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A Pleasant Experience At Philippine Immigration - 13A Visa


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I recently posted a question about the 13A process on behalf of a friend of mine. After watching him bungle around and trip over himself for a few weeks I said to myself, "What the heck, I think I'll

Correct. That is really the only caveat of the visa in my opinion. You pay the same travel tax as Filipino citizens do. And that is really the only reason I didn't get one sooner. Kind of a principles

Haha. heck I didn't even have to kiss any ass to get anything done there! I almost felt like I was maybe on the TV Show 'Punked' and at any moment they were going to come running out and say, "Gotcha!

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Monsoon

:kissass: :kissass:

 

Haha. heck I didn't even have to kiss any ass to get anything done there! I almost felt like I was maybe on the TV Show 'Punked' and at any moment they were going to come running out and say, "Gotcha! Nothing is that easy in the Philippines! Now go sit over there and we will call you when the process really starts sucker!:"

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I recently posted a question about the 13A process on behalf of a friend of mine. After watching him bungle around and trip over himself for a few weeks I said to myself, "What the heck, I think I'll get a 13A visa."

 

Im also in the process of starting another company and I don't want to bother petitioning and also paying for the fees associated with getting another 9G, so it was another plus for me.

 

So to make a long story short, this has to be the easiest thing I have ever done involving the Philippine government. Everyone working at the BOI was pleasant, courteous and helpful. There was no run around. Im almost tempted to call it an efficient process!

 

There are a few things you wouldn't know by looking at their website (extra copies of passport pages basically), but otherwise its very clear as to what you should bring. Since I had just returned from a short vacation I gave up my BB (the third one I got this year and didn't use more than 90 days at a time! ) I was about a week into a 21 day tourist so I had to extend that. (You need at least 20 days left on your visa before applying). No mystery there, very simple and straightforward. In fact, the intramuros head office is easier and more expedient than the Makati extension office that I've dealt with in the past. Just dropped it off, the wife and I went off to one of our favorite restaurants near Ocean Park and had a great lunch. Came back, picked up the passport, made the photo copies of the new extention and went over to the Information Desk where they checked everything over, then they sent me to the Public Attorney's desk who notorized everything needing notorization for (Wait for it: FREE!). What a nice surprise. Yes, they notorized everything for me for free.

 

All of the bone heads lingering outside of the BOI need to find a real job instead of trying to lure people into a trap with fixers. Because folks, there is no need for fixers. This office is working and Commissioner David should be commended on what he has done to fix it.

 

Anyway, after the notorization the information desk puts all of your paperwork in the order they like it into a folder. Then off to a window, submit that with your passport and in about 10 minutes you get the "Order for Payment Slip". Off to the cashier, pay 8,164 for the 13A Visa and all related fees plus 2500 for the Icard related stuff. So just over 10,600 all in.

 

Once you pay you make a copy of your receipt, give it back to the window you got the Order of Payment slip and she gives you a copy of your receipt. On your receipt is your hearing date.

 

I can go back in ONE WEEK for my hearing, and the 'tenative' implementation date is less than 30 days away.

 

Now, let me just say that I can see why some of the workers at immigration might be a bit stressed out or less than friendly at times. Because the only things that annoyed me my entire time at that office was other foreigners! Well, also the muppets outside trying to get you to use them, but they are easily ignored. I encountered a couple of 'interesting characters' in the very short time I spent there. Imagine this is only a small snapshot of what they encounter day in day out!

 

So heres one story, I'm paying for my tourist extension and this guy next to me leans over and says, "How much over stayed are you?" I replied, "I'm not over at all."

 

He proceeds to tell me that he is 3 years over stayed! Come on. So anyway he decides to start telling me the drama in his life. I am just trying to drop my damn passport off and go to lunch. But in the 1 minute that I gave him of my time he told me someone threatened to kill him and thats why he couldnt extend his visa for 3 years. Now that person supposedly has died, so he's safe to go out and extend his visa. What a crack pot. Do these people know what happens to them if they overstay in lets say Thailand or Malaysia? Three years!?!?

 

Apart from the mob of middle eastern men and women in nursing school uniforms pushing in the cashier line (thank god there were none of them when I came back from lunch) it was an overall good experience.

 

Folks, don't bother using a fixer for this process. Someone i know very well was quoted 30,000 pesos by a supposed law firm. But he still needed to attend the hearing, so whats the point? I spent 2 hours maximum in immigration, and could have been quicker had I not needed to extend my visa. So unless your time is worth 15,000 pesos per hour to drop off a folder, stand in a short line and pay you might as well do it yourself. Trust me, I'm not afraid to spend money. But its just a waste to bother with any fixers. I would consider paying something if it was 100% non-appearance, say except for showing up and getting fingerprinted and photo. But they days of non appearance are over.

 

 

Edit: I should add that I recently had to get some documents notorized at my own embassy. What should have been a very simple process required a special 'appointment' and took longer than the application process for an immigrant visa in the Philippines! Also, the people working at my embassy were not nearly as friendly and courteous as the people I encountered at the Philippine immigration office. And the people at my embassy are supposed to be working for ME.

what is a 13A visa ?

thanks

al

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Monsoon

what is a 13A visa ?

thanks

al

 

An immigrant visa that a Filipino citizen petitions for on behalf of their foreigner spouse.

 

http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=35

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what is a 13A visa ?

thanks

al

 

It allows you to stay in the Philippines, without having to pay for visa extensions every two months. You pay one time per year, to continue staying in country. And, the fees are less than Php 400, total, each year.

 

If, for any reason, you end up divorced, or, God forbid, your spouse passes away, you can still retain your 13(a) status and continue living in the Philippines.

 

Where you actually are penalized for having a 13(a) visa, is if you wish to leave the country. It costs you more to do so, I believe, than under any other visa. (Please confirm this, but I believe I am correct.)

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Monsoon

 

 

Where you actually are penalized for having a 13(a) visa, is if you wish to leave the country. It costs you more to do so, I believe, than under any other visa. (Please confirm this, but I believe I am correct.)

 

Correct. That is really the only caveat of the visa in my opinion. You pay the same travel tax as Filipino citizens do. And that is really the only reason I didn't get one sooner. Kind of a principles thing. But actually, looking at it objectively it is a pretty good deal overall, and in my situation it is the BEST deal available.

 

They charge $360 USD per year for the retirement visa, and I THINK if you've been here for one year or more you have to pay the travel tax anyway. I know for a fact that if you are on a tourist visa and you spend a year or more here you will pay the travel tax. The travel tax is approx 1620 pesos I THINK. So call it $40. I have to go out about 8 times to get near the $360 annual charge for the retirement visa. And in my age group I have to give them $50,000 of my money to 'hold on to', or invest into their approved investments. No thanks, I'll put my money where I want and use it how I want. Thank you.

 

Or if I want the new "Smile" program, I can give them $20,000 to hold onto. There is NO conversion to investments for this one. And its $1400 to apply, plus the $360 per year that I already mentioned. And - You are not allowed to work on a retirement visa. Not to mention, the costs and pain of maintaining a 9G or a PEZA visa. The five year PEZA work visa costs like $5k in fees without even your own lawyer fees I believe. Its been a while since i dealt with them.

 

Also, my friend who is on the SRRV (retirement) visa told me he has to do his annual report at the SRRV office. In his case he comes from Siquijor to Manila to do so. Whereas, I can make my simple annual report at any BOI office. There are a lot of them around. And I've been told you can arrainge a non-appearance on that report if you really felt the need for it.

 

Also, no more %&$*! *&%$!&*& return tickets.... Except my wife still needs one when she leaves. Why Pinoys don't get after their government to change this sort of thing is beyond me. Sure I know why they try to protect certain people, but come on a married person travelling on holiday with their permanent resident spouse should not have to show a return ticket to leave their own country.

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SkyMan

Well I imagine the Intramuros office works well because the comish is right there. Maybe someday there will be a trickle down to Cebu but I'm not counting on it soon.

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"Or if I want the new "Smile" program, I can give them $20,000 to hold onto. There is NO conversion to investments for this one. And its $1400 to apply, plus the $360 per year that I already mentioned. And - You are not allowed to work on a retirement visa. Not to mention, the costs and pain of maintaining a 9G or a PEZA visa. The five year PEZA work visa costs like $5k in fees without even your own lawyer fees I believe. Its been a while since i dealt with them.

 

Also, my friend who is on the SRRV (retirement) visa told me he has to do his annual report at the SRRV office. In his case he comes from Siquijor to Manila to do so. Whereas, I can make my simple annual report at any BOI office. There are a lot of them around. And I've been told you can arrange a non-appearance on that report if you really felt the need for it."

 

I gave up SRRV for a 13a as was under the old scheme and did not want to have so much r tied up in the deposit. In saying that there are some things about the SRRV that need tidied up.

 

1/ You do not need to renew annualy or attend in person. You can renew by post and opt for 3 year renewal, I did when i was a member....

 

2/ You can work with an SRRV provided you follow the work permit requirements which the SRRV will assist with. The 13a does not need that so it is easier.

 

 

I also came to the same conclusion that it is now more cost effective even if travelling regularly to be on a 13a as the annual fee for the SRRV is just plain robbery. You do not pay the travel tax on SRRV provided you travel once a year. Miss a year and your next travel will have a fee.

 

Not sure if the new Special business visa is of any value for small business etc

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Monsoon

 

1/ You do not need to renew annualy or attend in person. You can renew by post and opt for 3 year renewal, I did when i was a member....

 

 

That I did not know. Perhaps he just likes the excuse to get up to Manila.

 

Not sure if the new Special business visa is of any value for small business etc

 

Do you mean the SVEG that GMA started? I looked at it a couple of times, but didn't want the headache of reporting or being tied to the number of employees. If I had done so, when I exited my company I would have found myself in a visa problem again. Even though the SVEG is perpetual, it is considered non-immigrant. Also in my new venture except for a few support staff, most 'employees' will be independent contractors or self employed themselves. Also since SVEG exists by executive order, never knew what could happen under changing administrations.

 

The other reason I went ahead and did a 13A was I suspect there will be changing and perhaps more strict requirements to come in the future. A small change has already happened with the financial capacity requirement. That wasn't there last year that I'm aware of and I think it is a sign of things to come.

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I agree the SVEG is not for me either because of those reasons.

 

Proof of Financial capacity has always been around and could be demanded at any time. Reality is if you are married with kids here and have been here for a few years without being a burden they will just tick the box.

 

Mine was quite interesting as they basically ignored that I had spent years on the SRRV and just started the whole process as if I was a newbie and asked the questions accordingly. the Interviewing attorney even demanded that I speak Tagalog by the time I completed the transition from temporary to Permanent. I advised that I was not applying for citizenship, just transferring from one permanent resident visa to another, it was met with a blank stare.

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Monsoon

Had my hearing at immigration. In and out of the place in about 45 minutes. I arrived 5 minutes before the scheduled time of the hearing and was in the assigned attorney's office right on time. He didn't ask any silly questions at all. In fact, the only official thing he mentioned was advising me that although it is a permanent visa it is at the discretion of my wife so if there are problems between us down the line she could create problems with my visa. My wife joked it was no problem that I would just get another one that looks just like her. We all had a laugh and then we chatted about golf for about 10 minutes. He gave me his card and told me to call him if I had any problems.

 

Downstairs for fingerprinting (twice), photo and out the door.

 

 

Try getting a smile out of anyone at the American embassy, let alone a laugh followed by a friendly casual chat about day to day life.

 

 

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Had my hearing at immigration. In and out of the place in about 45 minutes.

Did they take your passport?

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Monsoon

 

Did they take your passport?

 

The attorney's secretary did for about 5 minutes before the hearing then gave it back to me when we were called into his office for the hearing. I'm not sure for what purpose t hough since there were ample copies of it attached to the application. I am only guessing that it was just for his perusal to try to get a picture of how long I've been here and if I travel or whatever. Maybe thats why he didn't ask a lot of questions, I have several BB stamps and although this passport is only 2 years old it shows I've been basically everywhere in the region a few times and always end up back here. Destitute people don't tend to travel around with their wife? I dunno...

 

I was told by someone though that your not supposed to leave the country from time of application to implementation (stamping of passport with the 13A and release of Icard). I plan to get the reentry permit at the same time so I don't need to worry about it for a year.

 

Its a shame they have to ruin such a good thing with the burocracy of this rentry permit. I will just remember to get one each year when I do the annual report because I am known for making a lot of last minute trips.

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The attorney's secretary did for about 5 minutes before the hearing then gave it back to me when we were called into his office for the hearing.

Thanks for the info. I had my interview Thurs in Cebu and had been told they take your passport at the interview and send it to Manila. They didn't so I figured it didn't go so well. She said I could get the fingerprints done "if I wanted" but the big guy downstairs said he wasn't sure if they were doing fingerprints so I took the forms and left. Confused.

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