The New Philippines Extended Visa, Deal or No-Deal?

New Philippines Extended VisaAbout a week ago I got a link from a reader, Roxas Ron, about the new extended 6-month Visa the Philippines just rolled out this 3rd week of June, 2013.  The official word is that it was put in place to encourage longer stays by visiting tourists without the hassles of doing the usual visits to the BI (Bureau of Immigration) every two months.


But you know me.. I want the full skinny on this because I’m a bit skeptical about governments offering you a good ‘deal’.   First I checked it out at the source, the actual BI website with the official announcement that Ron forwarded to me.  Aside from saying that it will cut down on the amount of traffic to their office and reduce opportunity for ‘fixers’ to put out bogus stamps (illegal, btw).. not much else there.  I then went to another site giving the price of this new, extended Visa deal.  Hey.. whaddya know?  A 6-month Visa stay for only 13,000 pesos.  Well, that sounds like a bargain.. if you don’t know what a peso is.

At the current exchange rate, 13,000P is equal to about $300.30 USD, at today’s exchange of 43.21P to the Dollar.   (Of course you have to factor in a loss of a few pesos to the dollar taken either by your bank or exchanger for their services.)  But for this discussion’s sake, $300 is the price for the 6-month Visa.  One visit, pay the man and you’re good-to-go for another 6 months of whatever floats your boat here in the Philippines.

So, there you are.. with your coconut drink, San Miguel or Red Horse under a palm treei love the philippines! out by the beach thinking about what a great deal that was.  But then you take out your smart-phone calculator app and start running the numbers.  At 6 months for 13,000P.. that’s 2,167P per month’s renewal.  Hmm.. let me take out my receipt for the renewal I just did only two weeks ago at the BI.  Ah, here it is.  Hmm.. 2,830P for a 2-month extension.  Wait a minute.

So.. doing it the usual way, 2,830P for a 2-month renewal works out to 1,415P per month.  Doing it the new way costs 2,167P per month.  That’s a difference (increase) of 752P.  Well, what the heck.. 752P is only about $17.41 for the convenience, per month.

But.. look at it this way;  doing it the usual way, 3 renewals for 6 months would normally cost 8,490P.  The new way costs; 13,000P.  Difference is.. let’s see, carry the zero.. minus the… … oh, it costs 4,510P more doing it the ‘new’ way.  Okay, now we’re talking about an extra $104.25 USD.

empty bi officeSo.. the question is, “Is it worth the extra $104.25 for the time saved to make 2 extra trips to the BI office?”  I suppose that’s for each person to decide, so feel free to share2nd Story - near BQ Mall Tagbilaran City your thoughts on that.  I look at it this way.  If you’re in the Cebu/Visayan area.. you could do one of those renewal trips at the Bohol Island BI office and make a nice, little trip out of it.  As you’ll see in the video I did of my visit to the Bohol/Tagibilaran office here (below).. there is no line!  And.. you don’t have to wear pants, shorts and sandals are fine.  You don’t sit for hours and hours.  The place is usually empty or maybe 2 other expats there.  In and out in 15 minutes.. easy-peasy and with the money you saved from not using this ‘new deal’ ($104.25 savings).. you can go goof off at Alona Beach overnight.

Some might say I’m cheap.. I prefer the term, ‘frugal‘.  Why pay extra for something when you can get the same thing for less?  That’s more pesos in my own pocket to spend on.. other distractions I’ll not go into.  Now, for some.. way out in Manila, perhaps there’s another office similar to the Bohol one.. small, low-traffic, in-and-out to make a nice vacation to.  But if you’re in the Visayan area, it kinda seems like a self-paid getaway to just go to the Bohol office for one of the 2-month renewals and spend the saved money on yourself.  (or whatever female company you happen to bring along).

So.. there you have it.  My take on this new deal from ‘the guhvment‘.
Me, I say, “No Deal”.

Henry ‘Reekay’ V.
www.lifebeyondthesea.com


 

Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

54 comments

  1. yeah i will stick with the 2 month way…..as it is, coming up with the visa extension money for both my son and i wll be a trick as it is. thanks for the article and now i know the options.

  2. I see where you're coming from on saving money; but, for me, it would be a good deal. I don't like going back and forth. It takes up my time; and, even though I am spending a few more dollars, it is well worth it for me. Thanks for the article.

  3. It’s no different than going to a convenience store to buy groceries. Actually, that’s just stupid, but same concept. Many people will pay for the convenience and the RP government is just capitalizing on peoples laziness. I’d say the Philippine government is learning to be more like Henry…’Frugal’.

    1. Yep.. and I’m sure the PH-BI are counting on the odds that most visiting foreigners won’t take the time to do the math to compare the costs to even know they’re paying about 70% more. Easy money for the PH-BI office.

  4. anytime I can save money..its the best deal for me.i look at it this way…what would I have to go thru back in the states to make the extra $104.00.well considering the way the job market is now..and some of the jobs I have held…id say it would be a bunch of crap.so I'll say thanks, but no thanks.

  5. “Is it worth the extra $104.25 for the time saved to make 2 extra trips to the BI office?”

    If I am spending more than $50.00 to get to the BI office, plus time spent getting there and waiting in line. Heck, yes!

    1. I have been here for 13months..I have never gone to the BI office.. I just do every 60 days and I save time and hassle by paying the local travel agency 250 pesos to do it doe me. so…I spend 250 x 3= 750pesos…which is $17 and that’s it! so, why pay an extra $104 when I can pay $17 and again…I just drop off my passport and next day pick it up and it has stamp and documentation….too easy

  6. If just looking at “getting there” costs (because the fees are equal and gotta be paid either way).. when I was in Mactan my total cost for dealing with the BI every two months was about $4 round-trip cab-fare and maybe another $4 for lunch. So.. $8.

    Now that I’m living on Bohol, round-trip jeepney is a total of about 50 cents. Lunch, still under $4 so.. $4.50.

    One time, I traveled from Bohol to Cebu to do my BI visit.. that was about 800P for ferry, 300P for taxi, 800P for hotel and about another 800P for food. Total came to about 2,700P.. roughly just under $60.

    I guess it comes down to the “what is your time worth?” criteria. A hundred bucks.. I’d rather spend it on myself than give it to the BI. 🙂 But some people really hate waiting and bureaucracy so.. I figure they’ll pay the money to avoid the hassle.

  7. Not sure if it includes the cost of the Immigration card for long term stay also. My company pays for my visas including initial tourist visa as well as 9g working visa so I can’t say I track the cost closely…but let’s wait and see what the total package includes.

  8. Hi Henry, my calculations were the same. I visit Mindanao. Only takes 10-15mins in immigration there for an extension, and have a good chat with them at the same time. Also is only 10mins walk from my place

  9. Seems to be sama sama, Henry:

    -http://www.philippines-addicts.com/forum/topic/32256-my-6-month-ext-plus-acr-i-card-cost/#

    (unusual case)

    and

    -http://www.philippines-expats.com/topic/16320-bi-launches-long-stay-visa/page-8

    (standard case)

    Therefore, it seems to be actually the same price..in one go.

    Have fun!

  10. What about SRRV’s (Special Resident Visa) I’m quoting “The SRRV is a type of Visa that encourages people from outside the Philippines to retire and invest in the Philippines. The SRRV allows a Expat to gain permanent residence in the Philippines in the Philippines WITHOUT having to marry a Filipina citizen.”

    Applicant is 50 years of age and older, minimum investment $20,000 and $800 pension per month.

    1. For SRRV’s it’s 50 years of age and older $10,000 investment and $800 per month pension. The investment can be a condo or leasing of land…After 10 years one can apply for Philippine citizenship or 5 years when married to a Filipina. There are many other benefits to having SRRV. But there is a one time fee of $1,500.
      The office is in Makati.

      1. Sorry, the SRRV CLASSIC is $10,000 or $20,000. There are 4 options Smile, Classic, Courtesy and Human Touch. You can Google for more info.

        1. SRRV is a document you need to fill out to apply for retirement there, so what about the Fee of $10,000 or £5,000 GBP,
          I only have about $3,000 savings and getting a pension from british government,
          would they refuse me retirement there as i dont have enough capital……
          jeffrey from london

          1. You can retire in the Philippines without an SRRV. The SRRV will save you money, but you can retire in the PH indefinitely simply by renewing your Tourist Visa over and over. (for up to 3 years, then leave for 24 hours, return for another 3 years again.) You can also get the SRRV by marrying a Filipina or in some cases if you are a veteran. The $10k is not a ‘fee’, it is a deposit placed in a bond for a period of time and later can only be used to buy a condo (not land).

    1. I noticed the same thing. Normally it’s not an issue and only started right after the earthquake. I’m wondering if the structural damage to that area is preventing the office from opening. I will check again on Monday, Oct.28th and see if they are open or on limited hours for some reason.

  11. Realy enjoy your way of going about life there .Reality for a normal guy .I have a question on visas Say I want to mostly live there say 8 9 months out of a year come back to the states ever 3 to 4 months I have rental property that generates enough money for me to do this as iam not retired and in time make it more permanent but I could be by what I see from information ive took in.and our you for hire? To personally help, you seem down to earth. As my goal would be to own and set up something there to keep me busy and make a few bucks iam not a idle person just want to be lazy every once in a while thankyou for the time you have given to your adventure If anyone else has advice please tell!

  12. Thanks for the information i love your site and the way you present everything. I just came back from the Philippines after 20 days there with my Honny, I am returning March 18 without a visa same as before however I want to stay up to a year or more, I know i can extend the 21 day over and over but that appears to be a real chore what do you suggest I do to extend my stay for longer periods. I Considered the retirement deal but to stash $10,000 and not be able to touch it is not in the cards. I would really appreciate your advice.

    1. Since I have more time than money, I’d rather just do the extensions every 2 months and make a day of it. But to save yourself the hassle, you could then think of the 1-year payment as a convenience. It’ll cost a little more as I mentioned in the article, but will save you trips to the BI.

      1. I’d agree with Henry. If going to the BI is convenient for you (no time and money cost), then might as well do the two months renewal thing?

        The gov. knows that it’s hard (cost, time, convenience) for most expats to go to he BI coz they don’t live close to it. So, essentially, the $100 extra is to put in its pockets for that savings.

        If you look at the Visa cost itself you’d see lots of meaningless fees in it. Which means, the whole emphasis of the Philippine Government is money.

        This kind of behavior only happens when you have a Filipino mind. Ops… the government is made of Filipinos 🙂

  13. Hi. Great article. Would you happen to know is there a BI in Pangasinan? I understand there's one in Angeles but that's a couple of hours from where I'll be residing.

    1. I believe you are referring to Angeles City. I don’t know the city you are referring to but I do know there is an immigration office in Olongapo City which is about 45 minutes away from Angeles City. It may be closer to you than the city you are referring to.

      JIm

  14. Hello Henry, my name is Willie and I will soon be graced by the beauty of Manila – November is still a bit away. I understand your hesitation, but we the visitor with family there find this so much more convenient. I stead of paying 200 every three months, it become 300 after 6 months. I can see a little of your point, but sacrifice there is. I do not take a lot of money with me there. I cannot afford the {RV. Untill one day when I can this looks like a nice option. Great vids and talks. Your advice is like a big brother.
    willie

  15. First off, Congratulations Henry on a fantastic website. I have enjoyed it much and even though i don’t usually comments on it, I have learned much from it. Well my question here is as follow: When an American Married to a Filipino Citizen who lives abroad goes to the Philippines for a short vacation, (7 Weeks), accompanied by his wife, (Filipino Citizen), does the American have an exemption to any visa requirements since his wife serves as a sponsor for him? I was told this just recently from an American married to a Filipino who travels often to the Philippines. Do you have any information on this or if any of your readers have any input that might shed some light on this subject. Much appreciated the time and effort you have placed in this site.God Bless

  16. I just went to the local Philippine Consulate in the city where I live and Oregon being Portland and I got a six month visa at the time for $90 US

  17. Hi Henry, I have played the monthly visa game many times before. I arrived in Manila on Sept. 8th with a throw away ticket (supposedly leaving for Singapore on Oct. 3rd). But my return to the U.S.A. will be June 6th 2015. On Sept 10th I paid 3,000 to renew it for a month which is up Nov 4th. We just got married a week ago and I paid to have our marriage certificate expedited from a six months wait to only six weeks for 1,500 pesos. We should have it in hand by Nov. 25th. I plan to pay for one more months extension the end of this month. Then, I found being married we can leave the country to say Kuala Lumpur ($120.000 round trip each round trip on Asia Air), fly back the same day and ask to have them stamp my visa with a FREE Balik Bayan stamp, good for a years stay and then renewable. Of course this trick only works if your an expat indeed married to a Filipina. I hope this is helpful to somebody…………… Bob

  18. I like the details in this blogpost, like the photo of the BI….. LOL
    and I like the math’s, thanks for pointing that out, I only thought it would be easy not to go for extensions so often, but money-wise it might be cheaper to do so.

  19. I got a SRRV retiree’s visa. The American P-E Courtesy PC-C. This is a special visa only for veterans of countries friendly with Philippines.
    It allows unlimited visits to Philippines and you can stay permanently if you wish ( in fact it is for retirement in country). You must be over 50 years of age and have proof of pension of at least $1,000.00 a month.
    There is an application fee of $1,400.00 and you must deposit $1,500 in a Philippine bank ( instead of the $10,000 or more a regular SRRV would require).

    Contact Mary Rose at http://www.vaningenmanagement.com/contact.htm. She will instruct you in all details and process the paperwork. Do not deal directly with the Retirement Authority. Mary Rose is an expert.

    VAN INGEN MANAGEMENT in The Philippines provides assistance to applicants for the SRRVisa.
    CONTACT DETAILS:
    Business Address:20 De La Rama St. Murcia, Negros Occidental
    Makati Address:Tiffany Place, Makati City, Philippines
    Telephone:+63 2 840 5961
    Mobile:+63 920 969 7933
    Fax:
    Email:maryrose@vaningenmanagement.com
    Website:www.vaningenmanagement.com

    I gathered and processed paperwork and went to Philippines. In less than two months I had the permanent visa… It is valid for 3 years and costs $10 to renew.

  20. I did this in Davao again it is up to the individual and depends where you live and if you travel a lot ,the second 6 month visa extension does drop down to 8000 ph again different locations have different prices so I have been told regarding the attire you wear I always wear pants and proper shoes although I have seen some ex pats in shorts and trainers the important thing is always prepare for your visit well in advance make sure you have 2, 2 x 2 photos and bring a pen above all relax . and always be polite to the BI staff

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