Aug 16

Passports and VisasOver the last few years, some countries in Asia made it more and more difficult for long-term tourists (or none-working Expats) to stay longer than just a few months in country. Thailand only recently made their Visa Rules more difficult and complicated; before that monthly Visa Runs to the neighbouring countries were quite common.

Indonesia introduced a Visa-On Arrival (VOA) for maximum 30 days with respective fees only back in 2004 – before you could get a 3 months stamp for free. The bureaucratic processes to attain and extend a Social Visa are legendary. Although there were some rumours of longer VOA (up to 120 days) a few months back, those have yet to materialize.

I remember when I first went to the Philippines and overstayed my Visa for a few days, I paid something around USD 150 to be able to follow my already checked-in luggage on my plane out.

Ouch! ;-)

So it’s nice to hear that things are changing for the better:

The Philippines announced just a few days back, that foreigners are now allowed to stay in the country for up to 24 months! That is really great news – as the Philippines are quite far off from the rest of Asia and therefore a more expensive flight ticket would be required to just doing a Visa Run.

Of course there are always these kind of ‘agencies’ who only let your passport travel; but then, those can be quite tricky too in case something goes wrong. Thailand tried to eradicate this kind of businesses with some success, too bad for the foreigners who were caught in the middle.

The Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines is going even further, they are even thinking of doing away with Visas completely!

Wow, that’d sound great. Can’t wait to see that in place!

Besides the many thousands of Pinoy islands with plenty of beaches, the Philippines have still relatively low costs of living in Asia, but you don’t have to miss out on Life’s modern amenities as well.

As we are warming more and more up with moving again to some place new some time next year – the Philippines just moved to our Top Spot on the list of interesting countries. A nice site to learn more about Living in the Philippines is this one for instance.

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written by Chris

40 Responses to “Want to stay longer in the Philippines? Now you can!”

  1. Philippines Travel BlogNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I hope that longer timeframe for Visa expiration can attract more tourists in the Philippines

  2. ZahlenjongleurNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    You can’t escape.
    I will find you anywhere.
    You will see it soon, when i am knocking on your door….

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Better make it to Bali first; easier and cheaper accessible than one of the more remote 7001 islands in the Philippines! ;-)

  4. KirstyNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hey cool, cheers for the update. I’m heading that way in January with no set plans in mind so it’s nice to know I can stay for awhile if I want. I guess that also means that one way tickets are ok? I can’t imagine staying 2 years but ya never know eh! Pretty flexible to say the least.

  5. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    That’s good news. I surmise you’ll soon make it again here in my country, my friend. Good luck to your nomadic journey :)

  6. BillyWarholNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    I would love to go to the Philippines or anywhere in SouthEast Asia*

    Dream Trip*

    Canada’s too Cold in the Winter + sadly the Girls just aren’t as Friendly!!


  7. 3 Secrets to Early Retirement (and Life like a Nomad forever) | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] The Philippines for instance have the great advantage of having a population which can speak English fluently and who have adopted the American Way of Life to a great extend. Still you can live there on a budget of about USD 500-1.000 per month with a higher standard of living you could enjoy in the US of A on that money. On top of that, the Philippines just relaxed their Visa Regulations for Long-Term Visitors. So it’s really a great place to start, to get out from where you are now and to jump in with less risks than almost anywhere else. […]

  8. darcyNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    This has got to be the best post on your blog i’ve read so far! Well not really, many of your posts are much more inspiring, but this one really has the most positive ramifications for me! The Philippines have been on my places-to-go list for quite a while, and this will just make it so much easier for me!

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    darcy – thank you for the compliments and you are most welcome! Do you have already concrete plans? Where are you planning to go in particular?

  10. jama mohamedNo Gravatar YEMEN Says:

    i want to stay in philippines several years please i want visa of philippines you better to send to me visa visa please ok good bye my email is (

  11. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    jama mohamed, sorry – but I don’t provide the Visa, only some information. You would have to go to the Philippines Embassy in your country or arrive to get a Visa on Arrival, which you can extend nowadays up to 2 years, if I’m not wrong. Good luck! ;-)

  12. Chris the pomNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Great news. Going soon in the new year. Still have family there on my xwife side. But there very good to me, spent 12 months last time but did not travel much,this time will be better.will go to places i want to go on my own. Bit left in the air last time about visas. at to pay a fine for not knowing where to go. Good luck with your travels my friends. =))

  13. Chris the pomNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Did not have no problem getting a visa when i went there.Stayed the twelve months then went back to Ozz. I’ve been told that you can stay 16 months.This is great news if i can stay two years.Then a Quick trip to Hong Kong will be fantastick.

  14. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The Philippines government should offer long-term visa for skilled foreigners or investors like the Malaysian government did. Already, many countries are targeting the small investors market. The Malaysian government offers the Malaysia my Second Home requires RM150,000 in fixed deposit in Malaysia (around US$40-50,000). Other countries like Brazil also have similar programmes requiring similar amount of investment. I think the other countries in Southeast Asia should offer similar programmes. The majority of their citizens are poor. They have tens of millions of people already, so it doesn’t affect their population to have a few thousands more foreigners. The foreigners are likely to cause a net gain because they are unlikely to earn more than they spend there. So, why should they stop foreigners who wish to spend their money there long-term at all? There is no economic reason to do so. In fact they should encourage more foreigners who can afford to spend their money there to live there longer. Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos should offer these programmes. They could require something similar to Malaysia. If they require a fixed deposit of investment in stocks or mutual funds registered there of US$30-50k, I think their programmes would become more affordable. Of course, I think it’s important for the governments to build safe and modern communities to attract foreigners.who wish to live there for long-term.

  15. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Just wonder which places in the Philippines you guys think are good generally for foreigners:
    1) crime rate is low
    2) modern medical, transport, entertainment and shopping facilities
    3) pollution is low
    4) police are efficient and just
    5) costs low
    6) natural disasters, riots, wars, kidnaps uncommon

  16. Mindanao BobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Davao City fits all of your criteria.

  17. sunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I read that the island where Davo City is is not very safe.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    sunny, you should probably consider the islands on or around Cebu. That’s the most laid-back, safe and developed area – besides Manila – but without its pollution and high crime rates.

    Yes, Mindanao appears to be less safe than the rest of the country, but Davao (which is on Mindanao) has one of the most rigid mayors in the country and is very much safe. Maybe Mindanao Bob can comment a bit more on that, alternatively you can check out his website, where this question is asked many times over also….

  19. Mindanao BobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi sunny – You read that it is not safe. I’ve lived here for 10 years already. I am telling you that Davao is very safe. Come and check it out and I’m sure you will agree with me.

    Many publications these days are saying that Davao is the safest city in the Philippines.

    Asiaweek Magazine says that Davao is the most livable city in the Philippines, and one of the most livable cities in all of Asia.

  20. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Bob, glad you made that clear and added another destination for sunny to check in regards to his question in comment #15! ;-)

  21. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    The problem is it seems that the fate of this city is linked to its Mayor, who may leave any time. But anyway, I’d like to know how to reach there. I can’t see this city in AirAsia’s list of destinations. The Philippines also offers an investor visa called SIRV. By investing US$75,000 in the Philippines (may include stocks) one could apply for this permanent visa. So it’s not a bad idea, considering that there are many opportunities in this emerging economy and the cost of living is low.

  22. webbyNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    :) can not wait to get there will be there in march sounds gr8 like to live there soon :D

  23. BenjaminNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Actually I spent some time in Manila and it was great. Yes it may be crowded and a little polluted, but it is such a great place. The people are great and always smiling and it was a great experience. I see nothing wrong with the Philippines and actually I will probably study abroad there this coming June- October. But don’t hate on something unless you have been there. It is a great place and quite a experience.

  24. KrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    This is great! Now more Tourist will come :) and can see the beauty of philippines just pity that some of the people here dont speak fluently in english… but anyways if u guys need company hit me up haha jk! :D ;-)

  25. KrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Bob were just neighbors i live in General Santos City and yes Davao is a great place :)

  26. Jeff MillerNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    First of all anywere in the Philippines is terrible the traffic is terrible the crime is very high my cousin was robbed and killed in Davao you people are crazy i live in a southern town and my total cost of living is under 1000 bucks a month and i dont have to worry about crime blacks or all that dumb shit the islands suck

  27. Gerardo GNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I am so sorry to inform you that I just came back from a 3 month stay in Philippines and this is not the case yet, after the first 21 days I had to pay $150 for a visa extension, that was good for an extra 60 days. This happen on March 2010.

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gerardo G, maybe there is a misunderstanding. It’s still possible to stay up to 18-months in the Philippines. Although you have to make an extension every 1-2 months for around 3.000-4.000 Pesos per extension. Yup, it’s not free, but still a straight-forward and fast process.

    You can even negotiate your overall stay with the immigration officer. Let’s say you want to stay 8 months in the country, you simply pay your necessary extensions at once and get only 1 stamp and you’re done for good. Never have to think about your visa again. Yeah, it’s not cheap, but compare the process with the bureaucratic Visa Rules in Indonesia – and it’s still more convenient by a hundred miles. ;-)

  29. Gerardo GNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Very cool,I did not know we can do that, I will keep it in mind for next time since I plan to stay longer1-2 years?
    Thanks for the info.

  30. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    You are most welcome, Gerardo! I hope and wish, that you enjoy your stay! :D

  31. judith mabananNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    how do my Fiancee could stay here in Philippines with me without marriage? because we don’t know yet when we go married.

  32. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    judith, he can simply arrive on the 3-week tourist visa and extend it for up to 16 or 18 months, depending on his country of origin. Immigration offices are scattered around the country in the main towns and the process is pretty fast and painless. He just needs to pay his 3.000-4.000 Pesos per every extension.

    He doesn’t even need to extend every month: last time I extended for the whole length of my stay (3 months) in 1 go in the the immigration office in Boracay. Most Immigration Officers I met in the Philippines are pretty flexible and help you even to sort out the best options. Just avoid the centers in Manila or Cebu, where the masses go, as they don’t have time for individual help.

    With the nice Lady, who is the Head of Immigration in Boracay, we even shared a coffee and cigarettes and had a few good laughs while extending our visas and getting free consulting about our best options in January.

  33. sa pinas langNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    im proud to say that Philippines will have another island paradise. They called it carabao island wlc is bigger than boracay and will beat boracay from being no. 1 beach in Philippines.

  34. K. RouschNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I hope to retire in the Philippines with my Filipina wife, soon. We will reside in Antipolo City where we have many relatives. Do you suggest living in a guarded subdivision? What can we expect to pay monthly for a decent apartment?
    Thank you for any help.

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    K. Rousch, I’m not familiar with Antipolo City, but would think that the prices for a decent apartment would start like elsewhere (outside Manila/Cebu) at about 5.000 Pesos and are up to 20-50K, depending on the size, condition and facilities you are looking for. Prices would be higher for guarded subdivisions or apartment complexes, but it’s all up to your preference. While some Expats certainly appreciate the added privacy and security, I know of plenty of foreigners who forfeit that, because they want to live among and like the locals. Your mileage will vary and surely depend on your expectations and preferences, so generalizations are hard for me, because I don’t know you at all. Still I wish you a safe trip over here and good luck in finding what you’re looking for! ;-)

  36. BobNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Hey Guys! try SanFernando Bawang Beach. my wife is shes fr, Baguio City Philippines and i love to to stay in Long Beach Resort in Bawang La union….

  37. tomNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    foreigners wanna live among the locals? lol
    i did that at 2 different places and that was a pan in the ass.
    filipinos let their kids run around and scream all day, no rules whatsoever. filipinos are annoying. now i rent for 10 k a moth, only upperclass filipinos and foreigners live there, so now im pleased.
    ps i only live here because its cheap and sunny. no other reason. none of that culture bs

  38. gilbeysNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    Hi K. Rousch! Antipolo City is a very nice city in the mountain. Its very accessible down to Manila City. Undeniably safe to live in for retirement. There were several guarded subdivisons located in the city. So there’s nothing to be worried about. Since you have mentioned that some of your relatives are living there so your relatives alone would serve as your “fence” and protect you against perpetrators.

    To Bob and Chris: I am glad that there were people like you are promoting the country, Philippines. For that thank you very much! Kudos!

  39. gilbeysNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    Tom I think what matters most is how do you interact with the locals. Filipinos are truly sweet people at the same time caring and protective for their loved ones. They are happy people and willing to share their hands and broad shoulders if you ask for help. Yes it is true, you could say they are poor in terms of wealth and money but the truth is not! They have beautiful and abundant natural resources and positive outlook in life. In this world money is useless when nobody loves you and care for you. If you could only treat them well Tom, rest assured you would appreciate the locals and you would sense the meaning of life eventually.
    :) :) :)

  40. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    gilbeys, couldn’t said it better myself…..just have to keep an open mind and go with the flow. Life is too beautiful to complain about the unavoidable things. Let’s forget about those material matters and enjoy every day like it’s our last…..less worries, no sorrows, just pure bliss wherever we may roam. ;;)

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