Philippines 13a Visa- Eligibility, Steps, Marriage Visa Requirements, How-To

08/26/2022

QUICK SUMMARY- 13a visa Philippines

  • The 13a is only available to citizens of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and 78 other countries
  • The 13a Marriage Visa allows a foreigner to live permanently in the Philippines
  • It is cheaper to apply for the 13a Philippine visa in your country of residence than in the Philippines
  • The 13a application process can take 2-3 months
  • Each Consulate may have slightly different fees, forms, and required documents.

What is the Philippines 13a visa?

The 13a marriage visa allows foreign spouses of Filipino Nationals to live permanently in the Philippines. The main requirements for the 13a visa are:

  • A Philippine citizen partner.
  • A valid marriage certificate recognized by the Philippines.
  • Sufficient financial means to support themselves and their family.

The 13a is a multiple entry Non-Quota Immigrant Visa type, which means there is no annual limit on the number of visa applicants and the visa allows for permanent residency. 

Are you applying for the Marriage Visa IN the Philippines? Read Part 2 of this article for the specific steps on how to apply for the 13a at the Philippines Bureau of Immigration Office. 

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QUICK TIPS- PHILIPPINES

Show a mandatory departure ticket. You cannot enter the Philippines on a one-way ticket if you only have a tourist visa or visa on arrival. You will need a flight ticket with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by showing immigration you have  a cheap onward travel ticket for just $14

Get help with your visa. The Philippines visa process can get complicated. The rules and regulations change frequently. Avoid the hassle of dealing with the immigration bureaucracy by speaking with a Philippines Visa Specialist.

Learn some basic Tagalog phrases. While nearly everyone speaks some English, learning some basic Tagalog is always appreciated by Filipinos. Get a FREE Language Lesson using the same learning technique used by the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military.

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Get COVID-19 Health Insurance. Your home insurance will not cover you while abroad. However, you can find affordable travel insurance for less than $50 that will protect you in an emergency.

 INSIDER TIP : Dependent Children- While primarily used as a marriage visa, the 13a also applies to if you want to bring your unmarried minor child (they must be under 21 years old) with you to the Philippines.

Can You Help Me With My 13a Spousal Visa?

Yes. I have Visa and Immigration Specialist ready to remove the hassle, headaches, and complexity of the 13a Spousal Visa Process. My Visa Experts are certified by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Philippine Retirement Association (PRA), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) who can handle the 13a Probationary and 13a Permanent  on your behalf. Chat with a Philippine Visa Specialist here. 

Other Names For The 13a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage

The 13a is named after the specific Immigration law, Section 13 paragraph (a) of the Commonwealth Act No. 613. However, this type of visa is also referred to as 13a resident, 13a probationary, and 13a permanent. You will also hear the terms foreign spouse visa, spousal visa, or marriage visa used about the 13a, but there are other types of Philippines marriage visas, as well. 

Other Types of Philippine Marriage Visas

The 13a should not be confused with the 13g Marriage Visa for Returning Former Natural-Born Filipino Citizen, also called the 13g Balikbayan Visa.

The key difference is the 13a is if you are married to a CURRENT Philippine citizen, while the 13g is if your spouse is a FORMER Philippine citizen who is now a naturalized citizen of a foreign country.

Additionally, Temporary Resident's Visa (TRV) Spousal Visa is an entirely different type of foreign spouse marriage visa used by foreign nationals of countries who cannot usually immigrate to the Philippines (see the list here).

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What are the Philippines 13a Visa eligibility requirements?

The spouse of the Filipino citizen must have a clean police background check, pass a medical examination proving good physical condition and mental health, and have sufficient financial resources to support their family and not become a burden on the government.

Additionally, the 13a visa type is only eligible for a foreign national from the countries listed below:

LIST OF COUNTRIES ELIGIBLE FOR A PHILIPPINES PERMANENT RESIDENCY VISA [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Visa Applicant's Country of Citizenship
Algeria*
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia
Botswana
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brazil
Canada
Cape Verde
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Egypt*
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
Fiji
France
Gabon
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Honduras
Hongkong SAR
Indonesia*
Iraq
Ireland
Iceland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Lesotho
Libya*
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau SAR
Malaysia*
Malta**
Marshall Island
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Montenegro
The Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria*
Northern Mariana Island
Norway
Oman*
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Russia
Saudi Arabia*
Senegal
Serbia
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
United Kingdom
Uruguay
USA
Venezuela
* Limited to male visa applicants married to female Philippine citizen partners
** provided that the marriage took place before 24 April 2001 or the couple has been married for at least 5 years.

A foreign national from a country NOT on this list is ineligible for any permanent residence visa in the Philippines. 

 INSIDER TIP : Legal Marriage Contract- The marriage must be considered valid under current Philippine laws at the time of application. Current laws do not legally recognize Same-Sex Marriages and Domestic Partnerships and, therefore, are not regarded as eligible for the 13a Marriage Visa.

How long can I stay in the Philippines using the 13a marriage visa?

The 13a Permanent marriage visa allows you to stay in the Philippines indefinitely as a permanent resident, unless you divorce or your spouse passes away.

However, even as a permanent resident, you will still need to report annually to the Bureau of Immigration and you will need to renew your ACR-I Card (Alien Certificate of Registration) every five years.

Note that the 13a Probationary issued to first time applicants in the Philippines is only good for one year. After the one year, you can amend the 13a Probationary to a 13 Permanent. You do not need to renew after the probationary status.

What are the Philippines 13a visa requirements?

The application requirements for the 13a Non-Quota Immigrant Marriage Visa vary slightly based on where you process the application. These are the most common requirements. Confirm specific prerequisites with your local Philippine Embassy or Consulate (if abroad) or the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) District , Field, or Main Office.

You will need to complete the following and submit original versions and two photocopies (letter paper or A4-size paper). If your country of residence is in the United States, include a self-addressed pre-paid stamped envelope, preferably USPS Priority Mail, with a tracking number with your application. 

  1. Non-Quota Visa application form (FA Form No. 3, in two original copies)
  2. Two recent passport photos (size: 2" x2" inches / 5.08×5.08 cm) with clear white background
  3. Valid passport of applicant (should have more than 12 months remaining period of validity) and two copies of the passport data page
  4. Original NSO or Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
  5. Proof of relationship to Philippine Citizen: PSA authenticated Marriage Contract or Philippine Embassy or Consulate authenticated Marriage Certificate from the country you were married.
  6. For any minor children, a PSA authenticated Birth Certificate or a Report of Birth issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction.
  7. Proof of Filipino Citizenship- Birth certificate of Filipino spouse authenticated by PSA
  8. Original passport and copy of Filipino spouse's Philippine passport bio-page.
  9. Notarized Proof of Sufficient Funds and Affidavit of financial capacity by visa applicant, with supporting documents
  10. Joint Letter, in English (or with an English translation), and signed by the petitioning Filipino spouse, confirming Philippine citizenship and endorsing the Marriage Visa application of their foreign spouse. Address the letter of application to the BI Commissioner's office.
  11. Clear National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) check if you submit your 13a application more than 6-months after you arrived in the Philippines
  12. Clean Police Background Check from your country of residence (State Police or FBI, if from the United States). Police clearance must be translated to English and Apostilled by the competent authority in your country of residence
  13. Medical examination by a qualified physician, including laboratory tests and x-ray results with standard-sized chest x-ray film.
  14. Medical certificate (FA Form No.11)
  15. Additional Documents may be requested as necessary
application form for 13a non-quota immigrant visa by marriage

Each Consulate may use different version of the FA Form No. 3. Check the Consulate website for specifics.

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What does it mean to notarize a document?

Notarization is the process of having a document authenticated by a notary public. A notarized document is proof of authenticity and allows you to use the document for immigration applications legally. 

Which documents in my 13a visa application need to be notarized?

The BI no longer requires a notary for Philippines visa application forms or letter requests. As of 2014, BI Commissioner Siegfred B. Mison ordered only required affidavits and sworn statements to require notarization.

How To Notarize Documents Required For The Philippines 13a

The DFA must authenticate any documents notarized in the Philippines. If you submit documents abroad, the Philippines Embassy or Consulate can authenticate. A personal appearance is required. Call to make appointments in advance. To notarize any13a documentary requirements, bring a valid passport, marriage certificate, proof of spouse's Philippine citizenship, and the original and one photocopy of the legal document to be notarized.

definition of affidavit need for the Philippines 13a visa application


How do I prove financial stability or sufficient funds for a Philippines 13a visa?

To meet the 13a financial requirements, you must show sufficient means to support yourself and your family living in the Philippines. You must offer more than one type of documentary proof to meet the financial requirements.

Proof of financial capacity can include:

  • Recent bank account statements
  • Rental property contacts
  • Pension documents
  • Social security benefit verification letters
  • Real Property titles
  • Business income statements
  • Personal income tax filings

Where can I apply for the 13a Marriage Visa?

You can apply for this visa at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin. Alternatively, you can arrive in the Philippines on a tourist visa, then apply for the 13A in the Philippines at a Bureau of Immigration office.

picture of Philippine embassy and consulate where 13a marriage visa applications are submitted

You can submit your 13a applications forms at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate of your home country. Photo Credit

Is it better to complete the Philippines 13a visa application in my home country or in the Philippines?

If you can, complete the Philippines 13a visa application from your home country. Applying in your country of citizenship avoids the 13a probationary visa requirement. 

In the Philippines, you will need to complete the process twice. Once, for a 13a Probationary, then after one year, again for the 13a Permanent Visa. Double the work and double the fees. 

Are there different 13a requirements when applying in the Philippines vs. abroad?

The 13a visa process has slightly different requirements when applying in the Philippines vs. applying in your country of residence.

Differences when applying for the 13a in your country of citizenship

  1. Local Consulate or Embassy- The consular office in your country of citizenship accepts your Philippines 13a visa application and will conduct interviews of the foreigner and their Filipino citizen partner. 
  2. Medical Test and Lab Work- Your application requires a physician's medical exam, at least four laboratory tests (blood serology, stool, urine, and AIDs), and a chest x-ray (F.A. Form No. 11).
  3. Different Application Form- Use the 13a non-quota immigrant visa application form (FA Form No. 3)
  4. 13a Permanent Visa- The consular office issues you a 13a Permanent visa, bypassing the one-year probation. 

Differences when applying for the 13a in the Philippines

  1. Arrive In The Philippines- Enter the country on a different visa, for example, a Philippines tourist visa.
  2. Conversion To 13A Probationary Visa- Apply at a Bureau of Immigration office for a CONVERSION TO NON-QUOTA IMMIGRANT VISA BY MARRIAGE (PROBATIONARY) (visa application forms available here for download).
  3. Amend To 13a Permanent Visa- After one year with a probationary 13a, you apply for an AMENDMENT TO PERMANENT NON-QUOTA IMMIGRANT VISA BY MARRIAGE.
  4. National Bureau of Investigation Clearance- If you live in the Philippines for more than 6-months before applying for a 13a Visa conversion, you will require an NBI background check. The NBI check costs 155 PHP and takes 5-7 business days to process.
  5. Documentary Proof of Living Together- You will need a notarized document signed by you and your Philippine citizen spouse testifying you live together. 

What is the disadvantage of submitting the spouse visa application in my country of residence?

The Philippines 13a marriage visa requires parts of the application process to be in-person. The consular office needs both the foreign passport holder and the Philippine citizen partner to be present. If you spouse is still in the Philippines, you will need to apply for a 13a Probationary Marriage Visa at a Bureau of Immigration (BI) office in the Philippines.

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Applying For The 13A Visa In Your Country of Residence

How do I apply for the 13a Philippines visa from overseas?

The application process depends on the Philippine Consulate in your home country. Some consulates accept 13a visa applications by mail; some require you to submit documents in person; some consulates allow online applications. Check with your Consulate for specific submission requirements.

How long does it take a Consulate to approve a 13a visa application?

Your application can take 2-3 months total processing time. Typically, Consulates will take 2-3 weeks to review the 13a visa application form and required documents. The Consulate will contact the applicant and the Filipino spouse for an in-person interview once the 13a visa application is complete. Do not make travel plans until after the interview. Consulates will issue a 13a resident visa for approved applicants roughly 10 working days after your interview.

How much does the Philippines 13a visa cost at the Consulate?

The 13a visa fees depend on the Consulate. 

Visa Fee In Local Currency

US Consulates

$150 USD

UK Consulates

107 GBP

German Consulates 

€135,00 EUR

Canadian Consulates 

C$217.50 CAD

Payment of Visa Fee

 Each Consulate offers different payment methods. Cash is almost always accepted, Credit cards occasionally, and personal checks rarely. Additionally, some Consulates have additional fees (authentication, notarization, additional dependents, ACR-I Card fees, etc.). Confirm with your specific Embassy or Consulate for details.

RELATED POST ON COST OF LIVING IN The Philippines

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Important 13a Visa Terminology

Non-Quota Immigrant Visa for Foreign Spouse of a Philippine National

Officially, the Philippines Marriage Visa refers to the section of Immigration Law in Commonwealth Act No. 613, commonly known as The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 Section 13 (a). 

Non-Quota Immigrant Visa- allows permanent residence in the Philippines under Section 13

Section 13 refers to allowing specific Immigrants into the Philippines

Section 9- refers to "Temporary Stay," such as a tourist visa (9a) visa or student visa (9f).

Immigrant- refers to permanent residence in the Philippines.

Quota Immigrants- the Philippines only admits 50 foreigners per year from countries that also allow immigration privileges to Filipinos

Non-Quota Immigrants- are foreigners exempt from the 50 person per year limit.

Alien Spouse- The wife or the husband with a Philippine citizen partner. 

Non-Immigrant Visa- For a temporary visit to the Philippines for tourism (9a), transit (9b), business meetings (9d), or university education (9f). 

13a Probationary

The BI issues first-time 13a Marriage Visa applicants in the Philippines a 13a probationary visa. The 13a probationary allows you to stay in the Philippines for up to one year as the foreign spouse of a Filipino citizen.

13a Permanent

After one year, if you continue to meet the Marriage Visa requirements (still married, financially stable, NBI clearance, etc.), you can apply for a 13a Permanent Visa (Amendment to Permanent).

The 13a visa holders can live in the Philippines permanently

Key Takeaway: 13a visa Philippines

If you and your Philippine spouse are in your home country, applying for the 13a is cheaper and faster than applying in the Philippines. In the Philippines, first-time applicants are issued a 13a Probationary, which means you will need to complete the application process, including paying the fees twice, again after one year.

I published this article with the latest updated information at the time of writing. However, the Philippines' visa policy changes rapidly due to the pandemic. Additionally each country's Consulate has slightly different requirements. Check the website of the Philippine Consulate General with authority in your country of residence to get specific details.

NEXT STEPS

If you liked this story on Philippines safety, you will enjoy these other posts on living in the  Philippines

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FAQs: 13a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage

How do I get the required documents for my visa application from the PSA in the Philippines?

You can request copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, and Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA/NCO) website. The cost of each document delivered to countries outside the Philippines is ~$25.

Who can apply for a 13a Philippine Marriage Visa?

Any foreigner with a Philippine citizen spouse, who is in good health, free of disease, passes a police clearance, has sufficient financial support, is from a country with a reciprocal immigration agreement, can apply for a 13a Non-Quota Immigrant Visa by Marriage.

What is the difference between the Philippine Marriage Visa 13(a) and the Balikbayan Visa 13(g)?

Both the 13(a) and the 13(g) are considered Philippine Marriage Visas for foreign passport holders. The main difference is that the Balikbayan 13(g) are for foreign spouses of Returning FORMER Natural-Born Filipino Citizens

(g) A natural-born citizen of the Philippines, who has been naturalized in a foreign country, and is returning to the Philippines for permanent residence, including his spouse and minor unmarried children, shall be considered a non-quota immigrant for purpose of entering the Philippines.  

Am I allowed to work in the Philippines on a 13a visa?

Yes. A foreign national with an approved 13a marriage visa can work for a company in the Philippines without an Alien Employment Permit. 

Under Department of Labor and Employment Order No. 186-17 Revised Rules For The Issuance Of Employment Permits To Foreign Nationals Section 2(e):

Permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders under Section 13 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and Section 3 of the Alien Social Integration Act of 1995 (7917).

Do I apply for the 13a Marriage Visa in my home country or the Philippines?

You can apply to the Philippines Consulate in your home country or at a BI office in the Philippines. I recommend submitting in your home country, if possible. If you apply for the 13a in the Philippines, the BI requires two application processes (Probationary and Permanent), meaning double the work and visa fees.  


About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

  • Hi Marco,

    Application form and information for the 13a visa appears to be available via the London Embassy’s website here:
    https://londonpe.dfa.gov.ph/images/Forms/visaform3.pdf

    Within the information it states the following:
    “The non-quota immigrant visa is a one-year multiple entry visa which should be renewed in
    the Philippines for three (3) consecutive years. On the fourth year (3rd renewal), the applicant may
    apply for permanent residency in the Philippines. ”

    Your article here suggested to me that by making the application outside of The Philippines at a local embassy or consulate then there is just one application process to go through to get a permanent visa that does not include renewals. Have I missed something here?

    Thanks for any clarification you may be able to offer.

    • Marco Sison says:

      Hi Steve,

      It does get confusing. Let me try and clarify.

      There is a 13a PROBATIONARY which only lasts one year, and then you must apply for a 13a PERMANENT, which gives you permanent residency and does not need to be renewed (you will need to renew your ACR card, but that is different).

      The criteria for applying for a 13a probationary or 13 permanent is whether your Filipino spouse lives in the Philippines or can easily travel to your home country.

      If your spouse can travel outside the Philippines, applying for your 13a is easier in your home country because you skip getting a 13a PROBATIONARY and directly apply for 13a PERMANENT from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate.

      If you apply for the 13a in the Philippines, you must go through the application process twice. Once for the 13a probationary, then again one year later for the 13a permanent.

      Does that help clarify? Please get in touch with us if you would like additional assistance in applying for your 13a.

      https://nomadicfire.com/philippines-visa-consultation

      Cheers,

      Marco

  • 김정욱 says:

    is it possible to change TRV to 13A ?

  • Justin Takeuchi says:

    Will the 13a visa be a better choice then just getting the stamp every time I fly in to the Philippines? How long do the visa stamps time frame change if your married or is it still 30 days?

    • Marco Sison says:

      Hi Justin,

      Thanks for reaching out. Your question depends on several factors. Additionally, “better choice” is subjective. A 13a marriage visa and visa stamps both have pros and cons. What is “better” for you? Cheaper? Less hassle? Longer duration? More permanence?
      Without understanding your goals a bit more, it’s hard to provide an adequate recommendation. To give you a starting point, consider the questions below:

      1) What is your citizenship? Are you from a country that is allowed visa-free entry into the Philippines?
      2) Is your Philippine wife also outside of the Philippines, and will you be traveling together?

      If your answers to 1 and 2 are yes and yes, and if you only plan on staying a short time in the Philippines, then entering in using your wife’s Balikbayan Privilege is the best option for visits less than one year.

      If you would like a more personalized solution using your specific circumstances, please feel free to reach out.

      https://nomadicfire.com/philippines-visa-consultation

      Cheers,

      Marco

  • Hi , can my philpino son sponsor me in philpines for permanent residency

    • Marco Sison says:

      Hi Maged,

      Your son cannot sponsor you, however if you are married to a Philippine national, then you can qualify for 13a marriage visa. If you and your wife are outside the Philippines, then you can apply for a 13a Permanent Marriage visa at the Philippines Consulate or Embassy in your home country.

      If she is in the Philippines, then you can enter the Philippines on a tourist visa/9a visa and apply for a 13a Temporary once you are in the country.

      Here is more information about the 13a temporary Spousal visa.

      If you would like additional assistance or have specific questions, feel free to contact us for a Personalized Visa Consultation.

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