Boy became a Canadian citizen in year 2000. Now a Canadian passport holder, he wants to go back to the Philippines to marry his long-time girlfriend, Monette of Pidigan, Abra. Boy plans to stay in the Philippines for one year.
Does Boy need a visa to enter the Philippines? Who is a balikbayan? What are the benefits of being a balikbayan? What if Boy wants to stay longer than one year in the Philippines?
Boy DOES NOT NEED a visa to enter the Philippines since he is a balikbayan. As a balikbayan, he is entitled to enter the Philippines visa-free and remain in the country for a period of one (1) year.
A “balikbayan” refers to:
1. Former Filipino citizens holding foreign passports, including spouses and children traveling with them;
2. Filipinos who have been continuously out of the Philippines for at least one (1) year; and
3. Filipino overseas contract workers.
Aside from visa-entry to the Philippines for a period of one year, the other benefits of a balikbayan include the following:
1. Travel tax exemption;
2. Duty-free shopping privilege of up to US$2,000.00 (US$1,000.00 as arriving Balikbayan and US$1,000.00 as arriving passenger), with the following limitations:
a. Shopping must be done within two (2) days upon arrival;
b. Duty-free shopping privilege can be availed of only once a year; and
c. Purchases must be made personally by the balikbayan.
If Boy wants to remain in the Philippines longer than one year without violating the one-year limit on his stay as balikbayan, he must request an extension at the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros, Manila subject to payment of certain fees. The Bureau normally grants requests for extension.