New Requirements for 13a Permanent Visa

a immigration philippines

The 13a Permanent Resident Visa. In the opinion of Gary Wigle and myself, along with other American expats, this visa is the cheapest, most hassle-free visa a person who intends to retire and live in the Philippines can obtain. Of course, your spouse has to be Filipino in order to sponsor you for it, but once you have the 13a,  living in the Philippines becomes that much easier.  

Philippine Bureau of Immigration(Photo Source: Philippine Bureau of Immigration)

Only have to get your ACR, Alien Certificate Registration Card,  renewed every five years instead of annually and don’t have to leave the country once a year and come back. Only need to make my annual report as a foreigner at the local BI office in Iloilo City which costs P310. 

While researching a recent article on the  Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE) now being offered by Immigration, I came across information regarding new requirements for the Permanent Resident Visa that have been in place since earlier this year:

1. Bank Certificate in the Philippines (your wife’s or joint account)
2. Police Clearance from your home country 

Now when my spouse sponsored me for my 13a Permanent Resident Visa, there was a requirement for proof of income to show financial capacity. I had bank statements and other financial statements, but no one asked for it.

It’s my understanding that the police clearance was only required before if you applied for your 13a visa outside of the Philippines, which I did not do. We went to the main office in Intramuros, Manila. Here’s information on the additional police clearance requirement.NBI Clearance Form Philippines


(Memorandum Order No. RADJR-2012-028)

  • WHEREAS, the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 (CA 613), as amended, mandates the Bureau as the agency principally responsible for the administration and enforcement of alien admission and registration laws;
  • WHEREAS, there is a need to ensure that the applicant for immigrant visas has no record of any derogatory information against him in any law enforcement agency;
  • WHEREAS, Sec. 3, CA 613, authorizes the Commissioner to issue such rules and regulations and from time to time, issue such instructions, not inconsistent with laws, as he shall deem best calculated to carry out the provisions of immigration laws; NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, applicants for immigrant visas including applicants for temporary resident visa shall submit the following clearances:

a. If the applicant has been in the Philippines for less than six (6) months, he shall attach to his application a Police Clearance from his country of origin or residence duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate at the place of issuance or nearest to it, with English translation, if written in another foreign language.

b. If the applicant has been in the Philippines for six (6) months or more, he shall, in addition to the Police Clearance from his country of origin or residence prior to his arrival in the Philippines, attach to his application a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance. (Source: Philippine Bureau of Immigration website.) Philippine Flag

From the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website, here are the other present requirements. 


(Under Section 13(a) of the P.I.A

1.  Letter request from the petitioner – (Filipino spouse)

2. General application form (BI Form No. RBR 98-01) duly accomplished,

signed by both petitioner and applicant and notarized.

3.  2 x 2 picture to be attached to the General Application Form

4.  Photocopies of the following:

a.  Passport with stamped of the visa

b.  Alien certificate of Registration (ACR)

c.  Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)

5.   Joint affidavit of the petitioner and the applicant stating that;

a.  they are husband and wife and are living together

b.  they are financially capable of supporting each other.

Important: Supporting documents to prove financial capacity such as

Proofs of joint bank deposits or bank certification, Income Tax Return,

Land titles, contract of employment, pensions, etc. must be submitted.

6.  Barangay certificate that petitioner and applicant are resident of the

barangay and that they continue to live together as husband and wife.

7.  Birth certificates of children born subsequent to the approval of the

Probationary one (1) year period.

8.  Marriage Contract

Now some expats I know would rather leave the Philippines every year and “avail” of the Balikbayan Privilege. My wife and I did that when we first entered this archipelago in July 2009,  but have found it much cheaper and easier to take advantage of the 13a Permanent Resident Visa. Don’t have to worrying about leaving the country at a certain time.

Here’s the current schedule of fees from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website. Keep in mind that obtaining the 13a Permanent Visa is a two step process. Probationary status for approximately one year. Conversion, or amendment of the visa is the next and final step. It took my wife and I four separate trips to Immigration in Intramuros to obtain the conversion of my temporary 13a. That was done in May 2011. We stayed with my wife’s sister and brother-in-law during that time instead of making multiple trips back to Iloilo.   

     P 1,000.00
P 1,000.00P 1,000.00P 1,000.00
       500.00       500.00      500.00
   1,400.00    1,400.00   1,400.00
      500.00       500.00      500.00
  • FORM
      100.00       100.00      100.00
  1,000.00   1,000.00             0.00
     600.00     600.00      600.00      600.00
     250.00          0.00           0.00  
     200.00     200.00      200.00     200.00
       70.00       70.00        70.00       70.00
     500.00      500.00     500.00
     500.00      500.00     500.00
 1,000.00 1,000.00   1,000.00  1,000.00
     500.00      500.00     500.00
TOTAL     P 8,620.00
 P 8,620.00P 8,370.00    P 7,870.00
  • Additional I-card fee (based on current exchange rate)
      US $ 50.00
   US $ 50.00US $ 50.00US $ 50.00
 P 1,000.00
P 1,000.00 P 1,000.00P 1,000.00
       500.00       500.00       500.00      500.00
   1,400.00    1,400.00   1,400.00
      500.00       500.00      500.00
      500.00       500.00      500.00
  • FORM
       50.00         50.00        50.00
      200.00     200.00       200.00       200.00
         60.00          60.00           60.00           60.00 
     500.00     500.00       500.00       500.00
     500.00     500.00       500.00       500.00
  1,000.00 1,000.00    1,000.00    1,000.00
     500.00         500.00       500.00
 TOTAL     P 6,710.00
P 6,710.00P 6,710.00P 6,710.00
  • Additional I-card fee (based on current exchange rate)
US $ 50.00
US $ 50.00US $ 50.00US $ 50.00

27 thoughts on “New Requirements for 13a Permanent Visa

  1. Hi Dave, great post. I sure am glad I got my 13a when I did. I understand your Philippine bank statement must show 100,000 pesos at all times. I can’t remember having that much in any bank. 🙁

    I really can’t blame the BI for all the new rules. So many expats are treating their wife so bad. Many are deported too. Seems the guys from “downunder” are the worst yet I know some that are great guys. 🙂

    Gary in Tagum City

  2. Hey Dave,

    Granted, the costs to get all the paperwork processed there is a small fraction of what USCIS charges here to bring a fiancée here. But I don’t really understand why either govt. has to make it so complicated in the first place. When its all said and done, who actually ever reads any of the info that is provided to them in the first place, I kinda wander if anyone does, or is it just a way to make money for the govts.

    I keep reading that the PI govt. is trying to overcome corruption there, yet to me, in my small mind, them offering “express line” service to those willing or able to pay extra for it, is also a form of corruption, similar to bribing which is supposedly illegal there also, and yes, I will pay for it when the time comes. As I, still living about 11,000 miles away have discovered, that about the only way to get almost ANYTHING accomplished there in a timely matter, is to offer a few thousand Pesos to the right person and things go fast and smoothly, and magic acts, that Houdini would even admire ( David Blane might anyway) of papers lost or missing, that suddenly appear out of nowhere. I have wandered though, to the locals that cant afford such services, do the same problems occur as much for them as they seam to for foreigners. Have read where you have gone through similar things also, suppose almost all foreigners do. Am just hoping I can learn quickly to go with the flow, and try not to let it bother me, cause I too am approaching the old geezer age and don’t want to let those kind of things ruin my day once I get there in a few more years.

  3. So, if I read this correctly a 13a five year renewal should cost about $200? Still have three years left on my current ACR.

  4. Dave,
    I’m glad you posted this article. I will have to get a police clearance here in Florida before heading to Ohio end of this week. Can get it authenticated in the Philippine consulate in Chicago.

  5. Now that the house is almost finished applying for the 13a is the next step, I will let you all know how easy (or hard) 🙂 it is.

  6. I still need to make a stop at BI when I land in the Phils, but got my 13A without leaving my chair here in Colorado. The police clearance was available by mail from the State Patrol, the visa was obtained through the mail from the Phil. consulate in San Francisco. I mailed in the required paperwork plus the $150 fee, exchanged a couple of phone calls with a nice lady at the consulate, and in two weeks received my passport back with the visa. Now, compare that with the time, expense, and hassle most of us experienced with the INS getting our fiancees here to the good ol’ U.S. of A!

  7. I suppose we have plenty of time to figure that one out Dave. I hope you’re right and it’s only the ACR that has to be redone. That’s like the “easy” button.

  8. Hey Bill S.,

    If you are in the US, just have your fiance fly into Mexico and then sneak across the border. She will be welcomed with open arms and fast tracked to citizenship. 🙂

  9. Hi Dave: Thank you for a most informative article. I’ll have to avail for the 13A permanent visa for my spouse, after I retire from the U.S. Your article is very helpful.

  10. Hey Steve,

    I had actually suggested that to her a couple times, she thought I was serious, and was trying to get her arrested before she ever got here, didn’t go over well at all, and I paid with it for the next few days with a lot of ggggrrrrrhhhh’s from her (growls on YM) before finally convincing her I really was joking. We have had other misunderstandings from trying to type everything on YM, so I have to be careful with what I say and how I say it, and we talk a lot more on the phone also now days. Just wish we could get skpye or the magicjack to work, but we are rarely successful on that.

  11. Hey Bill,

    Did you have any luck with video calls on Yahoo? I ask because with one Filipina I chatted with, we could never get Skype to work, but for some reason the Yahoo video calls worked halfway decent.

    I hear you on the misunderstandings. I always have to remind myself that American humor and sarcasm often don’t go over well.

  12. The Financial requirement is $800 USD a month and police clearance from your home state, you cannot receive an FBI clearance from the Philippines, the Immigration Bureau would have to have you finger printed and verify you ID than send it to the FBI in the USA at a cost of $25 ,they would not want the trouble, actually the State police clearance is not very good it only has your records in that state,

  13. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, we have tried video chat on Yahoo Messenger, and Google also, but with pretty much the same results as Skype. I have a 4G signal here, but I kinda think the problem may be hers, possibly, cause she’s in Tago, Surigao del Sur on Mindanao, and her signal is not the greatest at times it appears.

    I agree with you on the humor, she usually gets it, but sometimes not so much, especially if its being typed. I remember one time I said “shame on you” in a totally innocent way I thought, but soon after saying that, I thought world war 3 was about to start. Some things we say here, are totally taken in a different context there, and am sure its only a matter of time before I put my foot in mouth again, but its all part of the learning process I guess.

    Sorry Dave, hope you wont mind us chatting back and forth on here.

  14. You might like this one Dave… Number of years ago I finally got my wife to the USA on a fiance VISA. Our house faced a seasonal pond, never any boats on it or anything. Then one day there’s a canoe on the pond, probably a neighbor playing with their Christmas present.

    So I tell my asawa there’s a canoe out front, come look. Her response, “Yeah, there’s kano’s everywhere around here…”

  15. Hey Dave,

    Well, I was starting to think the communication problems were a problem that just we were having, but sounds as though most have had similar types of them also. We don’t seem to have the problem near as much when we are talking on the phone as compared to YM, but phone is expensive to do daily so we YM a lot. I sent her a magic jack back in march, after I got back home so I could get her a local US number, but its never worked, I can hear fine, but she cant hear a word I say, her brother hooked it up, and is an engineer, so I assume its hooked-up right, but sure do wish it would work.

    So, we have a new book to look foreword to in the future. Maybe, my topic, MISUNDERSTANDINGS, WHAT NOT TO SAY OR DO WHILE IN THE PHILIPPINES, might make a good book. I could fill up half a book with just my screw-ups alone am sure. Just send my royalty check to me after its written though.

    Not to worry, I will always keep it clean on here, I know its a family friendly site.

    Rease, that was a good one for sure!

  16. Have some questions to you or any of your readers about the 13a permanent visa ACR card renewable in 5 yrs, if you get divorce is the visa be revoke?

  17. The 13a visa can and will be revoked if the BI finds out and most of the time they will. Things have changed in the past two years…

  18. Hello. I Applied for my husband’s 13a visa in LA before we move in Philippines. His Visa is only valid for 1 year. When I got the visa and saw that it is only for 1 year I thought that it is provisionary visa and still need to to be renew. When we applied for his ACR the card status is permanent and valid for 5 years. My question is do I still have to renew his Visa when it expires?

      1. 13(a) Visa done from overseas Philippine embassy is permanent right from the beginning. I did mine from Philippine embassy in New Zealand. I had to submit medical tests, police clearance, marriage certificates everything to the Philippine embassy in New Zealand. It took only 1 day and 230 NZ$ approx the entire fee. They gave me a brown package containing a letter from the Philippine embassy in NZ and told me to hand this to airport upon arrival in Philippines. My passport had a sticker that said "immigrant visa", it had 1 year validity which means, 1 year to enter the country and "activate it". After I reached Manila airport, I handed over the package to the officer, he opened it, and it contained my medical records, and a letter from the consulate saying, "13(a) visa granted". The officer told me, to go to the quarantine department within 10 days and then to the BI with the qurantine certificate. He stamped on my passport 13(a). I cleared the quarantine later after 1 week, went to the BI office, and handed them over the quarantine certificate, they entered things into their computer, and told me to take ACR-I card.  They also informed me, I don't have probationary , but permanent. All applications done from overseas is permanent. My acr I card came after 1 month, it said "13a permanent resident, permanent".  Card is valid for  5 years. I am glad I did it from overseas, it was a relief. Thanks to my lovely wife and Philippines. Now we have recently started a small immigration firm in Cebu to assist other expats with multiple services and advice regarding 13(a) and SRRV visas etc. I been studying the entire process for nearly 10 years, boy it is a large maze, but with sound advice and clear instructions, it can be cleared through.

      2. 13a done from overseas is permanent right from the beginning, but the ones done from within Philippines is probationary for 1 year then permanent.

  19. It is refreshing to read all of the personal experiences above. I wish, I knew (just about) all of the above before I started "my process".

    I am a Canadian married to a beutiful Philippina. We live in Aklan Province (Western Visayas.)

    Our "experience" with the  Immigration in the Philippines started nearly a year ago and getting a 13A visa is just as far out of reach today as it was on the first day. Indeed, it is a beaurocratic nightmare.

    We must have a (kind of) honest face because   NO FIXER  ever apprpoached us so far.

    Right now we are (I am) going for an extension of my BB privilidge, (or visa, if you want to call it that way).

    I keep reading your comments. I am not ready add any comments, for I have nothing new to add. It is all there, above.

    Thanks for all of you who are taking time to consider us (and warn us) "unsuspecting"  victims.

    Sincerely: Bill Bede

  20. Great article and comments here! Also, good news about the iloilo immigration office, because next year I plan to marry a girl there and end up living with her in Iloilo or possibly Tapaz within another year. I'm really trying to do my homework VERY early! I visited there last month and I can't wait to get back. Again, thanks so much for all of the excellent information here! I will be retiring from being a building inspector for a city here in Florida and of course I have a Florida contractors license. If there are any building questions you may want to ask, please let me know. oh, btw…4" block will NOT work for me! 6" minimum with 8" preferred! lol

  21. just got a 13a visa
    i need more info on it
    can i work under this visa
    or do i need a work permit
    any one know anything about this

  22. Hi i really need some good advice i am a female us citizen married to a filipino we have one child. But i end up giving birth to him in california. How does the 13a visa apply for children below you have a personal email i can communicate to you with my situation is a bit hard to explain in on comment 🙁

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