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.
Rickey Hebert says
Hello in reference to the 13 A visa, u stated that u need $ 10,000 in savings, does that amount always need to stay in the bank, or just show u have that amount for a short period and use to to buy or improve ur land there. Thanks Rick
Rickey Hebert says
Hello do u get tax break on bringing personal items into the country , auto, etc if married to a phillipino ?
Interesting article and very relevant for applying for the 13a within Philippines. I have read that it is much easier to apply for the 13a outside of Philippines, do you have any info on that?
Steve Fleming says
David – While I’ve no direct experience of it myself, somebody did just make a comment on our Facebook page about obtaining the 13a outside the Philippines. Here’s what he said…
Hope it helps.
Thank you for that. I will be applying through the Philippines consulate in Dubai. Let you know how it goes.
Bit disappointed, I enquired at the Philippines Consulate in Dubai re the 13a visa but the reply was that they cannot issue the 13a only the 9a tourist visa. I will move to Philippines on the Balikbyan privilege, see how that works out, and maybe apply for the 13a later if I feel I need it.
One point that you didn’t mention, is that to leave the Philippines if you are on a 13a visa to you need to apply for a EEC, exit certificate, a couple days before you leave. I understand that this may be issued at some airports at the departure terminal, but would be very inconvenient if it transpired that it was not and you couldn’t board your flight.
While the permanent resident visa IS good for 10 years, you still have to go to report in once a year [as immigrants to the US used to have to do last century]. That reporting can be done [i.e. meaning paying the requisite fee] for me at the Immigration office nearer-by in General Santos City. However, doing so doesn’t put that report into their national system, so a trip to Davao would be required before any international travel.
The 13A Permanent Resident Visa is permanent. It does not need to be renewed in 10 years or ever.
What needs to be renewed is your ACR I Card. It should state the expiry on the card. It needs to be renewed every 5 years and at 10 years they will hit you up to renew and replace the card.
Celyn kang says
Hello! I just wanna ask if you are going to apply for 13a visa, are you still allowed to go in and out of the philippines for 1 year?
Steve Fleming says
Celyn – Thanks for your comment. I’ve never applied for a 13a so I can’t answer your question. Hopefully one of our readers will have more experience and can respond.
Great information here, Thank you. My question has to deal with toursit visa. I know the tourist visa is 30 days and can be extended. And you need to have a return flight when entering.
I am planning to stay for at least 90 days Can my return flight be at the 90 days when I book my flights, or does it have to be within that initial 30 day visa window?
James V. says
Thank you for this article. Its a big help..I am going to process my 13a Visa this week.
Jeff Carlson says
where can i find the 13A resident visa to live in the philippines im currently residing in wisconsin am married to a filipina she is in the philippines in central luzon section of the country i have all the documents ecept her son does not have a passpor only a birth certificate of the philippines and his school form he is a minor at 11 years old and how can i get a letter of invite if im in the united states and she is not i want to reside in the philippines
Dan Haithcock says
I did mine via the embassy in DC as I live in FL. I think there is a consulate in Chicago that would cover you.
Michael B Yoch says
I need to know about the new law in the philippines, all travelers coming to the philippines need to get a visa ($160.00 visitors) before entering the Philippines.
How will this affect entering the philippines without a visa to get the “Balik Bayan visa”?
My wife and I are planning to move to philippines as soon as we sell everything in the US.
Darrell Allen says
In two year me and wife (She Filipino) are planning to move to the Philippine do I have to get my visa stamp every year. I talk to some America in the Philippines they said I have to go to Hong Kong. And I would like to come back to America once a year to visit family.
Dan Ingram says
I Have a 13A Visa For Bout 3 Years Now. No Problems. But I Do Go Home To America Every Year For A Few Months To See Family.. This Year I Arrived In October 18, 2016.. But I am Leaving For Seattle Jan 21, 2017 To Help My Older Brother Who Is Schedule To Have Surgery.. Do I Have To Do the Annual Report?? Cause My Arrival Date Falls Before Nov 2.. But I Only Staying Here Bout 90 days Before I Leave For Seattle..??
I will be going to Davao to apply for my 13A visa. I understand I will need 20k pesos for the application. Do you know how much it cost to leave the Philippines for Seattle, and is that the only time you pay is when you leave? And what is the “annual report”? thanx
I will be planning a between 60 and 90 day trip there after the new year does anyone know if I can apply for a visa in the US Before I leave for the Philippines and how far in advance would I need to do so if I could do this? Or would I have to wait till I got to the Philippines to apply for the 90 day visa ? I also may have read something about a visa that you can get for one year with multiple travel in and out of the country does anyone know about this type of visa also. Thanks Kevin
ive completed the first year of my 13a visa how long does it take to get your permanent residents visa when I go back thhe second time after probationary residents visa
Lawrence Peterson says
I have been in the Philippines for 4 yrs now. 1 year BalikBayan and 3 years as an Alien. I have been reporting in my local Immigration office every 2 months as required. Recently, I was told that I have reached my 36 month limit as an Alien and I must go to the main office in Manila and write a letter to the Commissioner asking to stay longer and explain why.
I am thinking that they may tell me to leave the Philippines and come back and get a BalikBayan.. I am thinking of applying for a 13a or Resident Visa, depending on which one is easier or cheaper.
Can someone tell me which is easier or cheaper to get and what is required to get either Visa? I am starting to Panic.. I do not want to leave the Philippines. My local Immigration office gave me 1 month extension so I can get ready to go to the main office in Manila. I am scared of what they may tell me…..
PLEASE HELP !!!!! Thanks
Steve H says
Have you tried. The visa hop? You take a cheap flight to Hong Kong, Japan or another close by country and return to the Philippines same day to renew your visa stamp
STEVEN NORMAN says
Hello. I’m Steve and getting frustrated and confused with the whole visa thing. I need some direction from someone who knows. I live in UK. Married to a Filipina who lives in Philippines. We got a house and land there. We got a little girl 3 years old. I visit a few times a year for a few weeks at a time. Now I have just retired and am applying for the 13a visa. Or trying to. I still live in UK. Part of the requirements is that I need an NBI clearance. I opened an account online with NBI online services but cant submit the form without an ACR number. This card is apparently issued to people who have stayed there more than 59 days. Is there a way round this.
Also I’m looking into going for more than a month. Yep I can get a visa for 29 days after the 30 days free has lapsed. But I think I have to buy my flight ticket with a return date no more than 30 days after landing. Is it possible to get the visa sorted before going so I can get the right ticket. Or do I buy the right ticket but then get the 29 day extension at MNL before going through passport control? And will I need PHP cash to pay for it?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Donna Malec says
Hello! I’m a Filipina that is married to an American and we really wanted to apply for 13A visa. However, this means us living in Manila for a minimum of 1 month where my husband doesn’t want to because of too much traffic. So, I’m thinking about the “Balikbayan stamp”. Is it okay for me to follow Him and HongKong. So, we can arrive together to request a “Balikbayan stamp” for him? We already have authenticated marriage certificate.
Your response is highly appreciated.
Me and my husband (British) arrived in Manila last year. I told the passport control officer that we are married, he then got a visa stamp valid for 1 year.
Now we are thinking of applying for 13A visa or travel together and get another balikbayan stamp.
Is there a limit to use the Balikbayan Visa? How long can you keep traveling and coming back together before Immigration tells you that you need to get a proper visa?
Norma Bartram says
Hi, you can get your husbands balikbayan visa (one year to stay )at the airport when you arrive. be sure you arrive together.
William Hall says
Where would we get the required items ‘Notarised’
Jim DeHeer says
Question, My wife has dual citizenship. Can I still get the 13A visa and does she have to get one also? Thank you, Jim DeHeer
Hi, after being in the PH for a year I applied and received my 13a probationary visa. Now that my passport is stamped is that now considered my latest arrival date in the PH? I only ask now as I’m doing the amendment to permanent status and it ask for the latest arrival date. Thanks in advance.
The plan is in the next four years.
Has anyone experienced requesting a re-entry permit extension? The validity of the ECC-B is just for one year. If permanent resident holder cannot come back within a year, BOI said it can be extended. Has anyone tried this process?
richard lane says
I live in Zambales with my wife and daughter, on March 2020 I got my 13a visa in Manila. After my visa is permanent in March 2021. I would like to travel to Arizona to visit my adult son and sell a home
I own inTucson..I am not sure how long the paper work will take, my tenant wants to purchase the home so It shouldn’t be too long. So my question is how long do I have in the USA without losing my 13a visa?
When can one apply for the 13A visa , if you have the PSA marriage cert can you apply immediately after entering the country ?
Married to a Filipina for 16 years with 2 dual national children and supporting a drove of hangers-on as per usual but I’ve only used the Balikbayan concession in order to retain tax-status in the UK. The entire visa malarkey both in the Philippines & the UK is just a paper-shuffling farce. If with a 13a visa you need to show up, renew, jump through a hoop, pay Php20,000 and all the usual nonsense it just can’t be better than going on holiday to Sabah for a weekend away (Covid permitting) and just coming back with your wife to get a BB stamp in your passport. Similar rubbish in the UK if you apply for a ‘Spouse Visa’… then you have to apply for ‘Indefinite leave to remain.’.. but what if you don’t want to ‘remain’? It’s all bureaucratic twaddle that serves no purpose. Blokes are still given visas into the USA to learn how to fly… but not land.. so what is the point of police checks?
im almost at the 3 year mark on my time in the philippines and have to leave the country in 2 months -my question is if i can apply for the 13 a visa and not have to leave the country -or if my 13a visa doesn’t make it in time will i still have to exit or will they wait till the visa is approved with would be close to that 3 year mark but very close