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My Philippine 13A Permanent Resident Visa Experience

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5/31/2016 05:11 EST

Hi all,

I was involved in a recent discussion here about getting a 13A Permanent Resident visa (basically an immigrant visa you can get when married to a Filipino citizen). I thought I'd write about the experience in a new thread so anyone contemplating doing the same might have a better idea of what's ahead.

I turned in my paperwork today and it was accepted (for processing). My wife and I go back for the interview this Friday and if that goes well all the paperwork will be forwarded to Manila. At some point between about a month and two (according to the folks in the BI Office that I went to) BI in Manila will send back my approved paperwork and new ACR I-Card.

First, let me warn you to be careful in regards to the forms; both the checklist and the application. They need to be the latest version, which makes sense but there's no sure way to know (short of asking at a BI office) what the last revision is. What I found on the BI website is that both forms are correct if you choose Visa > Immigrant Visas > Immigrant Visa by Marriage > Conversion to Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage. On that page you can click on a link to the Checklist (V-I-002-Rev 1) and Application Form (CGAF-001- Rev 2). Of course, that's as of this date of writing.

If you click on the FAQ tab > Visa Inquiry > Immigrant Visa by Marriage the link for the "concrete list of documentary requirements" (aka Checklist) it links to an older, incorrect checklist, it's Rev. 0 (zero) rather than Rev 1 (which is the current one as of this writing). The earlier Checklist has things on it that are no longer needed, so don't use it.

Now for some observations:
- It IS necessary to have your petition letter notarized (we did that). I did two originals (I'm not sure that was necessary but it didn't hurt).

- It is NOT necessary to have the Application forms notarized. I did that based on information I had read but it wasn't necessary, they still took them without issues.

- The Checklist seems to be correct if you apply in Manila but not so much if you're applying from an outlying BI Office. The Checklist says to have two original copies of the Application (that's correct) and to have two 8,5" x 14" folders (that's also correct) and to put one original application in one folder by itself, which will be for the ACR card (a new one, even if you already have one; this one will say "Permanent Resident" on it, rather than "Tourist"). That's not how it went at my BI office.

They sent me to the hotel next door with instructions to get two copies of everything in my application folder (pretty much everything on the checklist). See the note below about extending first if you need to.

In the end what happened was that they built two files using the two folders I supplied and the paperwork. One file got all the originals (and both original copies of the Application) and the other folder got the exact same paperwork but one set of copies. The second set of copies they handed back to me and said they were for my records.

They told me they needed the extra copies (not listed on the Checklist) because they'll send the originals to Manila and they need to have a copy of my file in their office. That makes sense once explained but it's not information given on the BI website.

For those applying in Manila, it seems you can follow the Checklist and it will work fine, though I have no personal knowledge of this.

For those applying outside Manila, my recommendation is to just go ahead and get two copies of all the paperwork you're going to submit. If they don't use it...fine, if they want it you've already got it.

A special note: the 13A process is quoted as taking one to two months, so make sure you've got enough time left on your tourist visa. If you need to extend do that first and then go get two copies of your passport bio page and visa page(s), they'll need to be in the paperwork package and it has to show your latest extension.

- My BI office had told me previously that they dropped the requirement for a police clearance from your home country (that was something on the older Checklist, which is why you don't want to use that one). The requirement was that I had an NBI clearance since I'd been here longer than six months.

Make sure you check and recheck everything. I had to deal with an issue with my NBI clearance. For whatever reason the NBI clearance did not show the barangay as part of my street address; of course, the 13A application has a space for it on the form, so I filled it in. In the end they decided to use correction tape on the 13A application form and have my just fill in the city (and leave the barangay out) and initial it. We'll see if that comes back to bite me (I'm waiting for some stickler in Manila to send the application back saying that the barangay information must be filled out!).

The other issue I had was that I'm a Jr. I've never seen a form here in the Philippines that has a space for a name suffix. I can't just leave it out because my passport has the Jr. on it (and it is my legal name). My name has been printed out just about every conceivable way on my Philippine driver's license, my ACR card, my bank account, you name it, I never know where the Jr will end up. I had put the Jr. after my first name (which has been most often used here ) but they decided to use correction tape on that and have me put it behind my surname. I don't know how you outguess something like that, you pretty much just have to fill up the forms, turn them in, and see what they have to say.

- They did not ask for any photos today (although I had some with me, both 1x1 and 2x2).

- The total cost for the 13A Permanent Resident visa was P11,010. That was one lump sum that I had to pay up front and included all fees and the cost of the new ACR I-Card.

In addition to that was the cost to extend my tourist visa two months, P2930. So, the total bill today was P13,940...ouch!

I was told that I cannot leave the country while my 13A application is processing. I don't think this is absolutely true but I've been told that it is necessary to get permission and it's a pain-in-the-tail. So, I think they just told me not to leave rather than having to hassle with more paperwork (I'm not planning to go anywhere anyway).

I did have a bit of a discussion with the head lady, I really didn't feel comfortable paying for the ACR up front since there's no assurance you'll get it (if your application is denied), she explained life to me and, politely, told me "no pay, no visa".

She did go onto say that the process is different in the provinces (or smaller offices) compared to Manila. She said "We only have a few people here, so we handle it all. We don't have to send you to different windows to get each thing done, so the process is easier but because we're sending everything to Manila at once, you must pay for everything first."

All-in-all it was easy. I wish I hadn't had the horrible headache I did from a sinus infection and the 1.5 hour ride in the UV Express van. I wasn't as easy-going as I usually try to be but it still wasn't bad (my normal extensions are a breeze).

To put a concise list to this rambling post:

- Download (or pickup) the most recent checklist and application and start to put your package together.

- Get your NBI clearance if you've been here more than six months (this took me three weeks to get).

- Write your petition letter (I'd suggest two originals) and have them notarized.

- Fill out the Application Form (2 originals) fully (no blank spaces) and make sure things like addresses and birthdates and such are absolutely correct.

You're going to need two references on the app form, so get their addresses and phone numbers.

I'd also get a couple of copies of the application (outside of Manila).

- Have your PSA (formerly NSO) marriage certificate (and two copies unless you're in Manila).

- Have your spouse's PSA (NSO) birth certificate (and two copies if you're outside Manila).

- Have copies (I'd suggest three if you're outside Manila, two if you're in Manila may be okay) of your Passport bio page and Philippine visa page (with the latest sticker if you're extended at this time)

- Have your NBI clearance form (and two copies if you're outside Manila), if you've been here longer than six months.

That's pretty much it, they'll take care of the BI Clearance that's listed on the Checklist, and unless you're from a country listed on Annex "A" (see Checklist for the rest of this) you don't have to deal with the medical aspect.

Oh yeah, and hand over your 11,010 Philippine pesos!

One thing I didn't get a chuckle out of is that they never asked my wife for any ID at all. Maybe they will at the interview but today she could have been someone I picked up on the street! LOL [Funny in light of how picky they were being about the smallest things on my forms.]

I understand the interview is with a BI attorney and it's really a formality (rather than a grill session). Mostly it's a paperwork check and a chance for the attorney to meet you in person before signing off on the paperwork. I'll find out, and report, this Friday.

I'm sorry this got so long but I do hope it's helpful.


5/31/2016 05:20 EST

Oh! Guess I can't edit my post.

I meant to say "One thing I DID get a chuckle out of" about my wife's ID...


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5/31/2016 21:06 EST

For those that would like the details of the BI fees for the 13A visa here is a breakdown (in pesos):

ACR app fee..............................1000
Cert of Residence.................1400
13A App Fee..............................1000
Head Tax.........................................250
Implementation Fee............1000
Passport Visa Fee....................200
Legal Research Fee...................70
Certificate Fee.............................500
ACR I-Card Fee........................2390
Express Lane ()......1000
Express Lane ()........1500



I don't know what the first charge for "Form" is (I provided the Checklist and Application Forms and the folders) but since it's only P100 I didn't ask.

There's a P1000 application fee for the new ACR I-Card since you'll be issued a new one (your current ACR that says "Tourist" on it is history).

There's a P1000 application fee for the 13A visa itself.

Apparently you get to pay for the P1400 Certificate of Residence for Temporary Visitors again. This is required when you reach 6 months in the Philippines and I just paid for it two months ago, Sigh.

I suppose the Change/Status P600 charge is for changing from "Tourist" to "Permanent Resident".

The P250 head tax just

There is a P1000 implementation fee and this seems to be for making your 13A visa and new ACR card active.

The passport visa fee is self-explanatory. It's twice the cost of the normal extension sticker...maybe it's fancier?

The legal research fee, just is, along with the typical certificate fee.

The ACR I-Card Fee at P2390 is the pesos equivalent (on the day it's done) of the $50 USD cost of the ACR.

There are four Express Lane Fee charges:
1) P1000 for Implementation
2) P500 for I-Card processing
3) P500 for Filing
4) P500 for Certification

While P11,010 seems fairly expensive (though cheap compared to getting a fiance(e) or spouse visa for the US) the payback (or break-even point), compared to paying for regular 2-month extensions, will happen at what would be the fourth extension (four extensions amounting to P11,720 at P2,930 each). After that, all the money you would have paid in visa extensions will instead be yours to keep. Also, you save a lot of money in ACR fees since the tourist ACR must be renewed each year (at $50 USD plus application and express lane fees of P1,500), while the Permanent Resident ACR is renewed every 5 years.

One of the biggest benefits of the 13A to me is that you can leave and return to the Philippines without messing with your visa. I've seen folks complain about the exit fees that, with the 13A visa, you get to pay when you leave the country, and I suppose if you come and go a lot it could get expensive. However, if you're here on a tourist visa, every time you leave the country you terminate your tourist visa, which means when you return to the Philippines the tourist visa process starts from Day 1 again, and the most expensive period of having a tourist visa is the first six months since you're paying for the ACR Card at 59 days (about P25,500) along with the Emigration Clearance Certificate (P700), then the Certificate of Residence for Temporary Visitors at 6 months (P1400).

All-in-all there's a lot to consider. If I knew then what I know now I would have applied for my 13A visa at the very first opportunity, which for me would have been at the 59-day mark. By far that would have been the least expensive and easiest route and would have ended the every-other-month trek to the BI office 3 hours (round trip) away.


6/1/2016 17:20 EST

What are the likely costs when you convert to permanent after 1 year is up.

6/1/2016 19:53 EST

Hi GaryD,

That's a great question, I'm sorry I failed to address that in my earlier posts because it most certainly factors into the overall costs. I was somewhat amiss in saying that after the break-even point (at what would have been my 4th normal extension, in my case) you'd pocket the money.

Here is what I was able to come up with for fees (I can't find this on the BI website but I did find a copy, which is where the following information comes from. Based on the known current fees of the probationary 13A, I would say the fees are the same or very close):

Application Fee.......................................1000
Certificate Fee............................................500
Immigrant Cert. of Residence......1400
Amendment Fee......................................500
Implementation Fee..............................500
Passport Visa...............................................200
Legal Research Fee..................................60
Express Lane (Certification)..............500
Express Lane (Filing)..............................500
Express Lane (Implementation)..1000
Express Lane (ACR I-Card)................500
ACR I-Card...................................................2400*


* This is the estimated peso equivalent of the $50 USD cost of the ACR I-Card and will vary with the exchange rate at the time.

The total "fee" cost of the probationary 13A is P8,620 (plus the ACR card fee); the total "fee" cost of the permanent 13A is P6,710 (plus the ACR card fee). So, the second go-around it a bit less expensive (by P1,910).

Basically, the total cost of the 13A visa is really P20,120 (or close), spent in two chunks a year apart. Compared to normal 2-month extensions that's the equivalent of just under 7 of them (or about 14 months on a tourist visa). At that point the costs drop dramatically with no more extensions and the ACR renewal coming only every 5 years (you still have to do the Annual Report each year at P300 plus (I think) 10 pesos).

My apologies, as my prior break-even point wasn't really correct, The "savings" I'll see after getting my probationary 13A (not having to pay for visa extensions) will really go toward paying for my permanent 13A visa (and come very close to doing so).

How you perceive that is a subjective thing. On the one hand you can look at it as more money spent; on the other hand you can look at it as diverting what you would have spent on extensions anyway toward having a permanent 13A visa.

Thank you so much for asking your question, it's quite an important question, one which I failed to address and one which does have an important financial aspect to it.


6/2/2016 07:43 EST

Hi Les,

Thank you for your detailed reply.

I think when the time comes to apply for a 13a I will apply in my home country. At least it is perminant from the get go. So saves a bit of cash but more importantly a bit of hassle.

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6/3/2016 06:01 EST

Hi GaryD,

I agree! I'd go with getting your 13A in your home country as well.

I just didn't have that opportunity since I left the US for the Philippines, got married here, and stayed, so my only realistic option is to go through the process in the Philippines.


6/3/2016 07:46 EST

It is THE DANCE that must be done to secure the proper paperwork. Without it your a marked man without documentation. I myself do not look forwards to it but I know it must be done.

6/3/2016 08:32 EST

My 13A interview experience.

I'm about 100% sure, based on my experience today, that this part of the 13A process may vary quite a lot. I'll relate my experience but please be aware it could really be different in your area.

My wife and I arrived just before 9 AM, which was an hour before the lady that gave us our receipt for the 13A fees (on Tuesday) said to come, but it was the time that was printed on our receipt, so no harm in getting there early. It paid off too since we got called in about 9:15.

We had a copy of our Official Receipt (they kept the original on Tuesday) and the rest of our papers. In our case, the interviewer did not ask for any paperwork at all. Which includes any documentation about my income.

The office in Legazpi is small (I think maybe 4 or 5 folks work there) and is pretty laid back. They had us walk through the small office area to a smaller office in the back where the head honcho works. He conducted the interview (he is an attorney).

Our interview was really mostly a chat session, the interviewer was friendly and genuinely seemed to want to make sure the paperwork was right and that I understood (in a polite but forthright way) that any stay (tourist or permanent resident) is a privilege and not a right, only Filipino citizens have the absolute right to be in the country. He told me as long as I obey the rules (don't be late on reporting, don't be late on fees, alert them within two weeks of an address change) BI would be happy and never hassle me.

He had a handwritten list of questions which basically consisted of:
1) When did we marry?
2) Where did we marry?
3) How did we meet?
4) Had I been married before?
5) Had my wife been married before?
6) Did we have children?
7) He asked that we describe our marriage.
8) He asked my wife if she worked?
9) He asked what the source of our support is?

Then he explained that the first 13A was probationary and that I needed to amend it at the end of a year to permanent status (and DON'T be late in starting the process). He told me that I'd be receiving a new ACR and that I'd get a permanent "permanent" one in a year during the amendment process. He said not to leave the country until I had my visa stamp and my new ACR card, but if an emergency came up to call them right away and they'd work with me on the necessary paperwork (mostly to allow me back into the country).

We signed a paper listing the things we went over, we signed the handwritten minutes of the meeting he made, and my wife went next door to the hotel to have a copy of her passport made and to get copies of the new paperwork.

All-in-all we were there about an hour, of which maybe 30 minutes was in the interview and a fair amount of that was just chatting.

He said he was going to sign the recommendation and that all the paperwork would be sent to Manila. He said the paperwork would be rechecked there and it was possible for them to reject it if they had a problem with something. He said this part of the process is different if you're applying at a field office as opposed to the main office in Manila. He said if I had applied in Manila that I would avoid the step of the field office sending in the paperwork and waiting for any problems to pop up and that at the end of the interview process in Manila I'd get a final answer about whether or not my 13A would be issued. He also said if our application came back I could ask for a new review and that his office would help me fix whatever might be an issue. Apparently the home office is very picky about addresses, birthdates, names, and such. That said, he thought our application was in good shape (although he just wasn't sure what they'd say about the Jr. in my name, not that it was there, but whether or not it was placed after my first name or last).

Now we just wait for a call from them and he said he hoped it was in the next 2 to 3 weeks. He said things could get messed up if it went past the end of June when Duterte takes office as the president because he could appoint new people (or not) and/or change procedures.

So, that's it. It was an easy process and the interviewer seemed very much like he was trying to make sure everything was good with the application and that I understood what getting a 13A visa meant, and what my obligations are (in an informative and helpful way).

No new fees today although they did take my picture, get my electronic signature, and take my fingerprints (electronically), all for my new ACR card.


6/4/2016 02:07 EST

New president wants foreign investment so might be wise to wait and see what changes he will make regarding visa and tourism.

7/11/2016 21:48 EST

A follow up to my 13A visa experience.

I was going to wait until "all the dust settled" but for reasons you'll read about shortly, I decided to go ahead and follow up.

My application for the 13A visa was made on May 31st (2015) and three days later on June 3rd we had our interview with the BI attorney.

The office told me it is generally a one to two month process, and since I had just done a 2-month extension, I wasn't very concerned about the timing.

Around July 5th or so I thought about the 13A visa again and decided to check the BI website for an update on the status of my application. It's a rather rudimentary process; they post a PDF file once a week of all the applications (of every type) they've reviewed that week. So, you have to open each file and search for your name.

My recommendation is to open up the one nearest to your date of application/interview and work forward from there. I'd open each file then use cmd-f (on my Mac, ctrl-f on a PC) to search for my last name, so it was pretty quick.

After a couple of folders I opened up the 13 June 15 folder, did my search, and up popped my record. My 13A had been approved on 9 June 16! Sweet.

I had my wife call them the next day and ask them when I could pick up my ACR card and have my passport stamped. Given that it had been about 3-1/2 weeks since approval I expected them to tell me I could come in anytime. Not so, they told us in was still in the mail and to check back in a couple of days.

We called back on the 9th, and by this time I was getting a bit concerned since the BI website says that if you don't implement the visa within 30 days it will expire...and you get to do it all over again. Since it was approved on June 9th, I was getting nervous. They said it still had not come in and promised that as soon as it arrived they would text us and not to worry since it was in the June 13th batch (intimating that was the important date).

This morning, July 12th, I asked my wife to call again (I have a terrible time hearing on a phone, even in the US, it's not an accent or language thing). The woman (the office manager) told my wife that it still hadn't been sent from Manila. She said she's been calling them everyday pleading with them to send the paperwork since everyone that was approved has been calling their office (and there are only 4 of them in the office). She also said that the 30 days to implement is after they receive the paperwork, not when it was approved. She promised we wouldn't have any issues and also promised to text us immediately when the papers arrived (and asked us, very politely according to my wife, to not call them again but to just wait for them to text).

So now it's been almost a full month since the "batch" of applications my approval was in was processed, and in my case, approved. It seems ridiculous to me that they can't get the papers from Manila to our area (Bicol) inside of a month, after all we're on the same island, there's 1 hour jet service from Manila, and a 13-hour bus trip available as well. I don't really know what the hang-up is but here is where my western expectations take the biggest beating, and I get the most aggravated (even though I know I shouldn't).

In three weeks I'll have to do another tourist visa extension if they don't get the paperwork and implement my 13A visa. That would be a bit of a bummer.

So, it really is a good news, bad news, situation. The process of applying for a 13A visa turned out to be very easy and didn't take much time. The approval came just 4 working days after our interview (I thought that was super fast!). It's just the waiting for the paperwork and subsequent implementation that's been frustrating. This is where working directly with the main office in Manila would have an advantage. It wasn't a viable option for us since it would have taken three round trips to Manila to get the whole thing done. That's expensive if flying and more so with a hotel involved. It would less on the bus (but not by as much as one might suspect) but it's a 13-hour trip each way and we'd have had a night at a hotel as well. We'd have spent about P12,000 in transportation (on the bus) and hotels for three trips, or about P15,000 if we had flown. All-in-all, not a good option for us.

That's all for now...


7/12/2016 01:17 EST

Let's see if Duterte's directive for fast paper processing pans out. I'm sure a complaint directly to him would get their fire's going.

7/12/2016 01:22 EST


I had to laugh at your post, that's exactly what I told my wife this morning after she updated me! :-)


7/13/2016 11:10 EST

Thanks for the info on the 13A. While I did mine at BI Manila, I had all of the same confusion on which Form was the latest. But mine took about three months and required two extensions of my Balikbayan privilege because I married my wife in the US . They would not accept our notarized authentic marriage license with embossed seal, This required me to get a fresh copy of the license from the Virginia Birth records office, then submit it to the Virginia Secretary of State for verification and then to the Philippine Embassy in Washington for its chop and only then could it be submitted. All if this had to be done from a US address and each submission had to be accompanied by a check or Postal Money order. If I didnothave help from my zSister in the States it would have taken several more months. Also, I was dismayed to learn that my 13a was only Probationery and I would have to wait another year and fill out another Form and could not get guidance as to what I needed to do to qualify. Just keep out of jail I guess.

7/14/2016 06:31 EST

Hi lblampman:

I have been approved for the 13a provisional (one year) at the BI office Manila. They told us to go back in 2 weeks for the I-card. A few questions: 1) What happens after the probation period? 2) Must the permanent residence status application be submitted only at the main BI office? 3) What are the requirements (and costs) compared to the 13a probationary? 4) I believe thereafter, renewal is every 5 years. Please confirm. Thanks!

7/14/2016 06:37 EST

My concern is whether the application for the conversion to the permanent residency for the 13a can be submitted to any BI center outside of Manila. How different is the paperwork from the provisional 13a? After that, is that also true for the annual report, i.e. submission at any BI office and not necessarily Manila? Thanks!

7/15/2016 01:26 EST


You bring up a good point, one that I didn't address. Since I married in the Philippines my post was written from that perspective and I really forget about the folks that might have a different situation.

I guess there are two underlying major factors: where you got married (in the Philippines, not in the Philippines) and where you're residing when you petition.

I'm going to take a wild stab here and say your issue hinges on the report of foreign marriage, which is the process that gets the marriage recognized in the Philippines. If you get married outside the Philippines and don't report the marriage through the Philippine embassy it isn't "official" in the Philippines. Because of that they wouldn't accept your marriage certificate, regardless of how certified it looked because it didn't come through proper channels.

You pretty much got the probationary part; there's really nothing to "qualify" for, just don't get in any trouble! Oh, and show up with the same wife for the conversion from probationary to permanent. I think they just want to make sure things are legit. The US does that too, by the way. If you're married less than 2 years and get a "spouse" visa for your wife to live in the US, you have to show up for another interview in two years and then make her visa permanent.

I think, in part, it's their way of trying to shake out some of the "quicky marriages so I can stay here" situations where there isn't a real relationship.


7/15/2016 02:09 EST

Hi Calvin100,

Congrats on your approval!

1) About 30 days before the expiration date on your probationary 13A you should start the process to amend it permanent status.

DON'T start this all! My interviewer pounded this into my brain!

2) You can do the amendment at the same office that processed the probationary 13A.

3) There are no real additional requirements for the permanent 13A vs. the probationary 13A.

To the best of my knowledge (and according to the BI website) the costs for the amendment are the same as they were for the probationary.

4) When you get your amendment done and you have your permanent resident ACR in hand, that is the item that's renewed every 5 years. The 13A visa itself is permanent, there is no renewal period for that.

You still need to show up at the BI office in the first 60 days of each year and accomplish your Annual Report (P310 as of this writing).


7/15/2016 02:24 EST

Hi All,

Late yesterday afternoon our land line phone rang. It never rings. My wife answered it an lo and behold, it was the BI office letting us know my paperwork had (finally) arrived from Manila.

I dropped my wife and the kids (our foster kids from her niece) off at school and headed directly for the UV Express van to Legazpi. I got there about 0830 and the clerk that always helps me took my passport and looked it up on the computer. He said I was all set other than we had to wait for the lady that is authorized to sign the visa stamp.

the clerk guy has got a really nicely sorted out Owner Jeep we've talked about it the past, so this time we talked about AUV's and cars in general...for about 45 minutes (until 0915) because that's how long I had to wait for the woman's late arrival. That's okay because that situation somehow made her more friendly (she's the only one in the office that's sometimes a bit less than outright friendly).

In short order she had my passport stamped and signed and asked me to go get two copies each of five different items (the hotel that does the copies is two doors away, so it's simple). With that done she handed me my passport and an official document regarding the visa, and said my ACR card "should" be there in about two weeks (even they're exasperated with the Manila office and don't trust when they'll send things).

I was really hoping, because I've waited a month since my visa was approved, that that meant my ACR would be ready, but it wasn't to be, so it's just one more trip to get the card (and no processing on the next visit, they just hand me the card).

There were no more costs today other than paying the hotel for the copies (P24). Everything was paid upfront in the 13A fees.


7/15/2016 02:30 EST

Congratulations mate well done you deserve that especially for all the help you give to expats

7/15/2016 03:09 EST

I'll thank you too for you taking the time and effort to record your experience for our benefit. I was just in the BI this morning and my wife came for the first time in a long time. (I slipped and nearly broke my leg). The lady at the window asked why don't I get a 13A visa and I replied that we are planning to do so when these elections settle in and I added I wasn't concerned about her office, it was Manila I was concerned about. She looked and gave me a knowing smile. I've heard they too have problems with the Manila office too.

7/15/2016 03:23 EST

Oh! And I'll add one more thing just in case others find themselves in this place as well.

Once you start the 13A process you're sort of in limbo with regard to leaving the Philippines. They told me when I started that I really should not leave the country but that they could arrange for some (pain in the tail) paperwork if I absolutely had to leave.

Today they told me that now that my 13A visa has been implemented (meaning it's in my passport) I REALLY shouldn't leave the Philippines without my new (but not here yet) ACR I-Card. The attorney at the BI office (the one that did my interview and is a very nice guy) said it would royally screw me up; not leaving the country but getting back in since I'd have a 13A visa stamp in my passport and a "tourist" ACR I-Card.

He said at this point that BI could still get me a waiver if I absolutely had to leave the country but that the only way to get that is to go to the Manila office in person.

Based on that, I would suggest to folks getting ready to apply for a 13A visa to do so when no trip out of the Philippines is contemplated within about a two to three month period (to allow processing time, implementation time, and ACR arrival time). Of course, if you have an emergency, they'll work with you but it could be a challenge.


7/15/2016 03:37 EST

Thanks for the kind words guys, it's very much appreciated.

I didn't find as much information as I'd have liked to have found when I got ready to go through the process, so I thought it only made sense to share what I was learning as I went through it.

Also, for those that are contemplating the process, at least this information is up-to-date...until they change things again.

And just FYI, there is a new Bureau of Immigration Commissioner (Renaldo Geron is gone and Jaime H Morente (a retired police director and military guy) is in). I'm so happy my paperwork got through before that change (I guess they're a bit fussy about who the petition letter from the Filipino spouse is addressed to) and they may be changes to come (but who knows?).


7/15/2016 04:00 EST

It's ok look your respectful to guys who have a different opinion unlike one or two I could name examples if done asks if place is safe One can only speak from personal experience that not to say the place your in is like your own country what I don't like are abusive comments who have either never been to the Philippines or to the place you live , my answer to those people is visit the country or the place your slagging off instead of listening to media stories , Before I came here I was very worried on how safe the place is but after 14 months I have learned to relax but not to be complacent , I live in Davao and feel safer here than in Bulacan or Sorsogon

7/15/2016 05:12 EST

I wish I could move this to the top of this thread because it's really the synopsis. Here's what I have to relate about the 13A visa and process:

It's basically a 1-year 2-step process involving an initial 1-year probationary visa and then an amendment of that visa from probationary to permanent at the end of the year.

The cost is roughly 22,000 pesos in total, of which half is for the probationary 13A visa and half for the permanent 13A visa.

Both process are very nearly identical.

Each requires:
- a notarized letter petitioning the Commissioner to issue the 13A visa (the second letter requesting the amendment to permanent)
- a current NBI police clearance (with the exception of the first process if you've been in the Philippines less than 6 months)
- an interview (I've been told the second one is very quick)
- new ACR cards (the first one labeled "probationary" the second one labeled "permanent")

The amendment to permanent (the second process) requires an affidavit of cohabitation from the petitioner (Filipino) and spouse.

Both processes cost about P11,000 for a total of about P22,000.

When you get your 13A probationary visa you no longer pay for tourist visa extensions but you will need to pay for the amendment to permanent at the end of the probationary year (still, the cost of the amendment is less that half the cost of a year's worth of tourist visa extensions).

Overall, the process is easy and even the paperwork is not onerous.

Basically it's:

1) A petitioner letter from the Filipino spouse asking the Commissioner for a 13A visa for the foreign spouse (signed by both of you and notarized)

2)Two filled out Application Forms (all capital letters and leave no blank spaces); one for the 13A, the other will be for your new ACR I-Card.

3) An NBI clearance for the foreign spouse (if in the Philippines over 6 months). This seems to take about 3 weeks, so plan ahead.

4) A PSA (formerly NSO) marriage certificate. They may take others but you'll have to ask the office you're working with what they'll accept.

5) Photocopies of passport bio page and latest visa stamp page.

6) Certified birth certificate of foreign spouse.

That's pretty much it, if you've assembled all the paperwork, then the rest is an easy process. Just hand over your paperwork and pay your money. Once they're happy with the paperwork they'll give you a receipt with the two days (your choice) you can come back for your interview. With your wife! This is not optional and she'll need her ID (they asked my wife for her passport) for the interview (and we needed to go get copies).

It's almost for sure you'll need to make copies of stuff for the office you're working with...I've learned, it's just the way it is.

For the first (probationary) process, including the interview, I probably spent less than 2 hours in front of people (and probably less than 4 hours including in office wait time). The second (amendment to permanent) process is supposed to be faster (we'll see).

Okay, that's it, thanks for sticking with this long-winded thread (on my part) if you've made it this far!



7/15/2016 06:04 EST

Wow Les! thanks a ton for all this very useful information that is absolutely priceless in helping one prepare for the amendment of the probationary 13a. I have just concluded the implementation part and will go back to the BI office for the I-card (was told in 2 weeks from implementation date).

My questions:

1) You mention 2 types of marriage certificates, the PSA and the NSO. My NSO was not questioned when submitting the 13a application materials; besides, my passport was implemented on July 13th without incident. I really hope this requirement will not change since our NSO certificate was accepted the first time around.

2) Certified birth certificate of the foreign spouse. Now that is entirely new to me, since it was not a requirement for the initial 13a application --- and worrisome. I do have an original b/c with me (born outside the US, but a naturalized US citizen nonetheless), So what should I do to get it certified? I hope and pray that this will not botch the application process at that stage.

3). Can the Annual Reports be filed elsewhere (outside the main BI office in Manila) if one lives in another city?

Again, much obliged for taking the time and trouble. Good luck in your own application process!

7/15/2016 06:11 EST

Very good explanation , full of all the info you need , I could never have explained that as I am still on a Tourist visa I will only add info on things like where I live, Again One cannot be too complacent another thing I find is useful is the Foreign National Keepers network we meet once a month and qyake usually we have a senior Police Officer to update us of any new risks in the area and advise us of what to do and where to avoid we are also advised on what to do in the event of an earthquake or other emergency situation I don't know if anyone else here is in the Keepers group but I find it useful

7/15/2016 06:11 EST

Very good explanation , full of all the info you need , I could never have explained that as I am still on a Tourist visa I will only add info on things like where I live, Again One cannot be too complacent another thing I find is useful is the Foreign National Keepers network we meet once a month and qyake usually we have a senior Police Officer to update us of any new risks in the area and advise us of what to do and where to avoid we are also advised on what to do in the event of an earthquake or other emergency situation I don't know if anyone else here is in the Keepers group but I find it useful

7/15/2016 06:13 EST

Good point you raise there on when to get the I-card. They told us 2 weeks after the initial implementation of my passport. My Filipina wife suggested we wait 3 weeks. Is there any way of knowing beforehand when the I-card will actually be ready other than acutally going to the main BI office to check?

7/15/2016 06:27 EST

Thanks for the advice lblampman. I copied and pasted the info you shared in my 13a folder with bold fonts, capitalized to serve as a reminder and get the amendment bit done in a timely fashion,

7/15/2016 06:56 EST


Ha! The issue in trying to detail things is that the devil is in the details! Yikes!

1) The PSA and NSO are one-in-the-same. The agency used to be called the National Statistics Office and now it's official name is Philippines Statistics Authority. I should probably just write NSO since that's what everyone seems to still call it but then some things now refer to the PSA, so it's damned-if-do-damned-if-don't.

What you used for your probationary application is perfect.

2) Here again, it's a matter of what's actually "in the rules", so to speak, and what they actually ask for (not always the same thing).

What the requirements state are: "Birth Certificate or certified true copy of BI issued Identification Certificate as Filipino Citizen of the Filipino Spouse."

Yeah right, my head hurts! I took my Birth Certificate with me...they didn't ask for it (even though it's on the list and I don't have whatever the second thing is). That said, since it is on the checklist, I hate to suggest that people don't bring it, sure as heck they'll get the one office that asks.

Again, I doubt you'll need it since you didn't the first time, and neither did I.

This next bit really has to go under the hearsay column because I won't be able to confirm it for a year when I do my amendment. The attorney in the BI office I go to is friendly, helpful, outgoing, and we seem to get along very well (we've talked about everyday "stuff" while I've been there waiting from time to time). He told me that if you don't have anything bad occur during your year of probation that the amendment is all but a "rubber stamp" deal. You pretty much hand them another copy of what you gave them the first time (plus the added verbiage in the petition letter and the cohabitation affidavit) and they run it through the system (even using the information you previously supplied for the new ACR) and give you a new visa stamp and card that say "permanent". The feeling I got is unless you create a problem they're not actively looking for a reason not to take your amendment fees and hand you over a nice new shiny ACR card.

3) The Annual Reports can be filed just about anywhere there's a BI presence. In fact, I read they'll set up a special meeting (almost anywhere) if there are 100 or more expats that sign up. I'm pretty sure the AR can be accomplished at any BI office.

By the way, the "biggies" that the BI attorney listed for me are: 1) the Annual Report (don't blow it off), 2) absolutely inform them within 2 weeks if you move (he mentioned a fine if you don't and that it's a rather important thing to the BI), and 3) do not, under any circumstances, start the amendment process late.

Of course, the bigger picture list includes not committing any crimes, etc, but those are pretty self-evident.


7/15/2016 07:23 EST

Hi Calvin100,

The BI office I go to was nice enough to supply me with a phone number for their office so I can call and check on the ACR.

When I got my first ACR (at the Day 59 extension) I was told it would be three weeks. I just waited for the three weeks to go by, then stopped by the office and it was there.

This time, the woman that stamped and signed my passport said that she hoped it would be in next week but that it may be the following week. Then she added "but we hate to say for sure since we don't know when Manila will actually send them".

This time they said they'd call me as soon as my ACR arrives (I get the feeling they really don't like putting people in the position of having a passport that doesn't match the ACR). They promised to call as soon as my 13A paperwork got back from Manila, and they did, so I hope it works again.

By the way, my 13A visa was approved in the June 13th weekly batch and implemented today. So June 13, 2017 is my probationary expiration date.


7/15/2016 07:29 EST

Thanks Les! At which office does one report moving? Do I go to the Manila BI office to report change of residential address or do I go the BI office at my new place of residence? Sorry, but as your rightly state: the devil is in the details. All in all, I agree that I have met some really agreeable and friendly folks at the BI office, Very pleasant, often taking off on tangents to chat on unrelated subjects. It may have been the luck of the draw for me, but elsewhere in Manila where I have now lived for 8 months, the friendly faces, the warmth, goodwill and courtesy are everywhere and can be quite overwhelming. So far any complaints I may have will be no different from those of the next guy: commuting nightmares are for all, LOL. I also find that even trying to communicate in my very faltering Tagalog would be well received with the odd laughter and corrections offered. Thus far it has been a very gratifying experience for me. Hard to take it all in.

7/15/2016 07:36 EST


I'm almost certain that you can report a move to any BI office. Don't hold my feet to the fire on that but you most definitely do not need to go to the main BI office to accomplish that. Almost certainly, any office that issues ACRs (even the one at 59 days) can likely process the address change.

We are going to move and I wasn't going to worry about it too much (it's only a move of a few kilometers) but, at least to the attorney in the BI office, it seemed to be a big deal thing (and in general he's about as un-attorney-like as someone could be, he doesn't come across as a "stickler"), so I will update my address when we move. :-)


7/15/2016 07:39 EST

Hey Les. I'm back, lol. You mention about applying for the 13a outside Manila. Did you mean in the US or abroad? Related to this, can one submit an application for the amendment after the one year probationary in other cities in the country? Thanks!

7/15/2016 07:42 EST

Apparently, in some of my earlier posts in this thread I was a year off. How embarrassing! Several times I see I wrote 2015, when in fact, all of my 13A activity happened in just the last few weeks...definitely in 2016. Geez!


7/15/2016 07:57 EST

Hi Calvin100,

I meant in the Philippines but it is possible (or was if it hasn't changed) to apply for a 13A visa in the US (and I suspect other countries as well) through a Philippine embassy.

There are quite a few BI offices in the Philippines that can process the 13A visa, but certainly not all BI offices. There is a list of the BI offices on the BI website with the services each location offers (and hey, I found a more recent version):

I can't think of any reason why you'd necessarily have to go back to the same office where you got your 13A probationary visa, in order to get the amendment. It really is two separate processes. For me the advantage would be going back to an office where I already know the people there but I certainly wouldn't travel a long distance just to use the same office.

The BI office in Legazpi, where I went, was very upfront when I started the process and told me it was much faster and somewhat easier if I went to the main branch in Manila. That's because you're working directly with the office that makes the decisions and keeps the main records, so they don't require all the copies the field offices do, and when you do your interview the person doing it isn't just a field officer making a recommendation.

I wasn't about to travel to Manila if it wasn't required. It's 13 hours by bus from here and 6 hours by plane (with a 45-minute flight). We'd have the cost of transportation plus lodging, and we've have to do that at least three times (application, interview, and implementation).


7/15/2016 08:46 EST

Yes Les, the least of our problem for my wife and I would be to travel to Manila from another city we intend moving to, to meet the amendment requirements. It is the uncertainty surrounding the dates for completing the process that can be worrisome.. For the probationary 13a, we ended up making a couple more trips (we currently live in Manila) to the BI office than what we had understood earlier. So if we take up residence elsewhere and, as you rightly point out, after many hours of travel, lodging expenses and other incidentals, finding out that you need to go back to the main BI office on a different date can be rather daunting to say the least. Thus, if we do take up residence outside Manila, it may be worth the wait despite the extra paperwork to avoid the horrors of commuting, the costs and the attendant, unpredictable postponements. In your case, 13 hours is almost akin to traveling from the US to the BI office, LOL. The link you provided is worth its weight in gold! Thanks buddy! Let's hope the list stays that way or maybe the current admin under Mr. Duterte provides greater authority for decision making to the outlying BI centers.

7/28/2016 10:23 EST

It is around 9000 pesos to get the permanent visa.

7/28/2016 19:58 EST


Thank you for the update.

I thought that I had seen a lower figure for the permanent amendment but I couldn't find that source again.

The BI website shows the amendment (probationary to permanent) as P8,620 plus the ACR at P2,350 (based on exchange rate for $50 USD fee) for a total of P10,970 (so I rounded to P11,000). That's exactly the same fees they show for the initial conversion (tourist to probationary). These figures are on separate information pages under the appropriate visa category.

I'm happy to hear the amendment is actually a bit lower, every little bit helps!


7/28/2016 20:51 EST


Thank you for the update.

I thought that I had seen a lower figure for the permanent amendment but I couldn't find that source again.

The BI website shows the amendment (probationary to permanent) as P8,620 plus the ACR at P2,350 (based on exchange rate for $50 USD fee) for a total of P10,970 (so I rounded to P11,000). That's exactly the same fees they show for the initial conversion (tourist to probationary). These figures are on separate information pages under the appropriate visa category.

I'm happy to hear the amendment is actually a bit lower, every little bit helps!


7/29/2016 04:08 EST


7/29/2016 18:32 EST


Thank you for your post. Unfortunately, it has no context and therefore, no meaning.

This thread is in reference to the Philippine 13A Immigrant Visa by Marriage. There is no part of the 13A visa process that involves $10,000 US dollars. In fact the entire process, including probationary and permanent processes, amounts to less than $500 US dollars.

For the benefit of folks that will see your post it would be better if you included some explanation as to what you're posting about, rather than posting only a cryptic number.

7/30/2016 05:24 EST

Thank you iblampman. My error, I was referring to the SSRV, I skimmed over your post and missed the point.

7/30/2016 08:31 EST


I just read through your posts regarding your 13A visa experience. Not only was it patiently detailed and helpful, but you also took the time to patiently respond to the many questions from other participants in the forum.
What a please to see thread filled with detailed information and a respectful exchange of questions and answers.
Anyway, thanks for the information and the time you took for everyone.

7/30/2016 08:33 EST


I just read through your posts regarding your 13A visa experience. Not only was it patiently detailed and helpful, but you also took the time to patiently respond to the many questions from other participants in the forum.
What a please to see thread filled with detailed information and a respectful exchange of questions and answers.
Anyway, thanks for the information and the time you took for everyone.

7/30/2016 08:35 EST


I just read through your posts regarding your 13A visa experience. Not only was it patiently detailed and helpful, but you also took the time to patiently respond to the many questions from other participants in the forum.
What a please to see thread filled with detailed information and a respectful exchange of questions and answers.
Anyway, thanks for the information and the time you took for everyone.

7/30/2016 19:12 EST


Thanks for your clarification, it's appreciated.


7/30/2016 19:14 EST


Thank you for your kind words and I'm happy to hear the information was useful.


8/5/2016 03:06 EST

To bring this long and wandering thread to a conclusion, at least for now, I finally am able to post that I have my Probationary Resident ACR I-Card in hand. Yay!

I'm not sure when it arrived at my local BI office but either they weren't able to contact me or, this time, they really forgot that they were going to call me when it got there.

I last visited the office on 15 July 2016 (about 3 weeks ago) when they stamped my passport and implemented my Probationary Resident visa. At that time they said they hoped my ACR card would arrive the following week or perhaps the week after and that they'd call me when it got there.

Since I hadn't heard from them yet, on Wednesday I contacted them and was told my ACR card was in the office, so I made the trip yesterday (Thursday) and picked it up. They wrote it up in their log book, had me sign for the card, and handed it over. The whole visit took less than 10 minutes (and no stop at the cashier window for once!).

Before I left the front desk guy reminded me to show up in the first 60 days of 2017 for my annual report.

So, now I have a purple colored card (yes, it's all purple) in my wallet! :-)

Thanks for following along.


8/5/2016 08:09 EST

congratulations with your purple card. really something to celebrate !! greetings, Peter, dutchamn in Ph.

8/5/2016 08:09 EST

congratulations with your purple card. really something to celebrate !! greetings, Peter, dutchamn in Ph.

8/30/2016 16:24 EST

and like most things there is a charge my friend paid p1400 for change of address but that might be less depends on the office

8/30/2016 17:12 EST

Or depends on the person pocketing the money for something that is supposed to be free;-)

11/12/2016 00:17 EST

I finally was accepted for my provisional 13A visa. I learned of it 10 days after approval. I was able to pick up my ACR card at the same time. I had to wait 2 hours after I gave them my passport.

I witnessed an American giving a 1000 peso note to a immigration worker in the palm of his hand. The worker politely refused the "tip".

This required 3 trips to Manila and back. That electric train is just like the trains in europe, very nice and clean, but crowded. Every time the bus was stopped about 40 minutes to an hour on the highway without moving an inch.

11/12/2016 23:50 EST

Yesterday, after three weeks of viewing the BI website waiting for my name to appear, I went to BI Main office to get my ACR card. I was armed with my laptop showing my name had finally been posted on the website, my receipt from the final interview and passport and ID for entry.
No one asked for an ID but there was a sign saying no shorts no sandals and a few other things which I forgot since they didn't apply to me. I had on brown shorts but after a withering glance at my attire I was allowed in, as were a few other foreigners. The info people directed me incorrectly to an office on the fourth floor who had then sent me to the first floor for releasing. First window supplied me with a new application form to fill out and bring back, then sent to second window with instruction to come back at 1:30 pm and I had to kill three hours in the nearby canteen. At the apppiinted hour I was given back my newly stamped passport and an Order approving my permanent status and sent to a third window where I was told my ACR card could not be processed as it was not yet "in the computer." I was sent to yet another window where I was told I should call a phone number onMonday to find out whether or not I could get my ACR card. I will do so tomorrow. but I want to alert others who might be planning to travel here to get this final step done that the BI publishes your name and case file info on line BEFoRE they have completed the necessary data entry and you may want to plan an extra day in town to accommodate this inefficiency.

11/13/2016 00:29 EST

The same thing happened to me last year when I got my probationary 13A. Now I am just about to get my "permanent" visa, and, yes, I expect the same ole laziness and inefficiency, from Juan and Juanita Tamad. the Phil. Bureau of Immigration
always gives. Last year I did not return to get my ACR Card for 6 weeks. I have never been asked, in the Philippines, to produce it, (even for a bank acc"t), so I took my own sweet time to get it.

11/13/2016 05:16 EST

I heard there is a new rule that if the ACR card is not picked up within 2 weeks it will be discarded by the BI.

11/13/2016 05:18 EST

I used to wait 2 months to pick up my ACR card when I returned to BI for another extension.

11/13/2016 06:33 EST

Havnt heard that before of course it depends where you live as ACR Cards are issued from Manila so if you live in Cebu or Mindanao it is sent to the office where you registered for your card and in Davao at least you get your card a month from when you request it

11/13/2016 20:11 EST

One additional warning (only applicable to US citizens needing to get the NBI clearance as part of the 13A process) : there is a clerk in the NBI office who in the process of reviewing the application form who refuses to accept your application form if you filled out the blank for Middle Name with your actual middle name. She eliminates your middle name with white-out and re-writes your first and middle names together in the block for First name. She does this because the US passport does NOT have a separate line item for middle name but just has a single line item for Given Names. I tried to explain this to her but she was obstinent so I accepted her changes. However when I went through the fingerprinting process later, they would not process me since my first name did not match the revised two word first name that she insisted upon! Add another two hours to the process, which in my case involved treturning another day! If you encounter her, suggest you just excuse yourself and come back to another of the clerks later.

6/12/2017 02:06 EST

I would like to thank you for this post. I followed your advice completely. ensured I got the correct and latest forms. The BI office in Vigan, Ilocos Sur can handle the complete application and after the paperwork has been passed in Manila they then issue the 13a. The Vigan office staff are very very helpful nothing is too much problem for them. Anyone living in Ilocos Norte or Sur shold use them. Took just three weeks from start to finish.

6/17/2017 00:41 EST

I did mine in Manila in less than 3 hours using the checklist online. This was done 2 years ago, but when I went back for the Probationary to be made Permanent, a couple of documents/forms had been changed and I had to complete them in the office.

The only time I had my wife, or anyone with me was for the interview they schedule for a later date. The requirement is for a Duly notarized letter of application by the Filipino spouse; (Your spouse is actually requesting your admittance on your behalf), but the attorney we used to notarize that letter I wrote myself said we needed 3 letters, joint & one from each of this. That is false, just a single letter as per the checklist. It is not necessary to write a long, extensive letter. Just write and print something with the actual requirements as listed in the BI website. My letter was only 1 sentence long and was accepted after it was notarized.

About those folders...they are required to have the hole punch tabs for 2 holes on the end, so best to just buy the ones they charge too much money for from in the BI office.

I seem to have a faulty memory because I remember it being a joint letter, but reading again it says only from the wife, so my memory is either faulty or the letter requirement has changed.

8/20/2017 07:28 EST

I am about to make the trip back to phils to ammend from probationary to permanent 13a ..Obviously i am aware it can take a couple of weeks BUT can i leave the country if my ACR i new card is not issued or is it issued same DAY as the visa is stamped in the passport ..tnx marcus

8/20/2017 07:28 EST

I am about to make the trip back to phils to ammend from probationary to permanent 13a ..Obviously i am aware it can take a couple of weeks BUT can i leave the country if my ACR i new card is not issued or is it issued same DAY as the visa is stamped in the passport ..tnx marcus

8/20/2017 07:31 EST

nice and i hope true to form .I am working in UAE but MUST go back and get my 13a converted to permanent i can only pray the ACR is issued also same day as my question is CAN I EXIT THE PHILS WITHOUT IT ?
Tnx for any advices

8/22/2017 00:24 EST

If I recall, you have an interview about a week after you submit the documents. Then you are scheduled for your ACR at a later date.

9/2/2017 07:44 EST

Hi marcusvarney,

It's been a few days since you posted, so maybe you've already started your trip.

That said, do NOT leave the Philippines without your ACR card unless you've gone through the process with the Bureau of Immigration to get your re-entry permit (sorry, there's an official name that escapes me at the moment).

They (the BI) will expect you to come back to the office and pickup your ACR and sign for it. In my experience that's usually about 3 weeks or so after your paperwork has been approved in Manila and the ACR card has been sent to the local BI office where you filed your paperwork.

I had a great BI lawyer do my interview who was quite helpful but repeatedly told me if I *had* to leave the country before I got my ACR card to return to them or go to the Manila office and get the proper paperwork so that I could return to the Philippines without a major hassle.

Best wishes if you've already embarked on your journey.

9/8/2017 11:40 EST

Hi, les, yes good information, i plan on moving to phillipines, in January, im moving in with my girlfriend, she is from macarthur leyte, and plan on getting married as soon as possible, i understand marrying a foreigner can be a bit complicated. Can you tell me a bit about that? Much thanks, jesse

9/8/2017 21:12 EST

Hi Jesse,

Rather than starting a full discussion on marriage here (the subject can generate many posts), I started a new thread, so take a look for that.


9/8/2017 22:28 EST

It was about P8000 when mine became permanent in 2016.

9/8/2017 22:37 EST

It isn't so hard for either of you. She needs to get a CENOMAR or Certificate of No Marriage. YOU need to get a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry from the US Embassy (I am presuming you are American). To get that you must take your divorce paper to the Embassy if you are divorced. I was twice divorced and could have shown either divorce paper to the embassy personnel I believe you have to schedule your visit online or by phone at the embassy. Check their website.

The 2 of you will need to attend a seminar where they will "teach" you about birth control and a few other things, but I forget what. If in Manila for that seminar be sure to take plenty of drinking water.

9/9/2017 10:41 EST

I applied for my 13a permanent resident visa 2 weeks ago and it cost just under 7000Php. I was really surprised, I was expecting it to be 12,000 like with the temp 13a. I double checked in the window to make sure there were no mistakes. Afterward with all that saved money, I took my wife out to a nice place to eat.

9/13/2017 03:46 EST

good evening
just read your post, my friend applied for the 13 A and it took 2 weeks but for me it took 3 months
i think it depends on the Attorney

9/13/2017 08:20 EST

Hi livthlif,

For me it took just a couple of weeks for my paperwork to go through and see my name on the approved list (online). Then it took three weeks for Manila to send the paperwork back to the office in Legazpi (Albay) where I replied.

The process is much faster if you apply in person in Manila but I wasn't willing to make two or three trips there to get it done.


9/13/2017 08:25 EST

I meant... where I applied (not replied)

9/13/2017 08:30 EST

Do you need a lawyer, to get a 13a ?

9/13/2017 08:37 EST

I got my 13a without a lawyer. Just pay attention to the details and don't make any mistakes on the application. It's not that hard and I'm one that detests paperwork and red tape.

9/14/2017 00:15 EST

Absolutely not, it's actually a very simple process. It's just a routine filling up of a form, having a letter of request for a 13A for you from your wife (notarized), some photos, and an NBI clearance if you've been in the Philippines more than 6 months.

That's the big picture, the details are in the original post in this thread.


9/14/2017 01:24 EST

no you don't need Lawyer, but your 13A is assign to an Attorney and depending on her work schedule,this will dictate when your petition can be approved
when your checking weekly on Immigration home page, stroll over and look at the Attorney
our Attorney did not have any cases the month of June or July
we submitted the application
May 20th was approved May 24
hope this was a little help
god bless

9/15/2017 02:52 EST

Sorry we was appoved Aug 24th

9/15/2017 03:12 EST

I'm still awaiting my approval. The attorney said first week of october.

9/15/2017 03:38 EST

Thats great October
When you go to the site , its shows the attorneys
Look at the cases he or she has for this month
For us ,our attorney did not have a case for 2 months :) think she was on summer vacation :)

11/16/2017 17:13 EST

I got notice on the BI website that my 13a permanent visa has been approved. It has been 3 months since I applied. It's a month past due and my visa is one month expired.

The local BI told me that as long as I have the receipt I have nothing to worry about.

I can't go to Manila this week because of the ASEAN meetings. Offices are closed and traffic is probably a worse nightmare than usual.

12/20/2017 12:17 EST

With a 13a visa, you pay around 2500 pesos to leave this country...
I was told by BI, that it is a visa to stay in this,,, not a visa to leave the country??????
If the filipinos working in my country had this type of discrimination, they would be yelling about being racist!!!!!

3/12/2018 09:05 EST

Thanks! This was. very helpful. - David

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