Philippines Investor Visa- How To Invest In The Philippines For Residency

08/10/2022

Overview- Philippine Special Investor's Resident Visa (SIRV)

QUICK SUMMARY- Philippines Golden Visa Program

  • The Philippines continues to have one of the most foreigner-friendly visa policies in the world.
  • SIRV is one of the lowest costs "Golden Visas" available
  • Visa Type: Investor Visa
  • Application Processing Time: 1-2 months 
  • Minimum investment: $75,000 USD
  • Contribution types available: Business Investment, Securities Investment

With the Philippines finally opening back up, more expats are looking for ways to live in the Philippines long-term or retire here permanently. The good news is the Philippines has an extremely welcoming visa policy. Citizens of 157 other countries, including US citizens, can enter the country and stay for up to 3-years visa-free or, with a bit of extra effort, you can apply for the SRRV, the best retirement visa in SE Asia.

However, the visa situation for younger expat retirees has been rough since the Special Resident and Retirees Visa (SRRV) program raised the minimum age limit to 50 in October 2020. There is a visa gap for younger expats over 35 years old with sufficient financial means, don't meet the new SRRV age limit, but don't want to hassle constant visa extensions and visa runs. 

The little-known SIRV, referred to as the Philippine Investor Visa, is a special non-immigrant visa perfect to fill the need for a Philippines permanent visa for expats over 21 years old. The SIRV may be the world's best-kept secret "Golden Visa."

The Philippines offers several programs for foreigners looking to invest in the country. One such program is the Special Investor's Resident Visa (SIRV). 

This post may contain affiliate links. I may get a commission if you purchase something using my link. Please note, there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.

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.

How To Find The Cheapest Flights To The Philippines

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What is the Philippines Special Investor's Resident Visa (SIRV)?

The Philippines Board of Investments (BOI)created the SIRV to attract foreign investors. Visa applicants must invest at least $75,000 in a qualified local business. A SIRV allows investors to live in the Philippines long-term and provides other benefits, such as tax breaks and additional services.

Makati street view, where you can apply for the Philippines Investor Visa

Makati is Manila's Central Business District. It's the country's Finance and Business Hub.

Who can Apply for a SIRV?

Foreigners who meet the following qualifications can apply for the Philippines Investor Visa:

  1. Twenty-one (21) years of age or older;
  2. Has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
  3. Not afflicted with any loathsome, dangerous, or contagious disease;
  4. Has not been institutionalized for any mental disorder or disability;
  5. Willing and capable of investing at least $75,000 USD; and
  6. Holds a 9a tourist visa with at least one (1) month validity

Additionally, the principal visa applicant's spouse and unmarried children under 21 can obtain SIR visas.

What are the Philippines Investor Visa requirements?

SIRV visa applicants will need to submit three (3) sets of the following documents:

  1. Duly-accomplished and notarized application form
  2. Recent ID pictures
  3. Deed of Undertaking (downloadable form available here)
  4. Completed Personal History Statement Form (PHSF) from National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) (including all dependents over 14 years old)
  5. Clean Police Background Check from your home country or most recent country of residence authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in that country; OR
  6. A Certification of no criminal liability by the INTERPOL Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); AND
  7. Medical Certificate from a licensed and accredited hospital or health facility in your home country, validated by the Philippine Bureau of Quarantine, certifying you are physically and mentally fit and free of any dangerous or contagious disease
  8. *Certificate of Peso Time Deposit proving you converted $75,000 to PHP in an accredited depository bank. 
  9. If applicable, your dependent child's birth certificate authenticated by the Philippine consulate. If the child was born in the Philippines, the National Statistics Office issued an original birth certificate.
  10. If applicable, marriage certificate authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate from your country of origin or your home country's embassy in the Philippines.
  11. Original Passport

 *  Peso Time Deposit- Certificate of Peso Time Deposit must have a minimum maturity period of 30 days and a maximum maturity period of 180 days with either the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) or Land Bank of the Philippines – Sen Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia Branch).

What are the privileges of having a SIRV?

The Philippine Investor Visa, also known as the SIRV, offers several privileges to its visa holders.

  1. The visa holder and their family can reside in the Philippines for an indefinite period
  2. This visa offers multiple entry privileges.
  3. Low investment requirement;
  4. Short processing time
  5. Philippines tropical island lifestyle (warm climate, world-class beaches);
  6. Low taxes; 
  7. The low cost of living in the Philippines;
  8. English as an official language
  9. Path to citizenship

The Step-By-Step Application Process For The Special Investor Resident Visa

Step 1: Confirm Your Eligibility For the Philippines Investor Visa

Unlike some of the Philippines' other visa programs, the government has opened the SIRV program to any foreign nationals who can meet the visa requirements. 

  1. Twenty-one (21) years of age or older;
  2. Have no criminal record;
  3. Is not carrying a dangerous or contagious disease;
  4. Has not been hospitalized for a mental disorder or disability;
  5. Can provide proof of having $75,000 USD to freely access and invest

 INSIDER TIP : No Additional Deposit- Your spouse and dependent minor children (unmarried and under 21) are eligible for the SIRV under the same $75,000 minimum investment amount. However, each additional application costs $300 in visa fees.

Step 2: Understand The Investment Requirements And Choose An Investment

The SIRV program requires you to use the $75,000 deposit for the purchase of shares, ownership, equity, or stocks in a proposed, start-up, or existing business. However, to be eligible, the $75,000 must be invested in one of the following:

  1. Publicly- listed companies;
  2. In a focus industry listed in the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) of the Board of Investments:
  3. In the services or manufacturing sectors (see list below); OR
  4. Government securities.

 INSIDER TIP : Investment Priorities Plan-  Is a list of priority areas the Philippine government is promoting for investment incentives. The IPP is a three-year plan currently running from 2020-to 2023.

Qualifying Major Service Sectors Used When Evaluating SIRV Applicants

  • Business services (such as BPO, consultancy, etc.);
  • Communication services;
  • Construction and related engineering services;
  • Distribution services;
  • Educational services;
  • Environmental services;
  • Financial services;
  • Health-related and social services;
  • Tourism and travel-related services;
  • Recreational, cultural and sporting services;
  • Transport services, and
  • Other services not included elsewhere.

Note that the BOI no longer permits ownership of shares in domestic corporations engaged in wholesale trading or investment in condominium units as eligible for the SIRV. Additionally, the Philippines has nationalized industries with a strict limitation on ownership by foreigners

Boracay Island- picture of tourism business, one of the eligible investments on the Special Investors Resident Visa SIRV

A Tourism or Travel business is an eligible investment for the Special Investors Resident Visa

Step 3: Submit Your SIRV Visa Application

You will need to submit your complete SIRV application and all the documentation listed in the Philippines Investor Visa requirements section above (valid passport, criminal background check, personal history statement, etc.).

You can submit your SIRV application in one of three ways:

  1. The Philippines Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence;
  2. At the One-Stop SIRV Center at Board of Investments, Second Floor, #385 Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila; OR
  3. Using a Nomadic FIRE EmbarkEx Visa and Immigration Specialist

How much is the SIRV application fee?

The application fee is $300 USD equivalent in local currency (if paying at a consulate outside the Philippines) for the principal applicant and an additional $300 USD for your spouse or each dependent child. 

How long does it take to get a Probationary SIRV?

If all your documentation is in order, the approval process takes roughly 20-30 days to process and issue your Probationary SIRV.

Two government agencies need to evaluate your application:

  1. Board of Investments - 7 business days
  2. Bureau of Immigration - minimum of 10 business days

If neither agency has any follow-up questions or concerns with your application, they will issue you a probationary SIRV valid for six months.

Step 4: Investing Your Peso Time Deposit Into A Business

  1. 1
    Prior Board of Investment Approval -You are not allowed to withdraw your deposit unless authorized by the BOI. However, you don't need to invest the entire deposit at once. You can make partial conversions of your deposit with prior approval, as long as the whole deposit is converted to investments before your Probationary SIRV expires.
  2. 2
    Application for Conversion of Deposit to Investments –When you are ready to convert the entire Peso Time Deposit, file a Letter of Intent to the BOI for evaluation.
  3. 3
    Evaluation and Withdrawal of Time Deposit – The BOI evaluates your conversion documents, and then the depository bank will issue a check payable to the investment corporation after Board approval.
  4. 4
    Submission of Proof of Investment – You must submit the required business documents below at least 30 days before your Probationary SRIV expiration. The specific list of requirements depends on the type of investment (new, existing, or publicly-traded company).

REQUIREMENTS FOR INVESTMENT IN EXISTING CORPORATION

  1. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Certificate of Registration with the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws                 
  2. Business/mayor's permit valid for one (1) year and the corresponding Official Receipt                
  3. Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) certificate of registration (TIN/VAT)                
  4. BIR approved Authority to print official receipts and invoices                       
  5. Latest Audited Financial Statements/Income Tax Returns (ITR) filed with the BIR                 
  6. Latest General Information Sheet (GIS) filed with the SEC reflecting the name of the SIRV holder as one of the stockholders and indicating the SIRV holder has fully invested a minimum of $75,000 (in PHP) in the firm                
  7. Deed of Assignment between the buyer and seller of the shares, if the shares of stock acquired were purchased from existing stockholders                    
  8. Lease contract or proof of ownership of office or factory/plant sites       

REQUIREMENTS FOR INVESTMENT IN NEW CORPORATION

  1. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Certificate of Registration, Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws indicating the SIRV holder has invested a minimum of $75,000 (in PHP) in the company
  2. Sworn certification of Corporate Secretary as to the corporation's commercial operation start date                 
  3. Treasurer's affidavit as to the amount of investment of the applicant                  
  4. Business/mayor's permit valid for one (1) year and the corresponding Official Receipt                
  5. Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) certificate of registration (TIN/VAT)                
  6. BIR approved Authority to print official receipts and invoices                       
  7. Lease contract or proof of ownership of office or factory/plant sites    

REQUIREMENTS FOR INVESTMENT IN PUBLICLY-LISTED CORPORATIONS

  1. Certified true copy (by the stockbroker) of official receipts and buy invoice.
  2. Sworn Certification from stockbroker that the SIRV holder is a stockholder on record of the company where the investment was made and indicating the purchase price of the stocks
  3.  Certified true copy of the Stock Certificate issued in the name of the SIRV holder, which must bear the following annotation on the face thereof:
“The shares of stock covered by this certificate shall not be sold, transferred, conveyed and/or encumbered without prior written consent of the Board of Investments”

What happens to the SIRV deposit if I decide not to invest?

Suppose you don't find the right business to invest in. In that case, you can voluntarily exit the Philippine Investor Visa program and withdraw your $75,000 deposit by filing a request for withdrawal with the BOI. Naturally, you will lose your SIRV residency visa allowing you to stay in the Philippines. You will need to reapply for a different type of Philippine visa to remain in the country. 

Step 5: Converting To A Permanent SIRV Before Your Temporary SIRV Expires

Your Probationary SIRV is only valid for six months. You now have 180 days to make an investment decision. The Philippine Investor Visa Program keeps the bureaucracy to a minimum (well, minimum for a government program) to entice foreign investors. The BOI's One-Stop SIRV Center is a valuable resource. The Center responds quickly if you have questions about the SIRV application process. However, the BOI can't give you investment advice.

Remember Step 2, where you picked a qualified business? You now need to convert your $75,000 bank deposit into an investment into that business before that six-month period ends.

While you are on a deadline, you never want to rush an investment decision. $75,000 is not pocket money for most of us. Check to make sure the business fits your lifestyle and investment portfolio. Does the investment match your risk tolerance and meets your expected Return on Investment. Just note that the BOI charges a nominal late penalty of $20 (1000 PHP) + $2 per day (100 PHP) if you haven't made your investment period after the six-month validity of your probationary visa ends.

 INSIDER TIP : 9a Temporary Visitors Visa-While commonly referred to as the Philippines Tourist Visa, you can also request a 9a for business travel, conferences, or medical treatment.

Picture of Taguig, a business and expat hub in BGC perfect for a Special Investor Resident Visa business catering to expats

If Makati is too crowded for you, setting up your business office in BGC is a fantastic option

What documents do I need to submit to convert my Probationary to A Permanent SIRV?

Before your Probationary SIRV expires, you will need to present a notarized and sworn report along with supporting original documents to the BOI Board. The documentary requirements depend on if you are investing in a new start-up, existing private domestic enterprise, or publically listed corporation. 

Along with the required business documents from Step 4, you will need to submit the following:

  1. Philippine NBI Clearance/ Police Clearance (valid for at least six months)
  2. Bureau of Immigration Order for Probationary SIRV
  3. Photocopy of passport (front page, latest entry, SIRV stamp)
  4.  Proof of Payment of filing fee of P2,000.00 per person
  5.  Proof of Payment for late investment (if applicable)
  6.  Bureau of Immigration fee of P1,010.00 per person

Download the SIRV checklist and application forms here

How much are the fees for the SIRV?

SIRV Visa Fees

Visa Fee In Philippine Pesos (PHP), Unless Noted

Application Processing Fee

$300 USD per person

Conversion of Deposit to Investment

1,000 

Conversion of Probationary to Indefinite SIRV 

2,000

SIRV ID

2,000 per person

Express Fee

750.00

Certification Fee

750.00

Penalty for non-submission of annual reports

1,000 + 100 per day late

Can someone help me apply for the Philippines Investor Visa (SIRV)?

Yes. I can help you with the SIRV, marriage visa, retirement visa, or work visa? I've partnered with a Philippines Visa Specialist with experience relocating embassy personnel and corporate expats since 2011. If you don't want to deal with the hassle and complexity of the visa process, they can help. 

My partners are visa specialists certified by the Bureau of Immigration to handle your visa application, document submission, local appointments, and much more. They will simply your immigration process and make getting your visa easier. 

FAQs: The Philippines Investor Visa

What are the benefits of getting the Philippines Special Investor Resident Visa (SIRV)?

The SIRV is a low-cost investor visa program that allows foreigners long-term residency in the Philippines for only a $75,000 investment. The SIRV removes much of the bureaucracy and hassles typically required by Golden Visa programs. You can be approved in 17 business days.

Additionally, your SIRV ID card excludes you from the exit clearance and re-entry requirements of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) when traveling abroad. Simply show your SIRV ID Card instead of an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) I-card to BI officials when entering or leaving the Philippines.

How long can I stay in the Philippines under the SIRV Philippines Investor Visa?

You must renew the SIRV annually. When filing for the SIRV renewal, you need to prove your company is still in business and meets the minimum investment requirements. However, as long as your business meets the standards, you can live in the Philippines permanently.

In addition, unlike many other countries' Golden Visas or Visa By Investment Programs, the SIRV does not have a physical presence requirement. As long as you maintain the minimum investment threshold and submit your annual reports, there is no minimum number of days per year you must live in the Philippines to keep your Philippine Investor Visa.

What businesses are not acceptable forms of investment for the SIRV Philippines Visa?

You cannot invest in a restaurant or bar. A restaurant or bar is considered a retail trading business and is excluded from the SIRV investment program. In addition, investments into businesses engaged in wholesale trading and investments in condominium units are no longer allowed. 

Regardless of SIRV eligibility, the Philippine government protects some industries from foreign ownership. Forbidden industries include retail trade (shops, bars, or restaurants fall under this category), mass media, private securities agencies, manufacture of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, professional practices (legal, law, medicine, etc.). 

How long does it take to process a SIR Visa application?

The application for a Probationary SIRV takes 20 to 30 days, while the conversion from Probationary to Indefinite SIRV is 20 to 30 days. The BOI recommends that you nor your dependents leave the Philippines until receiving the SIRV in your passport. Otherwise, the SIRV may need to be revalidated.

If I have already invested in an existing local business, can I still apply for the SIRV Program?

Yes, if the business you already invested in is considered eligible, you can still apply for the SIRV visa program. You will need to prove investment (bank certificates) of at least $75,000 in the business. Additional capital is required if your investment in the last 12-months is less than $75,000.

The good news is if the BOI approves your prior investment, you receive an Indefinite SIRV right away and skip the Probationary SIRV step.

Is the SRRV or the SIRV the best long-term Philippine visa program?

The SRRV is best suited for retirees over 50 years old, with social security or pension, and prefer the lower upfront deposit of the SRRV (as low as $1500). The SIRV is ideal if you are between 21 - 49 years old, don't have a pension, and want to invest $75,000 in stocks or a Philippine business. 


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...]

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