Your Flight to the Philippines and Your Visa

I have put together some pointers and suggestions for your first trip to the Philippines. When you fly to the Philippines and if it is a permanent move you need an onward ticket which refers to an outbound ticket.  So you would purchase a one way ticket here, then and at the same time purchase a ticket to Hong Hong or Taiwan somewhere close to the Philippines rather than getting a round trip ticket and end up wasting the return. When you go through processing you are asked to show your outbound ticket or return ticket. If you arrive here without one they will make you buy one at a much higher rate. Once you are here and it becomes time to renew your visa, if you are on a one year visa and that runs out you are now on 2 month visas, costing around 4,000 to 6,000 pesos per extension every two months. If you plan to stay it is best to get permanent residency with the 13A Permanent Resident program. This will cost you around 25,000 Pesos to process but in the long run is cheaper as you only pay 5,000 pesos per year to extend it. For instance my wife and I arrived together to the Philippines, so I get what is known as a Balikbayan Visa, also good for one year. Now my year has run out and I am now on 2 month visa extended every two months. It would be Better for me if I go ahead and process my 13A but to date still have not done that, hmmmm. Since I arrived with my wife and received a Balikbayan visa I have no outbound ticked which is OK since it is not required with the Balikbayan visa.  (you must fly in with your wife to receive this visa), I no longer have the outbound ticket so when my second year is up I must fly out to Taiwan or other destination for a few days maybe a week and return. I think it states that you must leave for one day then start your 2 month visa series all over again for up to one year. Here are a few pointers to help you.

1. First make sure you have plenty of pages on your passport for all the stamping done here, every couple of months. There is an extended page passport available when you get your passport done. Or if you have an old passport, where most of the pages already stamped, you can get extra pages added to it.

2. When you are ready to purchase your ticket look for one of the Vietnamese or Asian travel agency’s, go there and ask them to find you a cheap ticket to the Philippines. We did this and on one trip found tickets for only $475 and on another occasion found a ticket for a ticket for $935 the going rate was 1,400 to 2,000 per ticket at the time. The Asian travel agencies are easier to work with than the American counterparts.

3. Never carry money on the plane in you pants pocket if you sleep someone may pick-pocket you, believe me I have seen it happen. You can purchase a money belt which is a little pouch warn under your trousers it is fastened around your waist like a belt and has a zipper compartment for cash, you will not loose this cash as no one will undress you to go after it. Also Wal-Mart has one of around $5.00. I had a friend who kept his money in is pants pocket someone saw him counting it and knew it was there so when he slept they simply pretended to look out his window and grabbed all his money. So he arrived here broke, and had to have cash sent from home.

4. Do not wander off exploring the area only do this with someone with you as a body guard, we have had many occasions of Foreigners being robbed once they get off the main streets and even on the main streets you can have your wallet taken, or backpack opened while you walk and stiff stolen, this has also happened here. My wife had her cell phone taken by kids while one was asking for pesos the other got her phone which was inside her backpack.

Good luck with your flight and be sure to look me up if you are coming to Cebu.

NOTES:

They changed some laws in 2011, first you can now extend up to 16 months (8 times 2 months). You can also after a year with Balikbayan stamp, go to immigration office with wife and get another one year stamp. The problem is if you are not married to a Filipina is where it gets expensive. We just went to the office to get that additional balikbayan stamp so I know it can be done. I did not have to leave the country after this second year. One year as a Balikbayan then one year on Visas at 6000 every 2 months. then a second stamp a year late but got one. You see the Philippine government wants you to retire here so they are making it a lot easier to say now.

Now what about this situation, why not take a short one to five day trip to Taiwan with your wife and on your return you get the Balikbayan stamp even though she is not a US citizen, all she need is a passport.  There are a lot of destinations like Honk Kong that only require a passport to get in. Passports can be done in Cebu or Manila fairly cheaply and only takes abut 30 days. Just contact one of the travel agencies,  my wife has been through that process and knows it well.

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http://immigration.gov.ph/

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Click on the images below to get a full sized view so you can read these notices.

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I included both images here as they are a little hard to read, click to enlarge.

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4 comments

  1. Charles: By the way I concurr on getting any exiting cheap ticket Like from CepuPacific for only $15, the question i have is when does it have to depart, before the 21 days visa is up?? I planned on doing this but the laws are a little sketchy.

    you would think they would make it a little easier for one to stay since an expat is bringing money into the country on a monthly basis

    1. Basically you just need to show one to immigrations on entry, period. Usually make it good for maybe six months then cash it in before it’s too late to redeem. You only have to leave after one year like I did Taiwan is a good location, I went to Hong Kong for a week but you only need one day outside the country then restart your year. I came here this time in February of 2010 on a Balikbayan Visa since my wife was with me, I qualified for that visa. This visa is good for one year, then I start on the 2 months visas for 4,000 to 6,000 every two months up until a year, so for me it makes 2 years before I have to leave the country so the outbound ticket is not required on a Balikbayan, or Missionary visa. My first trip here in 2004 I came in on the 21 day visa then on to the 59 day visas up to a year, left for Hong Kong with my wife, returned and got a Balikbayan visa good for a year… and so on. It works out OK and the government makes some money form it. Now if I plan to stay I should process a 13A and become permanent resident, that is renewed annually for around P5,000. but it cost 25,000 to process it, still worth it and is better than paying P6,000 every 2 months for ever, that’s 36,000 for the first year. and every year after that so the 13A is better in the long run.

  2. Charles: They changed some laws in 2011, first you can now extend upt to 16 months (8 times 2 months). You can also after a year with Balikbayan stamp, go to innigration office with wife and get another one year stamp. The problem is if you are not married to a Philippino is where it gets expensive.

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