Philippines 9A Tourist Visa – stricter enforcement of regulations
Philippines 9A Tourist Visa can be easily acquired. The map shows the different kinds of visa and the allowed duration of stay in the Philippines. Visitors from the yellow and blue marked countries do even not need a visa for their vacation. They get either a 30 or 59 days free visa waiver. Tourists with the 30 days waiver can extend for another 29 days. This waiver extension costs currently (July 2019) PHP 3,130. Nationals of grey marked countries need to apply for a visa before travelling. If somebody wants to stay longer than these 59 days in the Philippines, then he/she has to apply for a Philippines 9A Tourist Visa.
The “permanent” tourists
Many expatriates living almost permanently in the Philippines do only have a tourist visa. They repeatedly extend their visa by 2 or 6 months. At the end of a period of 3 years or 36 months they leave the Philippines for one or several days and then come back. This is called a visa run. With their new entry the whole procedure starts again. Thailand has similar rules. If interested read this article in the Thailand Life.
These “permanent” tourists either do not want or cannot afford an immigrant visa of category 13 or the famous SRRV. More information can be found on our visa page.
You cannot work with this Tourist Visa neither as an employee nor as a freelancer.
Abuse of Philippines 9A Tourist Visa
Unfortunately the Bureau of Immigration (BI) found that more and more foreigners come to work here without the correct employment visa (9G). This is why holders of a tourist visa are intensely screened when arriving in ports and airports. Also when applying for an extension they often must face a huge series of questions and additional inquiries.
At the Mactan-Cebu airport an acquaintance of mine, 48 years old, was first refused to enter the Philippines because of his many extension stamps since 2011. The BI supervisor then gave him gratefully the usual visa waiver stamp. But the officer asked him to acquire another visa for permanent residence.
Another person in my circles was refused to enter and had to leave. He then went back to Singapore. There at the local branch of his Bank in Europe (UBS), he could get the needed account statements that proof that he does not need to work abroad. The bank letters had to be approved by the Philippine embassy in Singapore. The embassy also gave him a 59 days tourist visa.
What visa can I get to live here?
The easiest way to receive a permanent or immigrant visa is to get married with a Philippines citizen. You then either get a Balikbayan stamp valid for a year or you can apply for an Immigrant Visa by Mariage (13A).
For a foreign couple this option does not exist 😉 . For all those who do not want or who cannot get married, two other options stay open: Apply for a Quota Visa (13) or a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV).
The Quota Visa (13)
Nationals of countries which have diplomatic relations with the Philippines and grant the Filipinos the same immigration privileges under the principle of reciprocity which shall not be in excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year. (Official text by BI).
It is rather difficult to receive such a visa. But it is worth to inquire at the Bureau of Immigration.
The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)
This visa is a special non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals who would like to make the Philippines their second home or investment destination. Whether you are 35 or 65, the Philippine Retirement Authority offers different SRRV options depending on the background and needs of the retiree applicant. Please see here or here.
If you think to open a business or invest your money here, then you may apply for a
Treaty Trader’s or Treaty Investor’s Visa (9D)
A foreign national of the United States of America (USA), Japan and Germany who is entering the Philippines solely to carry on trade or commerce pursuant to an existing treaty of commerce and navigation OR a foreigner who seeks admission for the purpose of developing and directing the operations of an enterprise in the Philippines
And if you find a company that hires foreigners for their special skills, you may get a
Pre-arranged Employment Visa (9G)
This visa is for foreign nationals who are proceeding to Philippines to engage in any lawful occupation, whether for wages or salary or other forms of compensation.
Last remarks belonging to the Philippines 9A Tourist Visa
- Older people (60+ years) are much less screened than younger ones. The reason is simple, old-timers do much less come to the Philippines to work. They enjoy the fruits of their former active life in a wonderful place.
- If you are younger but do not need to work here, carry a verified/certified proof of your wealth with you when passing at immigration.
- Do not work with a 9A Tourist Visa! You need only a jealous neighbour or workmate and you get in troubles.
Travelling with this bus is absolutely no pleasure and it could be your last journey within the Philippines.
Read more information about visas on our special visa page. It is updated whenever the BI issues new directives.