Philippines Retirement Visa- The Easy Long Term Visa For Island Living

09/17/2020

Nomadic FIRE Philippines Retirement Visa

Philippines Retirement Visa Key Summary: 

Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV) is another name for a Retirement Visa in the Philippines. This Retiree Visa is the easiest path to Permanent Residency in the Philippines.

Living in the Philippines: Quick Facts <click to expand>

Are you dreaming of Early Retirement in a tropical paradise? The Philippines offers miles and miles of beaches to satisfy even the most die-hard beach fan. But With over 7,100 islands, this archipelago nation offers Early Retirees, Location Independent Freelancers, and FIRE Nomads countless other options. Slow Travelers and people looking for extended stays will find there is more than just fun and sun in the Philippines. From award-winning beaches, chill mountains and UNESCO natural wonders to historic colonial sites, ecological preserves, and adrenaline adventure parks, the Philippines can satisfy every interest, taste, and wish.

Retire on a boat drifting past El Nido Palawan Philippines

El Nido Palawan has been consistently ranked "The Best Island In The World"

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.

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 additional 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

Are you tired of your hair smelling like salt water? 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 just waiting for you to be trekked and climbed.

The Philippines is the travel wonderland for people 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 just does not do the country justice. There are just too many things to do and more islands to explore. Instead of just traveling through, you will crave taking your time and exploring the country for an extended period. Like a REALLY REALLY extended stay. The Philippines just makes it too easy to call it home.

Luckily, the Philippines is one of the best countries Americans, Canadians, and Europeans can relocate to long-term. Western 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 that can be extended every two months up to 36 months total. You can stay in the Philippines for up to three years, without ever having to do a Visa run! (Eat my shorts, Thailand!)

Legally living long-term in the Philippines comes with significantly less hassle and requirements than neighboring Thailand or Indonesia. The Philippine government even created the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), an agency dedicated to helping you move and settle in to live PERMANENTLY. With a small $20,000 deposit into a Philippine bank (or a smaller $10,000 deposit combined with an $800 a month income)  you could qualify for the Philippines Special Retiree’s Resident Visa (SRRV) and live in an affordable tropical paradise with a Cost of Living 65% less than the US.

If you use a 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR), you can fund your retirement with about $400,000 in savings. By moving to this low-cost tropical oasis, you can take years off your FIRE date, Retire Early, and the country even offers a visa program allowing you to retire at just 35 years old.

View of the Banaue Rice terraces in the Philippines

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

Philippines Retirement Visa Details

1) What Are The Requirements for Special Retiree's Resident Visa?

  • Be at least 35 years old.
  • 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.
  • Certificate of Deposit by one of the PRA shortlisted banks for the required deposit amount.

2) What Are The Different Philippines Retirement Visas 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. 


You cannot withdraw the deposit unless you give up your residency and unlike the other options, nor can you 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 Early Retirement Expats and FIRE Nomads. 


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 program's main flexibility is the option to use your deposit for investment. Investments can include real estate such as a primary residence or condo, as well as membership shares into a golf club or country club.

What is the SRRV EXPANDED COURTESY?

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

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

3) What Documents Do I Need To Apply For Your Philippines Retirement Visa?

  • Completed Philippine Retirement Authority application form
  • Original and photocopy of passport
  • Authenticated Medical examination accomplished by a licensed physician (including an AIDS test) showing good physical and mental health
  • Police Clearance, duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate (if issued abroad) or a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance (if issued in the Philippines)
  • Two Passport sized photographs
  • Note using an option requiring guaranteed income: Guaranteed monthly income can include pensions and/or US Social Security. The annual letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) showing benefit amounts is acceptable proof. The staff at the US embassy in the Philippines can assist with Social Security services.
  • All documents issued outside of the Philippines must be translated in English, if necessary, and authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consular Office nearest the applicant’s residence.

What Are the Features and Benefits of the SRVV?

Retire Early in the Philippines with a SRRV Visa

Pros

  • Small Upfront Deposit With Optional Investment Alternative
  • Zero to Low Income Required
  • Low Minimum Retirement Age of 35 to qualify
  • Permanent Residency. No Visa runs required.
  • Language Exam Not Required
  • Personal Interviews Are Not Required

Cons

  • Land Ownership Is Not Allowed  
  • Deposited money must be kept in the bank, unless invested.

Conclusion 

With a low retirement age, minimal income requirements, and modest investment stipulations the Pros of Retiring Early in the Philippines greatly outweigh the Cons. 


Early Retirement with only $400,000 saved is an obtainable goal, even for people aiming at leanFIRE. Even comparing the low Cost of Living to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Vietnam, the Philippines offers tremendous value for your dollar. The fact the country is making direct efforts to make retiring in the Philippines hassle-free, is a polar opposite to the crackdown, bureaucracy, and inconsistency of trying to live in Thailand. 


Anyone looking to FIRE or Retire Early should give the Philippines Retirement Visa a serious look.

Enjoy your Philippines retirement on the beaches of Boracay

The beaches on Boracay have sand the color and consistency of white sugar

Philippines Retirement Visa Key Takeaway: 

Key Takeaway: Tropical white sand beaches, easy travel visas, and affordable price tags make a luxury lifestyle in the Philippines available to anyone.

The Philippines offers Digital Nomads and Early Retirees, a tropical paradise and relaxed quality of life that is too expensive in the United States or Europe. Indulge yourself in a luxury lifestyle of beach side cocktails, vibrant sunsets, weekly massages, maids, personal chefs, and drivers for a fraction of the cost in your home country.

So why retire in the Philippines? With all the Pros stated above and 7,641 more to be discovered, the answer to that question is simply, “Why not?”

The sunset view of La Union Philippines

Marco enjoying another picture perfect sunset at the La Union surf break

FAQs: Philippine Retirement Visas (SRRV)

What are the differences between the different types of Special Resident Retiree's Visas (SRRV)?

There are four types of Philippine Retirement Visas each with specific requirements. The three most common are:

  1. SRRV SMILE- Requires a $20,000 bank deposit
  2. SRRV CLASSIC- More flexible investment requirements than the SMILE
  3. SRRV EXPANDED COURTESY- Special SRRV for US Military

How much income do I need to qualify for a SRRV Retirement Visa?

Income requirements depend on the specific SRRV visa, but can be as low as $0 (for the SRRV SMILE). Maximum is $1000 per month (for the SRRV EXPANDED COURTESY).

Is there a minimum age to apply for a SRRV Retirement Visa?

The SRRV Retirement Visa is available to anyone over 35 years old. The Philippines makes Early Retirement easy with one of the youngest Retirement Visas available.  

Can I work with a SRRV Retirement Visa?

The SRRV is one of the only Retirement Visas that allows work. SRRV holders are eligible to work, study or invest in the Philippines.

How long can I stay in the Philippines on a SRRV Retirement Visa?

If you keep your membership active and pay your annual fee, the SRRV allows you to stay in the Philippines as long as you want.  

Next Steps: Find Out Best Places to Live and Retire in the Philippines. Our Retirement Guides Have All The Insider Tips.

Useful External Websites For Legal Immigration


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, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, Hacknoon, CW Network, The Times of Israel, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

    • Hi Robert, I don’t know if the PRA office is affected due to the lockdowns, but there is a Baguio branch that processes the SRRV (the shortened name of the retirement visa).

      Unit 8, Bldg. 3 Nevada Square, No.2 Loakan Road, Baguio City, Benguet
      Direct Line : +63 74 423 3123

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yeah, the Philippines government even has a special branch (Philippines Retirement Authority) to help facilitate people who want to retire there. Compared to my experience in Thailand or Cambodia, visas here are a breeze.

  • Okay Marco, I am not anywhere near ready to retire yet, but you’ve still convinced me that I’d love to visit the Philippines! The beaches, waterfalls and views all look stunning. It’s good to hear that it could also be possible to move there in retirement too. 🙂

    • Hi Josy,

      It’s easy to love the place. Another helpful fun fact: English is one of the official languages of the Philippines. Makes acclimating and making friends sooooo much easier.

  • Amazing how easy some countries make it to immigrate. Before taking the plunge, one can only advise to spend some time in country first during different times of the year and to see if this is truly the country one wants to spend their lives for many years to come.

    • Hi Rudy,

      100% agree with you. For the Philippines, I suggest people live through a rainy season before deciding. The rainy season is better than winter, but living through my first rainy season in SE Asia made me realize I dislike it as much as winter in the US.

    • Hi Tanya,

      The Philippines has over 7000 islands. Many of them ranked in the 10 top most beautiful islands in the world. It’s definitely a country worth checking out.

  • I’m a long way from retirement and plan to continue teaching for decades, but this is all super insightful and I can already say that I’m probably planning on retiring abroad for cheaper cost of living. I did not know that the Philippines allowed visa renewals without visa runs. That really puts it a bit higher on my list as a country to explore long-term.

    • Thanks Kevin,

      I just finished an interview with an expat teacher in China, who is leveraging the lower cost of living to build up her savings. She’s on her way to Financial Independence by SAVINGover $40,000 a year teaching kindergarten. Jump on the mailing list to get notified when the post is live. She has some great information and tips for people who want to save money teaching overseas.

  • The Philippines would definitely be one of the nicer places in Southeast Asia for settlement. People from the Philippines are some of the friendliest and most helpful in the world.

    • Hi Kez,

      I have to agree with you. I made friends easier in the Philippines than in any other country I have lived in. The country was a Spanish colony for ~300 years and a US territory for ~50 years. As bad as 350 years of colonization is, the upside is that the Philippines’ language and culture are more similar to Western culture than other places in SE Asia.

  • This is one post which goes straight to my bookmarks. I love the Philippines and the thought of retiring to the paradise islands is simply irresistible. Hope I will be able to save enough to get away from all this urban madness.

    • Hi Soham,

      Glad you found it useful. If you don’t like “urban madness” definitely stay out of Manila. It has it’s pluses and minuses, but it’s definitely urban chaos. Almost anywhere else outside of Manila in the Philippines is golden.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Philippines Retirement Visa- The Easy Long Term Visa For Isl…

    time to read: 10 min
    >