Author Topic: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS  (Read 4679 times)

Offline nwlivewire

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GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« on: September 04, 2014, 03:17:52 AM »
GREETINGS!

First time poster, so go easy on me please. :)

I am a recently retired US Vet, still living in the States (female, past age 50).

I just found out about a courtesy SRRV for Vets in the Philippines.

Sometime this Spring/Summer 2015, I will be making my way throughout SE Asia for a six month self-directed excursion/trip/adventure.  Dates aren't firmed up yet - still getting all the planning/paperwork/Stateside affairs buttoned up.

Besides satisfying my desire to learn/know more about the many different cultures in SE Asia, it is my desire to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill at a college/university in SE Asia (have a few choices narrowed down & will be "boots on the ground" to visit them in person while I'm in their neighborhoods).

My questions are regarding this courtesy SRRV for Vets - and I thank-you for responding in advance!....

1.  Is this Visa still "alive" and available for use these days?

2.  In the reading I've done, everything states I will need some sort of a police check.  What kind and from which police agency?  I'm still living here in the States, so is this from the City Police, County Police, State Police, or the FBI?

3.  From what I've read, I can show up in Manila and get this SRRV Courtesy Visa.  I need a Police check report, my DD-214, 1,400 USD for the SRRV, 1,500 USD for a bank account set-up, and a US passport (mine will be a new one with lots of unused pages as my old one expired).  I meet the minimum monthly pension requirements (VA Comp/military retirement, etc).

**** Do I need any other documents that I can/need to get here in the States BEFORE I arrive in Manila?  I'd hate to get all the way over to Manila, only to find out I am missing a document that can only be procured by my having to be physically present back in the States! 

****  Oh. Will a computer-generated letter from the VA web-site stating my monthly VA compensation suffice?  How about proving my military income?

4.  What is the name/address of the agency I need to go to when I arrive in Manila?  Everything says BI (Bureau of Immigration?) - but if this is where I need to go - where the heck is it?

5.  I'm thinking this could take a couple of months to process, so will need a place to hang my hat in Manila while I wait for the SRRV to go through.  NOT looking for a 5-star expensive place to stay, but NOT a backpackers hostel, either.  I'm thinking 3-6 months in Manila at the most as I will be needing other VISAs from other nations in my passport after I get my passport back with the SRRV in it.  Looking for something safe, clean, easy to access taxi/public transportation, furnished, kitchen. 

Where to stay for 3-6 months?

ANY ideas or recommendations on a safe and solid place?  Looks like the Makati area/District(?) is where most of the Embassies are located.  I assume once I get my passport back from the SRRV people, the other SE Asian embassies in Manila will be able to provide me with their VISAs - and then off I will go for a few months.

My thought is this:  Since I'm already planning for a long time to be in SE Asia (this trip & 3 years of school), then why not stop in at Manila and secure this SRRV while I'm there - and make this the first thing I do before I begin my travels?  It would make good use of my time, eliminate my having to return to the States (no round-trip ticket for me!), and get a toe-hold in SE Asia - regardless of which school or in which nation I decide to study in/at.  The Philippines would be the place I can always return to and get "planted" for good when my education is completed.

I hope I have given you enough information to fully respond to my questions.

And I thank-you very much for all your smart advice/recommendations!

V/R,

nwlivewire







Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 03:58:56 AM »
Here is a earlier thread about the Courtesy SRRV:

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=11540.0

I know we had a discussion about the military service requirements, but for the life of me I can't find it.  Bud or Art, do you remember the thread where this was discussed?  If so, post a link here, please.

Thanks!   :)
Louisville, KY USA

Offline Lee2

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 06:02:40 AM »
One of my friends did his SRRV last year, below is what he was told he needed.
Below is a copy of email to my friend.

"the police clearance and the proof of pension are the only documents that
you really need to secure from the US. Just make
sure that they have been authenticated by the Philippine Embassy there.
Are
the 2 documents authenticated already? It should
have the red ribbon from the Philippine Consul if it has been authenticated
already.

We also need 13pcs. 2x2 ID picture with white background but we can just
get it here for less than P200.00.

We also need to get you your medical certificate but we can also just get
it here quickly for P600.00.

If the Police Clearance and the Proof of Pension have all been
authenticated, then, all you really need to do is bring yourself
over here so we can process your visa quickly."
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 06:18:04 AM by Lee »
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 07:08:59 AM »
Here's a few more links that one of our members, jjcabgou actually completed his Special SRRV for the U.S. retired military and or other qualified Vets at the Manila Makati Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).
Email/PM him for other questions anyone may have.

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=49002.0

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=48896.0

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=48843.0

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?topic=49002.msg58251#msg58251




« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 07:29:27 AM by Art, just a re(tired) Fil/Am »
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 08:58:13 AM »
nwlivewire,

Try the POCs below and see if they will reply to your questions. I've sent emails to the Rep at Clark/Subic before and he replied back:

Ms. NOEHL D. BAUTISTA
Marketing Manager
Philippine Retirement Authority
29F Citibank Tower
8741 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City
Mobile NO. 09178553811
Tel No. 02-8481412

The PRA Rep. for Clark / Subic is:
MR. CARLO PONTI T. ZIALCITA
Officer-in-Charge, Clark-Subic Satellite Office
Mobile No.: 09184480102    09175406299
Email : carloponti_zialcita@yahoo.com

« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 09:31:25 AM by Art, just a re(tired) Fil/Am »
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline nwlivewire

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 10:36:10 AM »
WOW!

THANK-YOU VERY MUCH FOR SUCH QUICK AND ACCURATE RESPONSES!

I have created a special file folder on my computer, & have cut & pasted all the data that has been provided to from all of you.

There is a Philippine Consulate about 100 miles from where I live.  On their website, they can only officially notarize and only notarize documents for those who live in the State where this Consulate is physically located. 

Need appointment, and need to bring BOTH a current US Passport and a current, local State picture ID (driver's license) for notary process to begin.

**********

From the information provided to me from this awesome website, it appears that I am best to get the following documents notarized here in the US at the "local" Philippine Consulate PRIOR to departure:

1.  DD-214
2.  Retirement Pay Statement from DFAS
3.  Retirement Pay statement from the VA
4.  FBI clearance document (whatever is this document/form named or numbered?)

It is best to get all these documents Stateside approved within 30 days prior to the actual departure date to the Philippines to ensure "freshness" of document information and Consulate notarial approval.

IF I HAVE MISSED A FORM OR DOCUMENT, LET ME KNOW.do I pay cash

**********

ONLY TWO QUESTIONS LEFT....

QUESTION ONE

1.  One fellow said the 1,400 USD application fee is NON-REFUNDABLE.
OK.  That's the way it goes - you pays your money - you takes your chances.

BUT, is the money paid in cash?  How does this work when I won't have a Philippine bank account yet?

QUESTION TWO

2.  Any good websites to direct me to for a 3 -6 month stay in Manila? - close to Makati District (Embassy Row area)?  I'm thinking my MAX budget for short-term rent is the LIMIT of MAX 750 - 1,000 USD.  Furnished with Kitchen, close to taxi, public transit is ideal.

Being an older female that doesn't look like a local - I'm just wanting to steer clear of unsafe neighborhoods and stay in safer places.

Any ideas???  Oh.  I've travelled to many places all over the world, so I am grounded in basic personal safety issues.  Just trying to be reasonable here.

**********

Again, I thank all of you and this website for providing me with the good basic tools and the solid ground intel I need that will move my vision to fruition. 

Many, many thanks!

V/R,
nwlivewire

Portland, Oregon

PHILIPPINES or BUST!











Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 03:19:12 PM »
Diana,

Go to this PRA website link below and it will provide you with all of the information you may need concerning this SRRV Program and you can even apply on-line.

http://www.pra.gov.ph/main/srrv_program?page=1

Art
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline Lee2

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 08:07:53 PM »
My friend had to pay for his SRRV and his deposit in cash, even though he has Philippine bank accounts.

As for rentals, I do not know the safe or not safe of areas of Makati but looking on Olx.ph will give you an idea of availability and prices.
http://www.olx.ph/index.php/classifieds+directory/q/makati+apartment+for+rent/province/Metro+Manila

Also I am going to guess from personal experience that most condo complexes should be safe for the most part.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline medic3500

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 08:36:16 PM »
NWLIVEWIRE,

I'm curious why you are considering SRRV if your not planning on permanent residence here.  The tourist visa allows you stay up to several months at a time now which can be renewed. I think the tourist visa would be cheaper for the short term and SRRV for long term. I'm not sure if availing of the SRRV would qualify you resident status for tuition fees which would be awesome if it does as tuition is quite reasonable if it does.   

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 09:06:44 PM »
If she finds a school in the Philippines to use her GI Bill for 3 yrs, the SRRV would be practical if she qualifies for the $1,500 bank deposit instead of the $10,000 deposit. If she does not qualify for the $1,500 deposit, she can do the LSVVE long stay visa extensions every 6 months up to a 36 months! The only drawback to the every 6 month visa extension, is if she leaves the Philippines within the 6 month period, she would lose the remainder of her visa extension and have to start all over again and pay the fees again too upon her return.
Her other option would be the every 2 months visa extensions and there is also the 9F Student Visa, but I don't know too much about it.
Below is the link concerning the 9F Student Visa.

http://www.philippineconsulatela.org/consular%20services/conserv-visa.htm#2e

http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/students/international/requirements/visa-conversion-process.pdf
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 09:31:00 PM by Art, just a re(tired) Fil/Am »
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline nwlivewire

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 10:04:53 PM »
Dear Medic3500:

Art nailed it on the head. 

As far as my research and reading goes, what Art has said is exactly what I have discovered to be true for my current situation.

Unless there is something else out there I haven't uncovered with the researching I have so far conducted, the SRRV Courtesy for Vets is the most flexible, longer-term option for my current situation

Since I haven't made my final decision as to which college to attend in SE Asia, I'll actually be visiting three different university locations in SE Asia as part of my travels and check them out in person. 

When I am finished with my travels & visitations, then I'll be able to make my final decision.

But while I am in the Philippines, I'll be visiting Silliman University in Dumaguete.  It is the only University I can find in this country that offers the degree program I'm searching for.  Silliman is on my "short list".

It seems to have a good reputation - on the computer anyway.  But I know nothing of the Dumaguete area for ex-pat living.  So I do intend to pay this region of the Philippines a visit and check it out as well.

If anyone has first-hand knowledge of the Dumaguete area for ex-pat living, please chime in!

So as far as I can see, the SRRV Courtesy for Vets is the most reasonable and flexible option I have so far found that allows me to create a regional "pit stop" or "hub stop" without having to return to the US all the time.  This will keep more dollars in my pocket and reduce unnecessary flight costs/travel time.

And should I decide to pursue my education outside of the Philippines, with the SRRV, I always know I can return to the Philippines and settle down for good.

**********

I'm just your everyday military retiree - nothing fancy here (meaning NO big fat General's retirement - that's for sure!).  Did my time in the Navy and the Army - Enlisted ranks - with a couple of combat tours thrown into the mix.

I've had a military life, a Mom life, a construction trades civilian work life, and a wonderful married life (spouse has passed on).  So all in all, I've been blessed with lots of variety!

My Son, who is a Navy Vet (5 years), is very supportive of my plans and is really cheering me on.  As a parent and Mom, you don't always get to do what you want to do - when you want to do it.  So now is my chance and my time for me to do some things and accomplish some things for myself that got put on the back burner of my life.

**********

Anyway, thank-you again for all your input!  I remain all ears and elbows to any other tips, recommendations and inspirations you may have to offer up.

With warmest regards to you and yours,

nwlivewire








Offline medic3500

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2014, 09:33:35 AM »
Silliman has a very good reputation and will be on our short list when our kids are old enough, Dumaguete also has many expats in the area and is considered a very friendly town. There are a couple different forums with information on Dumaguete. Expats in Cebu forum might lead to individuals that can answer questions directly. They have been most helpful the few times I needed specific information for that area.

Offline nwlivewire

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 12:14:18 PM »
Dear medic3500:

Glad to read your thoughts on Silliman.  For sure, I will be paying them a visit and having face-to-face time with some of the Professors there. 

From what I understand, my Post 9/11 GI Bill will cover up to $20,235.02 USD per academic year for foreign or private schools (foreign or US).  This is the maximum allotted from the VA that they will pay annually during their "fiscal year" for my tuition and fees (2014-2015).  And, it only covers mandatory fees, so fees outside the mandatory are on me as well as anything above the max tuition limit.

The GI Bill "FISCAL" year begins 01 AUG - 31 JUL.  So I need to make sure if the foreign schools begin their school year in MAY, that payments to the school from the VA are broken into two separate GI Bill "Fiscal years".

My GI Bill will provide a housing allowance.  It basically runs for about 8 months out of a school year if I take summers off and attend a regular university school year.  The VA will NOT pay a housing allowance during any holiday break (Christmas/Spring), so this is why I say the VA will provide 8 months of housing allowance in a regular 12-month period.

The maximum housing allowance is 1,509 USD p/mth when attending a foreign school.  Attending a university in SE Asia is preferable for me when compared to attending a university in London, Rome, Athens, Tokyo, or Singapore.  The max of 1,509 housing allotment for 8 months just doesn't/won't stretch in those high cost-of-living areas.  I don't think I could even rent space under the Thames Bridge in London on that amount.  And I sure don't want 100,000 USD in educational debt when I finish.  So it's SE Asia for me.

Of the three schools on my "short list", Silliman offers the most interesting variety of majors and minors, and offers the most breath and depth of courses to choose from.  The other two schools on my short list are in Thailand - one is a Thai/Private University in Chiang Mai, and the other is in the city of Hua Hin.  The Hua Hin school is an American University called Webster University (out of St. Louis, MO).

But Webster's tuition is well over the VA tuition max, which means I cough up a few thousand every year to attend a US school in Thailand.  Go figure!  I swear, college is more of a money racket than anything else these days.  I'm just ever so grateful my Son is going to school on his GI Bill and keeping the family's National Debt down to a minimum.

Webster U will probably end up on my cutting room floor - which will leave me with choosing either Payap U in Chiang Mai, or Silliman in Dumaguete.

So for sure, I will be paying a very serious visit to this part of the Philippines.  YouTube is fun to watch as I have seen raw, everyday video from everyday folks from there.  Dumaguete looks very promising.

OK.  I will get back with you all as I get closer to my departure dates some time this Spring/early Summer 2015.  Got 50+ years of life to button up here in the States yet to complete.

I'm sure I will have some last minute, "Oh crap! Now what?" questions.  And I feel confident I'll get good solid responses from you all should any issue arise.

Thank you for all the website leads for apartments/condos n Manila.  They are very helpful in getting me into a budget gronded in reality.

Out here for now!

And thank-you One and All!

V/R,
nwlivewire




Offline medic3500

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 12:24:35 PM »
One additional selling point for Silliman, most everyone you will deal with speaks English and the classes will be taught in English. Duma has a reputation for being a highly educated town for it size.

Offline nwlivewire

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Re: GOT QUESTIONS RE: COURTESY SRRV FOR VETS
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 01:19:28 PM »
For sure Medic3500.  English being the first language in the University system at Silliman is a big plus for me!

Payap U has an all English curriculum, too.  BUT, the choices for Majors/minors in Thailand for English-spoken curriculum coursework focuses on Majors like: English for Business in Thailand, Tourism and Hospitality, Engineering, IT, and that kind of stuff.

Silliman has many more majors and minors to choose from because they are English-based throughout their entire curriculum.
You are right - and this will be heavily weighted in my decision process.

The way I look at it is this:  Although I have no real plans to use this education to further my income in a working-for-a-wage/job scheme, I do want to take courses that I will find interesting and deepening to me in my everyday life.

Silliman U has received a Level IV ranking in their Social Sciences and a Level II in the Agriculture Sciences (Level IV is as high as a school can go in the Philippine accreditation system).  So they are pretty solid in many of their major disciplines.

nwlivewire

 


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