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New Requirements for Philippine 13a Permanent Visa

The 13a Permanent Resident Visa. In the opinion of Gary Wigle and myself, along with other American expats, this visa is the cheapest, most hassle-free visa a person who intends to retire and live in the Philippines can obtain. Of course, your spouse has to be Filipino in order to sponsor you for it, but once you have the 13a,  living in the Philippines becomes that much easier.  

Philippine Bureau of Immigration(Photo Source: Philippine Bureau of Immigration)


Only have to get your ACR, Alien Certificate Registration Card,  renewed every five years instead of annually and don’t have to leave the country once a year and come back. Only need to make my annual report as a foreigner at the local BI office in Iloilo City which costs P310. 

While researching a recent article on the  Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE) now being offered by Immigration, I came across information regarding new requirements for the Permanent Resident Visa that have been in place since earlier this year:

1. Bank Certificate in the Philippines (your wife’s or joint account)
2. Police Clearance from your home country 

Now when my spouse sponsored me for my 13a Permanent Resident Visa, there was a requirement for proof of income to show financial capacity. I had bank statements and other financial statements, but no one asked for it.

It’s my understanding that the police clearance was only required before if you applied for your 13a visa outside of the Philippines, which I did not do. We went to the main office in Intramuros, Manila. Here’s information on the additional police clearance requirement.NBI Clearance Form Philippines

SUBMISSION OF NBI CLEARANCES AND POLICE CLEARANCE FOR IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICATIONS

(Memorandum Order No. RADJR-2012-028)

  • WHEREAS, the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 (CA 613), as amended, mandates the Bureau as the agency principally responsible for the administration and enforcement of alien admission and registration laws;
  • WHEREAS, there is a need to ensure that the applicant for immigrant visas has no record of any derogatory information against him in any law enforcement agency;
  • WHEREAS, Sec. 3, CA 613, authorizes the Commissioner to issue such rules and regulations and from time to time, issue such instructions, not inconsistent with laws, as he shall deem best calculated to carry out the provisions of immigration laws; NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, applicants for immigrant visas including applicants for temporary resident visa shall submit the following clearances:

a. If the applicant has been in the Philippines for less than six (6) months, he shall attach to his application a Police Clearance from his country of origin or residence duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate at the place of issuance or nearest to it, with English translation, if written in another foreign language.

b. If the applicant has been in the Philippines for six (6) months or more, he shall, in addition to the Police Clearance from his country of origin or residence prior to his arrival in the Philippines, attach to his application a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance. (Source: Philippine Bureau of Immigration website.) Philippine Flag

From the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website, here are the other present requirements. 

CHECKLIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR PETITION FOR AMENDMENT FROM PROBATIONARY TO PERMANENT RESIDENT

(Under Section 13(a) of the P.I.A

1.  Letter request from the petitioner – (Filipino spouse)

2. General application form (BI Form No. RBR 98-01) duly accomplished,

signed by both petitioner and applicant and notarized.

3.  2 x 2 picture to be attached to the General Application Form

4.  Photocopies of the following:

a.  Passport with stamped of the visa

b.  Alien certificate of Registration (ACR)

c.  Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)

5.   Joint affidavit of the petitioner and the applicant stating that;

a.  they are husband and wife and are living together

b.  they are financially capable of supporting each other.

Important: Supporting documents to prove financial capacity such as

Proofs of joint bank deposits or bank certification, Income Tax Return,

Land titles, contract of employment, pensions, etc. must be submitted.

6.  Barangay certificate that petitioner and applicant are resident of the

barangay and that they continue to live together as husband and wife.

7.  Birth certificates of children born subsequent to the approval of the

Probationary one (1) year period.

8.  Marriage Contract

Now some expats I know would rather leave the Philippines every year and “avail” of the Balikbayan Privilege. My wife and I did that when we first entered this archipelago in July 2009,  but have found it much cheaper and easier to take advantage of the 13a Permanent Resident Visa. Don’t have to worrying about leaving the country at a certain time.

Here’s the current schedule of fees from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website. Keep in mind that obtaining the 13a Permanent Visa is a two step process. Probationary status for approximately one year. Conversion, or amendment of the visa is the next and final step. It took my wife and I four separate trips to Immigration in Intramuros to obtain the conversion of my temporary 13a. That was done in May 2011. We stayed with my wife’s sister and brother-in-law during that time instead of making multiple trips back to Iloilo.   

13A IMMIGRANT BY MARRIAGE – PROBATIONARY (CONVERSION)
 ITEM DESCRIPTION
1 YEAR
PRINCIPAL
DEP-SPOUSE
DEP-BELOW 16
DEP-BELOW 14
  • APPLICATION FEE
     P 1,000.00
P 1,000.00 P 1,000.00 P 1,000.00
  • CERTIFICATE FEE
      500.00
       500.00        500.00       500.00
  • CRTV (CERTIFICATE OF RESIDENCE FOR TEM VISITOR)
   1,400.00
   1,400.00     1,400.00    1,400.00
  • IMPLEMENTATION FEE
   1,000.00
      500.00        500.00       500.00
  • FORM
      100.00
      100.00        100.00       100.00
  • ACR (ALIEN CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION)
  1,000.00
  1,000.00    1,000.00              0.00
  • CHANGE OF STATUS
     600.00      600.00       600.00       600.00
  • HEAD TAX
     250.00
     250.00           0.00            0.00  
  • PASSPORT VISA
     200.00      200.00       200.00      200.00
  • LEGAL RESEARCH FEE
       70.00        70.00         70.00        70.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (CERTIFICATION)
    500.00
     500.00       500.00      500.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (FILING)
    500.00
     500.00       500.00      500.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (IMPLEMENTATION)
 1,000.00  1,000.00    1,000.00   1,000.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (I-CARD PROCESSING)
    500.00
     500.00       500.00      500.00
TOTAL      P 8,620.00
 P 8,620.00 P 8,370.00     P 7,870.00
  • Additional I-card fee (based on current exchange rate)
      US $ 50.00
   US $ 50.00 US $ 50.00 US $ 50.00
 13A IMMIGRANT BY MARRIAGE – PERMANENT (AMENDMENT)
 ITEM DESCRIPTION  
 PRINCIPAL  DEP-SPOUSE DEP-BELOW 16 DEP-BELOW 14
  • APPLICATION FEE
 P 1,000.00
P 1,000.00  P 1,000.00 P 1,000.00
  • CERTIFICATE FEE
       500.00        500.00        500.00       500.00
  • ICR (IMMIGRANT CERTIFICATE RESIDENCE)
    1,400.00
   1,400.00     1,400.00    1,400.00
  • AMENDMENT FEE
       500.00
      500.00        500.00       500.00
  • IMPLEMENTATION FEE
       500.00
      500.00        500.00       500.00
  • FORM
         50.00
       50.00          50.00         50.00
  • PASSPORT VISA
      200.00      200.00        200.00        200.00
  • LEGAL RESEARCH FEE
         60.00           60.00            60.00            60.00 
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (CERTIFICATION)
     500.00      500.00        500.00        500.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (FILING)
     500.00      500.00        500.00        500.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (IMPLEMENTATION)
  1,000.00  1,000.00     1,000.00     1,000.00
  • EXPRESS LANE FEE (I-CARD PROCESSING)
         500.00     
     500.00          500.00        500.00
 TOTAL      P 6,710.00
P 6,710.00 P 6,710.00 P 6,710.00
  • Additional I-card fee (based on current exchange rate)
US $ 50.00
US $ 50.00 US $ 50.00 US $ 50.00
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37 Responses to “New Requirements for Philippine 13a Permanent Visa”

  1. Gary says:

    Hi Dave, great post. I sure am glad I got my 13a when I did. I understand your Philippine bank statement must show 100,000 pesos at all times. I can’t remember having that much in any bank. :-(

    I really can’t blame the BI for all the new rules. So many expats are treating their wife so bad. Many are deported too. Seems the guys from “downunder” are the worst yet I know some that are great guys. :-)

    Gary in Tagum City

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, Gary. Glad I got mine, too. Didn’t know that about the 100,000 peso requirement. As I stated in the article, I had all of my financial statements ready to show the Immigration officer back in 2011. Bank statement, IRA, my wife’s title to her property in Guimaras, but no one asked for one thing. So I didn’t offer.

      I agree. The BI had to do something. I’ve read too many reports of abusive expats, also. One case of abuse is one case too many in my books.

  2. Bill S. says:

    Hey Dave,

    Granted, the costs to get all the paperwork processed there is a small fraction of what USCIS charges here to bring a fiancée here. But I don’t really understand why either govt. has to make it so complicated in the first place. When its all said and done, who actually ever reads any of the info that is provided to them in the first place, I kinda wander if anyone does, or is it just a way to make money for the govts.

    I keep reading that the PI govt. is trying to overcome corruption there, yet to me, in my small mind, them offering “express line” service to those willing or able to pay extra for it, is also a form of corruption, similar to bribing which is supposedly illegal there also, and yes, I will pay for it when the time comes. As I, still living about 11,000 miles away have discovered, that about the only way to get almost ANYTHING accomplished there in a timely matter, is to offer a few thousand Pesos to the right person and things go fast and smoothly, and magic acts, that Houdini would even admire ( David Blane might anyway) of papers lost or missing, that suddenly appear out of nowhere. I have wandered though, to the locals that cant afford such services, do the same problems occur as much for them as they seam to for foreigners. Have read where you have gone through similar things also, suppose almost all foreigners do. Am just hoping I can learn quickly to go with the flow, and try not to let it bother me, cause I too am approaching the old geezer age and don’t want to let those kind of things ruin my day once I get there in a few more years.

    • Dave says:

      Bill S, in the 2013 Ease of Doing Business Report, the Philippines ranked 138th out of 185 nations ranked. In 2012, the PH ranked 136th. The amount of red tape involved in building our CR back in 2009 was astounding. Our contractor/architect handled all of that for us. He absolutely refused to pay any fixer’s to expedite the process. He did, however, have to pay P1,000 to Guimelco, the power company in Guimaras where we lived, in order to get a transformer hooked up that was needed for welding equipment for the new roof. Delay after delay, excuse after excuse from Guimelco officials. The roof project was delayed for over a month until magically, the P1,000 note was passed and the installer came out the next day to hook it up. To further rub salt in the wound, the installer was one of my wife’s legion of relatives on the island. That’s life in the Philippines.

      The amount of corruption is staggering. Don’t believe all the hype about the so-called fight against corruption going on. It just isn’t happening. Look at what’s going on with the Philippine Department of Labor offices all across the Mid East and the exploitation of their own OFWs. From the Inquirer:”The testimonies of three women who claimed they were abused by a Filipino labor officer in Saudi Arabia bolstered allegations of ‘institutionalized’ sexual exploitation of distressed migrant workers in Philippine embassies in the Middle East, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Monday.

      Speaking to reporters after two days of consultations with heads of Philippine diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa, Del Rosario said he had widened the investigation of the allegations to include missions in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong that also have shelters for distressed migrant workers.”

      Graft and corruption charges are going to be filed against those found guilty. How about some extreme jail time for those found guilty? I suspect that most of those involved will just get a slap on the wrist. My own sister-in-law works as a domestic helper in Kuwait, one of the main offices said to be involved in this sordid affair.

      That said, Bill, I really do enjoy living in the Philippines. One has to deal with reality here. And that reality is that getting things done quickly, or even at all, sometimes involves fixers. Foreigners and locals are both victims. I don’t ever see it coming to an end.

  3. Rease says:

    So, if I read this correctly a 13a five year renewal should cost about $200? Still have three years left on my current ACR.

    • Dave says:

      I have three years left on my current ACR, also, Rease. The BI website states the following information for one year renewal as follows:
      RENEWAL – US$50 ( Peso equivalent )

      a. Expiration of one (1) year validity of the card
      b. Re-registration upon reaching the age of 14
      c. Change of Visa Status
      d. ACR Replacement (Alien Registration Act of 1950, as amended

      I take it you are basing your $200 figure on the Permanent Resident fees I posted from the BI website? That’s something I might check out next time I make my Annual Report as a Foreigner. To my understanding, the ACR is the only thing we need renewed, the 13a visa itself is permanent. Anybody out there with a 13a Permanent Visa with an ACR card that has been renewed after the five years?

  4. PapaDuck says:

    Dave,
    I’m glad you posted this article. I will have to get a police clearance here in Florida before heading to Ohio end of this week. Can get it authenticated in the Philippine consulate in Chicago.

    • Dave says:

      Good idea to get it before you leave and have it authenticated, PapaDuck. I’ve found the officials at the Chicago office to be very helpful and friendly. Good luck.

  5. scott h says:

    Now that the house is almost finished applying for the 13a is the next step, I will let you all know how easy (or hard) :) it is.

    • Dave says:

      Good to hear from you scott h. I’m curious to see how the work on the house has gone. Hope your 13a process goes smooth. It took us four trips to the main office in Manila before we got everything we needed, but it’s worth it in the long run.

  6. Monty Sprague says:

    I still need to make a stop at BI when I land in the Phils, but got my 13A without leaving my chair here in Colorado. The police clearance was available by mail from the State Patrol, the visa was obtained through the mail from the Phil. consulate in San Francisco. I mailed in the required paperwork plus the $150 fee, exchanged a couple of phone calls with a nice lady at the consulate, and in two weeks received my passport back with the visa. Now, compare that with the time, expense, and hassle most of us experienced with the INS getting our fiancees here to the good ol’ U.S. of A!

    • Dave says:

      Sound great, Ice Man! Good for you. I know of several guys that have applied for their 13a in the States. I remember checking out that option when Melinda and I were at the Philippine Consulate Office in Chicago to get her Philippine passport renewed. I decided to go for the balikbayan privilege to enter the PH, which worked out, and then go to the “gates of Hell” in Manila, the Intramuros BI Office, for the 13a. Keep us posted. Sounds like things are working out for you. Good luck and take care.

  7. Rease says:

    I suppose we have plenty of time to figure that one out Dave. I hope you’re right and it’s only the ACR that has to be redone. That’s like the “easy” button.

    • Dave says:

      Rease, everything I’ve read regarding the 13a Permanent Visa points toward the ACR only being renewed. Aside from making our annual report as a foreigner at our local office and plunking down P310, I believe that once we’ve been approved and granted permanent resident status, we’re good to go.

  8. Steve says:

    Hey Bill S.,

    If you are in the US, just have your fiance fly into Mexico and then sneak across the border. She will be welcomed with open arms and fast tracked to citizenship. :)

    • Dave says:

      Yeah, Steve, you’re right on that one.

      Btw, here’s something I noticed regarding permanent residents in the PH from the BI Website: There are more than 200,000 foreigners with resident visas in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. disclosed that as of Dec. 31, 2012 the number of aliens registered with the BI totaled 203,753 which is six-percent more than the 194,356 aliens listed as of Dec. 31, 2011.

  9. Rease says:

    LMBO, good one Steve!

  10. roselyn says:

    Hi Dave: Thank you for a most informative article. I’ll have to avail for the 13A permanent visa for my spouse, after I retire from the U.S. Your article is very helpful.

    • Dave says:

      You’re welcome, Roselyn. It’s strictly a matter of personal preference, but to me, obtaining the permanent resident visa is the way to go. Don’t have to hassle with going out of the country every year. Only the ACR Card has to be renewed every five years. The BI just wants an updated photo. The visa itself is good for life and doesn’t have to be renewed. As long as a person stays out of trouble, it is, indeed, a permanent visa.

  11. Bill S. says:

    Hey Steve,

    I had actually suggested that to her a couple times, she thought I was serious, and was trying to get her arrested before she ever got here, didn’t go over well at all, and I paid with it for the next few days with a lot of ggggrrrrrhhhh’s from her (growls on YM) before finally convincing her I really was joking. We have had other misunderstandings from trying to type everything on YM, so I have to be careful with what I say and how I say it, and we talk a lot more on the phone also now days. Just wish we could get skpye or the magicjack to work, but we are rarely successful on that.

    • Dave says:

      What, Bill S., communication problems? First time I arrived in the Philippines to marry my lovely fiance, Melinda, we went to Guimaras, her home province, to visit her Mom and her legion of relatives. Our twin nieces, Michelle and April, that live with us now, were only six years old at the time. I grabbed one of their noses and wiggled my thumb at them: “I got your nose!” I teased. Bad move. My wife quickly stopped me as Nanay (her Mom) gasped. That gestures means something entirely else in her province. Since this is a family website, I can only tell you the gesture is akin to giving someone the finger back in the States. :roll:

  12. Steve says:

    Hey Bill,

    Did you have any luck with video calls on Yahoo? I ask because with one Filipina I chatted with, we could never get Skype to work, but for some reason the Yahoo video calls worked halfway decent.

    I hear you on the misunderstandings. I always have to remind myself that American humor and sarcasm often don’t go over well.

    • Dave says:

      Steve, took my wife a couple of years before she finally caught on to my sarcastic streak. After 13 years of marriage, she’s wise to me. So now my twin nieces that live us, “The Boneheads,” are the target of my sarcasm and “humor.” :D

  13. Jay Wallace says:

    The Financial requirement is $800 USD a month and police clearance from your home state, you cannot receive an FBI clearance from the Philippines, the Immigration Bureau would have to have you finger printed and verify you ID than send it to the FBI in the USA at a cost of $25 ,they would not want the trouble, actually the State police clearance is not very good it only has your records in that state,

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the info, Jay. Be interesting to see if any readers out there that have recently been granted the 13a have had any problems with this police requirement.

  14. Bill S. says:

    Hi Steve,

    Yeah, we have tried video chat on Yahoo Messenger, and Google also, but with pretty much the same results as Skype. I have a 4G signal here, but I kinda think the problem may be hers, possibly, cause she’s in Tago, Surigao del Sur on Mindanao, and her signal is not the greatest at times it appears.

    I agree with you on the humor, she usually gets it, but sometimes not so much, especially if its being typed. I remember one time I said “shame on you” in a totally innocent way I thought, but soon after saying that, I thought world war 3 was about to start. Some things we say here, are totally taken in a different context there, and am sure its only a matter of time before I put my foot in mouth again, but its all part of the learning process I guess.

    Sorry Dave, hope you wont mind us chatting back and forth on here.

    • Dave says:

      Chat away, Bill S. I took the day off yesterday and didn’t respond to any remarks. Been working on my new book. I don’t care if anyone gets off topic. Most of the regulars here know that certain language is not allowed and personal attacks aren’t tolerated.

      I usually get a good connection with my magicJack when I talk to my Dad in Vegas. I don’t have a cam, nor does my Dad. We’re old school. I have SmartBro for my service provider.

  15. Rease says:

    You might like this one Dave… Number of years ago I finally got my wife to the USA on a fiance VISA. Our house faced a seasonal pond, never any boats on it or anything. Then one day there’s a canoe on the pond, probably a neighbor playing with their Christmas present.

    So I tell my asawa there’s a canoe out front, come look. Her response, “Yeah, there’s kano’s everywhere around here…”

  16. Bill S. says:

    Hey Dave,

    Well, I was starting to think the communication problems were a problem that just we were having, but sounds as though most have had similar types of them also. We don’t seem to have the problem near as much when we are talking on the phone as compared to YM, but phone is expensive to do daily so we YM a lot. I sent her a magic jack back in march, after I got back home so I could get her a local US number, but its never worked, I can hear fine, but she cant hear a word I say, her brother hooked it up, and is an engineer, so I assume its hooked-up right, but sure do wish it would work.

    So, we have a new book to look foreword to in the future. Maybe, my topic, MISUNDERSTANDINGS, WHAT NOT TO SAY OR DO WHILE IN THE PHILIPPINES, might make a good book. I could fill up half a book with just my screw-ups alone am sure. Just send my royalty check to me after its written though.

    Not to worry, I will always keep it clean on here, I know its a family friendly site.

    Rease, that was a good one for sure!

    • Dave says:

      I don’t worry about you guys, Bill S. I have a great group of folks that take time out from their busy days to check out the site. I sincerely appreciate it.

      Yep, don’t want to get into too much detail about the new book, Bill, but you’ve got a good topic there. Misunderstandings between spouses, whether they be Filipina or not, is a universal issue, right? :roll: I hope to have the book finished by the end of July. I’ll be rolling it out in paperback form on Amazon and will have a downloadable version available on the website. Of course I have to take time out for an upcoming special tour I’ll be doing with my American expat friend, The Tom Cat, over in Guimaras. More on that very soon.

      PapaDuck hooked up his fiance over in the Philippines with a magicJack and we’ve been able to communicate with her in the Philippines. As long as you have a high speed connection and a decent carrier, it should work OK. I had problems with my magicJack when I first hooked it up in the States. I followed the magicJack troubleshooting guide and was able to fix my problems with it. But there’s a key word there: “decent carrier.” I have a expat friend that uses Globe and has had nothing but problems with them. I’ve had SmartBro for over three years and have a good signal.

  17. Lance says:

    Funny short video on spousal miscommunications:
    http://vimeo.com/66753575

    • Dave says:

      Thanks, Lance, that’s funny. :P One of the best shows I’ve ever watched that gives a funny, realistic view of husband and wife relationships is “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
      Ray Barone: Shouldn’t you be yelling at me, or something?
      Debra Barone: Ray, when you’re on the Titanic you lower the lifeboats. You don’t stop to yell at the iceberg.(source: IMDb.com)

  18. Anita Bullock says:

    Have some questions to you or any of your readers about the 13a permanent visa ACR card renewable in 5 yrs, if you get divorce is the visa be revoke?

    • Dave says:

      Anita, I will defer to Mr. Bob Martin who gave this advice on his website. I discovered his remark after a quick Google search. Here’s what he said: “The only way he will lose the Visa is if his ex-wife goes to the BI and requests that the Visa be revoked, based on the fact that she was his sponsor. If she does not do that (and it’s doubtful that she will even think of doing it), there is no reason for the Visa to be revoked by the BI. I know several people who are no longer married to the person that was their sponsor for a 13(a), but their visas are still intact, and this is years and years after the divorce.”

  19. Gary says:

    The 13a visa can and will be revoked if the BI finds out and most of the time they will. Things have changed in the past two years…

    • Dave says:

      I know of some guys living here Gary that were divorced (they weren’t married in the PH of course) but their Filipina wives didn’t report the divorce to BI. One guy I met has been divorced over 25 years and still living in the Philippines with his 13a. My poor wife is stuck with me as we got married here but a guy can get kicked out of “paradise,” even if he does have a 13a or not.

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