receipts evidencing payment of fees
The processing time for employment visas range from a minimum of about three (3) weeks to a maximum of about two (2) months depending on the type of visa. See below:
|Visa Type||Processing Time|
|9(d) Treaty Trader Visa22||1 and ½ months from filing and submission of complete documents|
|9(g) Pre-arranged Employment Visa23||2 months from filing and submission of complete documents|
|47(a)2 PEZA Visa||1 and ½ months from filing and submission of complete documents|
|47(a)2 BOI Visa||2 months from filing and submission of complete documents|
|E.O. 226 ROHQ/RHQ Special Non-Immigrant Visas24||3-4 weeks from filing and submission of complete documents|
The status of applications for the issuance of employment visas may be checked online at the Bureau of Immigration’s website for those applications heard and approved by the Board of Commissioners (BOC). 9(g), 9(d) and 47(a)2 visa applications are among those heard by the BOC.
The visas mentioned above as well as other visas applications may also be followed up with the Office of the Commissioner by the foreign national himself or by the lawyer or accredited entity representing him .
A valid employment visa is a written endorsement stamped on the applicant’s passport or travel document stating the visa granted and its duration of validity.
Other than securing an employment visa, a foreign national seeking to reside in the Philippines may choose to apply for an immigrant visa or an investment based visa which will allow them to work and reside in the Philippines.
a) Immigrant Visas
Generally, a foreigner may acquire immigrant status in the Philippines if his country reciprocally allows Philippine citizens the same privilege. This privilege is usually embodied in a reciprocity agreement between the Philippines and the foreign applicant’s country. However, such a reciprocity agreement need not be embodied in a formal written instrument. It is sufficient and effective that the principle of reciprocity is mutually recognized, dutifully observed and impartially implemented by both the Philippines and the foreign government concerned.25 Consular officers are thus directed to report the prevailing immigration policies in their respective posts, and to inform the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of changes in the immigration laws of the country of their assignment.26
The grant of immigrant status and/or permanent residence is based on comity and reciprocity where the Philippine government extends the same privilege extended to its citizens that are allowed to attain permanent residence or become immigrants within their territories. In proving entitlement to the issuance of an immigrant visa, an applicant, in addition to proving that he/she possesses all the requirements and does not possess any disqualification must also prove that his country allows Filipinos to acquire permanent residence.27 Aside from being based on comity, the grant of immigrant status has also been deemed a privilege and can thus be subject to limitations and restrictions.28
Section 13 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 provides for two categories of immigrant visas that foreigners may apply for29 - a quota immigrant visa and the non-quota immigrant visa.30 The number of quota immigrant visas that may be issued in a year is limited to fifty of any one nationality or without nationality. In allotting quota numbers, the Commissioner of Immigration shall accord preference status to applicants in the following order of priority: (a) those possessed of qualifications, skills, or scientific, educational or technical knowledge which will advance and be beneficial to the national interest of the Philippines, and (b) those possessed of sufficient capital for a viable and sustainable investment in the Philippines.31 Thus, it is clear from the cited BI Memorandum Circular that for the purpose of issuing a quota visa, special qualifications, skills and knowledge which will be beneficial to the national interest takes precedence over sustainable investment. While the spouse and unmarried children below twenty-one years of age may also be included in the application, individual quota numbers are issued to each family member.
The non-quota immigrant visas granted under Section 13, (a) to (j) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 rely on ties to the territory of the Philippines or ties to Filipino family members, and include, being married to a Philippine citizen,32 being born of a Philippine resident,33 being a former Philippine citizen,34 or being a returning resident.35 Section 13 immigrant visas are granted on the basis of reciprocity. There must be at least a showing that an applicant’s foreign country grants reciprocal immigration privileges to Filipinos before an applicant may be entitled to these visas.36 However, in recognition of the need to give substance to the Constitutional provision upholding the sanctity of family life and protecting and strengthening the family as a basic autonomous social institution while at the same time respecting the principle of reciprocity and the interest of national security, a national of a country which does not reciprocally grant permanent residence and immigration privileges to Filipinos as well as a national of a country which is classified as restricted, who is the wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age of a Philippine citizen, if accompanying or following to join such citizen, shall be granted a temporary resident visa (TRV) valid for an initial probationary period of one (1) year and renewable thereafter for periods not exceeding three (3) years at one time.37
b) Investors and business persons
In addition to the quota visa which requires the possession of sufficient capital for a viable and sustainable investment, there are visa categories which, while not giving its holders immigrant status, nonetheless entitle its holders to permanent residence for as long as their investments subsist and continue to be viable. Among the permanent residence visas that are frequently availed of are the following:
(i) Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) The SVEG is a special visa issued to a qualified non-immigrant foreigner who shall actually employ at least ten (10) Filipinos in a lawful and sustainable enterprise, trade or industry. Qualified foreigners granted this visa are considered special non-immigrants with multiple entry privileges and conditional extended stay, without need of prior departure from the Philippines. Its privileges may extend to the qualified foreigner’s spouse and dependent unmarried child/children below eighteen years of age whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted.38
Applicants who wish to avail of this visa must prove that:
1. He shall actually, directly or exclusively engage in a viable and sustainable commercial investment/enterprise in the Philippines;
2. He exercises/performs management acts or has the authority to hire, promote and dismiss employees;
3. He evinces a genuine intention to indefinitely remain in the Philippines;
4. He is not a risk to national security;
5. He has a commercial investment/ enterprise which will provide actual employment to at least ten (10) Filipinos in accordance with Philippine labor laws and applicable special laws;
Holders of this visa must continue to possess these requirements in order to be entitled to this visa.39
(ii) Special Investor Resident Visa (SIRV)
The SIRV is given to qualified foreigners who invest40 at least $75,000.00 in existing or new Philippine corporations that are: (a) publicly listed; (b) engaged in industries included in the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP); or (c) engaged in the manufacturing or service sectors.41
Applications for this visa are received and processed either through the BOI42 or through the Foreign Service posts of the Department of Foreign Affairs.43
Successful applicants are entitled to apply for dependent visas for their spouse and unmarried minor children.44
Issuance of this visa entitles the holder and his dependents to reside in the Philippines for an indefinite period as long as the investment subsists.45
(iii) Special Retirees Resident Visa (SRRV)
The SRRV is given to qualified foreigners who are at least thirty-five (35) years of age and able to deposit in an accredited bank the amounts required46 under the conditions stipulated by the Philippine Retirement Authority.47
On 05 May 2011 the SRRV was further liberalized and divided into four types of visas according to the age of the investor, his background and amount that he is required to deposit/ invest.48
The SRRV Smile is granted to those who are at least thirty-five (35) years of age and able to deposit at least $20,000.00. Under this visa type, the deposit is locked in and kept in the bank and cannot be converted to another form of investment. It may only be withdrawn upon the cancellation of the visa.
The SRRV Classic on the other hand is given to those who are either: (a) thirty-five (35) to forty-nine (49) years of age with a deposit of $50,000.00; (b) fifty (50) years old and above, without pension, but with a deposit of $20,000.00; or (c) fifty (50) years old and above, with pension and a deposit of $10,000.00. For this visa the funds deposit in an accredited bank may be converted into an investment in, by purchase or long term lease of a condo if it is at least $50,000.00.
The SRRV Human Touch is given to qualified applicants who are thirty-five (35) years of age and above, with a monthly pension of at least $1,500.00 and a deposit of $10,000.00, provided that the applicant has a non-contagious pre-existing condition that requires medical care and services. The deposit cannot be converted into another form of investment.
The last kind of SRRV is called SRRV Courtesy and is given to applicants who are thirty-five (35) years old and above and are either former Filipino citizens or retired diplomats and ambassadors. The required deposit is just $1,500.00 and it may not be converted to another form of investment.
Under this visa, the investor and his dependents are given permanent residence status for as long as the deposit/investment subsists. The holder of this visa is allowed to bring as his dependents his spouse and unmarried children below twenty-one (21) years of age.49
Should the dependent child attain majority, he is still entitled to the benefits of a dependent visa as long as the investment is still in existence.50
Note that each applicant and/or visa holder, who is not a former Filipino is required to give an additional investment of $15,000.00 for each additional dependent in excess of two.
This visa is processed by the PRA and applications are accepted online at http://www.pra.gov.ph/main/srrv_form.
Lastly, a Student visa also allows a foreigner to reside in the Philippines during its validity but holders of student visas are prohibited from working or being employed.
As a general rule, NO. A foreigner seeking to reside in the Philippines needs a local sponsor, either a Philippine company for employment visa applications or a Filipino citizen in case of a visa application based on family ties.
However, a foreigner who is issued an employment visa or an investment based visa may bring as his dependents his spouse and minor children, subject to the submission of proof of their relationship and his capacity to support them as well as compliance with additional conditions such as making an additional investment whenever required by the visa status sought.
Adopted children and children by marriage may also be admitted as dependents in order to preserve family solidarity but their inclusion as dependents is entirely discretionary upon the Commissioner of Immigration51 since the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 excludes from the term “child”, “father” and “mother” a child or parent by adoption.52
To be considered a dependent spouse, there must be a valid and subsisting marriage between the spouse and the principal visa holder. Spouses coming from common law unions or gay marriages may not qualify as dependent spouses since our government considers these unions against public policy and void.53
Holders of dependent visas may study and reside in the Philippines but cannot work using the said visa.54
Parents of the principal visa holder, as well as brothers and sisters do not qualify as dependents and must secure visas based on their own personal circumstances.
A holder of an employment-based visa does not acquire the right to apply for permanent residence or become an immigrant by mere passage of time. To obtain any of the visas that grant permanent residence privileges under the special laws described in an earlier section, the foreign national must comply with the requirements (whether, retirement, investment or other basis) for the grant and continued enjoyment (for example, subsisting investment or cash deposit) of the said visas. To be granted immigrant status under Section 13 of the Philippine Immigration Act, he must comply with the specific conditions prescribed for each category of immigrant visa, such as, marriage to a Filipino, qualification for quota visa, being born in the Philippines of immigrants, being a former natural born Filipino, naturalized in a foreign country and returning to reside permanently in the Philippines.
A foreigner who seeks to acquire Philippine citizenship may either file a petition for judicial naturalization under the Revised Naturalization Law or administrative naturalization under the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000.
Under the Revised Naturalization Law, the petitioner must have resided in the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than ten years. ‘Residence’ refers to the person’s actual place of abode, the place of continued residence. The ten (10) year minimum of the same qualification can be reduced to five (5) years if the applicant has:
a. honorably held office under the Government of the Philippines or under that of any of its political divisions,
b. established a new industry or introduced a useful invention in the Philippines,
c. is married to a Filipino woman,
d. engaged as a teacher in the Philippines in a public or recognized private school not established for the exclusive instruction of children of persons of a particular nationality or race, in any of the branches of education or industry for a period of not less than two years, or
e. was born in the Philippines.
The petitioner must be able to prove that he has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications for naturalization.
Administrative naturalization is an abbreviated procedure for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship but requires that the applicant was born in the Philippines.
Information regarding these matters are available online through the websites of the Bureau of Immigration,55 Department of Justice56 and the Board of Investments.57
Most visas which allow a foreign national to reside in the Philippines as an immigrant or as a non-immigrant permanent resident, allows him to obtain employment in the Philippines, so there is no need for the foreign national to obtain a work visa. However, foreign nationals who are non-immigrant permanent residents are required to obtain an Alien Employment Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The periods of validity of employment visas vary with the validity of the contract of employment. But work visas are usually issued for a period ranging from one to three years. However, since the employment visa is employer specific, its validity will terminate if the foreign national’s employment with the company is terminated.
Immigrant visas are valid for as long as the holder resides in the Philippines and complies with the requirements and conditions imposed on his visa classification.
Investment visas such as the SIRV and SRRV remain valid for as long as the investment subsists and the holder complies with the requirements imposed by the government agencies that administer their visas.
As a general rule, a foreign national should return to the country before his visa expires. If he cannot return before the date his visa expires, he should apply for a grace period prior to his departure. A grace period is granted for a maximum period of three months and is stamped on the foreign national’s passport.
Entry visas which are issued to foreigners whose nationalities are among those listed as restricted by the Bureau of Immigration are required to secure entry visas prior to travelling to the Philippines. Foreigners may be issued an entry visa with either single or multiple entry privileges subject to the discretion of the consular official that receives and processes the application. The applicant seeking to apply for a multiple entry visa must prove that he is qualified for this visa and that there is sufficient need and justification for the grant of this privilege in his favor.
Tourist visas which are stamped and given upon arrival are always single-entry.
Holders of employment visas must downgrade their visa status back to temporary visitor and cancel their AEPs before they can apply for a new employment visa with another employer.
Applications for the renewal of 47(a)2 PEZA employment visas must be filed at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the visa sought to be renewed while applications for the renewal of other employment visas must be filed on or before the expiration of the visa being renewed.
Pending the release of the renewed visa, an applicant may apply for a grace period which will allow him to travel in and out of the country for as long as the grace period is valid.
Upon the expiration of a work or employment visa, its holder must apply for the downgrading of his status back to temporary visitor and surrender his Alien Employment Permit. If he will be leaving the Philippines he must pay the appropriate fees in order to secure clearance certificates which will allow him to properly leave the country. If he is not a restricted national he may re-enter the Philippines without a visa and begin the process, once again, of changing his visa status from a temporary visitor to a holder of the particular work visa that fits his and/or his new employer’s qualifications.
If the nationality of a foreign national is among those included in the list of restricted nationals, he must apply for a temporary visitor visa from the Philippine consulate in his place of residence.
A temporary visitor, whether restricted or not, is required to have an outbound ticket when he travels to the Philippines since he will be admitted as a temporary visitor.
Once admitted, foreigners are bound to respect the laws of the territory, and owe a local or temporary allegiance to the government of the country where they reside which continues during their stay.58 A foreigner’s obligation of “temporary allegiance” to a country while he or she is acting within its territory refers to the alien’s duty to obey all laws of a country as long as he or she remains in the country.59 Foreigners are in general entitled to the protection of the laws with regard to their rights of person and property60 and may also be obligated to contribute and perform acts redounding to the general welfare whenever proper.61
The rights and duties of an alien admitted into the Philippines are subject to conditions imposed by law62 and may vary according to their immigration status.63
Failure on the part of a foreigner sojourning or staying in the Philippines, to abide by Philippine law and to maintain the conditions of his stay constitute cause for their deportation.64
Once deported, a foreigner is returned to his country of origin and his name will be included in the Blacklist which will bar him from returning to the country.
The best way to avoid being barred from re-entry is to abide by all laws and comply with the conditions imposed upon a particular visa category. In particular, visas must be kept updated and current so that a foreign national does not overstay.
Foreigners who reside in the Philippines must also avoid any form of arrogant high-handed behavior which may provide a basis for a deportation complaint for being anti-Filipino or for being an “undesirable” alien.
The fees for the processing of visa applications vary according to the visa that you are applying for. The schedule of fees paid to the Bureau of Immigration may be online at their website.
The taxes paid by a foreigner will also differ according to the privileges afforded by the type of visa granted to him and to the presence of any tax treaty between his government and the Philippine government.
The National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines (“NIRC”)65 classifies foreigners into three (3) main types for income tax purposes: (a) resident alien; (b) non-resident alien engaged in trade or business; and (c) non-resident alien individual not engaged in trade or business.
A resident alien66 has been defined as one who is actually present in the Philippines and who is not a mere transient or sojourner. To be considered as a transient, the stay in the Philippines must be for a definite purpose which by its nature may be promptly accomplished. However, if the purpose of his stay is of such a nature that an extended stay may be necessary, and to that end he makes his home temporarily in the Philippines, he will be considered a resident for income tax purposes, even if it might have been his intention to return to his domicile abroad when the purpose for his stay has been consummated or abandoned.67
A resident alien will be taxed on his taxable income from all sources within the Philippines.68 The term “taxable income” is defined as the pertinent items of gross income specified in the NIRC less the deductions and/or personal and additional exemptions authorized by the NIRC or other special laws.69 Notably, there are certain kinds of income which are already subject to final taxes and need not be declared as part of one’s taxable income. These include, among others, interest income from any currency bank deposits, yields or any other monetary benefits from deposit substitutes, trust funds and similar arrangements which are taxed at 20%, interest income from a depositary bank under the expanded foreign currency deposit system at the rate of 7.5% and cash or property dividends at the rate of 10%.70 On the other hand, interest income from long-term deposit or investments71 in the form of savings, common or individual trust funds, deposit substitutes, investment management accounts and other investments evidenced by certificates in such form as prescribed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shall be exempt from income tax, unless the latter are pre-terminated within five years.72
A resident alien will further be subject to a final tax on the net capital gains realized during the taxable year from the sale, barter, exchange or disposition of shares of stock in a domestic corporation, except shares sold or disposed of through the stock exchange, at the rate of 5% for amounts not exceeding P 100,000.0073 and 10% on any amount in excess of P 100,000.00. Shares sold or disposed of through the stock exchange are subject to a final tax of 0.5% of their gross selling price or gross value in money.74
Lastly, in the event a resident alien sells or disposes of real property in the Philippines, a final tax of 6% based on the gross selling price or current fair market value (as determined by the Bureau of Internal Revenue), whichever is higher, will be imposed on the capital gains presumed to have been realized from such sale or disposition.75
A non-resident alien is considered as being engaged in trade or business in the Philippines if he comes to the Philippines and stays therein for an aggregate period of more than 180 days.76 A non-resident alien is subject to an income tax in the same manner as a resident alien,70 except in cases of cash or property dividends which are subject to a final tax at the rate of 20%.78 Furthermore, the income of a non-resident from transactions with depository banks under the Expanded Foreign Currency Deposit System is exempt from income tax.79
On the other hand, a non-resident alien individual not engaged in trade or business in the Philippines will be taxed on the entire income received from all sources within the Philippines equivalent to twenty five (25%) of such income.
By way of exception, alien individuals employed by the regional or area headquarters and regional operating headquarters of multinational companies; by offshore banking units, or by a foreign petroleum service contractor or subcontractor shall be taxed on the income they receive from such entities at the rate of fifteen percent (15%) of their gross income, with their other income being subject to the appropriate income taxes.80
Notably, capital gains on the sale or disposition of shares of shares of stock and real property by non-resident aliens, whether considered as engaged in trade or business or not, are subject to tax in the same manner as that for resident aliens.81
A foreign national will be admitted into the Philippines only if his passport has a validity of at least six months at the time of entry. Once admitted, his Philippines visas will not be given a validity period that will exceed one month before the expiration of his passport. To obtain any further extensions, he must renew his passport.
The Philippines adheres to the rule of jus sanguinis, where the basis of citizenship is blood relation. A child born of foreign nationals in the Philippines will not acquire Philippine citizenship. As far as Philippine law is concerned, his citizenship will be determined by the national law of his parents.
Upon arriving in the Philippines, the spouse of a Filipino citizen may apply for an immigrant visa under Sec. 13(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.
To be considered entitled to this visa, there must be a valid and subsisting marriage between the applicant and the Philippine citizen. Spouses coming from common law unions or gay marriages may not qualify for this visa since our government considers these unions against public policy and void.82
| ◄ IMMIGRATION EXPERT IN THE PHILIPPINES ►
ExpatCareers.com nor the author guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page. It is recommend that particularly prior to your travels you check with the relevant government authority. Please contact us with any updates you may have. Last updated 04 September 2011.