Living in the Philippines on a Balikbayan Visa

What is a Balikbayan? Well, it is a person who is returning to the Philippines after spending some time abroad. If your wife is from the Philippines, but is living in your home country, when you take a trip back to the Philippines, your wife is a Balikbayan!

As a Balikbayan, your wife is entitled to some benefits, and one of them is a Balikbayan Visa. Here entitlement to this special visa is also extended to her spouse and children as well, so your whole family can avail of the Balikbayan Visa.

What is a 13A Visa

Now, I know you are wondering exactly what a Balikbayan Visa is, right? Well, it entitles you to a one year stay in the Philippines, without any need to check in at the Bureau of Immigration, or any other government agency. On top of this, after one year you can still stay in the Philippines by converting to a tourist visa, and going through the whole tourist visa process for another year. So, with a Balikbayan visa, you can get a total of two years stay in the Philippines. Nice!

Living on BalikbayanAfter your two years stay, you and your wife can leave the Philippines, even for just a one or two day trip to Hong Kong or Thailand, and when you come back into the country you are good for another 2 years!

Now, there are a couple things to remember if you want to take advantage of the Balikbayan Visa program. Most importantly, you MUST enter the country with your spouse who is a Philippine citizen or former citizen. If you come in alone, you will NOT be issued a Balikbayan Visa. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if you are with your spouse you are not guaranteed of getting the Balikbayan Visa, although in my experience you will get it every time. One good thing to do is to keep a copy of your marriage license with you and show it to the Immigration official when you enter.

One other thing… if you want to work, you must keep in mind that unless you file for a work permit, you will not be permitted to work in the Philippines while staying under a Balikbayan visa.

In my opinion, for the spouse and kids of a Philippine citizen or former citizen, the Balikbayan Visa is a very attractive way of living in the Philippines!

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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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Craig
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Hi Bob,
THANKS for the information….! You spelled out exactly what I need to do…

RANDY
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RANDY

Hello Bob,

Good info, will come in handy when the time comes. Now waiting for my wife to arrive in the States for the first time May 2007. Any info on what
We need to do after her arrival in the States ?

Thanks
Randy

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Randy – I am not sure exactly what you are asking. I guess I'd say that what you need to do after she arrives in the States is to enjoy your life together, give her time to adjust, help her through homesickness. Are you asking what you need to do to start getting ready to move back here to the Philippines? Sorry, I just don't understand. If you can clarify a bit, I would be happy to answer.

gloria
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gloria

My husband and I will be going home, (I'm a Filipina)can he immediately apply for a change of visa status? Can he also get a reentry visa, while he's on a balikbayan visa? I was informed that there is a need for a court hearing, is this true? It's weird though, I'm a Filipina and yet I'm asking questions to you who is a foreigner. But this is new to me and I don't have any idea on how the process go. Can you please give me an advise on what is best? Thanks very much.

Bob
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Bob

Hi Gloria – Your question is a little bit unclear to me. I will answer the question in the way that I understand it, but if I am off base, please respond and let me know that I mis-understood. A multiple entry visa is something that is totally different from a balikbayan visa. Under a multiple entry visa his stay can only be 21 days, but can be extended after that. He will, however have to keep extending every 2 months and must leave within a year. So, I see no reason why he would change it upon entry. If… Read more »

Cristina
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Cristina

Feb. 17, 2012 Just to let the readers know that is current :0) I and my husband have decided to apply for immigrant visa for him at Phil Embassy in L.A (we are located in Wa.) where we thought wld be reasonable to avoid hassles in extending his stay in Phils. He was almost ready for his medical lab works (as per the requirements to acquire immigant visa) when he asked he how much wld the lab works cost…it wld cost $1000 and Xray ($97) is not included. We cldn’t afford to pay that much, so we have changed our… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Cristina – You cannot extend a Balikbayan Visa, they don’t do that. You can, at the end of one year, convert your Balikbayan Visa to a tourist visa, but that will require renewals at 21 days, 59 days and then every 59 days for up to a max of 6 months.

al ante
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al ante

I am a balikbayan now in the Philippines with a 12 month visa, at the end of the visa or slightly before it expires, now can I leave the country per say, Hong Kong for a day or two then return to start the 12 month balikbayan visa all over again? Thank you very much for your response

Andie
Guest
Andie

You may want to do his immigrant status at the philippine immigration in manila. My dad did that and it wasn’t that expensive in the Philippines since medical exams are cheap over there. Look into it. Plus my dad doesn’t have to worry about renewing his visa every month or couple of months. Hassle free.

zois
Guest
zois

HI bob this balikbayans visa what write in passport I try to find on site on internet of immigration philippines but I can't to find I look for balikbayan visa. maby you think why I no go to ask in philippines embassy hear in athens greece because the philippine girl is no good no like to help you many philippina have problem about service in good. regards from athens

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Zois – No need to go to the embassy for a balikbayan visa. That can only be issued at the airport upon your arrival. As long as you enter the country with your wife, you should qualify for a balikbayan visa.

zois
Guest
zois

Hi bob you tell me what means if my wife receive the passport dual citizen. After I go buy 2 tickets for me and for my wife and I go travel for philippines and if arrive in air port in philippines after give to me issued for balikbayan visa. And no need to go in philippine embassy in athens in greece I take visa for me and also my wife no need visa for travel to philippines. and another question if travel for philippines my wife need to keep philippine passport and also greek passport in air port of philippines.… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Zois – Yes, what you are saying is correct. You get the Balikbayan Visa at the airport in Manila upon entry. No need to visit the Embassy. It is indeed a good idea to have your marriage certificate with you to be sure you get your balikbayan visa! Good luck!

zois
Guest
zois

Hi Bob this is good news for me. for balikbayan visa how mutch
I pay you know.

regards

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