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13a Permanent Resident Visa Update Philippines

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

Dear Kano,

I’m an American citizen married to a beautiful Filipina. Do I qualify for a Permanent Resident Visa?

“Hopeful in Hackensack”

Dear “Hopeful,”

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.

Filipino wedding

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.)

1.     Algeria*

2.   Argentina

3.   Australia

4.   Austria

5.    Belgium

6.   Belize

7.    Bolivia

8.   Botswana

9.   Bosnia & Herzegovina

10.                      Brazil

11.Canada

12.                       Cape Verde

13.                       Chile

14.                       Colombia

15.                       Costa Rica

16.                       Croatia

17.                       Cuba

18.                      Czech Republic

19.                       Denmark

20.                     Ecuador

21.                       Egypt*

22.                     El Salvador

23.                     Estonia

24.                     Finland

25.                      Fiji

26.                     France

27.                      Gabon

28.                     Germany

29.                     Greece

30.                     Guatemala

31.                       Honduras

32.                     Hongkong SAR

33.                     Indonesia*

34.                     Iraq

35.                      Ireland

36.                     Iceland

37.                      Israel

38.                     Italy

39.                     Japan

40.                     Latvia

41.                       Lesotho

42.                     Libya*

43.                     Lithuania

44.                     Luxembourg

45.                      Macau SAR

46.                     Malaysia*

47.                      Malta**

48.                     Marshall Island

49.                     Mexico

50.                     Micronesia

51.                       Monaco

52.                      Montenegro

53.                      The Netherlands

54.                      New Zealand

55.                      Nicaragua

56.                      Nigeria*

57.                      Northern Mariana Island

58.                     Norway

59.                      Oman*

60.                     Papua New Guinea

61.                       Paraguay

62.                     Peru

63.                     Russia

64.                     Saudi Arabia*

65.                      Senegal

66.                     Serbia

67.                      Singapore

68.                     Slovak Republic

69.                     Slovenia

70.                     South Africa

71.                       Spain

72.                      Suriname

73.                      Sweden

74.                      Switzerland

75.                      Thailand

76.                      Trinidad and Tobago

77.                      Tunisia

78.                     Turkey

79.                      United Kingdom

80.                    Uruguay

81.                      USA

82.                     Venezuela

*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.

Dear Kano,

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

Dear Mujid,

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.

The Kano

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.