Getting a Balikbayan Visa

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If you are a regular reader of the site, you certainly know the procedure to get a Balikbayan Visa (Balikbayan Privilege) when you arrive in the Philippines.  You fly in to the Philippines with your Philippine spouse, she requests that you be given the Balikbayan Visa, and a 1 year Balikbayan Privilege stamp is placed in your passport.  That’s it, you are good to stay in the Philippines for a full year!  No visa requirements, no visits to the Bureau of Immigration, no visa extensions, no head tax.  You’re good to go!

But wait.  Can it be different than that?

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

Well, one thing about enforcement of the laws in the Philippines is that things are “consistently inconsistent”.  Credit goes to Dave Starr for that phrase, he has been saying it, and rightly so, for years now.  Fact is that what is interpreted as being OK under the rules varies.  It varies from one time to the next.  It varies depending on the location where you are entering the country.  It varies depending on which line you go through.  You just never know for sure.  The procedure outlined at the beginning of this article is the way the law is written, but you just never know how it will be enacted.  You should always expect it to be handled the way the law is written, if you get a little extra, more than what you were supposed to get, well you got lucky that time.

Recently, I was contacted by Shirley with questions about getting a Balikbayan Visa.  The method of getting the visa, which Shirley asked about, would be unconventional, and I don’t think it will work for her, but really, who knows.  She can certainly try to be issued a Balikbayan Visa, and the worst outcome that I can think of is that they will say “no”.  Listen to the Podcast and see what Shirley has in mind.  You might be surprised.

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Thanks again for listening, everybody!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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Inday Salait Apinohon
Guest

This is interesting news, Bob…..

Murray
Guest
Murray

Hi Dave I know a Philippine guy in Angeles City who can get you a Balikbayan for 10,000 peso. I succumbed to the temptation and bought one. What I didn’t know was that my passport came back with fake Hong Kong arrival and departure stamps. Basically it meant I could not travel to Hong Kong. Although I had no trouble with Philippine immigration when In I left, the first thing I did when I got back to NZ was get a new passport. Never again, I now do everything legal, visa renewal every 59 days is a hassle, but at… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Murray – Yes, I feel it is always a mistake to get involved in shady dealings like that. It will come back and bite you in the end. I think you did the right thing by getting that new passport.

Bob Martin
Guest

Thank you, Inday Salait Apinohon

Murray
Guest
Murray

Apologies, my post should read Hi Bob, thinking of the wrong website.

David Smith
Guest

hi Bob, I had the Balikbayan visa which expired on the 28/12/2014. I then converted to a six month tourist visa which expires on the 28th June. My question is would i still be able to extend my tourist visa again after the 28th…

Bob Martin
Guest

Yes, David Smith. You can extend your Tourist visa for up to a total of 36 months before you will have to leave the country.

David Smith
Guest

thanks Bob

Bob Martin
Guest

You are most welcome, David.

Luke Tynan
Guest

I tried on a flight that I was meeting my wife here. She flew in a few weeks before me. When I ask the offical was very nice but told me my wife had to be with me. I thanked him for the infor and finished customs to head to my next flight. The nice thing is with the ACR I think I can travel alone and still not have a problem. She might want to look into that option.

Bob Martin
Guest

Hi Luke, if a person wants a balikbayan visa their wife must fly in with them, even if they have an ACR. It us required by law.

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