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Primer On Philippine Immigration Law

Nonimmigrant Visa

Section 9 of the Philippine Immigration Act provides for the admission of aliens as non immigrants under the following categories:

A. Temporary Visitor’s Visa [9(a) Visa]- A temporary visitor coming for business or for pleasure or for reasons of health;

B. Transient’s Visa [9(b) Visa]- A person in transit to a destination outside the Philippines;

C. Seaman’s Visa [9(c) Visa]- A seaman serving as such on a vessel arriving at a port of the Philippines and seeking to enter temporarily and solely in the pursuit of his calling as a seaman;

D. Treaty Trader/Investor Visa [9(d) Visa]- An alien entitled to enter the Philippines under and in pursuant of the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation (1) solely to carry on substantial trade principally between the Philippines and the foreign state of which he is a national or (2) solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Philippines, he has invested or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital; and his wife, and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, if accompanying or following to join him, subject to the condition that citizens of the Philippines are accorded like privileges in the foreign state of which such alien is a national;

E. Diplomatic Visa [9(e) Visa]- An accredited official of a foreign government recognized by the Government of the Philippines, his family, attendants, servants, and employees;

F. Student Visa [9(f) Visa]- A student, having means sufficient for his education and support in the Philippines, who is at least fifteen years of age and who seeks to enter the Philippines temporarily and solely for the purpose of taking up a course of study higher than high school at a university, seminary, academy, college or school approved for such alien students by the Commissioner of Immigration; and

G. Pre-arranged Employment Visa - An alien coming to pre-arranged employment, for whom the issuance of a visa has been authorized in accordance with section twenty of this Act, and his wife and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, if accompanying him or if following to join him within a period of six months from the date of his admission into the Philippines as a nonimmigrant under this paragraph.
 
Special Nonimmigrant Visa under Section 47(a)(2)

The Special Nonimmigrant Visa is granted under Section 47(a)(2) of the Philippine Immigration Act which allows the President, when public interest warrants, to issue such visa subject to conditions he may prescribed.

The President, acting through the appropriate government agencies, has exercised this authority to allow the entry of foreign personnel in the following areas:

A. Oil drilling companies
B. Philippine Economic Zone Authority Registered Enterprises
C. Board of Investment Registered Enterprises

Multiple Entry Special Visa

The most convenient of the employment visas is the multiple entry special visa which may be issued to the following:

A. Foreign Personnel of Offshore Banking Units under Presidential Decree 1034, Section 7 - Foreign personnel of Offshore Banking Units of foreign banks duly licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) to operate as such may be issued a multiple entry special visa. Likewise, their respective spouses and minor dependents under twenty-one (21) years of age, who are coming or following to join them after their admission, shall be issued a multiple entry special visa. A multiple entry special visa is valid for one year and which may be extended upon legal and meritorious grounds.

B. Foreign Personnel of Regional or Area Headquarters of Multinational Companies under Executive Order 226, Book III, Article 59 - Foreign personnel of regional or area headquarters of multinational companies, their respective spouses and unmarried minor children under twenty-one (21) years of age, if accompanying or following to join them after their admission into the country as nonimmigrants shall be issued a multiple entry special visa. Such visa shall be valid for one year unless extended upon legal and meritorious grounds by the Commissioner of Immigration.

The holder of this special visa is exempt from immigration registration and fees, and from securing clearances from any agency of the government except a tax clearance, prior to final departure.

Special Resident Visa

There are five (5) instances when a Special Resident Visa maybe issued, as provided under the following laws:

A. Special Investors Resident Visa under Executive Order 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987 -

Any alien, except nationals coming from North Korea and Cambodia and such other countries as may be classified as "Restricted" in the future, who meets the following requirements may be issued the Special Investors Resident Visa:

a. The alien must not have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;

b. He must not be afflicted with any loathsome, dangerous or contagious disease;

c .He must not have been institutionalized for any mental disorder or disability;

d. He is willing and able to invest the amount of at least US$75,000.00 in the Philippines. For purposes of compliance with this particular condition, he should prove that he has remitted such amount in acceptable foreign currency to the Philippines.

B. Special Investors Resident Visa in Tourist-Related Projects and Tourist Establishments under Executive Order 63 - Any alien who invests the amount of US$50,000.00 in a tourist-related project or in any tourist establishment shall be entitled to the benefits and incentives granted under Executive Order 63. As a benefit or incentive to the investor, he may apply for a Special Investors Resident Visa.

Foreign nationals and/or dependents classified as "Restricted" by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration are excluded from the coverage of Executive Order 63.

C. Special Investor Retiree Visa under Executive Order 1037 or the Philippine Retirement Authority - The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa entitles the holder to multiple-entry privileges with the right to permanent residence in the Philippines. The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa is issued by the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines under the Retirement Program of the Philippine Retirement Authority for foreigners and expatriate/overseas-based Filipinos. The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa entitles the holder to multiple-entry privileges with the right to permanent residence in the Philippines. The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa is issued by the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines under the Retirement Program of the Philippine Retirement Authority for foreigners and expatriate/overseas-based Filipinos.

D. Subic Special Investor’s Visa under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 -

The Subic Special Investors Visa entitles a qualified investor, as well as his spouse and dependent children under 21 years of age, to a resident status which allows him an indefinite stay in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and multiple entry into the Philippine without need of obtaining the appropriate Re-entry Visa, Special Return Certificate, and Emigration Clearance Certificate from the Bureau of Immigration.

An Investor is qualified for the Subic Special Investors Visa when he has made and continues to maintain an investment of not less than US$250,000.00 within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Investors may allocate equivalent units for their investments to the foreign nationals assigned to work for their companies. The investments may be in the form of:

a. A Subic Bay Freeport enterprise or other direct investment, within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone;

b. A cash grant or interest-free loan to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or to a Subic Bay Freeport Enterprise for the purpose of making the capital improvements by the recipient in the Subic Bay Freeport;

c. A purchase or real estate in the Subic Bay Freeport or of a Subic Bay Freeport Enterprise for the purpose of renovation, construction, or expansion of buildings, equipment, structures, or appurtenances for capital improvement purposes; or

d. A donation in kind to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or a Subic Bay Freeport Enterprise of equipment or material for capital improvement purposes;

E. Subic Special Retiree’s Visa under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 -

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority may issue permanent residency visas to any foreign national who is a retired person and his or her spouse and dependent children under 21 years of age, for residence in Subic Bay Freeport.

The applicant must comply with the following requirements:

a. he must be at least 60 years of age who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority that he or she is of good moral character;

b. has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude;

c. no longer employed or self employed; and

d. who receives a pension or passive income that is payable in Subic Bay Freeport and exceeds US$50,000.00 per year.

The permanent residency visa of the retiree automatically terminates upon the taking of residence by the retiree outside the Subic Bay Freeport, or the acceptance by the retired person or his or her spouse of work for compensation within Subic Bay Freeport or anywhere within the Philippines without the approval of the Subic Bay Freeport.

The residency visa of the spouse of the retiree automatically terminates upon the death of the person to whom the residency visa was granted, or upon their divorce, unless he or she makes application for and receives a residency visa from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority may summarily or after hearing revoke the residency visa of any retiree, his/her spouse or child for violation by these persons of any Philippine law or regulation or the terms and conditions for the issuance of the visa.
 
Other Nonimmigrant Visas/Permits

A. Subic Special Working Visa under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992

B. Temporary Work Permit under Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development: Act of 1992

C. Special Work Permit under Law Instruction 27

 Immigrant Visa under Section 13

1. Quota Immigrant

2. Non-Quota Immigrant

A. Wife or Husband or Unmarried Minor

B. Children of Philippine Citizens IV - 6

C. Child of Alien Parents Born During Temporary Visit Abroad of Permanent Resident Mother

D. Child Born Subsequent to Issuance of Immigration Visa to Parents

E. Filipino Woman who Lost her Philippine Citizenship By Marriage

F. Returning Resident

G. Wife or Husband or Unmarried Minor Children of Permanent Residents

H. Returning Natural Born Filipinos who were Naturalized as Citizens of Foreign Countries
 
Other Registrations

A. Alien Certificate of Registration -

Under Administrative Order 01-93, Alien Certificates of Registration, E Series, are issued to foreign nationals who apply for initial registration, fingerprinting, and issuance of an Alien Certificate of Registration, as required under the Alien Registration Act of 1950.

1.The following aliens are required to register and be finger-printed:

b. Any native (Philippine)-born alien who is 14 years or more and will remain in the Philippines for 30 days or longer;

c. Any alien who is 14 years or more and who is admitted into the Philippines other that as temporary visitor (9(a)) or transient (9(b)) and who remains therein for 30 days or longer;

d. Any alien who is 14 years or more and who is admitted into the Philippines other than as temporary visitor (9(a)) or transient (9(b)) and who remains in the Philippines for more than six (6) months;

e. Any alien bona fide seaman entering the Philippines who has been discharged with the consent of the Immigration Officer in charge of the port where the discharge occurred and who will remain in the Philippines for 30 days or longer; and

f. Any alien under orders of deportation.

2.The parent or legal guardian of any alien child who is below 14 years and who falls under any of the categories mentioned in paragraphs 1 (a) to (d) above, is required to register the child, (without need of fingerprinting) within 30 days after birth if Philippine-born, or immediately upon the child’s entry. Within 15 days after attaining 14 years of age, the alien child must apply in person for registration and fingerprinting.

3.Any alien admitted into the Philippines as temporary visitor under 9(a) or transient under 9(b) and who remains for over 59 days but not more than six (6) months and who has no derogatory information about him; and does not belong to the category of restricted nationals shall only be required to pay the registration fees due without undergoing any other formality such as filling in an application form, picture taking and/or fingerprinting.

4.Accredited officials of a foreign government recognized by the Republic of the Philippines or members of their official staff and families are exempt from registration and fingerprinting. (Alien Registration Act of 1950 (Republic Act 562) as amended, and the implementing regulations).

5.In addition, the following are likewise required to obtain an Alien Certificate of Registration:

b. International Treaty Trader/Investor under Section 9(d);

c. Student under Section 9(f);

d. Pre-arranged Employee under Section 9(g);

e. Quota or non-quota immigrants under Section 13;

f. Special Nonimigrants under Section 47(a)(2); and

g. Special Resident Visa holders.

B. Certificate of Residence -

Immigrants

The following immigrants are required to secure an Immigrants Certificate of Residence:

b. An alien who has his lawful and permanent residence in the Philippines, and an alien who may hereafter be lawfully admitted in the Philippines for permanent residence;

c.An alien coming from abroad and admitted either as a quota or non-quota immigrant under the Philippine Immigrant Act; and

d. An alien admitted under a different immigration category and whose status has been changed to either quota or non-quota immigration under the Philippine Immigration Act.

Nonimmigrants

Nonimmigrants, on the other hand, are issued any of the following:

e. Certificate of Residence of Pre-arranged Employee;

f. Certificate of Residence of Temporary Visitor;

g. Certificate of Residence of Treaty Trader; or

h.Certificate of Temporary Residence of Student.

C. Emigration Clearance Certificate -An Emigration Clearance Certificate is issued to aliens permanently or temporarily residing in the Philippines, who are departing for temporary sojourn abroad and intend to return to the Philippines.

D. Re-entry Permit -

E. Special Return Certificate -

The Special Return Certificate is issued to an alien nonimmigrant admitted to temporary residence in the Philippines who is about to depart temporarily from the Philippines. This document allows the holder to return to the Philippines with the same admission status as when he departed. A Special Return Certificate shall be valid for an initial period of six (6) months, but on good cause shown, it may be issued with a validity period of one (1) year, provided that in no case shall its validity exceed the holder’s authorized stay.

The Special Return Certificate shall be valid for a single entry unless it is expressly stated that it shall be valid for multiple entries. A Special Return Certificate fee is assessed on every issuance and/or extension for a six (6)-month period but with respect to the multiple Special Return Certificate, the fee is assessed for every departure.

An application for the Special Return Certificate is accompanied by an application for the Emigration Clearance Certificate.

 

 

 

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