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One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay in the Philippines for the Foreign Spouse/ Children of Filipino Citizens

By Kach Umandap February 27th, 2022 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Philippines Travel Blog 179 Comments

This article was published in August 2016.

A few weeks ago, I’ve been researching a lot about the process of renewing and changing my last name in my Philippines passport while at the same time registering our marriage thru the Philippines Embassy in London! Unexpectedly, I found out about the BALIKBAYAN STAY PROGRAM that all spouse or children of a Filipino/Filipina citizen can stay for one-year Visa-free in the Philippines! Usually, foreign passport holders have to pay for at least 93GBP to get a 1-year multiple entry visa or get a free visa on arrival to enter the Philippines or visa-free for a month if you’ll only do a short visit!

One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay in the Philippines for the Foreign Spouse/ Children of Filipino Citizens
Photo by Thanh Tran on Unsplash


The Balikbayan Program, as instituted by Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174), was launched by the Philippine Government “under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland.”

One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay in the Philippines for the Foreign Spouse/ Children of Filipino Citizens
Photo by Joe Yates on Unsplash

Anyway, below are the details I found from different Philippines Embassy websites (Singapore, London, USA), full credits to our efficient Foreign affairs websites! This is the easiest and cheapest way to get a long-term visa for the Philippines. If a balikbayan has used his/her privilege and stayed in the Philippines for one year, he/she may apply for an extension of stay for multiples of two months up to one additional year by paying the appropriate fees at the nearest Bureau of Immigration office.

First, what is “Balikbayans”? – any overseas Filipino returning to the Philippines, including former Filipinos who have acquired foreign citizenship.
The Philippines’ BALIKBAYAN PROGRAM allows a one-year visa-free stay for Filipinos working overseas and for former Filipinos who have acquired citizenship in certain countries (refer to list of countries below). The visa-free stay privilege is extended to the balikbayan’s non-Filipino spouse and children, on the two conditions that (1) they enter the Philippines with the balikbayan and (2) they are citizens of a country listed below. Former Filipino balikbayans traveling to the Philippines are advised to bring either their old Philippine passport or a copy of Philippine birth certificate as proof of their former Philippine citizenship. Accompanying family members of the balikbayan can bring appropriate supporting documents:
  • For the spouse: copy of the marriage certificate
  • For each child: copy of birth certificate
  • For adopted children: copy of adoption papers

Philippine Law (R.A. 9174) provides benefits to balikbayans:

  • Tax-exempt maximum purchases in the amount of USD 1,500, or the equivalent in Philippine and other currency, at Philippine Government–operated duty-free shops
  • Exemption from Travel Tax provided that their stay in the Philippines is one year or less. If their stay in the Philippines exceeds one year, Travel tax will apply to them.


Visitors who are admitted as balikbayan are given an initial stay of one (1) year. Their stay may be extended for an additional one (1), two (2) or six (6) months at the Visa Extension Section of a Bureau of the immigration office. Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines after thirty-six (36) months may be required to submit additional requirements.

One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay in the Philippines for the Foreign Spouse/ Children of Filipino Citizens
Photo by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash


Former Filipinos who have acquired citizenship from a country listed below can avail of the one-year visa-free balikbayan stay. If the country of citizenship is not listed, the balikbayan must apply for a Philippine visa.

The non-Filipino spouse and dependent children of a former Filipino can avail of the one-year visa-free balikbayan stay if their passport is issued by a country listed below. If the country of passport is not listed, the spouse or dependent children must apply for a Philippine visa.

Andorra Greece Panama
Angola Grenada Papua New Guinea
Antigua and Barbuda Guatemala Paraguay
Argentina Guinea Peru
Australia Guinea Bissau Poland
Austria Guyana Portugal
Bahamas Haiti Qatar
Bahrain Honduras Republic of Korea
Barbados Hungary Romania
Belgium Iceland Russia
Belize Indonesia Rwanda
Benin Ireland Saint Kitts and Nevis
Bhutan Israel Saint Lucia
Bolivia Italy Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Botswana Jamaica Samoa
Brazil Japan San Marino
Brunei Darussalam Kazakhstan Sao Tome and Principe
Bulgaria Kenya Saudi Arabia
Burkina Faso Kiribati Senegal
Burundi Kuwait Seychelles
Cambodia Kyrgyzstan Singapore
Cameroon Lao People’s Democratic Republic Slovak Republic
Canada Latvia Slovenia
Cape Verde Lesotho Solomon Islands
Central African Republic Liberia South Africa
Chad Liechtenstein Spain
Chile Lithuania Suriname
Colombia Luxembourg Swaziland
Comoros Madagascar Sweden
Congo Malawi Switzerland
Costa Rica Malaysia Tajikistan
Cote d’Ivoire Maldives Thailand
Croatia Mali Togo
Cyprus Malta Trinidad and Tobago
Czech Republic Marshall Islands Tunisia
Democratic Republic of the Congo Mauritania Turkey
Denmark Mauritius Turkmenistan
Djibouti Mexico Tuvalu
Dominica Micronesia Uganda
Dominican Republic Monaco United Arab Emirates
Ecuador Mongolia United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
El Salvador Morocco United Republic of Tanzania
Equatorial Guinea Mozambique United States of America
Eritrea Myanmar Uruguay
Estonia Namibia Uzbekistan
Ethiopia Nepal Vanuatu
Fiji Netherlands Vatican
Finland New Zealand Venezuela
France Nicaragua Vietnam
Gabon Niger Zambia
Gambia Norway Zimbabwe
Germany Oman
Ghana Palau


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179 thoughts on “One year Visa-free Balikbayan Stay in the Philippines for the Foreign Spouse/ Children of Filipino Citizens

  1. Hi Lyza, I’m a US citizen who’s been staying in the Philippines on a tourist visa. I married a Filipina citizen here in Palawan 2 years ago. We will be returning from a short vacation to Thailand in July. Given that she’s a current Filipina citizen (no dual citizenship or residency), can I request the Balikbayan privilege when we fly back (together) to Manila? Also wondering whether it’s necessary to buy the ticket out of the country w/in 30 days of arrival and the 35k of Covid insurance (we’re arriving on Scoot Airlines)?

    Thank you for any advice you can provide!

  2. Hi I am returning to the Philippines with out my wife but my BB visa is not expired yet. Will I be able to enter with out her with me

  3. I have a 1 year visa stamp and I stayed 2 months and went back to the states. I am ready to come back to the Philippines do I need a new visa or is my BB 1 year visa still good to use, does my wife need to be with me?

  4. Hi, if the marriage is not registered in Philippine Embassy, will that be an issue? Or marriage cert from the foreign country is accepted? TIA

  5. Revising my post: If my husband’s BB visa extension is expiring. and we take a day trip to Singapore or other country open for tourists, will he get a new BB stamp when we come back? Do we need to be out of the country for a specific amount of time?

  6. HI. I am a dual citizen and my husband is an American citizen. He entered and got his BB visa. Now that some Asian countries are open to tourists, we are planning to take some day trips , some longer. Does he get a new BB stamp each time we return?

  7. Under the balikbayan spouse privilege I under you get a 1 year Visa stamp, question is If you travel out of the country and back do you get another one year stamp.? If so how many times can it be done ?

    1. probably not one year every entry – They may visit the Philippines several times (multiple entry) within a year or they may stay in the Philippines for a maximum of one (1) year.

  8. Hello. I have a question that I cannot find the answer to. I am U.S. citizen married to a Dual Citizen Filipina. I have 2 children from a previous marriage to a U.S. Citizen. Do my children from the previous marriage qualify under the balikbayan program?

    1. That’s a bit too hard for me to answer, you can try contacting the Bureau of Immigration PH in their Facebook page with regards to your query.

  9. Hi, I entered Philippines with balikbayan visa two years ago. I was able to renew my Philippine passport after that. Do you think this will be an issue when I leave the country when I have an expired balikbayan visa yet I was able to get a Philippine passport?

    1. I think not, as you have a Philippine passport, you are considered a Filipino Citizen and are staying in the Philippines as a Filipino rather than a foreigner/balik-bayan.

      But you can try clarifying it with the BI po

  10. Hi I have d visa and planning to visit my husband for just 2 mos .do need a cfo certificate or just buy roundtrip ticket as I need to comeback before my visa expired

    1. Are you a Filipino is your husband the Filipino Citizen? It’s hard to tell since the information is incomplete.

  11. Hi, i am a naturalize citizen and married to british. Both of us are planning to go back in the Philippines under Balikbayan.Can we both just get single ticket as we are planning to stay for good. But i have to apply for dual citizen when we arrive and apply a 13a visa for my husband. Is it ok to get a one way ticket?

  12. Hi, I am single, born filipino and a naturalized US citizen. My question is, can I use my valid Philippine passport to enter Philippines even if I am already a US citizen and have a US passport? Another question is, am I qualified to apply for Balikbayan program upon arrival at NAIA Airport with my 2 passports ( Philippine and US passports )? I am planning to visit my family in Philippines this June 2021 so before I book my ticket I need to know the right information to enter the Philippines during the pandemic if they are already allowing visitors from the US to enter. I will appreciate it very much if you can give me answers regarding my concerns. Thank you so much in advance.

  13. hello po. phil passport ako kaso yung baby ko jap passport lng(jap citizens)tapos po umuwi kami ng pinas Dec.12,2020. ang visa lng na binigay sa anak ko ay 9a 60days lng.
    pwede po bang pa-palitan ang visa nya ng “bb free 1year visa”? at paano po kaya?
    salamat in advance.

  14. Hello everyone i need advise for those who really know balikbayan po.I am still Philippine passport holder and my son is Malaysian. I bring him along to.phils.since January 30,2020 therefore his balikbayan visa is valid until January 30,2021 of course..So that means visa expired .the following day we will be going back to Malaysia .So my concern do I need to go Immigration? To apply special pass or something?pls advise me

  15. I am a naturalized US citizen, a former Filipino citizen and I have been here in the Philippines since February 8, 2020. How much do I need to pay to extend my Balikbayan visa free stay? Thank you.

  16. I’m a balikbayan in a same sex marriage, can my wife travel with me to the Philippines through the balikbayan visa? Salamat po.

    1. No, because your marriage must be in compliance with the marriage laws of the Philippines which do not recognize same sex marriages.

  17. I have a Balik Bayan visa stamp in my passport valid until Feb 2021. My question is if I leave the Philippines can I return using the same Balik Bayan visa as long as it is still in date.

  18. What if you are stuck in Philippines and you entered with a Balikbayan privilege? Mine is going to expire soon. I am not married. I’m a former filipino citizen and I don’t want to travel anywhere because of the Covid-19. What are my options?

    1. You can go to the Bureau of Immigration for an extension of your visa, try contacting their FB page so you’ll know the documents you might bring and the offices that are open.

        1. You can have it extended. And FYI Bureau of Immigration is operating. You need an online appointment though. Walk in is not allowed at all.

    2. Hi kach thank you so much for your articles its a big help for us? been following you po on IG ?

      Ask for help, me and my french fiance is planning to have our wedding on january, his visa will expire on february 11. Do you suggest that we go out in the country before feb 11 and then fly back to get a balikbayan visa? We need to stay a bit in the PH to wait for the release of my french visa.

      So im thinking about balikbayan visa (free) rather than applying for a non-quota immigrant visa.

      What are your thoughts about this? Thank you so much ☺️

  19. hi ,. Tanong ko lang , I’m married a Sweden citizen , we’re married here in Philippines year of 2018 and my husband want to stay here for 1 year , . I want to ask if he is allowed to get this balikbayan for 1 year to stay here in Philippines ? . I hope you can answer my question.

  20. Hi, my husband and I are both us citizens and living here in the Philippines, I’m a former Filipina citizen and April will be a year of our stay and if we want to extend here, maybe 6 months until corona virus ban is over and safe to fly out. do we both have to pay the extension?

  21. My wife is a dual citizen and we both travel on US passports. We enter the Philippines together and I get the BB stamp good for a year. What if I leave on my own after 6 months? Must my wife also leave with me? Thank you for your help.

    1. she can stay in the philippines sir .but if you return in the philippines without your wife you cannot have the bb visa. you must travel together with your wife here in order to get the bb visa.

  22. What if the pinay is still a citizen but has a green card to the u.s. the program still applies for the child of said pinay, correct?

  23. im Vicky Culanag a former OFW for 9 years in cyprus, now im married to a British man last June 12 ,2017 now we plan to have a vacation this march for about a month ,can i avail of 1 year Visa free Balikbayan Program in the Philippines for foreign spouse of Filipino?..How can i avail this i think qatar gave us tax in going to philippines i mean travel tax..

  24. Hello po, me and my husband are permanent resident here and US and my kids are US citizens we are planning to go to the Philippines this coming May, ask ko lang po kung pwede ba mag stay mga anak ko ron until Christmas even with out me? Kc plan ko po sana bumalik ng US after 4 months kc di ako pwede mag stay ng matagal sa Philippines and mag stay sana mga anak ko sa parents ko until Christmas then sunduin ko sila sa January 2021, pwede po ba un. Thank you

    1. Hello! My brother & sister are both US citizens & they want to stay in the Philippines for 10 months . Can they avail themselves with a free visa through the Balikbayan program? If they qualify as “balikbayans” can they stay in the Philippines without a visa and what documents do they show the Philippine Immigration Officer.

  25. Hi, just to make sure again, if we go back together in the Philippines then will get the Balikbayan stamp for one year, what if he went back again to his country and would like to visit the Philippines again, is he allowed to enter alone showing the Balikbayan visa stamp? or is it everytime he will go back his country , I need to accompany him cause we need to appear in the Immigration together upon entering Philippines again? Also, is there any limit of entries?

  26. Hi I am not an OFW but I am willing to travel abroad with my foreigner husband in Hongkong for 3 days only. Am I qualified to get a balikbayan visa?

  27. Hi, gusto ko lng itanong, my husband Tunisian will go to Philippines with out me, but I will be follow after 4 month, mabibigyan ba sya NG balikbayan visa for 1 year. My merrage contract kami sa pinas?

  28. Recently the Philippine President commented that US citizens will be required to secure a visa to enter the Philippines. Is this in effect already? What about balikbayans , will they be also required to get a visa to enter the Philippines?

    1. Hello. Ask ko lng po ako at 2 kong anak ay may BB visa expires this coming July 2020. Plano ko sana mag apply ng dual (for me and 2 kids) nung April kaso nagka pandemic and di ko naasikaso. Ngaun nmn wala pang public transpo kaya di ako makakilos. Sana matulungan ako kung sinong tamang tao ba ang dpt kong kausapin para sa case ko. Salamat po. Nababahala ksi ako maexpire na BB visa nmin eh dito na kmi mag stay sa Pilipinas. Ang hirap pang kumilos sa ngaun due to pandemic.

  29. I have a question. About the Balikbayan visa, kasi diba sabi at least 1 year ka dapat na OFW? In my case kasi 11 months lang ako sa Japan . I plan to go back to the Philippines with my Croatian husband and use the Balikbayan visa. Do you think it will be accepted? I hope you reply. Thank you so much!

  30. Hi, your blog is so helpful. May I ask you about my case, me and my german husband is now in vacation in Bali Indonesia, we plan to go back on January 1, 2020. Can he avail the 1 year balikbayan visa when we arrive in the philippine airport or he needs an return flight or exit flight? Thanks, hope you can answer my question. Thank you.

    1. Im married to a german national.. we plan to go to vietnam for a 1 week vacation .we will be coming back to the Philippines together.. can my husband avail of the balikbayan visa?

  31. I am a Filipino with dual citizenship. Do I get a balikbayan visa stamped into my Philippine passport when I arrive, which I can use to claim exemption from the departure travel tax? I plan to leave the Philippines in less than a month after arrival. I’m not a registered OFW but I work in a foreign country and I have no citizenship for that country.

  32. I’m an American Vet traveling to the Philippines with my Filipina wife and hoping to retire there. We lived together 3years and were married th ere. Do I need an outbound ticket or can we apply for my Balakbayan at the consulate ahead of time?

    1. No, you can only get it upon arrival in the Philippines if you will travel together. If you decide to retire there then it’s a different visa. I suggest get the 1 year and do the process for residency when you’re there.

  33. I’ve got a one BB Visa as married to a Filipino. Is it still valid if I exit the country and come back months later? Can’t find information about that. Thank you in advance

  34. My wife availed this balikbayan visa, it will end on may 2020, when we should apply for the temporary visa by marriage?
    How long will the process to get the temporary visa by marriage?

  35. My balikbayan visa and my husband expires in February
    2020. If we go.to Hongkong.or Singapore for 3 to 5 days can we go back again to the Philippines on balikbayan program for another year? Im filipino and due.to marriage became.an american citizen and my husband.is. an american. Extensions are.costly.so this is the.remedy we thought will be.cheaper.

  36. Hi, I have been living in the Philippines now since May 2019, I got married to a Filipina in June. I’m a bit confused reading what is required (thick) lol. I a.m due to renew my visa beginning of january, after having had a 2 & 6 month visa plus ACR card. Can I as a UK citizen (intending) to apply for a 13a visa after the balikbayan visa if allowed the following year?, your reply would be appreciated.

  37. Hi Kach!
    I’m a Filipina and just got married in France less than a month ago with a French national. My current visa is a short-stay for the purpose of marriage. I’m going back to PH soon as my visa will expire.
    My concern is my husband who is coming back to Ph by himself at a later date. We won’t be travelling together coz he can’t leave his job right now.
    Will he still be granted a BB visa? Or will he need a tourist visa , a return ticket, and then eventually ask for an extension?
    (Btw, it’s not his first time in ph; he has lived and worked there before. This time, it’s a different status coz he’s coming back as my husband).

    I’ve been trying to research and even personally came to ask the officers at the embassy but all they can say is that, my husband should come to Ph to know more info. I wish we could get anwers before we decide to book him a return ticket or not. It makes a huge difference in money and time. We aren’t wealthy to waste either one of those.
    Can you help me with the info please?

    1. Balikbayan visa will NOT be available to your husband as he is arriving in the Philippines alone. You must accompany him on arrival so that he can request this visa.

  38. I’ll be traveling to the philippines with my US cit toddler and stay for 3 mos. Since last week I’ve been stressing about the tourist visa and extension of stay. So glad I’ve found out about this Law before going to the embassy.

  39. Hi i would like to ask if i do need to get a balikbayan visa for my child who is an australian citizen? I forgot to tell the immigration officer in naia that we will stay here for 6months. We are already here in the Phil. Thanks.

  40. I am currently in the Philippines on a BB stamp. My question is, if we exit the country say to S. Korea for a 5 day vacation, and come back to Philippines, will my BB stamp continue, or can I get restamped with a new BB stamp? Thanks in advance.

    1. You will always get a New one year stamp everytime you re enter but you must be with your spouse as a Filipino born irigin in the Philippines . good luck

  41. Hello.. I would like to ask what a bout Yemen passport holder who is married to a filipina is there any special visa for him? To come and go to Philippines ?
    I look forward to you prompt reply.
    Thank you

  42. Just make sure I understand. My spouse is dual citizenship ( US and pH). She is currently in the Philippines for long stay. I want to travel there and stay there for least six months. What documents do I need besides my passport?

  43. I believe that if you have a Balikbayan you don’t need an exit clearance to leave the Philippines. If you extend your Balikbayan as permitted can you still leave without an exit clearance?

  44. Sono cittadino italiano, sposato con cittadina filippina.. Sono entrato inizio maggio con mia moglie e hanno messo il timbro per Balikbayan. Ripartirò in settembre ma senza la moglie.. Posso avere problemi o sono in conformità alla regola?

  45. Very useful post about this little known program. It’s a great thing the Philippines offers to former citizens and their family members, and should be promoted more within the expat community, and with other airline carriers (besides Philippine Airlines / Cebu Pacific) so that travelers on other carriers who meet that requirement are not hassled by airline staff if they demonstrate proof of documentation.

    Another items to clarify for some may be that the Balikbayan status (not visa) is allowed EACH time the former citizen arrives with the accompanying family members, regardless of number of entries and exits per year. The confusion arises, I think, because the added tax-free exemption for duty free shopping is once per year. Here is the quote from the Philippines’ Los Angeles Consulate website:

    “The Commissioner of Immigration Andrea D. Domingo informed the Department of Foreign Affairs on 4 June 2001 that, “All Immigration Officers at authorized ports of entry shall grant the benefits and privileges to all Balikbayan and former Filipinos included every time they enter the country to visit, regardless of their frequent travel”. This means that the above categories of persons could now avail of the Balikbayan benefits and privileges regardless of the number of times they enter the country within a year.”

    Hope this helps others.


  46. My daughter was born in the Philippines and has Phillipine passport before. We received our canadian citizenship year 2010. Is there a limitation in availing the Balikbayan free visa? She is now 18 years old and planning to study in the Phillipines. Does she need to apply for a student visa since she is now carries a canadian Passport?

  47. Good day

    Can you study in the Philippines if you avail the Balikbayan privilege? My daughter is planning to stay for a year and study there for 1 year.

  48. Hi! I was born in the Philippines, but as of 2015 was naturalized as a US citizen. I have an unpaid internship in the Philippines this summer – will I be able to receive the benefits of the Balikbayan Program? Or is the program exclusively for leisure/tourism purposes? Thanks in advance!

  49. Hi,

    I am a Filipino citizen and I am married to a Mexican national, who is also a US green card holder. We are both males (same sex). Will he be given balikbayan status if we arrive together?

    Thank you.

  50. Hi. We have BB status for our kids, but it will expire soon. Do you know any way the kids can live with us in the Philippines? Do children need visa here? Immigration asked us to pay 200,000 and it was very cheap. But we can’t afford that. Us foreigners are not rich like Filipinos! Thanks.

  51. Hi,
    Do you know if me as foreigner, married with a Filipina, can enter the Philippines and get a balikbayan stamp (visa) when i’m entering the Philippines on my own? I could show our marriage certificate but i don’t know if thats enough.
    Thank you in anticipation.

  52. i have my husband pakistani and we want to stay for good in the Philippines and i dont the know where we will start to process a proper visa for him. thankyou

  53. Hi, my husband got a Balikbayan visa on Mar 8, 2018, and it will expire soon. We already applied for 13a visa back in November, but up to this date, we still haven’t received any response/his name is still not listed on the list of approved 13a visas. We have an upcoming trip on March 11, 2019. If we leave the country on Mar 11, is he gonna be tagged as overstayed even though we already submitted a 13a? I don’t mind paying fees and penalties, I just want to make sure that we won’t have any issues coming back? Hope you can help.

  54. Dear Respective,

    I am Nepalese male married to Filipino Citizen.I am staying in Philippine in tourist visa, married and doing business there its been a year now.Suddenly i have to come back to Nepal for family purpose for few months.Now i need to go back to Philippine.What will be my visa state, visa requirements and procedure to re entry Philippine?Plus Do i need return ticket since my wife and business is there i am not sure when i will be back? Once i am re entry there i am thinking to apply for TRV.This kindly request you to mention about my concerns what will be the requirements to re entry and do i need return tickets or not?

    First visa entry was free visa for Nepalese.

    Hoping to hear from you asap.

    Thank you

    Best regards,

      1. Hello Ms. Kach…i want to ask to ask u…my husband is from india and we have 2 babies (indian citizen)..what are the initial step to do…im confuse about the article..now we are currently in saudi..if they will come with me to philippines ,,are we able to get the balikbayan program..thanks

  55. Is that possible to get balikbayan visa my American husband? to present only our marriage contract in imigration? if im not with him in the flight. Coz I know we need travel to other country to get stamp.

  56. Hi Kach,
    I’ve been reading all the information here about BB visa. Me and my husband are planning to go back home this year but I only stay for a month. my husband will stay longer.atleast a year or before his BB visa expire.but I will go back again after 6 mos. My question is ,would it be possible if I left him back home and will not affect his BB visa ? Thank you so much for your response.
    God bless

  57. I am a Fil mother marries to a Malaysian and we have 2 kids born in Malaysia..sometime in 2000 i brought my kids to philippines and stay for good to escape my abusive husband. My sons are 23 and 22 now..they still hold malaysian passports and are now expired. I never renewed their visa..what are the consequences? I reallu dont know what to do.

      1. Wont there be a record of their entry at the Bureau of Immigration and thus make it difficult for them to exit in future??

  58. HI Kach ,
    Thanks for your blog this is very helpful 🙂
    Me and my Husband ( polish ) and 2 kids ( Polish citizen ). Is planning to visit next year to Philippines for longer time let say 1 year , since they can be granted the BB visa. My question is do we need to book a return ticket ?if we are not really sure how long we will stay in that 1 year period? . And if for example 1 year is finished , can we travel out of Philippines for let’s say 3 days in HongKong then travel back to Philippines and avail this free BB visa again ? .

    My husband also travel often , so if he get out of Philippines , this 1 yr bb visa will not be valid anymore, right. How if me and him travel outside Philippines for few days and go back to Philippines , will he again avail d BB visa ?
    Thank you for your response in advance . It will be highly appreciated

    1. Hi, let me help you with your questions.

      1. About the ticket. yes! Its Ok not to book a returned ticket yet as you don’t know until when you will stay in the Philippines. Also, you may acquire your children a Philippine Passport like what I did to my kid. So they can stay in the Philippines as they like and if there are changing in visa ruling in the future, they may not be affected as they hold a Philippine passport.

      2. Your family is planning to travel to Hongkong and return again in the Philippines? yes! they will surely get a BB visa. We travel as well in Indonesia for two weeks and returned to the Philippines, my wife gets a BB visa again.

      3. Husband travelling a lot? My wife too as she is travelling back and forth in the Philippines without me but with my kid and she gets a BB visa for 1 year.

      Hope it helps. God Bless!

  59. Hello,
    I just came back from a trip to Malaysia with my US citizen husband. We applied for a Balikbayan visa for him.
    After we are left the immigration booth, I checked my husband’s passport.
    There is no “BB” written, just the arrival date, but there is also no departure date.
    He did tell us that my husband is good to stay for one year.

    I read somewhere that they don’t write the “BB” anymore, but enter it to their computer system instead.

    For those who JUST got their BB stamps, did they also just put the arrival date without the “BB”?


  60. Thought I’d share my experience since I couldn’t find any definite answer on my exact situation.
    I was staying long-term with my wife who is a citizen of the Philippines. We had our honeymoon in Japan for just 2 weeks and returned together with our Marriage certificate in hand.
    I was granted the 1 year balikbayan stamp no problem.
    We were worried maybe because she was a citizen and only left for 2 weeks, they may not grant it.
    No problem at all.

    Good luck all who are seeking the balikbayan privilege.

    1. Any idea if we were married in the philippines I’m Australian shes a philipin national then went out of country and then retured as you did would this still apply.

    2. Thanks for sharing this; I’m getting married there and it’s been a big question if the BB visa would be given to me if we leave for honeymoon then come back, similar to you.

  61. Good day, i have a balikbayan relative who enter philippines last march 2012 and is too old to travel back and stayed here in the philippines since then. now, the country where she came from is looking for her regarding her pension benefits. i know how much her penalty is before leaving the philippines. is it possible to apply a dual citizenship to avoid the penalty?

  62. My husband is still in pi. Im an american citizen who been going to pi since 1999. My first husband and i were married in pi in 2001. We divoced in 2017 and i remarried last march. My husband was just diagnosed with cancer and i need to go be with him. Is there a special visa? Can i get it while im there at the BI?

  63. I am going to potentially marry my LGBT filipino spouse, gay relationship in the UK embassy next year. Would we be able to able to avail of Balikbayan privilege by presenting our marriage certificate at immigration together on return from a travel?

    This never seems to have been TESTED at all, there seems to be no gay marriages performed in the phils but also nothing specifically saying they are illegal either. Would it be down to the decision of the individual Immigration Officer? I am curious as to how this would work, if it would work.

  64. Hello,Kindly advice me again regarding this Balikbayan Visa Privilages.I am now a US Citizen and plan to visit my Family until January 2019,what are the types of documentation do i had to present at the BI upon my arrival to the Phils.,My flight will be this coming Sept.10,2018 and my husband had purchased a roundtrip ticket for my return next year in the States.Is there any fees,once i show the required documentations?

    Thank you and i will be waiting on your reply.

  65. Hello, I am in PH with my filipina wife on a 1 year Balikbayan visa. I need to go to USA ( I am a USA citizen) for a weekend business meeting. Can I go and return without her with me. We have only been here about a month on the Balikbayan visa.


  66. Hello Kach,

    Thanks for posting this very informative stuff. Just looking for some information, Me, my husband and son went for holiday last March to April this year in the Philippines. Unfortunately, my son want to stay longer in the Philippines and decided to study there.

    He is Filipino-british passport holder but he doesn’t have his Filipino passport at the moment as it was expired last yr. He only have british passport. Does he need to exit before his balikbayan visa expired? but we’re planning to get him a Filipino passport next month.. thanks in advance for the response.x

  67. Hello, I have a question about process of leaving PH.

    My husband was given a BB or Balikbayan Visa, We are now about to leave after staying in PH for 8 months. Does he need to apply for the ACR I-Card and Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) that he needs to present in the airport upon leaving the country.

    I have read some articles mentioning these 2 items when a “foreigner stayed for more than 6 months in PH”, that they need to show these documents.

    Thanks in advance.

  68. I have a balikbayan visa, exited and returned with my wife last year. We are preparing to leave again (it’s been about a year) and return again: do I beforehand need to get permission from the BI to leave the country? I had to do so last time, but I was here on a tourist visa, now I have BB visa.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Have you found an answer to this question? My husband is also on the same scenario, we are now on our 8th month and about to leave PH, I have read about the ECC and ACR I-Card but mostly for foreigners on tourist visas.

      Kindly post here if you have answers.


      1. No, he doesn’t need it because the Balikbayan visa is an exemption for the spouse of a Filipino citizen.. your husband automatically got a 1 year visa. So no exit permit or clearance is needed.

  69. Hello,
    I want to ask my mother is US citizen former Filipino citizen , she is going home next week to the Philippines.
    I only bought her a one way ticket because she does not know what month she wants to come back to the US, as long as it doesn’t exceed one year, will she be allowed entry to Philippines? or should I get her a return ticket? Airlines now does not allow open ticket.


  70. Hello just asking po pwedi po ba mag stay ang mga anak ko sa pinas with me my husband is turkish national but he is dead in jan. 25 2018 and I planing to go Philippines with my kids and they are continue there studying they are have 2 passport turkish and Philippines passport they are both born in riyadh saudi arabia and now im here in Turkey with my kids can you give me an advice what I we do I planned to leave as soon as possible going to Philippines with my kids school pls thank you so much
    god bless

    1. Hi! my kid is also a dual citizen and born in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. yes! definitely, your kids can stay in the Philippines. basta pag submit mo ang phils passport ng kids mo sa immigration counter, submit mo din ag turkeys passport nila para pag lumabas sila ng pinas hindi sila magbabayad ng travel tax kc dual citizen sila like my kid.

  71. I too have been looking for information about a longer stay in the Philippines.
    And reading through all the questions and answers , I got my own answered.
    Thank you very much for the great service you are providing to help us all.

  72. Hello ,,,, just need advice ,,,,,, my husband came last year september 15, 2017, and he plan to go back to uk this september 10, this year ,,, when he arrives in cebu last september his passport stamp have one month stay allowed,,,, we were confident he can stay in philipiines for a year as he is married to me…. Coz last 2016 when i and my husband had a holiday in honkong and arrives in philippines together the emiggration officer told us he is allowed to stay for ayear and he got a 1 year free stay stamp,,,,,, but that year he stays for 2 months only,,,,,, as i saw some of the comment here , that need the wife on arrival so that can get the one year visa free ,, we are now unsure,,,,,,,, I’ll be going with him to send him in cebu airport just for incase they will ask and bring some documents like our passports and marriage contract,,,,,,does it help? Or he might still facing fenalties ? Thanks hope to hear from you soon,,,,,,

    1. Did he enter the Philippines with you on Sept 15, 2017? If yes, then they’ll automatically stamp him the 1 year visa but if he only traveled on his own then sad to say he’s already considered overstaying and will be paying penalties.

  73. Very informative post, thanks!
    I´m wondering about this (maybe it’s because of my poor English):
    “Visitors who are admitted as balikbayan are given an initial stay of one (1) year. Their stay may be extended for an additional one (1), two (2) or six (6) months at the Visa Extension Section of a Bureau of immigration office. Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines after thirty six (36) months may be required to submit additional requirements.”

    As I understand, it means I (Swedish Citizen) can stay for one year and extend maximum 6 months. This means that I can stay for a total of18 months. What do they mean “after 36 months”? Does it mean that the 6 month extension can be given muliple times?

    Regards / Antonio

  74. Hello, my wife and I acquired foreign citizenship but we are planning to visit the Philippines at least twice a year with a total stay of 6 months. Can the balikbayan visa program still apply to us or do we need to apply for the re-aquisition of our Philippine citizenship.

    Thank you.

  75. Can i use a copy of the Marriage Contract and can my wife not be with me? i am flying to visit her for the year before going back to work. please help i leave in early May. Thanks so much.

        1. Short vacation will NOT do. She has to be out of the country at least a year to avail of BB status. She also needs to have a greencard or OFW card.

          1. False! I am a foreigner and my wife is a Filipina. We went from Manila to Japan and Malaysia last year for less than 7 days and when we arrived in Manila, Immigration stamped my passport with a 1 year BB visa. Just show them the marriage certificate and have your spouse with you.

    1. No you cannot, balikbayan visa can be only given to you once you come to the Philippines with your wife. so if you want to stay longer , you can com for 1 month visa the travel in a nearby country with your wife then apply for balikbayan visa, dont forget your marriage certificate with you. they will ask the proof.

  76. Hi, do we need to go to the Philippine embassy to avail this balikbayan program? I’m here in California. If so, what are the requirements? Thank you!?

    1. You dont need to, that can be issued upon arrival, come with your filipina/filipino wife with marriage certificate and thats it.

  77. Hi, this coming June my husband, son and I will be traveling home. I have dual citizenship. My husband and son are foreign nationals. My son 28 yrs old has disability and planing to stay with me and live in my home town. Do he have to obtain visa here. Or I can ask for BB for both husband & son?

  78. Hi,
    So i have entered the country using my british passport before I realised i only have 29 days to stay. We intend to stay for a year or so, so start reading online on ways how to extend and then i found your blog.

    Two questions:
    The officer upon presenting my uk passport asked for my ph passport, does it mean that he gave me a balikbayan visa?

    If not, can i still apply for it even i have left the airport already?

    Thank you for this informative blog. Really helped alot.

  79. Hi, my balikbayan visa expires feb 12 -2018 I have a ticket to fly out on the 9th of feb. Can I board a flight the following day and start my 12 month stay again?

  80. Hello,

    Great article and thank you. Does this allow the spouse to engage in any activity other than tourism such as finding a job, or is it purely for social visit only?

  81. Hi,
    Does anybody know whether a Balikbayan visa is a “multiple entry” visa? I have tried to find the answer to this but I have never seen it answered anywhere.
    What I mean is this: If I return to Philippines together with my Filipino spouse (we have been married 24 years and lived in Saudi Arabia for many years), then I believe I can get a Balikbayan visa at that time. But my question is about what happens next time I leave the Philippines and then return? Does my one-year Balikbayan visa remain valid when I leave so that I can enter again on the same one-year visa? Or is it the case that the visa becomes void once I exit Philippines?
    So can I re-enter on the same Balikbayan visa or does my spouse need to be travelling with me each time I exit and re-enter?
    I travel very frequently back and forth to Philippines but my spouse is not always with me when I re-enter.

        1. Hi Kach, thought I’d reply to this comment as I have a similar situation.

          My mother was born Filipino but has British citizenship, my father is British and I am British. We normally go to Cebu in October, which is fine because I can avail the BB stamp when travelling with her, but I would like to stay a little longer. You mentioned above that if someone like me is to leave the Philippines (after receiving the BB stamp) and re-enter, the BB stamp no longer counts and it would be the standard 30 days.

          My question is, what would be the best option for me? Would it be easier for me to apply for a 6 month visa (once I’m there) given that I am half filipino by blood OR should I go down the dual citizen route? Or is there another option?

          I know I definitely want to travel in that period, as the idea behind my trip was that I’d be so much closer to other south east asian countries so the Philippines would act as a bit of a home-base.

          My worry is that if I go with the first option, I’d be travelling on a one-way ticket and may not be allowed to board because I wouldn’t have proof of an onward journey. My other option is to book all the trips to other south east asian countries roughly 30 days apart in advance – but taking into account other costs such as accommodation, this might get expensive to do all at once!

          Thanks for your help, and I hope my question helps someone else!

          1. Since you are half Filipino, then you are a Filipino. You just need to apply for a Filipino passport in the embassy.


      1. They are just calling it Balikbayan visa but you’re correct, it should be Balikbayan Program and NOT visa. The Balikbayan Program, as instituted by Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174),

    1. once you leave the philippines your balikabayn visa will automatically cancelled. You would have to come again with your wife with marriage certificate.

  82. Hi me and my husband plnanning to visit philippines this march..im thinking if they can give him a balikbayan visa

      1. Yo, Wolfgang I just came into the country with Red 1 year Balikbayan visa. You are wrong. There very much is one.

  83. Hi guys,
    I have a question regarding this subject. What if one of the children is planning to stay longer in the Phillipines than the Filipino citizen? For example Child, Belgian nationality, and Mother, Philippine nationality, travel to the Philippines. The Mother stays for 6 weeks, but the child stays for 8 weeks. Is the Balikbayan still valid for those 2 remaining weeks if the mother is already out of the Philippines?


    1. Yes. My wife , kids and I arrive together and each get the BB exemption and leave at different times as we have different work/school commitments. Never creates a problem. So long as you leave before the 1 year expiration date in your passport they don’t track who came into the country with you.

  84. hello, my wife is a Filipino and I’m a foreigner. we are planning to visit the Philippines; however my wife has not yet finished one year outside Philippines. Would she be counted as a balikbayan if she did not yet finished one year abroad, and do I need a visa as foreigner if I’m traveling with her to Philippines?


  85. Hi. Thank you for posting this. I was in the Philippines last May 2017 with my husband and I’m planning to return in April 2018 with my baby for a 5-month vacation. I am worried that they might not issue a balikbayan stamp for my baby because it is less than a year that I’m out of the Philippines. Do you think it will be okay? I’ve been living in the UK since September 2016. Thank you in advance! ? Hoping to hear from you soon.

    1. It will be okay since when you return to the Philippines in April 2018 which will be more than a year residency for you in the UK (you said you arrived in September 2016)

  86. Very helpful post. Thanks.
    However do this regulation still applies.?
    a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one year.

    I was in Ph last Feb 2017. My newborn son, husband and I will come back in Ph this coming December. I am afraid they will not issue balikbayan stamp since it is less than a year I am out of ph. Thank you in advance for your response. 🙂

  87. Hi Kach,

    Thank you for posting this. My husband has enjoyed this one-year visa-free balikbayan stay stamp on his passport every time we go for a vacation and he comes home with me. I tailgate behind him (hehehe) at the immigration counter and present a copy of our marriage certificate to get the visa-free stay without questions from the immigration officer.

    I’m glad I found your blog. I’ve long been wanting to start a travel blog and to live a life of travel so you are an inspiration to say the least.

  88. Good job Kach, I would emphasize you must travel together and I recommend going thru the customs counters together too! My wife once chose a different counter than me and the agent didn’t want to stamp me “balikbayan”!

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.