As with any international traveler, having knowledge of your visa requirements and options in the country you are visiting is extremely important.
In the Philippines, the visa process is relatively simple compared to many other countries. However, it is still imperative that you know all your options and what is required depending on the length of your stay.
When initially entering the country, you are granted a 29-day visa waiver upon arriving. After 29 days you must apply for a visa extension. If you are staying on a tourist or temporary visitor visa, as most visitors are, you can apply for a 2-month extension or a 6-months extension. The fees vary slightly based on the age of the applicant. If you are married to a Filipina, you can apply for 13A, or permanent resident visa.
Upon the expiration of your 6-months visa, at your departure, you must pay an “exit clearance fee” which can either paid at a Bureau of Immigration branch or at the international airport where you are departing from.
If you plan on staying here long-term, after 36 months you are required to leave the country for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to reset your visa. This is known as “visa runs”. You can book an inexpensive flight to Malaysia or Hong Kong for instance and then return after one day.
If you choose to expedite your visa extensions yourself, there is a Bureau of Immigration branch office located right here in Angeles City, situated at Marquee Mall inside the Metro supermarket. There is a printer/copier shop conveniently next door in case you need any documents printed or scanned. This office can process basic visa extensions and renewals. However, depending on the circumstances, you may be required to visit the main Bureau of Immigration office located in Manila. It is a wise idea to research the Immigration website and call the main office directly to ensure where you need to go and what requirements or documents you need to bring depending on your own personal visa situation. Be sure to also check their office schedules as they are closed on most Philippine holidays and sometimes close early due to inclement weather in the rainy typhoon season.
A better alternative than the do-it-yourself method might be utilizing one of the many fine visa and travel agencies located here in Angeles City. These visa experts can take care of all the paperwork and processing involved, so you never have to leave the area or even step into an immigration office. In fact, if your situation requires processing in the Manila main office, they will even send an agent there to take care of everything for you, making things convenient and saves you a ton of time traveling back and forth and waiting in line for possibly hours at the immigration office.
Some better-known and reputable agencies in the city include Amega Travel & Tours located inside the Horizon Hotel off Malabanas Road, Travel Scout located at Don Juico Avenue, Air Flags Travel & Tours at A. Santos off Walking Street, and One-Stop Travel situated at Friendship Highway in Koreantown near the airport.