I’m introducing a new feature on “Philippines Plus,” “ASK THE KANO.” I’ll occasionally field questions from readers that address important expat issues regarding the Philippines. Let’s kick off this first Q&A with the following topic: 13a Permanent Resident Visa Update Philippines
I’m an American citizen married to a beautiful Filipina. Do I qualify for a Permanent Resident Visa?
“Hopeful in Hackensack”
Brother, congratulations on marrying a Filipina, indeed some of the most beautiful women in the world.
First of all, you passed one important hurdle for marrying a Pinay (Filipina). The United States of America has an immigration reciprocity agreement with the Philippines as do 81 other countries in the world.
However, what is, an “immigration reciprocity agreement,” you might ask?
An “immigration reciprocity agreement” is usually based on the requirements other countries impose on Filipino travelers in practice and is reciprocal. “Reciprocity” is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.
In simplest terms, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
Photo credit: medium.com
Therefore, you are qualified under the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, Section 13 (a) for permanent residency in the Philippines. Thus the term for a 13 (a) Permanent Visa derives from this 1940 law.
This visa is issued to a foreigner on the basis of his valid marriage to a Philippine citizen.
However, hold on, pardner, to qualify for this visa the applicant must prove the following:
- He contracted a valid marriage with a Philippine citizen.
- The marriage is recognized as valid under existing Philippine laws.
- There is no record of any derogatory information against him in any local or foreign law enforcement agency.
- He is not afflicted with any dangerous, contagious or loathsome disease.
- He has sufficient financial capacity to support a family and will not become a public burden. (Please be advised that the BI has been barring foreigners from the Philippines if they can’t prove sufficient means of support.)
- He was allowed entry into the Philippines and was authorized by Immigration authorities to stay.
Plus, remember that “reciprocity” thing? The 13 (a) Permanent Visa is only available to citizens of a country which grants permanent residence and immigration privileges to Philippine citizens per the BI website.
So what countries have a reciprocity agreement with the Philippines and grant permanent residence and immigration privileges to Filipinos?
Here’s the list, straight from the pony’s puss (the BI website.)
9. Bosnia & Herzegovina
12. Cape Verde
15. Costa Rica
18. Czech Republic
22. El Salvador
32. Hongkong SAR
45. Macau SAR
48. Marshall Island
53. The Netherlands
54. New Zealand
57. Northern Mariana Island
60. Papua New Guinea
64. Saudi Arabia*
68. Slovak Republic
70. South Africa
76. Trinidad and Tobago
79. United Kingdom
*Limited to Filipinas married of these nationals
**Provided that the marriage took place before 24 April 2001 or the couple has been married for at least five years.
I’m an Indian working in a call center in Mumbai. I’m married to a Filipina and want to immigrate to the Philippines and open up my own 5/6 loan business. India doesn’t have an immigration reciprocity agreement with the Philippines. So that means I’m not allowed to apply for a Permanent Visa?
Mujid in Mumbai
Well, “Muj”, The Bureau of Immigration’s website states that since your country does not have a reciprocity agreement with the Philippines, you are not qualified to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa.
However, Vishnu must be smiling upon you, as you may apply for a Temporary Resident Visa.
A conversion to Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) under Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage by in relation to Law Instruction No. 33 is required. Check the Immigration website for details.
Good luck on your visa application.
Well that’s it for the first edition of “Ask The Kano.” This 13 (a) Permanent Resident Visa Update Philippines has been brought to you by Lizard Poop Productions, proud sponsor of “The Philippines Expat Advisor.”
Material for this post was obtained by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website.