Hey, Paul – You mentioned in an earlier post that you’re going back to the USA after tax “busy season” is over. You also mentioned that you’ll be back in the Philippines somewhere in the September/October time frame. I thought you lived here in the Philippines – what kind of expat are you?
“What kind of expat are you?” That’s a question I receive from time to time. The best answer that I can come up with is that I’m a “snowbird” expat! When there’s a chance of cold weather and snow where we stay in the USA, Baket ko (Asawa ko) [my Wife] and I pack our bags and make our tracks to the Philippines. When warm weather returns to that area of the USA, so do we!
That’s kind of a simple answer, but it’s close to the truth. So I guess I could also be called a “part-time” expat. I like to think of it as being an expat living in the Philippines who takes annual extended vacations to the USA.
As you might have guessed, I am not a permanent resident of the Philippines.
I have never applied for or received a Section 13 non-quota immigrant visa. (In my case, it would be a Section 13(g) visa as Baket ko (Asawa ko) [my Wife] is not a dual citizen; as opposed to, say, a Section 13(a) visa where the sponsoring spouse is a Philippine citizen.) Too much paperwork to “accomplish,” too many lines to wait in, too many pesos to spend. No, seeking an immigrant visa is just too much work right now. Perhaps later on . . . .
For those of you planning on applying for a Section 13 immigrant visa, here’s a news update: two additional items have been added to the “checklist of requirements” courtesy of Bureau of Immigration Memorandum Order No. 2012-028. Check it out – it deals with the required Police/FBI/NBI check.
Nor am I a “permanent tourist” – the kind of expat who first arrived with a tourist visa and has been extending/renewing ever since. This is sort of an “expat on the cheap” – it doesn’t cost as much time or money as an immigrant visa, but it does cost. I thought about using this method of residing in the Philippines a while back – after spending time with expat friends and armed service retirees, but it’s not the lifestyle for me.
Another type of resident visa that I haven’t applied for or received is the SRRV, or Special Resident Retiree Visa. It’s a special non-immigrant resident visa providing holders with multiple entry and indefinite stay status. It’s quite easy to comply with the SRRV’s requirements, too – they are based on the applicant’s age and are not many in number. One of the requirements is to have an amount-specific time deposit of money – in my case, $10,000 – in a designated financial institution. Again, perhaps later on . . . .
BALIKBAYAN – IT’S MORE THAN A BOX
Instead of being in the Philippines on a valid visa, I’m here on privilege: the Balikbayan Privilege (R.A. 6768, as amended). Under “the Privilege,” no visa is required for a maximum stay of one year for every time a Balikbayan enters the Philippines for a visit, regardless of the frequency of visits.
The legal definition of a Balikbayan is:
- A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least 1 year;
- A Filipino overseas worker; or
- A former Filipino citizen and his or her family, who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines.
So, legally, I’m a Balikbayan (courtesy of being family as described in #3 above) and I invoke the Privilege. It costs nothing – the price is right. It’s easy to obtain, too. The only real requirements in my case as a family member are:
- I must be travelling and entering the country with Baket ko (Asawa ko) [my Wife];
- I must request the Privilege at the Immigration Desk at the airport when showing passports; and
- I must present copy of my marriage certificate, if asked. (Though we travel with a copy of our marriage certificate, we’ve never been asked to produce it.)
SO, I’M AN EXPAT:
An expat of sorts; a part-time expat – better known as a Balikbayan. I’m allowed to legally reside in the Philippines for a year at a time (unless I apply for an extension of the Privilege and pay the required fees). What more do I need?
I guess I could say that I’m always on extended vacation. That is, when I’m in the USA, I say that I will take an extended vacation to the Philippines; when in the Philippines, I say that I will take an extended vacation to the USA. True, there are some benefits of residency that I do not enjoy, but I can get over that. Being here in the Philippines is the main mission, and for me, that’s mission accomplished.