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Philippines Business Visa

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Getting a Philippines Business Visa

Getting a Philippines Business Visa

Getting a Philippines Business Visa

Temporary and Permanent Solution

I have owned a call center business in the Philippines since 2010.

Tagalog Buddy

When I first came here, I did so on a Philippines business visa that I obtained through an online company. They took care of the processing for a $110 fee, I believe.

I am not married to a Filipina. Don’t qualify for the balikBayan Visa. Certainly, don’t have a fiance on the horizon. I can apply through my corporation for a work visa. I am in the process of doing that, but it takes a little bit longer with a lawyer.

Bureau of Immigration Crackdown

There has been a little bit of a crackdown on undesirables. Undesirables are foreigners who involve themselves in Filipino politics and foreigners that overstay their tourist visas and don’t pay the proper fees. I have never been either.

I read recently about a foreigner named Randall Lee Parker that was arrested in Boracay. Parker was working while on a tourist visa. He did not have a Philippines Business Visa. Parker owned and operated a hotel. Mr. Parker ran the place himself which would surely require he be on a work visa.

Crackdown: Randall Lee Parker Arrested

Crackdown: Randall Lee Parker Arrested

Always get the right Visa

The bottom line is that if you visit, you should do what you came to do on your permit. If you want to earn pesos, you should have a work permit. If you want to operate a business, you should have a work permit or business permit, a Philippines Business Visa.

I am not working for a Filipino corporation. No peso wages. In the past, I invested several million pesos to set up my new call center and I wasn’t working there. I was spending money, but it bothered me nevertheless that my work permit was taking time – the lawyer has said it takes a few months. My business permit had expired and I didn’t want to do businesses on a tourist visa. I wanted a Philippines Business Visa.

I know that many do. For me, I am going to add immigration to things you pay what you’re supposed to or even a little more to have done right. I don’t think it’s good to skimp on some things. Things like your accountant, your dentist or the doctor who does your kids circumcision.

Heading to Chicago

I had paid to go on a business trip to Chicago already for a meeting with clients and decided to go into the Philippine Consulate there and tell them about my situation. When I went into the immigration office here, I had no options at all other than wait for my processing and stay on the tourist visa. I told the Chicago Consulate about my situation. I told them that I was a businessman who had invested in a business in the Philippines. Also, hat I didn’t draw any wages from the Philippines, but I had a business that brought money into the country. I told them I wanted to make sure I was legit.

Polite at the Philippine Consulate

They were very polite. They thanked me for giving jobs to Pinoys and recommended that I get a 9(a) multiple re-entry Philippines business visa in the meantime instead of a tourist visa. It was $90 for the year and I paid $10 more for a 2-day rush! The 9(a) is available for both personal and business and is good for 59 days (instead of entering visa-free for 30 days). It might save you money if you live in Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans or Guam. If you’re going to stay the whole year for tourism, I am guessing you don’t need the hassle and it may even cost you more since you will have to renew after the 59 days.

Author Daniel Christian at the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, IL, USA

Author Daniel Christian at the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, IL, USA

Philippines Business Visa Better and Cheaper

This visa factually is way cheaper for me than a tourist visa (Again, FOR ME – surely not most) as I leave the country every month and a half or so; and with this one, every time I enter, I am granted 59 days instead of 30. So for example, I have trips to Malaysia, Hong Kong & Thailand this year still – several are between 30 and 60 days. On the tourist visa, I would have spent an extra $130 or so just over the course of 4 months. I always find it frustrating when I have to pay $65 to renew for a few days when my trips are, say, 35 days long. Booking my trips around it is something I try, but it doesn’t work out a lot of the time.

Inquired to get Philippines Business Visa in the Philippines

There may be better ways I could have done this. Again,  I tried to get my business visa in the Philippines and the Immigration Officer told me it was not an option. If someone has had luck doing it once you have arrived, I would love to hear about it, but what they told me is you basically can’t change the purpose of your trip once you arrive. So you can’t arrive on a tourist visa and then switch it.

The rule states: “Any foreign national wishing to work in the Philippines must obtain a valid work visa, called the 9(G) visa. This should be arranged before starting employment in the country. A 9(G) visa allows foreigners to enter the Philippines to engage in a lawful occupation.”

I don’t work in the Philippines

Although I don’t “work” in the Philippines. I invested in a business here and I have others that manage it. I feel more comfortable being on a business-oriented visa. It’s worth it for me to spend a week in the states and process this until my 9(G) is ready.

I am not a lawyer, a Filipino Law Specialist of any kind or an Immigration Consultant. This is all my own research and I am sharing my ideas. I am always super open to hearing better ways to do things than what I have figured out!

Input and Discussion is always Welcome

When I wrote my article last month about my trip to renew my passport, someone mentioned I could have done it through the mail. Because I was traveling in less than a month, that was not an option for me in talking to the American Embassy, but stuff like that is very good to know and helpful for others.

Bob put this site together so people who love the Philippines and embrace its culture can all share in this experience together so all feedback is always appreciated!

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Daniel Christian

Daniel Christian is the CEO of a 60 seat call center in Davao City. Having grown up in Los Angeles, he has called Davao & the Philippines home since 2018.

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SeanBob MartinLeRoy MILLERpapaduckMaryJane Maglangit Recent comment authors
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John Reyes
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John Reyes

Sounds like you’re a straight up kind of guy, respecting the laws of the host country. In so doing, you are able to sleep nights without having to worry about immigration authorites knocking on your door in the middle of the night. The guy who owned and operated the hotel in Boracay so openly without a business visa and a work permit, how did he even start the business without Boracay town officials not knowing about it – did he bribe them? Perhaps with a monthly supply of stateside liquors?

Daniel Christian
Guest

My guess is he had friends or a girlfriend and put the business under their name. I really enjoy this place and as much as I don’t want to disrespect it, I also don’t want to end up with legal issues relating to investments. It’s not always easy to get answers about things because sometimes, the right people to ask don’t have the answers and there are plenty of people willing to offer up barber shop advice that doesn’t always work.

Lorna Quijano
Guest

Reading your story staying in the Philippines and followed the regulations is, you are a nice person Daniel Christian.

Daniel Christian
Guest

Thanks Lorna. I am a guest. Definitely I always try to remember that! Sometimes I want to comment about politics, but I stop myself because it’s not my place.

MaryJane Maglangit
Guest
Daniel Christian
Guest

One thing I wanted to add. The Philippines Business visa does not allow you to get a job here. You can not earn pesos. To do that, you need a work permit. I have invested in a corporation here and have staff, but I don’t earn any wage here. If you’re married to a pinay, I am told it’s quite easy. Consult an immigration attorney always.

papaduck
Guest
papaduck

Daniel,
You should be commended for doing it the right way. I try to follow all the rules and reg’s as much as possible. Was just curious, are you required to have a Filipino as part owner of your call center? Take care

Daniel Christian
Guest

Thanks. Nope, you actually are not required to have a Filipino partner in your company in most export businesses including call centers. The general idea is that if you are bringing money into the country in dollars you likely qualify to own the company 100%. If you’re earning pesos, you’re basically capped at 40% foreign ownership. When applying with the Philippines SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission), the specific box I checked was For Ownership 40-100% under FIA (Foreign Investment Act). From the way it’s set up, essentially they are happy with you bringing dollars into the country and employing people,… Read more »

Sean
Guest
Sean

When in Cebu i went to the SEC and told them about opening a business, but they said i need a Philippino to also be an owner.

I wish i would have known this was an option. The way you did it Daniel is the way i am looking, as i want to employ Philippinos, but all the income would be coming from the us.

LeRoy MILLER
Guest
LeRoy MILLER

This is interesting because I found out that the company I work for has two operations in the Philippines with openings that I meet the requirements of the job. I also see that the US government has an opening in the field that I am experienced working in, USDA related.

I’m wondering if they would both take the same kind of visa for me to take one of those jobs or what kind of visa would best suit my needs.

Bob Martin
Guest

Daniel could probably give a better answer than i could, but it would be my opinion to the business visa would not be what you’re looking for. You should be eligible for a resident visa, since you are married, that does give you the right to work here.

LeRoy Miller
Guest
LeRoy Miller

Thank you for that information. I will research it in depth when I get more details about the job and benefits. The USDA position and one of the company I work for now is in Cebu. The other position for the company I work for is in the Makiti district of Manila. I’m not quite certain about the latter as it seemed like the cost of living in Manila area was quite high. I have family in the lower priced part of Manila but I’m not anxious to move my family there for several reasons.

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