Philippines Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISAphilippines200Any foreign national who wishes to enter the Philippines for employment, religious international trade, mass media, investment purposes, business, studies, permanent residency, etc. is required to apply for a visa from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in their countries of current residence.

Philippines Immigration

The Department of Labor and Employment is responsible for ensuring that all foreigners conducting business and other transactions in the country are staying within the provided time range. Almost all foreign nationals who intend to visit the Philippines for social purposes or leisure are not required a visa. Passports and other travel documents will be checked upon arrival. It is vital to follow the immigration laws governing foreign visits and permanent stays.

Immigration Laws

The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 states that immigrants or “quota immigrants,” of any single nationality or not having a nationality, may be admitted into the Philippines for not more than fifty (50) days for any one year of the calendar. Foreigners or “non-quota immigrants” may be admitted without considering such numerical limitations.

As for immigrants, Sec. 9 states that the following are quota immigrants:

(A) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age of a Philippine citizen;

(B) A child of alien parents born during the temporary visit abroad of the mother;

(C) A child born subsequent to the issuance of the immigration visa of the accompanying parent, the visa not having expired;

(D) A woman who lost her Philippine citizenship because of her marriage to an alien or by reason of the loss of Philippine citizenship by her husband;

(E) A person previously lawfully admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad to an unrelinquished residence in the Philippines;

(F) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age, of an alien lawfully admitted in the Philippines for permanent residence prior to the date on which this Act becomes effective and who is resident therein.

(G)  A natural born citizen of the Philippines, who has been naturalized in foreign country. [As amended by Republic Act No. 4376]

A corresponding representative of the Philippine Consular outside the country will investigate and certify the eligibility of a quota immigrant before admission into the Philippines. Qualified and accepted foreign nationals staying temporarily in the country may be admitted within the quota under the provisions and rules of the Act.

As stated by section thirteen of the Act, the citizenship of an immigrant having an admission based on the indicated numerical boundaries will be that of the immigrant’s country of origin or citizenship. If the applicant has dual citizenship, the nationality will be that of the country to which the application was filed.

There are also laws and stipulations provided by the Bureau of Labor and Employment to protect all rights of foreign workers, as well as to ensure that they are staying within the limited range of time indicated in their temporary residency pass.

A Special Resident Visa can be issued under 5 laws, namely:

•    Visa of Special Investors Resident under Executive Order 226, also known as the Omnibus Investment Code (1987);
•    Visa of Special Investors Resident in Projects Related to Tourism and Tourism Establishments, under Executive Order 63;
•    Visa of Special Investor Retirees, under Executive Order 1037 or the Philippine Retirement Authority;
•    Visa of Subic Special Investors, under Republic Act 7227 or the Conversion of Bases and Development Act of 1992; and
•    Subic Special Retiree’s Visa, under Republic Act 7227 or the Conversion of Bases and Development Act of 1992.

Visa Immigration Services

All foreign nationals can freely enter the Philippines with only a passport and other travel documents for business, leisure, and social visits. Their stay, however, should not exceed twenty-one (21) days, provided that the visitors possess valid tickets for their return trip to the port of origin or the next port of destination. Their passports should also be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the planned period of stay. Immigration officers at the ports of entry have the right to admit individuals with passports valid for a minimum of sixty (60) days beyond the planned period of stay. All tourists who wish to stay longer than twenty-one (21) days are required to secure a visa.

In general, the following are the criteria for visa grantees to the Philippines:

(a)    A temporary visitor coming for business or for pleasure or for reasons of health;

(b)    A person in transit to a destination outside the Philippines;

(c)    A seaman serving as such on a vessel arriving at a port of the Philippines;

(d)    An alien entitled to enter the Philippines under and in pursuant of the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation (1) solely to carry on substantial trade principally between the Philippines and the foreign state of which he is a national or (2) solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Philippines, he has invested or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital; and his wife, and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, if accompanying or following to join him, subject to the condition that citizens of the Philippines are accorded like privileges in the foreign state of which such alien is a national; [As amended by Republic Act No. 5171]

(e)    An accredited official of a foreign government recognized by the Government of the Philippines, his family, attendants, servants, and employees;

(f)    A student, having means sufficient for his education and support in the Philippines, who is at least fifteen years of age and who seeks to enter the Philippines temporarily and solely for the purpose of taking up a course of study higher than high school at a university, seminary, academy, college or school approved for such alien students by the Commissioner of Immigration; and

(g)    An alien coming to pre-arranged employment, for who the issuance of a visa has been authorized in accordance with section twenty of this Act, and his wife and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, if accompanying him or if following to join him within a period of six months from the date of his admission into the Philippines as a non-immigrant under this paragraph.

An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must depart voluntarily to a foreign country and procure from the appropriate Philippine consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the officers of the Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this Act.

A number of foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the country without a visa and stay for more than fifty-nine (59) days. Included are:

•    holders of Brazil passports; and
•    holders of Israel passports.

Some individuals are also not allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for more than seven (7) days. Included are:

•    holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports;
•    holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports;
•    holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports; and
•    holders of Portuguese Passports issued in Macao.

Types of Visas

Temporary Visitor’s Visa [9(a) Visa]

This is provided to foreign nationals who wish to enter the Philippines for business, medical appointments, or pleasure.

An expat shared in Rest of the World Expat Forum last August 7, 2009:

I would not recommend getting a special tourist visa since you have to invest money in the Philippines govt for no value. You can extend a visa for up to 18 months. Can’t think of another country so generous; but inconvenient if you are a long way from civilisation. If you are looking for love, upon marriage you can stay in the Philippines without paying periodic visa extension fee.

Transient’s Visa [9(b) Visa]

This is provided to individuals in transit and are entering the Philippines to move on to a next destination outside the country.

Seaman’s Visa [9(c) Visa]

This is for seamen serving on a vessel and arriving at a port in the Philippines. Reasons for arrival include temporary stay for leisure or in lieu of the job description.

Treaty Trader or Investor Visa [9(d) Visa]

This is for aliens entitled to enter the Philippines under and in pursuit of the provisions of a treaty of navigation or commerce such as:

  • To solely carry on substantial trade, principally between the foreign state of which the alien is a national and the Philippines
  • To solely direct and develop the operations of an enterprise. The alien, in accordance to the Constitution and the laws of the Philippines, should have invested or is in the process of investing a considerable amount of capital into the enterprise. The alien’s spouse and unmarried children below 21 years old accompanying or following to join are subject to the condition that citizens of the Philippines are also provided similar privileges in the foreign state where the alien is a national.

Diplomatic Visa [9(e) Visa]

This is issued to an accredited official from a foreign government recognized by the Philippine government, the official’s family, attendants, employees, and servants.

Student Visa [9(f) Visa]

This is issued to students who have sufficient funds and means to study and support themselves in the Philippines. Applicants should be at least fifteen (15) years old seeking to enter the country temporarily and only for the purpose of being educated or taking up a study course higher than high school at a university, academy, college, seminary, or school approved for such foreign students by the Commissioner of Immigration.

Pre-arranged Employment Visa

This is issued to aliens coming for pre-planned employment. The visa issuance should also be authorized in accordance to the Immigration Act. The same applies for the alien’s spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age if accompanying or joining within a period of six (6) months since the date of admission into the country as non-immigrants.

As for this visa, an expat shared in  Introductions Expat Forum last November 26, 2008:

One of the major things you must consider is whether you can get a visa that will allow you to work. In most countries this is difficult because employers must demonstrate to the government that there are no citizens available for the job. With a worldwide recession, that is going to be harder and harder to prove.

That is one reason so many people who want the experience of living abroad teach English or French or whatever their native language is. Most countries don’t have a ready supply of native speakers, so it’s easier to get visas. In most countries, if you visit in order to search for a job and do find one, you will be required to the leave the country to get the visa. Some places will require you to return to your home country.

As far as getting a job that pays well, that can be even more difficult, since wages in many countries are far below what westerners expect.

Special Non-Immigrant Visa

This type of visa is issued under Section 47 (a) (2) of the Philippine Immigration Act, allowing the President, when warranted by public interest, to issue such visa considering prescribed conditions. The President, via the appropriate government agencies, can exercise the authority to allow entry of foreign nationals in areas like:

•    oil-drilling companies;
•    board of Investment Registered Enterprises; and
•    Philippine Economic Zone Authority Registered Enterprises.

Multiple Entry Special Visa

Foreign personnel of banking units offshore under Presidential Decree 1034, Section 7 can be issued this type of visa, considering that the foreign banks are duly licensed by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines). The respective spouses of the personnel and minor dependents below twenty-one (21) years old will also be issued visas. These are valid for one (1) year and can be extended, based on legal and meritorious grounds.

Foreign personnel of regional or area headquarters of multinational companies, under Executive Order 226, Book III, Article 59, including their respective spouses and unmarried children below twenty-one (21) years old, if accompanying or joining after admission into the Philippines as non-immigrants, will be given multiple entry special visas. Validity lasts for one (1) year unless extended by the Commissioner of Immigration on legal and meritorious grounds.

Holders of this visa type are exempt from immigration fees and registration apart from securing all clearances with only the exception of a tax clearance from any form of government agency before final departure.

Types of Permits

Certificate of Residence (Immigrants)

This is required from immigrants who:

•    have lawful and permanent residence, or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the Philippines;
•    are admitted as a non-quota or quota immigrant under the Philippine Immigrant Act; and
•    are admitted under a different category of immigration with status changed to a quota or non-quota immigrant under the Philippine Immigrant Act.

Certificate of Residence (Non-immigrants)

This is issued to non-immigrants who:

•    have a Certificate of Residence of Pre-arranged Employee;
•    have a Certificate of Residence of Temporary Visitor;
•    have a Certificate of Residence of Treaty Trader; and
•    have a Certificate of Temporary Residence of Student.

Emigration Clearance Certificate

This is issued to aliens temporarily or permanently living in the Philippines, going on temporary trips abroad, or planning to return to the country.

Special Return Certificate

This is issued to alien non-immigrants who are admitted temporary residence into the country and are about to depart temporarily. The holder can return to the Philippines with the same admission status at the time of departure. Validity initially lasts for six (6) months and can be extended up to one (1) year. Entry may be single or multiple as stated accordingly.

Alien Employment Permit

This is required from foreign nationals in the Philippines for employment purposes. The permit is obtained from the Department of Labor and Employment. Executives of offshore banking units and regional headquarters as well as holders of Treaty Trader Visas are exempt from getting the permit.

There is a current program to update these permits with The ACR I-Card. The ACR I-Card is a microchip-based credit card-sized identification card issued to registered alien replacing the paper-based ACR. It has an embedded computer chip with biometric security features capable of data management and can be updated electronically.

Other non-immigrant permits include:

  • Special Work Permit covered by Law Instruction 2
  • Subic Special Working Visa, under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992;
  • temporary Work Permit, under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.
  • Executive Order No. 758 which prescribes guidelines for the issuance of a special visa to non-immigrants for employment generation.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

working visa philippines April 27, 2010 at 8:07 am

This is a nice and detailed post. Businessmen should well familiarize themselves with the different types of Permits that must me issued for legal purposes.

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Roger Charlesworth October 5, 2010 at 2:21 am

I have previously held Permanent Residency in the Philippines, but due to working abroad my residency has expired. Do I need to start over or can I somehow renew my residency?

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jory bernaldez December 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

please investigate the status of this certain Heinz R. Heck, telling everybody he has investors visa but no business to report in BOI. Acted arrogant and fraud. Not paying in taxes in the philippines. He used his filipino family every time he reports. The propblem now i filed violation 9262 agaisnt him for turutring me using me as his milking cow here. i wanted him to be investigate of his stay here, he married 2 twice here in the philippines and missused me.

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heinz r heck August 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

by now the three cases for violation of RA 92 62 my estranged wife filed against me in retaliation for me filing two adultery cases versus her are all dismissed and her motions for recon were all denied by a panel of three prosecutors
the first adultery case is now in court. at her arraignment she pleaded not guilty but in open court at Br 19 she admitted/stipulated that the child was not from her leagly weded husband Heinz R Heck. the second adultery case another baby born is for resolution, also this a clear case for adultery committed. my estranged wife is using several names to suit her "business". at thyis moment she is "out on bail" for seven counts of estafa, more are coming for perjury, BP22, falsification of signatures.
this answer was caused by the lies of my wife.

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heinz r heck August 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

with all due respect, would it not be time to revise the Immigration Act of 1940 and treat us aliens based on an up to date law, just see how sweden is treating its' Filipino guests with free schools, hospitals, medicare, pension, and they can buy their own piece of land, build their house and own it, even id not a swedish citizen.

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Balut Paradise May 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Indeed. I immigrated to the Philippines, and eventually Naturalized. It is insanely hard and expensive, for a nation that offers little in return. My wife immigrated to America. It was cheap, easy, and they did everything to make the process simple. She is a US Citizen now with endless rights and opportunities.

You have to realize though, the birthrate in the Philippines is twice as high as in the US, for a nation that is 1/32 the size. They do not need immigrants.

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heinz r heck January 21, 2016 at 2:06 am

by now I know … it’s all a matter of money … in everything and all the way, still it’s a beautiful country but it costs a lot of learning …

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Nory Santos October 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

hi,

Sir/Madam my Boss is started to open a office in Makati he want to get working Visa is it possible for him to get his working Visa here in Philippines.

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john gardner November 9, 2011 at 3:18 am

do filipino people requier permit to leave the phillipines when they allready have visa a passport ???

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JOY ANDERSEN January 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

hello everyone i would like asked some helped i am Filipino citizen my husband is danish national we been married last july 2011 here in cebu city, we are both on legal age my husband is 63 years old and i am 30 years old my husband want to migrate here in cebu after he will retired and we asked helped if what is the requirements that we need to obtain so he can have a permanent resident permit here in cebu to live? and one thing we already have a son now which is 4 moths old he was born here in cebu can i already apply my son a dual citizenship and what the requirements that i need to obtain about dual citizenship and can i already get passport on my son even he is only 4 months old, i wish someone to helped thank you.

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Analyn Stanton December 5, 2014 at 1:06 am

Got married with American,but im pretty sure they have the same requirements for your Danish husband,you and your husband needs to go to Immigration office,and apply a resident visa for your husband,you will be the petitioner of your husband’s visa through marriage license certificate,that is one of the proof,make sure all your copies aquired and requested from National Statistics Office and all forms of Id’s of him and Yours needs to be photocopied too.We paid around P6,437 for the visa application fee,and that includes his resident card.But,before anything else,The 2 of you will be interviewed and will be asked how you met,and make sure your husband knows your siblings name,your parents name,and your parents address,because he will be asked by the Attorney in Immigration officer,and it is not a one day process,My husband and I had to wait 2 weeks before they approved us if he can stay or not permanently.

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yamamura rycan February 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

hello everyone im filipino citizen and my husband is japanese national we been married 4 years ago and my husband wants to migrate in the phil,..can you pls help me what are the requirements that we need,..

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Rycan Obedencio February 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

can you pls give me the proper address of immigration and my husband wants to migrate in the phil can you pls help me what are those requirements so that my husband can stay longer in the phil,…..

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Jessica September 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm

If my boss is doing installation work of our own equipment for about 7 weeks in The Philippines, what permits, visa, etc. would be required?

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Lutkat October 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

how much is the annual fee of a Permanent Resident Visa holder?

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nizel April 29, 2013 at 11:55 am

sir/madam.
i am Filipino citizen and my husband is Indian national,we been married for 5 years and had 4 years old son,my husband is working in Saudi.he wanted to get a permanent residence visa here in the Philippines cuz it consume a time to apply always a tourist visa every time he will come in the Philippines..pls help me what are the requirements needed for my husband?

regards
nize,

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marilou pereira May 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

my son born in Kuwait and now studying in Phil but is holding a Indian passport. how can i get Phil him a dual citizenship? he is now 21 yrs old.

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marilou pereira May 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I'am a Filipino citizen and my husband is a Indian national.We been married for 22 years in Kuwait and now we are residence in Dubai. and had a 20 years old son who is studying collage in the Philippines. Me and my husband are both working in Dubai.My husband wanted to get a permanent residence visa here in the Philippines because as we yearly coming to Philippines to visit our son.to apply a tourist visa in the embassy consume a time every time he will come to the Philippines. please help me what i have to do and what are the requirements needed for my husband?

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Balut Paradise May 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

You cannot apply for a Permanent Residence Visa for the Philippines if you permanently reside in UAE(Dubai is not a country).

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jackeline July 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Hi sir,
I am filipino national and came to pakistan and married in 2011 with a Pakistani and he is doing a business so now we have two shildren and would like to go back to philippines with my family i already have a POC for pakistan and i don’t need visa for pakistan but what my husband can have to stay permanently in philippines

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Sarah August 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Hi sir,

I am a philippine citizen married to a pakistani and have a baby. I am currently residing in pakistan with POC card. Me and my baby who is a year old is visiting the Philippines and she is a pakistani passport holder. Does she have to apply for a visit visa? Is my baby entitled for a dual citizenship? Thank you!

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Iftikhar February 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Pakistani cannot get permanent visa in philippines

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zainab October 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hope everything is well.

I am Zainab a Filipino citizen and currently working in Dubai.  I am married to a Pakistani national. Now we have a daughter already and she was born in Pakistan. Our daughter holds a pakistani passport and was registered as a pakistani national. I would like to ask these following questions regarding citizenship.

1. Is it possible to apply for dual citizenship for my daughter.? (As a filipino).
2. It is possible to apply it in Philippine Consulate in Dubai?
3. What would be the requirements for this.?
4. How much money will I spend for this process. ?

I would love to hear the answers regarding my queries. 

Thanks

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lhen January 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

U hv to regster first ur marriage to phil consolate if not yet,den follow d birth of ur child.after den,u cn apply 4 the passport of ur child.this advice base on my experience.

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Ameerah July 22, 2016 at 3:50 am

Hi Lhen…

Just wanted to ask if you still remember all the requirements and maybe how long it will takes..

Thanks

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maryam February 17, 2015 at 12:34 am

Good Day!
Im married to Pakistani Man here in Riyadh Ksa I’m a Filipino by Sharia Law.
We are discussing about what is the nationality of our kid if he/she is born here in Saudi.
We will apply pakistan nationality and apply a filipino nationality too?
Please guide us.
May God Bless you.

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Lyn Gonzales March 24, 2015 at 6:25 am

Dear sir/madam,
Good afternoon!I am Lyn Gonzales I just want to ask your advice related to my cousin about his future husband.
My cousin have a singaporean boyfriend and planning get married this dec.in phil.and he want to surrender his singapore citizenship and want to stay in phil.my question now is:
1.how my brother in law get migrant in phil?
2.what are the requirements?
I hope I can hear from u soon.thank u

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Brian March 27, 2015 at 4:12 am

My question is Im retired from England,but live in Malaysia ,I also have two Malay born children,I want to buy house in phillipines with what will be my new wife, can I do that

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Marilou May 20, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Sir/ Madam,
Good Day! As we are always facing problems for my son’s student visa in Philippines can i apply his student visa from Dubai Embassy in U.A,E . He is still have one and half year more to go. Please advice me what to do.. Thank You so much..

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barkhad yusf June 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

ai am student somalia i apply theuniversty of visayas in cebu i going the empassy in nairobi kenya then he can eccept me and he give me the latter of accept the he sied send your universt then he can send u the latter of accet still i diont have any answer so that if i come on arivel can take me visa on arrivel plz give infor

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pamie July 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I just want to ask how about palestian..can they enter Philippines as a tourist? And how long?

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Kingsley November 21, 2015 at 8:51 am

Hello, help please. My Nigerian friend has over stayed his visa for four months now. Can he extend it and still stay in the Philippines? He’s legally married to a Filipina.

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saif January 17, 2016 at 8:04 am

Hi I’m from pakistan I married to philippna we one San born in Philippine but she is married befor long time she don’t have any news with har hasband saprt long time now I’m here in Philippine to visit my San and I want say with my San pls help me how to do im Muslim now she is all so Muslim how we git married here apply my visa pls

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Analyn May 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

My husband from Pakistan and I born my second baby here in Pakistan what is the requirements if I want to take philipino passport.

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Cathy May 31, 2016 at 7:38 am

Hi,
I’m from India and currently looking forward to Do M.D. in philippines. I’ve 1 year old baby, is it ok to take her with me while studying in Philippines. If yes, then kindly help me with the legalities and procedures for visa application. Thanks

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manoj singh July 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Hi
I’m manoj Singh from India. …I want to go phillipins. .I’m a indian chef…and I like phillipins so much…I wants go..but I need working permit. ..
But I don’t know how to get working visa so please any one help me…if you can I proud of you.
Thank you…

Manoj singh

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rosie October 14, 2016 at 10:54 am

hello im a filipino n my husband isan indian national and where staying now in indian.we are are planning to go back n phils an we want to stay there already.what kind of visa need to apply my husband and is where we gonna apply?is it possible that my husband can apply in phil embassy?cz wasting everytime he go phils he apply tourist visa and its wasting time n money

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Maricris December 7, 2016 at 7:15 am

Good day!

My fiancee is Indian but we both here in Dubai working for so many years. I’m planning to go vacation next year March and my fiancee wants to go with me for vacation. then after our vacation we will come back Dubai for work. Please help me what we have to do for him to enter Philippines especially to my hometown Davao City. once again we are Employed and we both had company visa as we both working here in Dubai. We want to go vacation in Philippines next year (March).

Looking forward your kind respo0nse. THANK YOU.

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John James January 2, 2017 at 6:05 am

I am a retired 65 year old Brit who has resided in the Philippines for the last 2.5 years, I recently married a Filipina widow, who has 3 children by her deceased husband. I am due to renew my visitors’ visa for the 6th and final time (6 monthly). Is there any way I can continue to reside in the Philippines ? Do I have to leave for the mandatory 2 months before I can return ? If I can stay/apply for permanent residency what do I need to do and approximately how much does it cost and how long does it take to complete the necessary paperwork. All/any advise would be most welcome. Can I do any of this via the internet so that I have 1 visit only to the Immigration Department,(We live in Samar so need to arrange accommodation (Hotels)every time we go to Manila.
Thanking you in anticipation of your helpful responses

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steve n. September 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm

yes and now the populatin is 104million!!

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