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Benefits Of Balikbayan Visa

I have two foreign friends that got married here in the Philippines. Both travel out as they were on tourist visa. When they return they both were denied a Balikbayan Privilege.

As a general rule, balikbayan privileges are extended to the alien spouse and children of Filipinos and former Filipino citizens. This means visa-free entry into the Philippines for the alien spouse and children who are traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino citizen even if they stay in the Philippines for more than 21 days up to 1 year. Excepted from this rule are certain foreign nationals who still must obtain an entry visa to the Philippines even if they are married to a Filipino or former Filipino citizens. For a list of these nationals, concerned parties are encouraged to call the Philippine Consulate before making any travel arrangements.

The following are considered balikbayans: (1) a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for more a period of at least one year; (2) a Filipino overseas worker; (3) a former Filipino citizen; and (4) the alien spouse and children of balikbayans as defined in categories 1, 2, and 3 who are traveling with them unless the spouse belongs to the exception as stated in the immediately preceding paragraph.

Balikbayans enjoy the following benefits: (1) Exemption from travel tax; (2) visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one year for foreign passport holders; (3) duty-free shopping privilege of up to US$2,000.00 (US$1,000.00 as arriving Balikbayan and US$1,000.00 as arriving passenger) with the following limitations: a) shopping must be done within 2 days upon arrival and b) purchases must be made personally by the balikbayan. These benefits are available to Balikbayans every time they enter the Philippines regardless of their frequent travel.

Read Text of Republic Act 9174 "Balikbayan Law"

This Republic Act No. 9174 is very clear on who can avail a Balikbayan. It is a hit and miss. Some will get it while others will not.

(Jeff) In Ormoc City Leyte   

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