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How To Get A Philippines Retirement Visa For As Low As $1500

Get the essential guide to the Philippines Retirement Visa program (SRRV) for expats retiring in the Philippines. No more visa runs or expensive visa fees. minutes

01/04/24

  Mins Reading Time

About the author

Hi, I'm Marco Sison. I worked in finance for Fortune 50 companies before retiring early at 41 years old. I have been an expat for over 10 years, living in over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries outside the USA. I am a trusted resource on personal finance and overseas retirement for US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, Association of MBAs, and the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE.

Listen To The Audio Summary On Retiring To The Philippines

 Philippines Retirement Visa Status : I am getting questions daily on if the Philippines SRRV visa program status. I met with several representatives of the Philippines Retirement Association (PRA) to answer your questions.

  • If you want to know more about retiring in the Philippines and get an overview of how to get a Philippines Retirement Visa, read the article below.
  • If you already know you want to retire in the Philippines but need the latest visa program information from the PRA, read this article on the Philippines SRRV Visa Updates 2023.

Philippines Retirement Visa Key Summary:

The Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV) is another name for a retirement visa in the Philippines. This SRRV program is the easiest path to legally retiring in the Philippines. With full support of the Philippine government, low financial requirements, and a minimum age of only 35 years old, the SRRV is the simplest long-term stay visa in Southeast Asia.

October 2020 Update - The SRRV Smile Visa used by early retired expats 35 years old and over, was suspended on October 2020. The SRRV Smile remains suspended until further notice. 

Minimum age for the SRRV visa in the Philippines is now 50 years old. 

LIVING IN THE PHILIPPINES: QUICK FACTS <click to expand>

Currency: Peso

Languages: English and Tagalog

Capital: Manila

Cost of Living

Average Cost of Living, including rent, is ~65% LESS than the US. Manila, ranked 109th out of 210 cities in the world, is the most expensive city to retire to in the Philippines. 

Health Care

A two-class system skews the ranking for the Philippines. Access to healthcare is available to Filipino citizens for free, but at low levels of care. Private insurance offers better quality, but still affordable healthcare similar to the US private insurance model. The high-quality, lower-cost (compared to the US) private healthcare system has put the Philippines on the map for medical tourism.

English Score

The world's leading location for English speaking outsourced call centers. 64% of the country's population speaks English. Most Filipinos under 35 will speak fluent English with a neutral accent.

Quality of Life

Dense city living leads to high pollution, long traffic times, and drives a lower Quality of Life. Living on the islands, in smaller towns, or out in the countryside increase this score dramatically.

What Is Retiring In The Philippines Like?

Do you dream of early retirement in a tropical paradise? The Philippines offers miles and miles of beaches to satisfy even the most die-hard beach fan. With over 7,600 islands, this archipelago nation offers expats and foreign retirees countless options. Early retirees and digital nomads looking for extended stays will find more than just fun and sun in the Philippines. From award-winning beaches, chill mountains, and UNESCO natural wonders to historic colonial sites, and adrenaline adventure parks, the Philippines can satisfy every interest.

PAOLA GRAZZINI - ITALIAN EXPAT RETIRED IN THE PHILIPPINES

Expat Guide To Living In The Philippines- Costs, Visas, Safety, Pros & Cons (2022)
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2024 Philippines Online Annual Reporting Requirement Guide for Expats
Expat Life in the Philippines: An American Expat’s Pros and Cons
Foreigner’s Guide To Prenuptial Agreements in the Philippines- Protecting Your Money
A Comprehensive Guide To Philippines Health Insurance For Expats
24 Facts About Healthcare In The Philippines Every Expat Must Know
How Do I Send Money to the Philippines? My Remittance Rundown
Best Places To Live In Manila- An Expat Guide To Metro Neighborhoods

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A Tropical Island Paradise

Do you enjoy spending your days sipping fresh-pressed juice on a sandy beach? The Philippines is home to Palawan, ranked the “Best Island in the World” by Conde Nast travel magazine. With aquamarine-colored water so blindingly blue, it makes the Caribbean Sea look like a Florida swamp.  Palawan is also home to the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of UNESCO’s Seven Natural Wonders.

Retire on a boat drifting past El Nido Palawan Philippines

El Nido Palawan is consistently ranked "The Best Island In The World."

Want your beach time to be a bit more active? The Philippines is also home to a Top 10 Surf break. Cloud 9 on Siargao Island is the annual site for the Siargao Cup – an international surfing competition. This famous Siargao Island surf break is known for its thick hollow tubes perfect for barrel riding surfers.

Grab some gear and explorer the Philippines from a different perspective. Did I mention that the Philippines is made up of over 7,100 islands? There are so many islands that, in 2016, a special government mapping project found 534 more islands. There are now officially 7,641 islands that make up the country.

The diving and snorkeling around these islands are world-class. There is an entirely different world underneath the waves with colorful coral reefs, massive whale sharks, miniature sea turtles, and endless schools of fish. With a varied landscape, both on land and underwater, the Philippines has a lot to offer expert scuba divers and beginner snorkelers alike.

Dive with the sea turtles on Apo Island Philippines

Marco meeting one of Apo Islands residents

 INSIDER TIP : Local Language- While English is widely spoken in the Philippines, picking up a few phrases in the Tagalog is always useful, especially outside of the major cities.

An Adventure and Nature Playground

Are you tired of your hair smelling like saltwater? The Philippines has captivating waterfalls with clear lagoons you can swim in all around the country.  Or pamper yourself in the hundreds of hot spring resorts in Laguna. Oh, did we mention "Hundred"? Check out the marvelous Hundred Islands in Pangasinan. Beaches, waterfalls, mountains, hot springs, this country has an abundance of natural attractions, and we haven’t even mentioned the Banaue Rice Terraces in Bengue, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, or the Mayon Volcano in Bicol.

Limunsudan Falls is a beautiful two-tiered waterfalls in the Philippines

Limunsudan Falls (870 ft/265 m) is a beautiful two-tiered cascade of water

Looking to relax less and adventure more?  Spend time spelunking in the caves of Sagada or Danao. Even the mountains of Batangas and Rizal are waiting for you to be trekked and climbed.

The Philippines is a safe wonderland for foreign retirees who want to chill or relax, see beaches or mountains, or want to shop or surf. A couple of weeks or even a few months does not do the country justice. There are too many things to do and more islands to explore. Instead of traveling through, you will crave taking your time and exploring the country for an extended stay. The Philippines makes it too easy to call it home.

Does an American Need A Visa To Visit The Philippines?

"No visa required for a stay not exceeding thirty (30) days. Traveler must hold a valid ticket for the return journey to country of origin or next country of destination and a passport valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the stay in the Philippines."

Luckily, the Philippines is one of the best countries Americans, Canadians, and Europeans can relocate to long-term. US passport holders do not need a visa for stays less than 30 days. To visit longer than 30 days, you can apply for a 60-day visa. With visa extensions every two months, you can stay in the Philippines for up to three years (36 months) without ever having to do a Visa run! (Eat my shorts, Thailand!)

Expats can avoid visa overstay fees and penalties by legally retiring to the Philippines. Getting a permanent resident visa in the Philippines comes with significantly less hassle and requirements than neighboring Thailand or Indonesia. The Philippine government even created a "Lifetime Visa" and charted a dedicated agency, the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), to help you move to the Philippines. The PRA helps with your application and offers financial incentives to encourage retiring in the Philippines.


What Does It Cost To Retire In The Philippines?

Your cost of living in the Philippines can be 65% less than in the US. Living in the expensive capital, Manila, my monthly budget was between $1,500 to $2,000 per month. My life includes a western-style apartment in a trendy neighborhood, frequent meals out, an active social life, and weekly maid service. Life in smaller cities or the countryside can cost 50% less than in Manila. 

The Philippines retiree visa requirements are much lower than other countries in SE Asia. A $20,000 deposit into a Philippine bank qualifies you to live in an affordable tropical paradise. The SRRV even allows early retirement with a minimum age of just 35 years 50 years old.

If you use a 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR), you can fund your retirement with about $450,000 in savings. By moving to this low-cost tropical oasis, you can take years off your FIRE date. 

View of the Banaue Rice terraces in the Philippines

The Banaue Rice terraces are occasionally called the "Eighth Wonder of the World."

Legally retiring to the Philippines can be an overwhelming process with several steps and lots of paperwork. Download this FREE Retirement Visa checklist to ensure you don't forget a single form. 

What Are The Philippine Retirement Visa (SRRV) Requirements?

  • Be at least 50 years old. 
  • Certificate of Deposit by one of the PRA shortlisted banks for the required deposit amount.
  • Not be mentally-challenged, insane, afflicted with a dangerous contagious disease, or have epilepsy.
  • Not be a pauper, vagrant, beggar, stowaway, or a person likely to become a public charge.
  • Have not been previously deported from the Philippines.
  • Never have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, prostitution, or be a person coming for any immoral purposes.
  •  Not be a person who practices polygamy or who believes in or advocates the practice of polygamy.
  • Cannot believe in nor advocate the overthrow by force and violence the Government of the Philippines.
  • Be a person who disbelieves in or is opposed to organized government.
  • Cannot be an illiterate person over fifteen years of age.
  • Meet the individual requirements for the specific SRRV option below

Processing time for an SRRV application is between 10 days to 30 days. Applications take longer to process if you miss a step or forget a document.  Download a FREE SRRV checklist to keep track of every step and document. 

What Are The Different SRRV Options?

What is the SRRV SMILE?

The SRRV SMILE visa is the most straight forward of the visa options. If you are over 35 years old, healthy, active, and able to deposit and maintain a $20,000 deposit in an approved Philippines retirement account, then you can apply. 

SRRV SMILE REQUIREMENTS:

The $20,000 deposit mentioned above. In addition, you cannot withdraw the deposit unless you give up your residency. Unlike the other options, you cannot use the $20,000 to invest in a house or any other investments.

What is the SRRV CLASSIC?

The SRRV CLASSIC makes the most sense for expats and digital nomads thinking about retiring in the Philippines. The visa's selling point is the flexibility to use your deposit for investment. Investments can include buying real estate for a primary residence or condo, as well as membership shares into a golf club or country club.

SRRV CLASSIC REQUIREMENTS:

If you are over 50 years old:

  • Then your deposit is $20,000
  • But if you have a guaranteed monthly income of $800+, then your deposit is only $10,000

If you are 35 - 49 years old:

  • Your deposit is $50,000

The Philippines has currently only offering the retirement visa for expats 50 years and older.

What is the SRRV COURTESY?

This visa is mainly for former citizens of the Philippines who were naturalized and acquired another citizenship.

Additionally, anyone who worked as an ambassador, diplomat, or staff of an International Organization or NGO in the Philippines can apply using this SRRV option to retire in the Philippines. For a list of Department of Foreign Affairs recognized organizations

SRRV COURTESY REQUIREMENTS:

If you are over a former Philippine citizen:

  • You must be 50 years old or older
  • Your deposit is ONLY $1,500

For foreign nationals who qualify for the SRRV Courtesy:

  • You must be 50 years old or older
  • Your deposit is ONLY $1,500

 INSIDER TIP : The cheapest way to retire to the Philippines as a US Citizen is if your spouse happens to be a former Filipino citizen. Your spouse could apply for the SRRV Classic and add you as a dependent ($1,700 in total fees), and the reduced deposit amount of $1,500 would apply. $3,200 for permanent residency is the cheapest retirement visa in the world. 

What is the SRRV EXPANDED COURTESY?

SRRV EXPANDED COURTESY REQUIREMENTS:

If you were in the US military and are over 50 years old, this option is incredibly simple.

  • Show guaranteed monthly income of $1,000+
  • A small deposit of ONLY $1,500 is required.

You only needed to have served in the military, not necessarily retired from it. Also, this option is not just for US Military. Any foreign military from countries with existing military ties and/or agreement with the Philippine Government are eligible.  

What is the SRRV HUMAN TOUCH?

SRRV HUMAN TOUCH REQUIREMENTS:

For foreign retirees over 50 years old requiring medical care or treatment

 INSIDER TIP : All SRRV options above (except for Human Touch) cover you plus two dependents. There is an additional deposit of $15,000 for each dependent after the first two.