Moving or retiring to the Philippines from the UK? Today we’re looking through how to retire to the Philippines from the UK by exploring a somewhat checklist of areas to consider before leaving the grey skies of the UK to enter the sunny beaches of the Philippines.
Additionally, aside from looking at retirement to the Philippines from the UK, we will also be exploring whether a British citizen can buy property in the Philippines and some critical information to note when considering retiring in the Philippines.
Table of Contents
Can A UK Citizen Retire To The Philippines?
The official retirement visa issued by the department of foreign affairs in the Philippines is open to many nationalities, including citizens from the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, to apply for the special resident retiree visa in the Philippines, you will need to meet specific requirements.
The requirements depend on a few different factors, but one of the biggest is whether you have or have not got a pension. If you have not got a pension, you can technically retire in the Philippines at 35 years of age; however, a more significant time deposit will be needed.
For more information regarding whether a UK citizen can retire in the Philippines and other retirement visa-related questions, we have included the official documentation as a reference. But to answer the question in the simplest way, a UK citizen can retire in the Philippines so long as they meet the requirements set by the department of foreign affairs.
What You Need To Know Before Retiring In The Philippines
So when looking at retiring to the Philippines from the UK, there are many questions that you may have. So in this section, we will be looking at what you need to know before retiring in the Philippines by covering some significant categories. If you have a question we haven’t answered in this article, feel free to submit your question in the comments section of our YouTube channel.
Philippines Retirement Visa
As mentioned in this section above, when retiring in the Philippines from the UK, it’s essential to make sure the legal side of living in the Philippines is covered. As we discovered, the retirement visa for the Philippines is issued by the department of foreign affairs, but more specifically, it is issued by the Bureau of immigration.
Retirement visas can be obtained at 35 years of age at a minimum in the Philippines. There are specific time deposits required to be approved for a retirement visa in the Philippines. The total processing time of the retirement visa application is between 7 and 10 working days on average.
When looking at can a UK citizen retire to the Philippines, you may discover that you are unable to meet the requirements to obtain a retirement visa in the Philippines; so what can you do?
The Philippines visas are friendly compared to other neighboring countries, and it is not too difficult to live in the Philippines long term without a retirement visa. Along my travels across the Philippines, I met many foreigners from the UK and other countries with long-term visas. There was the opportunity to extend the visa or leave the country and re-enter later.
Many retirees enjoy traveling, and countries such as Vietnam and Thailand are only a short flight away. Thus if you are looking to stay in the Philippines long term, you can always extend your current visa, obtain an alien certificate registration card, and/or re-enter the country later.
Health Care In The Philippines
The UK and the Philippines do not have a health care agreement. In other words, healthcare is the responsibility of the retiree. The United Kingdom government recommends buying comprehensive travel and medical insurance covering all accidents and emergencies (and possibly death) while traveling or living in the Philippines.
When I first started visiting the Philippines many years ago, I was in my mid-20s and thus did not require any insurance, but this was a risk as anything could have happened during those years. There were a few health concerns, but overall, healthcare (at least my treatment) was very cheap.
But now, looking back, this may have been slightly foolish even though I was in my younger years back then. Nonetheless, it is recommended to obtain the appropriate healthcare coverage when looking to retire in the Philippines from the UK.
Some reports suggest the Philippine’s healthcare service may not be up to a similar standard to that of the United Kingdom.
Safety In The Philippines
Safety is perhaps one of the most talked-about concerns in recent years, especially when looking at retiring in the Philippines from the UK. The first primary concern is indeed post-pandemic. Still, there are also other areas such as terrorism, crime, and natural disasters.
The UK government has an excellent article covering the safety and security of the Philippines, which I will link to for reference. However, to summarise, there have been high levels of crime and terrorism in certain areas.
Many governments, including the UK government, advise against traveling to specific areas in the Philippines. You may be familiar with the central areas are Manila, Iloilo, Davao City, Cebu City, and Boracay Island. These areas do have instances of crime, but most visitors and travelers have a trouble-free experience.
However, particular areas such as Jolo province, Marawi, and several others are considered red areas and places to avoid in the Philippines. The reason these areas are considered dangerous is due to military concerns, terrorism, and kidnapping.
But most of the areas where retirees live in the Philippines are safe and secure, but even in the safest countries, there is always some crime. The Philippines is not the safest country in South East Asia. Still, most retirees have a pleasant and trouble-free experience in their retirement in the Philippines
Regarding Covid-19 in the Philippines, it seems that many parts of the Philippines are lessening their lockdown procedures, and travel into the Philippines (at the time of writing) seems to be on the horizon. Nonetheless, precautions are advisable during this time.
If you are looking for more details regarding COVID-19 and how this is affecting the Philippines, I have included some extra information from the official departments of health for your reference.
When looking at moving to the Philippines from the UK, the last concern is any natural disasters that may impact your retirement. The most common natural disaster experience in the Philippines statistically is earthquakes. Many earthquakes are quick and can be felt as small tremors; however, more significant natural disasters can impact life when moving to the Philippines from the UK.
We will discuss natural disasters in more detail below when we cover some extra information regarding moving to the Philippines from the UK in the section at the end of this article.
Business And Personal Income For Foreigners
So a common question asked when moving to the Philippines from the UK is can a foreigner invest in the Philippines? Foreign investment is welcomed in the Philippines, and there are lots of different options for foreign investors.
I’m very honored to be the lead writer of one of the Philippines’ most popular business and investment websites named Filipino Wealth. FW speaks about investment opportunities and business for foreign nationals, But in summary, foreign nationals can indeed invest in the Philippines, and there are even a few legitimate ways of earning an income while living in the Philippines.
The easiest way to earn an income in the Philippines is to set up your own business. This is not an easy method; however, it is manageable compared to other ways of earning money in the Philippines.
Additionally, taxation must be paid in the Philippines. Thus requirements will need to be met to be legally working in the Philippines. It’s always recommended to follow the rules of the land wherever you are situated.
General Life For Retirees In The Philippines
When looking at retiring in the Philippines from the UK, the last area is the general life of the country. We have covered life in the Philippines recently on our YouTube channel and across this website. We even took the cost of living in the Philippines compared to the UK for those interested in how much you will need to live comfortably in the Philippines.
But to summarise the articles and videos across our channel. Life in the Philippines is a unique and majestic experience as it has the benefits of the most beautiful beaches globally and the hustle and bustle of a major city.
If you are looking at moving from the UK to the Philippines, one consideration is what kind of life or retirement you are looking for. The great thing about the Philippines is that it is a very diverse country and is home to thousands of islands, each having its own unique personality.
Many foreigners visiting, living, or retiring in the Philippines, choose areas such as Cebu city because it offers a unique city life and access to beaches and resorts a few hours away in the North and South of the island itself.
But there are indeed quieter areas. A popular option for a retiree in the Philippines is to live in Davao city. Davao city has had a transformation in terms of safety, and even though safety outside of the city itself is questionable…. inside the city is relatively safe. Davao city has won countless safety awards over the last few years.
Davao City, therefore, may be a great option if you are retiring as it offers a somewhat quiet way of life compared to other cities and areas in the Philippines. But just like every city and every area, there are always pros and cons, and it’s always important to be vigilant in every situation.
Can A British Citizen Buy Property In The Philippines?
In the Philippines, legally speaking, a foreign national cannot own land, meaning that a British citizen is limited when purchasing a property. Nonetheless, a non-national can purchase a condominium in the Philippines as long as more than 60% of the units in the condominium complex are owned by Filipino citizens.
If you are looking to purchase property in the Philippines and are not interested in condominium projects, there are two other options.
The first option is if you are part of a business legally registered in the Philippines. In theory, the business can purchase the property. Still, it will be in the name of the registered business in the Philippines and not you as an individual.
The next option is obtaining property in the Philippines through marriage. This decision should be met with extreme caution as there have been many scams related to this topic. However, you can purchase a property and land, but you will not be in the name of either as it will have to be in the name of a legal Filipino citizen.
Extra Information For Moving To Philippines From The UK
So now we looked at can a British citizen buy property in the Philippines and can a UK citizen retire in the Philippines. So this leads us to the next section of moving to the Philippines from the UK. In this section, we will be discussing a few different areas which will help you whether you are retiring or moving to the Philippines long-term.
Beware Of Potential Scams In The Philippines
The Philippines is well known to be a country that has high levels of scams. There are many different types of scams that target foreign nationals; however, there are also many scams where Filipinos are targeting other Filipinos.
Some scams are dressed as genuine business or investment opportunities, but they tend to be traditional multi-level marketing or Ponzi-like schemes under the surface. In most cases, if something seems too good, it is typically.
Visas Are Friendly In The Philippines
Some countries, specifically in Asia, are starting to raise the bar in terms of visa requirements. Perhaps this is due to post Covid-19 life, or perhaps it’s a decision to increase financial gain, but whatever the reason, the Philippines remains a visa-friendly nation compared to some other neighboring countries.
Additionally, the minimum age for a retirement visa is 35 years, which offers an excellent alternative for those who wish to retire in the Philippines but are slightly younger than the traditional retirement age.
Internet Speeds May Be Slow In Some Parts Of The Philippines
For the last few years, the Philippines has been known to be a country with some of the slowest internet speeds globally. Because of that, if you are using a computer for work or necessities such as communicating back home, it can be a slight issue.
In most cases, as long as you can choose a location with good Internet connectivity and connect your computer or laptop directly to the Wi-Fi router instead of a wireless connection, you should have a stable Internet connection.
Natural Disasters Can Be Common
The Philippines has an independent body called the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. They work with government and non-government officials to improve safety and contingencies for natural disasters impacting the Philippines.
In earlier sections, we mentioned that certain parts of the Philippines are more at risk of earthquakes due to their geographical location. There are also other types of natural disasters that can be common in the Philippines.
For example, In 2014, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. As a result, over 6000 people died, and over 12,000 were injured. Reports followed that the typhoon caused upwards of 36.6 billion Pesos worth of damage.
There are also worries of volcanic eruptions in the near future, and experts closely monitor these specific areas for warning signs of an eruption.
It’s challenging to pinpoint what may happen in the future, but authorities are collaborating to announce warning signs and signals before any natural disasters hit the Philippines.
In The Philippines, Rental Property Requires A 2 Month’s Deposit
When considering moving to the Philippines from the UK or retiring, you may rent a property rather than purchase it. It is standard for a landlord to ask for one month’s deposit and one month of advanced rental payments in the UK. However, in the Philippines, it is typically to provide two months’ worth of deposit and one month’s advance rental.
This can be quite a large amount of money in one go. Still, on the plus side, rental property in the Philippines is much lower than in the United Kingdom, so renting a property is relatively inexpensive in the long term.
If your budget is tight, it is possible to negotiate with the landlord, and this is often action through a legal contract that states you will pay half of the deposit now and half in a few weeks.
Business Opportunities For Foreigners In The Philippines
One of the benefits of living in the Philippines is that it is a developing country, and some industries in the Philippines have opportunities to explore.
Suppose you are looking at starting a business in the Philippines and your customers are Filipinos. In that case, the Filipino market is slightly different. Not everybody in the Philippines uses the Internet for online purchases. For example, many older citizens do not trust online stores, so it’s a good idea to question what kind of business you wish to start.
But this is one business idea out of many. Another benefit is that the cost for staff is much lower than that of staff in the UK. For example, a full-time personal assistant typically has a salary between 13,000 Pesos – 19,000 Pesos.
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