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Major dif. in tourist visa vrs. 13(a)?


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I'm wondering if you have to "renew" the spouse visa as often as the tourist visa...? And do you still have to leave the country after 16 months or whatever it is, if you have the 13(a)? My asawa and I will be living in Occ. Mindoro (in a remote village with no cars etc) and it costs a pretty penny to get to the embassy from there, even though we hike over the mountains instead of taking a boat.

I'm trying to figure out how to avoid having to hike over (4-6 hrs one way) every 2 months and then have to leave once a year on top of that... <_<

 

And I'm sure there must be an answer to this question somewhere on here already but.... How long does it take to process, if you don't pay the "tip"(bribe)?

Thanks in advance... :)

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The Mason

Once you have permanent 13(a) status you only need to report to BI once per year, pay a 300 php fee and that's it. No need to leave the country or report to BI every 2 months. If you get your 13(a) while residing in the Phillipines your first year is probationary status. After 1 year, you need to petition for permanent 13(a) status.

 

The application process is pretty simple and fairly painless. It took me about 3 months from initial application to the time I received my ACR card. Total fees were about 12k and I'll have to pay another 5-6k when I convert to permanent status next year. You do need to appear for a hearing with a BI officer to review your application and verify the info presented there. I live in Baguio but had to travel to Manila for my hearing. They do not hold them in Baguio. I don't know where the hearings are held if you are in the Visayas.

Edited by The Mason
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Actually if you are married to a Philippine citizen you can enter the Philippines as a balikbayan. There is no fee and no reporting to immigration, but you will have to make a short trip out of the country once a year.

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Thanks for the very quick responses! :)

 

The application process is pretty simple and fairly painless. It took me about 3 months from initial application to the time I received my ACR card. Total fees were about 12k and I'll have to pay another 5-6k when I convert to permanent status next year.

 

Are you required to get an ACR card and those amounts: would that be Pesos or USD? If it's USD...yikes! :welcome:

 

 

M. Morey, I thought you had to enter the country with your Filipino spouse in order to use the Balikbayanan?

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those amounts: would that be Pesos or USD? If it's USD...yikes! :welcome:

 

Yes, that's in pesos.

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M. Morey, I thought you had to enter the country with your Filipino spouse in order to use the Balikbayanan?

 

That is correct.

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Oh, I'm gonna hold a party since you told me it's pesos. whew. I'm relieved! I was pretty worried for a bit :welcome:

 

Thank you M. Morey! That will be a good thing to keep in mind for the future! :)

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The Mason
Are there specific income or support requirements you have to have to get the 13a?

 

If you apply from outside the Philippines there are financial support requirements. You'll need copies of your bank statement and possibly prior year tax return. In my research I never came across anything stating what amount of money or income that is required though. They just want to see what you have.

 

If you apply from within the Philippines, the proof of financial support requirement is waived. I applied from within the Philippines so did not need any proof. When I went to my interview though I did take my bank statements and tax returns with me just in case it came up. The interviewer asked how I would support my family and I told her how I earned my money. She did not press for details or ask for proof of income.

 

I'm 41 years old so she asked about my job and income. I've heard feedback from older 13(a) applicants that income was never mentioned. I guess they assume if you're retired you have social security or

other pension income but if you are not retired, they at least ask token questions about finances.

 

I think the original poster, JDWanderer, is a woman. I really doubt BI will ask a woman for proof of income. Even though she's a foreigner, they would expect her husband, not her, to provide for the family.

 

And I'm sure there must be an answer to this question somewhere on here already but.... How long does it take to process, if you don't pay the "tip"(bribe)?

 

I forgot to mention in my original reply...the fees I paid included a 1000 peso 'filing fee'. I paid that fee directly to a clerk in BI, not the cashier. I didn't ask for a receipt, but I'm sure she would not have given me one if I had asked for it. I didn't make waves because I wanted to get my visa and ACR card sooner rather than later, or not at all.

Edited by The Mason
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Yes.... I am a woman. Er, girl at least, since woman makes me sound old. (hehe :welcome: )

 

You're really giving allot of practical, helpful information and making me feel allot less stressed about this stuff! Thank you so much! :)

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Yes, thanks for the helpful info. Last time I got my visa extension the travel agent told me I should get the 13a because I'm married. While I would be applying from withing country (been here over a year now), I'm 45, so I guess they might ask about the income/support stuff, but right now it's just the two of us with no kids.

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If you take your wife out of country once a year come back together and get a balikbayan at the airpot customns. Its good for a year and gee, no fees or reporting. Couldn't be more simple.

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The Mason
If you take your wife out of country once a year come back together and get a balikbayan at the airpot customns. Its good for a year and gee, no fees or reporting. Couldn't be more simple.

 

I don't think the balikbayan visa allows you to work. There have also been increasing reports on various Philippines forums about being denied a BB visa upon entry. The law states your Filipino spouse has to be out of the Philippines for at least 1 year. Some people are reporting that this is being enforced more now than in the past.

 

While their may not be any BI fees, last I checked roundtrip airfare for 2 is going to cost you at least 200USD.

 

I still think the 13(a) is the best visa out there for anyone planning to live here permanently, especially if you plan on working.

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I don't think the balikbayan visa allows you to work. There have also been increasing reports on various Philippines forums about being denied a BB visa upon entry. The law states your Filipino spouse has to be out of the Philippines for at least 1 year. Some people are reporting that this is being enforced more now than in the past.

 

While their may not be any BI fees, last I checked roundtrip airfare for 2 is going to cost you at least 200USD.

 

I still think the 13(a) is the best visa out there for anyone planning to live here permanently, especially if you plan on working.

 

 

Mason,

 

I need to apply for the 13a and having just arrived CEBU... would you mind outlining the fairly simple steps you took over 3 months to get your ACR?

 

1. get documents off internet

2.

3.

 

 

Thanks

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The Mason
Mason,

 

I need to apply for the 13a and having just arrived CEBU... would you mind outlining the fairly simple steps you took over 3 months to get your ACR?

 

1. get documents off internet

2.

3.

 

 

Thanks

 

I live on Luzon and applied in Baguio. There will likely be slight differences if you are in Cebu.

 

1. Complete application form and gather required documents. Details are listed on the BI site. Take note of the template for your spouse's letter of application.

2. Submit application to local BI office. In my case, the Baguio office completed initial review of my application. They then forwarded my app to BI Intramuros with a recommendation of approval.

3. Wait 3-4 weeks for your notice of hearing to arrive via mail.

4. Go to hearing 2-3 weeks after you receive your notice. Bring your copy of the application, your passport, proof of bonafide marriage (photos, letters, etc) and proof of financial support. I had to travel to Manila, not sure what the process is if you live in Cebu.

5. If hearing goes well, your hearing officer will give you a number to call in 3-4 weeks for info on visa implementation and ACR card issuance.

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