Retirement In The Philippines is a dream of many people who have a Philippine citizen spouse and they have already visited the country a number of times over the years. It is not only guys who are retiring to the Philippines, as I know several American ladies who are married to Filipinos and they have also retired to the Philippines with great excitement.
There are many great locations to consider for your retirement in the Philippines. Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, has one of the fastest growing expat communities in the entire Philippines. Why is it happening? More and more foreigners are discovering Metro Bacolod and the surrounding area to be exactly the kind of city to retire to for several excellent reasons. Bacolod is a mid size city, which is not over-crowded and the traffic is not terribly jammed like in other cities. No one enjoys living in a crime infested city, so the low crime rate here is very attractive to those with concerns about personal safety and security. The Bacolod Area offers many things that expats enjoy having available to them, such as telecommunications, media access, fine dining, inexpensive entertainment and excellent and affordable health care. One of the more important factors to consider retirement in the Philippines is the cheaper cost of living in the Bacolod Area, compared to Manila, Cebu and Davao. These are just a few of the reasons why Bacolod City has been awarded for a number of years as “The Cleanest, Greenest, Most Liveable City in the Philippines.” Just to add, Bacolod is known as “The City of Smiles” and I personally fully believe the local people live up to their motto!
Is Retirement In The Philippines For Me?
For those who have not been married to a Filipina or Filipino and who have not visited the country in the past, taking an extended visit is my first recommendation towards retirement in the Philippines. It can be done in two weeks, however, four weeks or more would be much better. I would also suggest visiting a couple of different cities and/or towns that spark your interest. Everyone does not enjoy living in a city and there are many small towns in the Philippines worth checking out if you enjoy a more rural and rustic lifestyle. One of the things I enjoy about Bacolod City is that is offers both city and countryside living! Without ever leaving the city limits. Where my wife, son and I live, there are hundreds of eucalyptus trees and we can hear the roosters crowing in early morning but this does not bother me one bit, as I am accustomed to it. My sleep is not disturbed. There are sugarcane fields in some areas of the city and seeing a carabao, native water buffalo, is not unusual. For us, Bacolod is the perfect place to live and to raise our son. It is marvelous here!
Retirement In The Philippines Visa Considerations
My most recent article on retirement in the Philippines is about the Philippines Retirement Visa, known as the SRRV, Special Retirement Resident Visa. The SRRV is a permanent resident visa and it never has to be renewed.
For those married to a Philippine citizen, the easiest option is to have your spouse file for the 13a Visa on your behalf. The great news is, your citizen spouse can file in your home country at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate which services your area. Before you ever leave home, you will already have your permanent Philippine Resident Visa, which never needs renewing. Your ACR I-Card will only be renewed every 5 years and this is the Alien Certificate of Registration and ID card. If you wait to apply for your 13a Visa in the Philippines, there is a 12 month probationary period, which will require your citizen spouse to file for your permanent status before the 12 month expiration. Presently, the total cost of the 13a Visa is under P10,000, so you will be spending less than $300 USD to have permanent retirement in the Philippines. Fabulous!
The Philippines has one of the most liberal visitors and tourist visa programs of any country in the world. Hands down! There is a new Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, BI, and he is making it easier for foreigners to extend their stay in the Philippines for up to 16 months. Under special circumstances, the visa may be extended up to 24 months before having to exit the country. Under the new BI regulations, tourists receive a 30 day visa in their passport upon arrival, which is an increase from the previous 21 day visa. Before the expiration of the initial 30 days, by going to the local BI office, you may extend another 29 days and the cost is P3,o30. Before the expiration of those 29 days, you may return to the local BI office and extend for 59 days that time and the cost is 4,800. Going forward, you can extend your tourist visa every 59 days for up to 16 months very easily.
The Commissioner of BI recently announced that after the initial 30 day visa upon arrival, one may avail their new 6 month visa program, however, this is currently only available in the main Manila BI office. There are plans to make this new 6 month visa available at all the District and field offices of BI, which are located all around the country. This is certainly very exciting new!
Once you have exhausted your tourist visa extensions up to a maximum 24 months, you can simply take a mini vacation for a few days and re-enter the country to once again avail of the tourist visa program. You will easily repeat the process you did the last 16-24 months while enjoying living in the Philippines.
This is the second in a series of three articles specifically about retirement in the Philippines. The Philippine government continues to make it easier and cost effective for expats to live permanently in the Philippines. I have lived permanently in the Philippines for more than 4 years and I am loving every minute of it. Even after four years, every day continues to unfold a new adventure! Retirement in the Philippines is a magnificent lifestyle!
As of today, the Philippine Embassy in London will only grant you a one ( 1 ) year 13A Visa and will be renewed every year for 4 years, on the 4th year you apply for the 13A Permanent Visa.
Gary, I am very grateful for your hard work and the useful information you have gleaned and put together for us. I have been married to my Filipina spouse for about 8 1/2 years and we are looking forward to moving to the P.I. in several more years. She is from Cebu province and it has appeal to us but we are not sure yet where we will live. Like you, I love the country life very close to town–not right in the city and not in the sticks. Your information will help us in our search. Bless you.
Gary McMurrain says
Thank you much for your kind words and compliments. They are much appreciated.
There are a number of nice places in Cebu, even in Cebu City. I’ve spent more time in Cebu this year. Of course, Bacolod will always be our home but it is nice visiting other areas of the Philippines.
~ Gary ~
robert e hill says
hi I am thinking of living in the Philippian’s I am retired I am from the uk but living in Thailand at the moment im single what is the best visa I can get and is there a sum of money needed to get a visa ie pension . thank you
kind regards Robert hill
Gary McMurrain says
The SRRV, a visa, requires $10,000 USD deposit, minimum.
The tourist visa can now be extended for up to 36 months and you are not required to put up any money for it. If you marry a Philippine citizen, she can file for your 13a visa and it is permanent after the 12 months probationary period.
~ Gary ~
I was born in Manila
Became an American citizen because of my mother
I’ve lived in Spain then the US since 84
I am now retired 62, and considering bacolod
I have visited Manila
A few times
But it’s too congested and dirty
Wanted to begin planning my move but I am fearful as I only have 1300 in income monthly and an IRS of 50000
I have a lot of questions
Steve Fleming says
Benjamin – Gary is no longer associated with the site. The best advice I could give you would be to research as much as possible online and then take a trip over here and see what you think. That’s really the best way to get an idea of whether it will suit you or not.