The Philippines is a beautiful and remarkable country. However, many expats who visit the Philippines often wonder how to stay in the Philippines permanently; thus, today, we will be looking at how to stay long-term in the Philippines by going through both permanent and long-term options.
To summarise. Long-term residency is not the easiest; permanent residents in the Philippines can also be challenging due to more rules and regulations. Still, some individuals will find the process much more straightforward than others due to nationality, parent’s citizenship, etc.
How To Stay In The Philippines Permanently
Gaining Citizenship In The Philippines
Like many countries across the world, it’s very challenging to obtain citizenship in the Philippines as a foreigner; nonetheless, if you are looking at how to stay in the Philippines permanently, gaining citizenship may be an option. In most cases, applicants for citizenship tend to be Filipinos born in a different country or foreigners with a Filipino mother or father.
But what are the options for a foreigner who has no blood ties with any Filipinos?
The official Commonwealth Act No. 473, the Revised Naturalization Law of 1939, provided that persons with specific qualifications may become citizens of the Philippines by naturalization.
Section 2 of CA No. 473 specifies that the applicant must possess the following qualifications:
- He or she must be not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing of the petition;
- He or she must have resided in the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than ten years;
- He must be of good moral character and believe in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution. Furthermore, he or she must have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government and the community in which he is living.
- He or she must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less than five thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or must have some known lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation;
- He must have enrolled his minor children of school age in any of the public schools or private schools recognized by the Office of Private Education of the Philippines, where Philippine history, government, and civics are taught or prescribed as part of the school curriculum, during the entire period of the residence in the Philippines required of him before the hearing of his petition for naturalization as Philippine citizen.
In addition to these requirements, if a foreigner falls under the following categories (section 4 no.473), they cannot be naturalized as a Filipino citizen.
- Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized governments;
- Persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination for the success and predominance of their ideas
- Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy
- Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude
- Persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;
- Persons who, during the period of their residence in the Philippines, have not mingled socially with the Filipinos, or who have not displayed a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos;
- Citizens or subjects of nations with whom the United States and the Philippines are at war, during the period of such conflict;
- Citizens or matters of a foreign country other than the United States whose laws do not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or subjects thereof.
So as we can see above, when looking at how to stay in the Philippines, gaining citizenship is an option. Still, it is very challenging to do so as many factors are out of an applicant’s control, such as the length of time they live in the Philippines, etc.
Living in the phillipines through Marriage
Suppose your country of origin has an immigration reciprocity agreement with the Philippines (The agreement comprises 82 countries). You are married to a Filipino; then under the Philippines immigration act of 1940 section 13, you qualify for a permanent resident visa.
To obtain a marriage visa, a foreigner will need to have a valid marriage certificate recognized under Filipino law, no derogatory records from local international enforcement agencies, not afflicted with any contagious diseases, have the available financial capacity to support a family, and finally, have the available financial capacity to support not become a public burden.
Over the years, there have been reports of foreigners marrying Filipinos to gain permanent residency in the Philippines. However, it’s essential to note divorce is still illegal in the Philippines and is one of only two sovereign states in the world that prohibit divorce.
Obtaining A Retirement Visa
We recently spoke about retirement in Cebu. We covered how to stay in the Philippines permanently regarding retirement; however, to summarise a few points, specific requirements will need to be met to gain a retirement visa for the Philippines.
- Original valid Passport with valid /updated Temporary Visitor’s Visa;
- Accomplished PRA Application Form;
- Initial valid Medical Clearance;
- Original valid Police Clearance from country of origin, and an additional NBI Clearance, if the applicant has stayed in the Philippines for over 30 days from the last date of entry;
- Photos (8 pieces, 2″x2″);
- SRR Visa deposit that is inwardly remitted;
The great news for retirees looking to live permanently in the Philippines is that there are several options available depending on your age, financial status, and country of origin. In addition, you can obtain a retirement visa without a pension in the Philippines from the age of 35; however, if an applicant does not have a pension(retirement fund), they will need to have a sizable time deposit.
If an applicant is between 35 and 49, the deposit needed will be a minimum of $50,000. However, if the applicant is 50 years of age or older, the deposit will be $20,000 without the pension. If the applicant does have a pension and is over the age of 50, the minimum deposit amount will be $10,000.
You can find out more about obtaining a retirement visa and living permanently in the Philippines by visiting the link above to take you to the Philippines retirement authority.
How To Stay Long Term In The Philippines
Aside from how to stay permanently in the Philippines, many expats wish to stay long-term, ranging from six months to multiple years. In this section, we will be looking at how to stay long-term in the Philippines.
Obtain a Working Visa For the philippines
The first option to stay long-term in the Philippines is to obtain a work permit. Genuinely getting any kind of work in the Philippines is more challenging than in other southeast Asian countries. The level of spoken English proficiency is high in the Philippines. Many English-speaking roles commonly available to foreigners across Southeast Asia are not available in the Philippines.
Nonetheless, there are opportunities for foreigners to find work in the Philippines. One common opportunity is with your local embassy. Many embassies are stretched across the Philippines, and often, job opportunities are posted directly on the embassy’s website.
The most common work permit is the 9 (G) visa. This visa may initially be issued for 1 – 3 years, which is extendable. A foreigner must have an alien employment permit before submitting a 9 (G) visa application.
Student Visa for living in the Philippines
Another common method to live permanently in the Philippines is to obtain a student visa. A common question asked is, what is the difference between a student visa and a special study permit? A student visa in the Philippines is issued to international students older than 18 years of age and taking a high-level course. On the other hand, a special study permit is issued to a foreigner who is below the age of 18 and/or taking non-degree courses in the Philippines
Some courses can become fairly expensive. To gain the correct permits/visas, one must ensure that the Higher Education Commission recognizes the faculty and certify that the school can legitimately accept international students.
Final Notes: Staying Permanently In The Philippines
The requirements and information gathered in today’s article have been checked and confirmed at the time of writing, but in late 2021 the Bureau of Immigration Philippines announced that in the upcoming years, there are plans to streamline the visa process as certain parts of the immigration law in the Philippines have not been updated since the 1940s
Currently, this is known as the modernization act. Therefore, this post on how to stay permanently in the Philippines will be updated regularly. However, we recommend speaking directly to an independent attorney or the immigration department to get the most relevant and up-to-date information on permanently living in the Philippines.
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