So you’ve moved to The Philippines, fallen in love and now you’re married. Welcome to the club!
It’s time to take care of the practical side of living here permanently, and one way to do that is to obtain a Philippines 13A visa. This allows you to live here in the Philippines indefinitely and puts an end to those monthly visits to the hot and bothersome immigration office once and for all.
So how do you go about getting the 13A visa? Let us explain via this handy FAQ!
Q. Who’s eligible for a 13A visa?
A. Anybody married to a Filipino. If you’re married (either here or abroad), you’re eligible.
Q. Where can I find the relevant law at its source?
A. A quick Google search for ‘Philippine Immigration Act 1940, Section 13’ will bring up the exact law. You can see for yourself exactly what it says. Alternatively click here.
Q. Where can I apply for the 13A visa?
A. You can apply in Cebu, Manila, and Davao. While you can’t apply in any other city as of the time of writing you can ask for further information there and immigration officers will be happy to help.
Q. How long is the visa good for?
A. Your first issuance of the visa will be probationary for 1 year. After the initial 1 year probationary period you need to have the status changed to permanent. You are then free to stay in the Philippines for as long as you wish. You will also need to renew your ACR card every 5 years and report to your local BI every year as per normal.
Q. Do I have to be married or can I apply while engaged?
A. You’ll need to be married to get the visa, as an authenticated copy of your marriage contract needs to be presented when applying. If you got married abroad this will have to be done in the Philippine embassy.
Q. How long will it take after I apply?
A. Generally, you can estimate about 1 month from the time of application. This can vary so give or take a week.
Q. What documents do I need to submit with the application?
A. You’ll need the following:
- A notarized letter of application from your Filipino spouse.
- A notarized general application form (yes, it should be filled in).
- An authenticated birth certificate for your Filipino spouse.
- A copy of your passport showing your current visa (date of arrival must be visible).
- A clearance certificate issued by the department of immigration.
- A barangay certificate attesting to the fact that you and your spouse live together as husband and wife.
- Police clearance from your own country if you have been in the Philippines less than 6 months. A clearance certificate from the NBI will also be required if you have been here more than 6 months. Source.
- The appropriate fees, totaling around 20,000 pesos.
You can also download a requirements PDF that was published by the BOI
Q. What alternatives are there to a Philippines 13A visa?
A. If you’re willing to travel in and out of the country once per year with your spouse you can get a renewable Balik Bayan visa. This will not ever make you a resident of the Philippines but does entitle you to live here with your spouse for a year at a time.
While this is by no means to be taken as expert legal advice, it is a very good starting point information wise when it comes to applying for a Philippines 13A visa.
Whether you’re currently dating and doing your research or are already married and planning to stay we wish you the best of luck and a happy life in the Philippines!
NB: This article specifically relates to the more common, Philippines 13a visa for married spouses of Filippino citizens. There is also another Section 13 visa that is less common; the quota immigrant visa.
Here's the relevant section from the official Bureau of Immigration website regarding eligibility…
Nationals of countries which have diplomatic relations with the Philippines and grant the Filipinos the same immigration privileges under the principle of reciprocity which shall not be in excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year
For more information on the ‘Section 13, quota immigrant visa‘, take a look at the official Bureau of Immigration website.