Author Topic: Visas - still confused...  (Read 759 times)

Offline codefreeze

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Visas - still confused...
« on: March 26, 2017, 12:31:36 AM »
I've been popping in and out of the forum for a while now - still confused about visas though.  :-\

Planning to go to the Phils for one year. I'm from UK. Eventually I would like to retire in Phils but want to give it a year first to see how it goes. I've been before, but on visa waiver for stays less than 30 days.

So, here's my understanding on visas so far.

Visa is simply a stamp that allows you *entry* to Phils at any time during the validity period of the visa (subject to some conditions). On this document:

http://londonpe.dfa.gov.ph/images/Forms/Non-Immigration-Visa-Updated.pdf

It clearly states the maximum *length of stay* is 59 days for British passport holder like me.

So, although a visa may be multi-entry and valid for one year, that simply means you can *enter* during the validity period of the visa, but the maximum length of stay is still 59 days for a Brit.

There is one nice aspect of this - which is that if you get the timing right and enter just before the visa expires, you can get an extra 59 days after the visa has actually expired.

Still, having to leave the country every 59 days is a pain but not too bad. I would probably pop over to Thailand or Malaysia for a week or so and then pop back.

So, it looks like the one year multi-entry visa will do me, but I have some questions which is particularly pointed towards the Brits out there who are already in country longer term:

1) Is my understanding above correct?
2) Is there a better visa option for a one year stay?
3) Is there a way around the 59 day maximum length of stay?
4) Where does the new 13A thing fit into things? - I saw no mention of it here: http://londonpe.dfa.gov.ph/consular-matters/visa

All the best and thanks in anticipation...

Tony
---
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

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

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2017, 01:54:52 AM »
It's quite simple, just come on over, get your 59 day stay and before it expires, apply for the every 2 or 6 months tourist visa extensions if you just want to stay for a year. No such thing as a prepaid one year visa.
If you want to stay indefinate, there's the SRRV if you are still single and the 13a if you end up marrying your girlfriend.
As for medical travel insurance, that's up to you to choose what's best for you and your pocket book.
"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"!
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Offline copusmaximus

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 11:18:41 AM »
ok simple plan
1 fly to ph no need get visa before hand
2 at airport ask for the 30 day extention you pay 3k peso so get peso before you leave uk
3 you now have 59 days stay in country
4 as a brit you can stay in country up too 36 months before having to leave
5 towards end of first 59 days you go to bir and get a 2 month extention
6 after first 2 month extention you go get a 6 month extention and get an acr card (card is not option for anyone staying longer than 6 months)
7at end of 6 month extention you get 1 more 2 month extetion and your done your 1 year here
at end of year goto bir get youe ecc exit clearance certificate then fly home .

i put as simple as i could if any changes im sure others can advise you . good luck

Offline codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 06:36:15 PM »
It's quite simple, just come on over, get your 59 day stay and before it expires, apply for the every 2 or 6 months tourist visa extensions if you just want to stay for a year. No such thing as a prepaid one year visa.
<snip>

Art, if I apply for say a 6 month visa extension, do I still need to exit the country every 59 days? The maximum length of stay is still 59 days right?

In the form I linked to it says:

SCHEDULE OF FEES: BRITISH AND IRISH PASSPORT HOLDER
Single entry visa valid for three (3) months from date of issue - 28 .00
Multiple entry visa valid for 6 months from date of issue    55.00
Multiple entry visa valid for one(1)year from date of issue- 82.00

So the latter option would allow me to re-enter over the one year period, but I'd have to exit every 59 days (according to the notes in the document)

Thanks,
Tony
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline copusmaximus

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 06:42:48 PM »
you dont need a entry visa you need a tourist visa stamp when you arrive you get 30 day you can extend it to 59 days at airport.then can continue to extend up to 3 years total never having to leave

Offline codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 06:47:51 PM »
you dont need a entry visa you need a tourist visa stamp when you arrive you get 30 day you can extend it to 59 days at airport.then can continue to extend up to 3 years total never having to leave

Got it - visa waiver then just get the extension at the airport for total of 59 days. It seems if I go the visa extension route I don't need to make an exit every 59 days which is great! If only the Philippines embassy in London knew about this! :)

Seriously though, that does seem to be the way to go - just keep getting visa extension for as long as possible - it seems I'll certainly be covered for the first year, which is all I need for now!

Copus, have you actually done this?

Thanks,
Tony
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline sussexrob

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 06:59:44 PM »
I have personally done the visa extension a few years ago.  I got the 59 days extension from the embassy in London before leaving the UK.  At the time it was cheaper to do it that way than get it in the Philippines on arrival.  To be honest with you, the only problems I have ever had is with the BI as they always give different answers wherever you are when you ask them a simple question.  Most of the time they do not seem to understand their own rules.
I am due to move to the Philippines permanently in a few months time, and have still not made up my mind on whether to get my 13a before I leave the UK.
Fortunately for me, as my wife is Filipino, I get the BB stamp on my passport when I land, so this gives me a year anyway.
Good Luck when you go.

Offline Lee2

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 07:01:45 PM »
Tony are you married to a Filipina, if so and you both enter together then you both get one year visa free stay.
http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/visa-inquiry/balikbayan-previlege
I suggest people print the law as some airlines do not know the law and will insist on an onward or return ticket within 30 days, with a Balikbayan privilege a person can stay one year at a time, thus a return ticket dated for one year out would be all one would need, but would the airline accept that, some will and some won't, I have to argue with them every year we go. 
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline sussexrob

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 07:08:00 PM »
Tony....what Copusmaximus says is true.
The only thing I would argue with is getting the pesos before leaving the UK?
I would suggest it is far easier to get a good rate on Us dollars and then change them when you get to the Philippines.  You'll be far better off financially doing this , the peso rate anywhere in the UK is a total rip off.

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

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 07:51:35 PM »
Tony,
Did you do any military service in your country? What's your girlfriend,'s immirgation status?
The reason why I ask, the SRRV covers ex-military members retired or not and the bank security deposit is only $1,500.
Also if you are married to a Filipina with a British passport, naturalized British citizenship and she does not want to become a dual citizen, she can also qualify for an SRRVisa in her own right with only a $1,500 security deposit and add you on to her application if you haven't served in the military.
This is just an added info to those in this particular situation, because IMHO 13a/g visas is a pain in the rear. Read up on then before you decide to stay pemanently in the Philippines.


« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 08:02:55 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 codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2017, 08:15:12 PM »
I have personally done the visa extension a few years ago.  I got the 59 days extension from the embassy in London before leaving the UK.  At the time it was cheaper to do it that way than get it in the Philippines on arrival.  To be honest with you, the only problems I have ever had is with the BI as they always give different answers wherever you are when you ask them a simple question.  Most of the time they do not seem to understand their own rules.
I am due to move to the Philippines permanently in a few months time, and have still not made up my mind on whether to get my 13a before I leave the UK.
Fortunately for me, as my wife is Filipino, I get the BB stamp on my passport when I land, so this gives me a year anyway.
Good Luck when you go.

Hey, Rob, a fellow escapee! Good to meet you! I have a one year contract to complete before we can get out there for a year, so I guess I'll be about 9 months or so behind you.

It doesn't surprise me about BI not understanding the rules - I've experienced the same in Thailand where visa rules are even a worse tangle. It seems that visa waiver followed by visa extensions is the way to go though at least for my first year - we might well coming running back to UK tail between legs after that, but somehow I doubt that!

If you don't mind me asking - what are you doing about health/travel insurance?

Cheers,
Tony

Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2017, 08:17:06 PM »
Tony are you married to a Filipina, if so and you both enter together then you both get one year visa free stay.
http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/visa-inquiry/balikbayan-previlege
I suggest people print the law as some airlines do not know the law and will insist on an onward or return ticket within 30 days, with a Balikbayan privilege a person can stay one year at a time, thus a return ticket dated for one year out would be all one would need, but would the airline accept that, some will and some won't, I have to argue with them every year we go.


We met in UK and have been together ten years but not married. That is something to bear in mind though!

Thanks,
Tony
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2017, 08:23:39 PM »
Tony,
Did you do any military service in your country? What's your girlfriend,'s immirgation status?
The reason why I ask, the SRRV covers ex-military members retired or not and the bank security deposit is only $1,500.
Also if you are married to a Filipina with a British passport, naturalized British citizenship and she does not want to become a dual citizen, she can also qualify for an SRRVisa in her own right with only a $1,500 security deposit and add you on to her application if you haven't served in the military.
This is just an added info to those in this particular situation, because IMHO 13a/g visas is a pain in the rear. Read up on then before you decide to stay pemanently in the Philippines.


Thanks for the additional info Art. I think the initial approach of visa extensions will do us for the first year. After that we will see. It looks likes:

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

Smile or Classic would suit me. Not married and no military service.

As far as my partner is concerned that's a whole other issue I guess - she is filipina with both Philippines and British passport. I suspect things will be less complicated for her!
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline codefreeze

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 08:29:33 PM »
Tony....what Copusmaximus says is true.
The only thing I would argue with is getting the pesos before leaving the UK?
I would suggest it is far easier to get a good rate on Us dollars and then change them when you get to the Philippines.  You'll be far better off financially doing this , the peso rate anywhere in the UK is a total rip off.

Good point Rob, the GBP against PHP has been absolutely brutalized over the last ten years from 95 to around 60ish! Same with THB - I used to get around 77 now about 43! Ouch!
Living in the UK. Retiring early in 2018 - possibly to Philippines.

Offline sussexrob

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Re: Visas - still confused...
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2017, 01:31:16 AM »
HI Tony.
  As regards to travel insurance I usually get one for about 12 which gives me enough cover for what I need.  May look to improve this when I move permanently as I have high blood pressure, and take medication for that.
I am hoping to lose a bit of weight before leaving to try and get the BP down, according to my GP it should help a lot.

 


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