Applying for a Visa in the Philippines



Also referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines is an archipelago in Asia that has always been a favoured destination of foreign nationals from all over the world. Many international companies are headquartered in this country, and expats whose eyes are set here are required to obtain the appropriate visa and permit for employment purposes. 

In general, a company in the Philippines must first prove that the service of the potential expat employee is significantly needed by the management or operations and there is no equally qualified Filipino that can meet the job requirement. Those who are under a work assignment for less than six months are only required to secure a Special Work Permit while employees who will stay in this country for more than six months should obtain the documents below. 

Alien Employment Permit (AEP) 

Alien Employment Permits are issued by the Department of Labour and Employment and expats can apply for this at the Philippine Consulate/Embassy in their home countries. It is also possible to submit the request through the applicant’s employer who will forward the application to one of DOLE’s regional offices. The AEP is valid for one year and expats who have this permit are free to change employers as long as they notify the authorities in DOLE regarding the changes in their employment status. Keep in mind that Philippine immigration will not issue a 9 (G) work visa unless the applicant can present his Alien Employment Permit. 

9 (G) Visa 

This type of visa is also referred to as the Pre-arranged Employment visa which is valid from one to three years. Foreign nationals who wish to engage in any lawful occupation need to obtain this document from the Bureau of Immigration. The relevant documents that expats must bring during the application are as follows: 

  • Petition Letter from the employer (addressed to the Secretary of Labour)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Passport
  • Alien Employment Permit (AEP) 

While waiting for the issuance of the 9 (G) visa, expats must also apply for a Provisional Work Permit at the Bureau of Immigration. This permit is valid for three months and must be kept by the expat at all times until the employment visa is released. 

ACR I-Card 

Expats who have entered the Philippines under a Tourist or Temporary Visitors visa and have stayed in the country for more than 59 days are required to obtain an Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card). The application form for the ACR I-Card must be presented while applying for a 9 (G) visa. This card is a micro-chip based identification that bears all the essential information of the expat such as his visa type, name, age and date of birth. It also serves as the holder’s Special Return Certificate (SRC), Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) and Re-entry Permit (RP).