September 14, 2013

How to stay in the greatest country on Earth forever

In the Philippines, you will be given 30 days in the country free. It is crucial that you have a plane ticket out of the country. Your options are to either fake a ticket or buy the cheapest ticket you can find and simply not take the flight.

Unlike Thailand, where you must cross the border every couple of months, the Philippines is a pay-to-stay country. As long as you pay, you don't have to leave for two years. After the first 30 days, the next visa is for one more month. After that, you extend for two months at a time.

The information on the internet suggests a painful list of documents required including a return flight, pictures, copy of passport info page, copy of the passport stamp you got when entering the country, all of which are ridiculous considering that (1) you don't intend on actually leaving the country and (2) when you hand immigration your passport, they have your passport info page, your arrival stamp, and a perfectly valid picture in full color.

In my experience, all you need is your passport and the flight number for your trip to the Philippines. If possible, I would STRONGLY advise you to go to the immigration offices outside of Manila. You will find yourself getting through the process within an hour including filling out the required forms, waiting, and acquiring your shiny new visa stamp allowing you to legally extend your stay in the Philippines. In Manila, it will take longer.

A couple of important points to remember when extending your visa are (1) wear long pants because you will not be given entry into immigration if you wear are wearing shorts, (2) have a Filipino address and contact info ready to put on your forms, (3) bring a book. If you arrive to the immigration office in shorts, your best option is to rent a pair of pants for P50 outside of the gate of the immigration office. Be prepared however for them to be 4 sizes too big and brightly colored. Luckily, the Filipino immigration officers won't penalize you for having a bad sense of fashion.


Month 1 FREE!
Month 2 $70
Month 3-4 $175
Month 5-6 $65
Month 7-8 $110
Month 9-10 $65
Month 11-12 $65
Month 13-14 $65
Month 15-16 $65
Month 17-18 $75
Month 19-20 $75
Month 21-22 $75
Month 23-24 $75

After two years in the Philippines, you have to fly to another country for a day to restart the clock.

If you've decided that the Philippines is the place for you, there are a few good options for longer visas.

(1) Spouse visa - must marry a Filipino
(2) Retirement visa - 35+ years old, deposit $20,000 in a bank account that can't be withdrawn until cancellation of the visa
(3) 6 month visa extension - must be done at Intramuros in Manila

After a 12-country search through Asia looking for a place to drop anchor, I found home in the Philippines. Come for the sun, stay for the people!


  1. Thank you for appreciating the Philippines. :D

  2. Philippines is just a wonderful place. Mabuhay!

  3. @Wasted, Best country ever!
    @Marie, I love it here.

  4. That is why its more fun in the Philippines