Immigration Rules & Regs

Check Out These Important Requirements to Retire in the Philippines

So, you’re planning to retire in the Philippines. Therefore, you must know the different requirements. To be sure, check only government websites and legitimate sources. Remember that Americans and citizens from the United Kingdom have the same visa options.

Balikbayans (former Filipinos) should use the Courtesy Visa. After securing your visa, the next step is to determine the advantages of retiring here.

Retirement Visa Options for Americans and UK Citizens

To begin with, the most common retirement visa options you can choose from are:

  • One of the SRRV Retirement Visas
  • 13a Spousal Visa
  • 9a Tourist Visa

The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) has several visa options for all foreigners. As an ex-pat, you can apply for the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa or SRRV. It refers to the “special non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals” who would like to retire in this country. Moreover, acquiring this visa will provide you with the following benefits:

  1. Multiple entries and exit privileges.
  2. Exemption from the Bureau of Immigration’s  ACR-I Card.
  3. No duties for one-time importation of personal belongings for a maximum of $7,000.
  4. No taxes on pension and privileges
  5. Non-payment of travel tax.
  6. Free access to the Greet and Assist Program in designated airports.
  7. Free subscription to the PRA’s newsletter.
  8. Discount perks from accredited merchant partners of the PRA.
  9. Assistance in transactions with government agencies.
  10. Entitlement to privileges and benefits of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

PRA One-Stop-Shop

If you’re applying for the SRRV, you get help from the PRA’s One-Stop Shop facility for processing. You can go to its office at the Citibank Tower (29th floor), Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. Help desks will assist you in complying with documentary requirements.

Upon completing requirements and paying fees, the Authority endorses your visa application to the Immigration Bureau for approval. Under normal circumstances, your visa gets approved from five to seven working days.

The PRA will then award you an identification card (ACR) exempting you from annual registration. Incidentally, the Greet and Assist Program will assist you in airport express lanes.

Types of Visas

You can see below the PRA’s classification of visas for foreigners.

  1. Active and healthy retirees can avail of the SRRV Classic. This visa allows you the use of  Special Resident Retiree visa deposits for active investments like purchasing condominium units or long-term lease.
  2. Sick retirees (35 years old or more) needing medical care can apply for the SRRV Human Touch. Your requirements include a minimum monthly pension of $1,500, an acceptable health insurance policy, and an SRRV visa deposit worth $10,000. Read More
  3. Vets (50 years old and above, who retired from their respective armed forces, that have existing treaties with the Philippine Government get the SRRV Expanded Courtesy. First, you must have a minimum pension of $1,000 and make a deposit of $1.500. The PRA asks dependents to deposit $1,500 each. In addition, your children must either be legitimate or adopted legally, below 21 years, and unmarried.

Spouse Visa

If you’re married to a  Filipina spouse, the Bureau of Immigration issues the 13A Spouse Visa to eligible foreign spouses of Filipino citizens. For this purpose, you need to submit the following :

  1. Applicant’s personal appearance at the embassy or consulate.
  2. Two copies of the application form.
  3. Passport of the applicant including information on the applicant’s page and spouse’s page.
  4. Original and photocopy of the Filipina spouse’s certificate of birth issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
  5. Evidence of financial capacity to reside in the Philippines like bank accounts, stock certificates, and property deeds. [1] Read more

Tourist Visa

If you want to come in as a tourist. the Philippine Government grants a Tourist Visa for foreigners. This temporary visa covers legitimate and non-immigrant purposes. These include family visits, sightseeing, health, sports, religious activity, or business.

With this intention, you need to prepare the following documents:

  1. Passport and travel documents valid for six months.
  2. Completed visa application form.
  3. Two passport photos
  4. Proof of legal status as a tourist or business person.
  5. Confirmed entry and return tickets.
  6. Payment of official visa fees.

Qualifications of Applicants

You must be either a foreigner or a former Filipino at least 35 years of age. If you’re a dependent spouse, you must be lawfully married to the retiree. Also, you must submit these requirements:

  1. Original and valid passport with updated provisional visitor’s visa.
  2. Completed Philippine Retirement Authority application form.
  3. Original and legitimate clearances for police and medical from the country of origin.
  4. Clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) if applicants have stayed in the country for more than one month.
  5. Eight pieces of 2” x 2” photographs.
  6. Fees for one-time processing ($1,400 for principal and $300 for dependent) plus a yearly fee of $360.
  7. Marriage certificate of dependent-spouse and birth certificate of dependent-child.

The PRA may request additional requirements depending on the visa you prefer. At the same time, you must submit documents authenticated by the Philippine Embassy.

After being awarded a lifetime SRR visa, you can now enjoy permanent residency in the country. This visa allows your kids to enroll in any school without any Special Study Permit.

Courtesy Visas for Balikbayans

If you’re a former Filipino or Balikbayan, you can apply for the Courtesy Visa.  On the positive side, you receive the same privilege as local residents. PRA’s Servicing Division will assist you in acquiring an Alien Employment Permit.

On top of this, you get benefits such as:

  1. Apply for a driver’s license with the Land Transportation Authority (LTO).
  2. Secure a Tax Identification Number with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
  3. Deal with concerns related to income taxes, pension, perks, and other benefits.
  4. As a member of the PRA family, you enjoy services provided to all retirees. The PRA prioritizes your issues with the community until resolution.
  5. Finally, the PRA continues to negotiate with companies for eventual healthcare services and pre-need insurance plans. [2]

Cost of Living in Metro Manila and the Philippines

After acquiring your visa, determine how much money you need to live comfortably in the Philippines. Remember the cost of living in Metro Manila and urban places differs from that of provinces.

As a privilege, the government provides you a 20% discount on restaurants, transportation, medicine, and food items.

Primary Concerns

  • Retirees consider housing, food, and medicines as the most important expenses.
  • The estimated monthly budget of ex-pats can be between $1,500 and $2,000 based on International Living’s Global Retirement Index.
  • The cost of renting a house depends on the location, floor and lot area, and the building’s condition.
  • Numbeo, the primary economic database in various countries, set the standard monthly rate for renting a studio-type apartment in major cities at $311. In non-urban communities, monthly rentals fall to around $174. For three-bedroom units, average rental amounts to $686 in cities and $357 in rural communities.
  • You will find food costs cheaper in the Philippines compared to other countries. Your monthly grocery bill would amount to an average of $250. A three-course dinner with wine costs only around $30.
  • Definitely, you will want easy access to economical healthcare. Fortunately, many hospitals in the Philippines use modern equipment for treating chronic illnesses. You can also easily find doctors specializing in various illnesses.
  • Additionally, medical consultations cost between $10 and $15. However, hospitalization and medicines depend on the hospital, your condition, and prescriptions. [3]

Numbeo, the economic database in various countries, compared the Philippines and the United States regarding expenditures.

You can see below the low percentage of living costs if you decide to settle down here.

Rentals – 79% lower

Consumer Prices – 59% lower

Restaurants – 71% lower

Groceries – 50% lower

Purchasing Power – 76% lower [4]

Is Retiring in the Philippines a Good Idea?

Like other retirees, you will surely look at retirement as the final chapter in your life. This means time to relax and indulge in recreational activities.

Many foreign nationals opt to retire in the Philippines because of many reasons. To mention a few, the tropical climate, natural destinations, living cost, and Filipino hospitality. Besides, your visa will not expire so you can leave and return without re-applying for residency.

You have a good reason to retire here. For one, there’s no problem with the language barrier. In fact, English remains the second language of the Philippines. Even most people in rural communities can easily converse in English.

At the same time, you will find local cuisine delicious due to Filipinos’ cooking abilities. Different provinces in the Philippines also boast of colorful festivities. Each one has a special event every year.

The country allows expat-retirees to choose your own lifestyle. You can live in a city, farm setting, or beside the sea. Settle down in urban areas if you love malls and dine in restaurants.

On the other hand, provinces offer a peaceful lifestyle away from the excitement of city life. Thus, don’t hesitate to embrace and enjoy your retirement years.

Just live your life. Spend like a citizen in your new home. If you’re still single, look for the woman of your dreams among beautiful Filipinas.

Best Places to Retire in The Philippines

You will find several accessible cities or provinces conducive to retirement.

Cavite

Cavite has become a real estate haven for locals, ex-pats, and buyers of leisure or investment properties. You can find hotels, restaurants, malls, golf courses, and other leisure destinations in this province. Foreign and local tourists flock to Tagaytay City during summer because of its cool weather and scenic spots.

Laguna

Laguna lies close to Metro Manila and Cavite. This province’s biggest attractions include the integrated township project located in Sta Rosa City and Ayala Greenfield Estates on Mount Makiling in Los Banos.

Metro Manila

Metro Manila remains the number one preference for retirees. This metropolis has everything that you look for in a well-developed city. The concept of live-work-play in real estate development reduces traffic congestion.

Cebu City

Cebu City looks like Metro Manila in terms of development. It earned the distinction of being the principal business district and medical tourism site in the Central Philippines.

Iloilo City

Locals refer to Iloilo City as the core of commerce and industry in Western Visayas. Property developers started real estate projects that transformed the city into a residential and business area.

Davao City

Davao City, the largest in Mindanao, gained a positive reputation for being peaceful and infrastructure growth. Just near the City lies the famous Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines and Samal island known for luxurious beach resorts.

Baguio City

Although located six hours away from Metro Manila, you will certainly love Baguio City for its cold climate and as a highland resort. The City of Pines boasts of fresh produce, inexpensive bed and breakfast, and beautiful tourist spots.

How to Meet Filipinas

A lot of foreigners describe their Filipina spouses as “perfect for the role of a wife and mother.” Online dating websites present the best way for you to meet Filipino women. Just make sure to select sites that charge reasonable fees.

You may also seek the help of other foreigners who live here permanently. These individuals may be living with Filipina spouses and introduce you to relatives or friends. Once you get the opportunity to date a Filipina, remain a true gentleman and be courteous to your partner.

You need these traits if you are dating with marriage in mind. Respect the local culture and religion. Remember that the Western values differ a lot from that of the Philippines.

Filipinos also attend religious services once a week. Keeping this thing in mind will keep you in positive standing with the woman’s family.

Unlike in the United States and Europe, Filipinos prioritize the welfare of their families. You may need to give affordable gifts to her parents. However, this gesture means showing your thoughtfulness.

Having a Filipina wife means marrying among the prettiest women in the world. Their beauty is both on the inside and the outside. Add to this a Filipina’s charming and fun-loving traits.

You can be assured that she’ ll also take good care of her husband and kids. Try to gradually learn her dialect and memorize words of endearment like “Mahal Kita” or I love you.

Related: Discover The Best Dating Filipina Dating Sites

Foreign Retirees Contribution to the Nation

You should find this interesting! According to news reports, the Visa Program of the Philippines beats other Asian countries. Thanks to the low minimum age and simple qualification process.

Besides, the Philippines along with 25 other countries offer retirement visas. Hence, you can refund your bank deposit if you choose to leave permanently. In 2019, American retirees were in sixth place with 4.7%. China came first with 40% and South Korea with 21% of the total number. [4]

Retirees contribute greatly to the country’s service sectors specifically in places like Pampanga and the Southern Philippines.

Many of them launch new businesses that pump more money into the economy. Besides, expatriates consume commodities and services, pay taxes, and bring in capital for new enterprises.

By retiring in the Philippines, you’ll contribute to the economic development of this country. Think about it seriously. Make your first move right away! It could be the best decision for the rest of your life.

 

 

References

[1]https://pra.gov.ph/srrv/#:~:text=For%20ailing%20retirees%2C%2035%20years,of%20US%2410%2C000.00%20.

[2]https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Philippines&displayCurrency=USD

[3] https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Manila

[4] https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/country/philippines

[5] https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/why-philippines-reporting-record-growth-retirement-visas
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