What happens if you overstay your visa?

I get questions so frequently from people who are illegally staying in the Philippines.  The reason their stay is illegal is because they have stayed longer than their visa allows.  The common term is is that they have “overstayed”.  I get questions about this from people who probably won’t have much trouble at all because they are only here a bit longer than their visa.  This situation is easy to fix, you just have to pay some fines.  I also get questions from people who have been here illegally for as much as 20 years.  For people in that situation the situation will not be nearly so pleasant as just paying a fine.  Firstly, their fines will be very significant, and there will be other types of penalties as well.  We’ll talk about that later in the article.

How Long can you Stay?

It depends on the type of visa that you have.  Most who are in this situation have been staying here on a tourist visa, but there are also those on the Balikbayan Privilege (commonly called a Balikbayan Visa), a Resident Visa and just about anything else.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

Tourist Visa

When you arrive in the Philippines with no visa at all you are issued what is called a “Tourist Visa Waiver” at the airport.  It is stamped in your passport.  The Tourist Visa Waiver will allow you a stay of 30 days in the Philippines.  When your 30 days is nearly up, just go to the Bureau of Immigration office and you can pay some money (amount varies depending on which renewal you are on) to extend your visa and stay longer.  You can keep extending your visa until you have been here for a total of 36 months. At the end of 36 months you must leave the country, but you can come back the next day and start another 36 month stay.  As long as you extend your visa at the proper times, this is completely legal and you will have no visa issues.  If you do not extend your visa before it expires you are overstaying and you will run into problems sooner or later.

How will you run into trouble?  Either the Immigration Authorities will find you, or when you are ready to leave the country, you are stuck and cannot leave until you pay the penalties!  In fact, if you overstay for more than 12 months, you will be blacklisted.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that you will never be allowed to enter the Philippines again.  When you arrive in the Philippines and the Immigration authorities check your passport they will see that you have been banned from entering the country, and you will not be able to leave the airport, and must leave the country immediately.

Taguig Immigration Detention Center

Taguig Immigration Detention Center

If you have overstayed, and go to the airport to leave, they will catch you, there is no way around it.  What happens if you don’t have the money to pay the fines that are due?  Well, if you can’t pay they still won’t let you leave, but they also will not release you.  No, they have a place for you to stay!  In jail. Most people who are jailed for immigration matters are sent to the Bicutan Prison in Taguig.  You will stay there until you pay the fines.

The fees that you will have to pay include fines and penalties plus all of the visa extension fees that you did not pay during your stay in the Philippines. So, believe me, it is always cheaper to just pay the fees when they are due, not waiting until you have been caught.

Balikbayan Privilege

If you enter the country on a Balikbayan Privilege then you can stay in the Philippines for 12 months free of charge.  At the end of 12 months you have two choices:

  1. Leave the country (you can re-enter again the next day and start another Balikbayan Privilege).
  2. You may convert your Balikbayan Privilege to a Tourist Visa and stay for another 36 months as outlined in the Tourist Visa section above.

What happens if you overstay the Balikbayan Privilege?  Same as what I outlined if you overstay a Tourist Visa.  Best to follow the immigration rules and just follow step #1 or #2 above.

But, can you overstay a Resident Visa?

People get deported every day - don't let it be you!

People get deported every day – don’t let it be you!

Well, sort of.  It may not be technically “overstaying” but if you have a resident visa and do not follow the proper procedures, the treatment is the same as overstaying.  You will get deported.  In other words, you need to go in every year (Jan or Feb) and do your Annual Report at the Bureau of Immigration.  You will pay a head tax of P310 (only about $6) at the time of your annual report.  If you do not do this, then you are technically illegal here, and you must face the penalties.

With a resident visa, if you have missed doing your annual report, you are allowed to go in and pay fines for missing it and get current and you can continue to stay.  But, if you are caught being overdue, as opposed to voluntarily going in and taking care of this, then you can and probably will be deported.

What if my wife or children are Filipinos?

I hear from a lot of people who have a wife in the Philippines, and many of them also have children here, but they have overstayed for a long time.  They tell me that surely they cannot be blacklisted with a family here.  Surely they can return to their family.  Sorry… the rules apply to everybody.  If you have overstayed for more than 12 months you are blacklisted, and you cannot enter the country again in the future – even if you have a wife and/or children in the Philippines.  Either you will have to bring your family to your home country (or another country) or you will not be seeing them again.  Yes, it is harsh, but if you just follow the law you will have no problems.

What can you do to avoid this?

It is very simple to avoid these problems with large penalties and fees to pay… just follow the law, renew your visa on time, and leave the country at the proper intervals as prescribed by law.  Some people tell me that they had to stop following the law, they could not renew their visa.  Well, as I said earlier, it will always wind up being more expensive if you do not follow the law.  It will lead to serious trouble and could cost you a lot of money. So, no matter what you have to do, figure out a way to fly out of the country while you are still legal, or figure out a way to pay those visa renewal fees!  It is by far your best option.

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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shiela
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shiela

hi bob I’m a filipino citizen and my son born here in US , I’m not applying him yet for dual citizenship. my question is how long can my son stay in the Philippines? Thank you and God Bless!!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hello Shiela – The truth is, there is no reason to apply for dual citizen for your son. Since you are a Philippine Citizen, your son is too! Since your son was born in the USA, he is already a dual citizen. You only need to file a “report of birth abroad” with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate serving you to have his Philippine Citizenship recognized.

If your son travels to the Philippines on a US Passport, he can stay for 21 days, and then renew his visa until a maximum of a 16 month stay.

shiela
Guest
shiela

how long is the process of filing “report of birth abroad? is there any fee? because my son is going to philippines this january with his filipino ancestry and they want to stay more than 21 days and im concern about the stay of my son there,what can you suggest?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Processing time varies depending on the workload of the Embassy or Consulate where you apply. The only way to know how long it will take is to ask the people at the place where you apply.

Even on a US passport, your son can stay up to 16 months, but must simply renew his visa and pay the required fees.

shiela
Guest
shiela

thank you so much for answering my questions, you’re a big help:)) i really appreciate your website :)) God Bless..

MindanaoBob
Guest

thank you Shiela, and good luck to you and your son.

Liz
Guest
Liz

Hi Bob,
My us citizen born has been in the Philippines since 1 year old and she is now 18 years. I’m separated from the father and the father has been keeping my daughter away from me but he is now letting her come back to the u.s. The father and I are both of Filipino citizens. I live in the us and he lives in the Philippines. What will I need to do to bring back my daughter without paying the overstay fees.

rosel
Guest
rosel

hi Mr. bob im rosel resident here in the philippines…. i just have a question for you is there any consequences for an american citizen who got involve in to a trouble….
our family got situation here where a american citizen that happened to be my sisters husband had a fight on one of our family member the said person hold a kitchen knife and ask for a battle. we had witnesses for that matter…
im just wondering… would there be an legal action for that kind of person whicg is not a filipino…
pls… i need some answer

Cindy Claire Abraham
Guest
Cindy Claire Abraham

Hi this is Cindy Claire Abraham, I’m 17 years old and I’m born in US, and since I’m 4years old I stay here in the Philliphine till now, what should I do? If I want too go around the world? And and I don’t pay tax, and my father is American he passed away here in the Philippines, and I my step mother getting all my monthly checked she don’t give me a penny,

Sam
Guest
Sam

Hello BoB! haha. I am very happy to find your website. But I hope you can answer my question for me about dual citizenship. Here goes.. I was born on March 10, 1992 here in the Philippines to both Filipino parents. But by the age of 3, I was adopted by also Filipino parents, and I was brought to America, and they naturalized me by the age of 3, so I am an American citizen. But now, I am here in the Philippines, and I was recently wondering if I am a dual citizen. I had acquired my birth certificate… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Sam – In my opinion, because you were naturalized through the actions of your parents, and were not old enough to make the decision on your own, I would say that you are a dual citizen now, both USA and Philippines.

Good luck to you.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Are you sure? Because I need some clarification. But after I became a US Citizen, I lived in America until I was 12 years old, and came back here in the Philippines until now, I am now 19 years old. I stayed her for high school and college. Like I said earlier, I acquired my birth certificate at the NSO, both father and mother are Filipino citizen, I was born in Pangasinan etc. So does this meet the grounds on being a dual citizen?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Please read the first words of my reply to you – “in my opinion.” That means that it is my opinion, not that I am “sure.” For concrete info please check with the BI and see what they tell you.

Good luck to you Sam.

BTW, if you are not a citizen and have been staying here for 7 years, if you have not been paying all of the visa fees and such, you are going to owe a lot of money! Better take care of this as soon as possible.

Joe P
Guest
Joe P

Hi Bob, After reading this thread it got my son to asking me…Can he apply for dual citizenship? We had been discussing how we would move the Philippines but neither of us could actually own property. If HE can, then that would solve a big hurdle for us for sure. Basic facts are: his age now is 27 His birth mother and I got divorced in the states when he was 4 years old and he has lived with me ever since exclusively. His Birth mother has since our divorce remarried and became a US Citizen, but is NOT interested… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Joe – Thank you for writing. I have good news and bad news for you and your son. Bad news: Your son is not eligible to become a Dual Citizen under the Philippine Dual Citizenship law. That law applies to people who are former Philippine Citizens who have been naturalized in another country. Based on the info you gave, your son does not fit that description. Good news: Your son can still obtain dual citizenship. In order to do that, your ex wife will need to file a report of birth abroad with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate serving… Read more »

Larry
Guest
Larry

Good day Bob,

In your opinion, what are pros and cons of having dual (Fil-Am) citizenships?

Thanks!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Larry – I know of now cons. Of course the pros are that you get the full rights of citizenship in more than one country. You can own land in the Philippines, vote, etc.

xylide
Guest
xylide

i have 2 questions, first, i took my daughter back to the Philippines in April and i am getting her back to the US in Aug. she was born in the PI and she has a Philippine Passport at the same time she has a US passport.. i’ve been told that she is overstaying unless she is a dual citizenship( that needs to be registered but i have not).. will there be any problem when we leave the PI and got back to the US? second, i am now a naturalized US citizen, do i automatically have dual citzenship or… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

If your daughter has two passports, then she is a dual citizen. If she entered the Philippines using her Philippine Passport, she can stay as long as she wants to stay. If she used her US Passport to enter the Philippines she can stay 21 days before she needs to renew her visa, and renew every 59 days after that.

When you became naturalized, you lost your Philippine citizenship. You need to apply for dual citizenship if you wish to reclaim your Philippine citizenship.

xylide
Guest
xylide

i forgot what passport we used for her when we entered PI but she does not have any visa to renew..

even if i still have my Philippine passport and just renew it when it expires?

MindanaoBob
Guest

The visa is a stamp in the passport. It is impossible not to have a visa when you entered the country.

If you already gave up your Philippine Citizenship by being naturalized in the USA then it would be illegal to renew your Philippine Passport, because you are no longer a citizen. You need to apply for dual citizenship first.

xylide
Guest
xylide

for my daughter,she does not have a visa on her passports..

when i go to the PI,where could I go to apply for dual citizenship?

thank you

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi May – The answer to your question depends on how you became a US citizen, and when. You say that “somehow” they made you a US Citizen, but I need to know by what means you became a US citizen before I can answer your question.

Sherman
Guest
Sherman

hi! Bob I’m a Filipino citizen but my wife just got her u.s naturalization(us citizen) moths ago. We had 3 kids ages: 6 months, 2 yrs old & 7 yrs old they are all dual citizenship FIL- AM. My Question is there any penalties if my kids were going to stay in Philippines for more than a year?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Kristi – Since your mother is a Filipino citizen, you can be too. May I ask where you were born? The country of your birth will determine how you can go about getting your Philippine citizenship, and thus avoiding all penalties for overstaying.

May
Guest
May

Hello! My mother and father were both Filipino/American citizens at the time of my birth. I was born in the Philippines but they somehow made me into a American citizen. I saw my birth certificate at the NSO, and it says my mother and father are Filipino citizens. So, what does that make me? Dual? Thank you.

MindanaoBob
Guest

You apply for dual citizenship at the Bureau of Immigration.

May
Guest
May

Well, I was actually wondering if my parents at the time were also American citizens at the time of my birth, if that had an automatic affect on my citizenship and made me into an American citizen. But at the same time, I have a birth certificate claiming my parents are Filipino citizens at the time of my birth.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Sherman – Since you are a citizen of the Philippines, your children are entitled to be Philippine citizens as well. Since you said they are already dual citizens, be sure they have either a Philippine Passport or a Certificate of Philippine Citizenship with them. They should show it when entering and when exiting the Philippines, and they can stay in the country for as long as they wish to stay. No penalties. If they do not have one of those documents there will be penalties to pay.

Marga
Guest
Marga

Hi bob! I’m so thankful I found your website. I’d like to ask regarding my daughter’s status. She was born in US California last 2009 but both of us her mom and dad are Filipino Citizens. When I gave birth to her in America I did not overstay there and went back to Phil together with the baby. At the PHilippine immigration in the airport she was given 1 year stay in her blue passport. We are living here now in the Philippines so she is now overstaying here for more than a year. My problem is I don’t know… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi May – the Dual Citizenship law is only like 7 or 8 years old now, so unless you are much younger than I suspect… I doubt that your parents were dual citizens when you were born.

If I were you I would go to the DFA and inquire with them regarding your citizenship and what steps are available to you.

Marga
Guest
Marga

Hi if we we will apply for dual citizenship if ever? it won’t affect her American citizenship right? Would you know how to go about the dual citizenship application? how much is the fine for overstaying?

Camela
Guest
Camela

Hi bob,

i was born in USA. i’ve been living in the philipines since i was 2 . Now im 16 and i want to go to college but i have incomplete documents. Im an amercn ctzen , so is my father. My mom is filipno ctizen.

Do i have to pay for overstaying? Do i need to get student visa or dual citizenship?

MindanaoBob
Guest

You do not need to apply for dual citizenship in your case, Marga, all you need to do is file a report of birth abroad for your daughter.

Romel
Guest
Romel

Hi Bob, I got a question, If you are dual citizen (U.S and Filipino) living in the P.I. and you have I wife which is Filipino citizen and have a child which is born in the Philippines, can you put U.S. citizen on your child birth certificate or you need to put Filipino as your citizenship? So let say you put Filipino citizen on your child birth certificate can you apply for CRBA at the U.S. Embassy in manila even your child birth certificate from NSO stating father and mother are both Filipino Citizen. Is the child automatic dual citizen… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Camela – You have several problems to address. First problem is that you have been overstaying for the past 14 years. You are going to owe some rather major fees to the Bureau of Immigration before you get this all straightened out. Second problem is that when you were born in the USA, your Filipino mother should have filed some papers called a “report of birth abroad” with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate that served the area where you were born. If she had filed that paper, you would have been a dual citizen already. To straighten this all… Read more »

ADV
Guest

Hi Bob! I have a son who is a naturalized U.S citizen. He was born in the philippines. Is he qualified to apply for dual citizenship? If so, can we process his application here in the Philippines? Thanks

Samuel
Guest
Samuel

Hi Bob! I was born here in the Philippines with both Filipino citizen parents. I’ve been a naturalized Canadian since 1994, who has overstayed here in the Philippines. Been here since January 2011. I’ve got a new Canadian passport and have applied for dual citizenship recently on October 10,2016. I’ve already taken my oath. Yet it will take maybe another week or two to get my dual citizenship mailed to me. If I leave on my scheduled flight this October 31, 2016. Will I have problems with the immigration? Would I have to pay all the penalties for over staying… Read more »

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