Getting A 13a Visa for My Husband

Today we got a comment and question from Roselyn.

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This is what Roselyn had to say:

You mentioned that you have a 13a Visa. I am researching getting a 13a Visa for my husband when we retire. I am contemplating of taking the early retirement from the University that I worked for. Is it advisable to apply for the 13a Visa for my husband through the Philippine Consulate offices in the U.S. or is it better to apply in the Philippines when we get there?

13a Visa for my husband

This  is John’s reply:

Roselyn: From my understanding, the tradeoff for abroad vs. here is a question of time vs. paperwork. Here, less paperwork is required, but it took me four visits to BI. From what I understand, abroad is much quicker, but you need medical, police clearances in addition. There is old information on the Net that 13a issued abroad skips the probationary period. That used to be the case, and was an advantage to doing it abroad, but as of now, all 13a are probationary regardless of issue, so that benefit no longer applies.


  1. says

    Actually I believe the information about requiring the probationary period when getting the 13a in the US has either changed again, or was never true to begin with.

    I got my 13a in the US in late June and checked in when I arrived here in the Philippines in August of this year. My 13a is permanent and NOT probationary. A friend of mine that moved here a year ago had the same experience as mine.

    I questioned it, but the BI confirmed it – twice, and when my ACR-I arrived it also shows the expiration of the visa as permanent. The ACR-I cards expires after 5 years.

    Given that fact, I felt for me it was worth the extra paperwork (which wasn’t bad) and cost (which was a lot more).

    • says

      Yes, that is correct. I am aware of Randy’s situation. So far, though, the only person I know that experienced this is you, Randy. I can’t be sure that it will happen to all who apply, as enforcement is often on a hit and miss basis in the Philippines. I hope that your experience is the new policy!

      • says

        Do you know anyone personally that the opposite is true for? I’ve not meet anyone that can confirm that the visa they got in the US was ever probationary. I’m not saying it isn’t true, but I was not able to confirm it with those that I asked. Couldn’t find any policy on it either. Seems most get it in the Philippines, anyway though.

        I know two others, Jack & Travis, that were also permanent issued from the US. All of us were within a year or so though.

        I’m just glad mine worked out. Maybe it is one of those “depending upon who you get” things. I don’t know.

        • says

          I have heard stories, but nothing solid. At this point, I think that what you experienced is probably the new way that it is done, but I am not 100% confident on that yet.

          • MartynCC says

            I have just been through the process here in the Philippines. I went through probationary first where they drive you mad with many required waste of time trips and then they did the same again when I went for the permanent. In total there were 14 trips to Immigration and my wife knows what she is doing! All my friends used the services of a ldy who did it all for them and they only needed one visit and cross her hand with a pile of cash…..she then does it all for you and takes away the headache. Good luck and from what I have just read…try and do it in your own country! cheers

  2. says

    I am married to a filipina and want to get a 13a here in usa before i retire from the army. The question is how early can i apply and get it? Iwould lime to get it now but not use it until june 2015……anyone know if i can do that?

  3. TJBECK says

    Hi! I am filipina and I was married to my husband last July 2013 and he use his 21 days during that time then he went back to USA. My question are:1. Is he need to get an extension Visa to stay here in Philippines with me in more than 2 months since I don’t have Visa yet to go to USA with him so what he will going to do is to go back this December 2013 to spend his Holiday with me here in Philippines? If so what Visa and how can he get it? what are those documents needed to present and where he can get it? 2. Is he entitled to use his Balikbayan previlige since we already married last July 2013? If he can what documents he need to present and how? If not when he can avail his Balikbayan previlige? Please help us to understand everything. Thank you very much.

    • says

      Hello, thanks for your comment. here are my answers to your questions:

      1. Your husband can continue to extend a tourist visa for up to 16 months while staying in the Philippines. If he is here for longer than 16 months he will need to leave the country for at least 1 day, then return and start a new 16 month stay.

      2. If your husband wants to stay permanently in the Philippines, since he is married to you (a Philippine Citizen) he is eligible for a 13(a) Resident Visa.

      3. Your husband can get a Balikbayan Visa, you and he will need to leave the country and return together. Make sure that you have your marriage license with you upon return, and request the Balikbayan Privilege when you re-enter the country.

  4. TJBECK says

    Hello! I would like to ask if my husband can apply his extension to stay here in Philippines (since he is not yet use his balikbayan previlige as my husband coz I am just in Philippines and not yet got any Visa to go with him) and no need to buy his returnee ticket at the moment coz his plan he wants to use the 21 days to stay here then apply his extension to stay here more in 38 days. If so how can he apply on it and what are those requirements he need to provide to have this? Please help us. Thank you very much.

    • says

      Hello – Your husband does not need a return ticket, but what he needs to have is an ongoing ticket. A ticket going anywhere in the world, as long as it is outside the Philippines. In the past, they did not ask to see this when you extended your visa, but in the past few weeks, I have heard that they are beginning to ask for this.

  5. TJBECK says

    My husband wants to stay here 59 days can please help us how and where he can get the papers to stay long here in Philippines? Also, is it okay if he won’t get his returnee ticket back to America but he will going to get his returnee ticket when he already here in Philippines so it is okay or not? Then, is it okay if he will going to get his extension to stay here in Philippines and not in America? Please please help us to answer this. Thanks a lot.

  6. Lolita says


    Iam married to an australian and been living in the phils for years husband has his permanent residency now 13A for 3 yrs now. he is living with other woman now who is the godmother of my son.i dont think it is fair that i sponsor him while he is with different woman. I would like to get his 13A be cancelled. how can i do that?

    • says

      You can cancel your sponsorship by simply going to the Bureau of Immigration and requesting to do so. As his sponsor, if you withdraw your sponsorship, his visa will be cancelled.

  7. Francisco says

    Will I be able to fly in and out of the Philippines with a 13A Visa anytime I want? And also from reading the comments I guess it will be easier to get that Visa here in the States. I am planning on going to school in Baguio, and I understand there is also a student visa available for me. Which one would be better, as far as staying there and travelling without any issues? I also have two kids, 3 and 1 years old. What would be the better choice for them? Thanks.

    • says

      Yes, you can come and go with a 13a, that is not a problem. I would not say that one visa is better or worse than another, it just depends on which one fits your needs. The only needs that you have told me is that you need to be able to study here, and to come and go as you please. Either visa will fit those needs. Good luck to you.

  8. phil says

    just a question on the new requirements for the 13 (a) visa. It seems shorter now and it doesn’t show a medical exam if done in the Philippines. Is this true?

  9. Francisco says

    MindanaoBob, you mentioned that a police clearance is required if applying for 13a Visa in Philippines. Where can I get that here in the States before I move there? Can I get one from any police department in my city or is it any other agency that I need to go to? Also, do you know of anything else needed from the States since it might be hard to get once I am there, so I can get it while I am here. My wife and kids will be flying in with me so we can get a Balikbayan visa for up to a year right? Or how long is that good for? Then we will be able to apply for a 13a within that time. Thanks for the info you provide.

    • says

      Hi Francisco – If you are going to apply for your 13 series visa here in the Philippines, what they are looking for is an FBI report. So, you would get that from the FBI office. If I were making the long trip to the Philippines and wanted to be sure I had everything, I would also get a report from my local police department as well, because they do change the requirements regularly. Additionally, I don’t know your situation, but if you are already married to a Filipina, I would personally recommend obtaining the visa from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate there in the States. it is quicker, does not have the probationary period (1 year) and also if requirements are changed you are still there in the States where you can easily get what you need.

      Good luck to you.

      • Francisco says

        Thank you, and yeah I am married to Filipina, ,but the requirements here seem to be more than what I would need in the Philippines. Plus I am in Dallas and the closest consulate would be LA, and it says on their website that I need to have an interview in person, and that is a long way from here just for an interview. At least I think so. I would at least qualify for the Balikbayan visa though right as soon as I land there right?

        • says

          Hi Francisco – Well, to be honest, it is cheaper and much less hassle to apply in the USA than in the Philippines. It will take you many months to get it done in the Philippines, and then you will have to do it all over again after the one year probationary period is over. I believe you are making the wrong move by waiting until you get to the Philippines, but it is your choice.

          You will qualify for a Balikbayan Visa if your Filipina wife enters the country with you, and you have your marriage contract with you when you arrive.

          • Francisco says

            Ah ok… well thanks for the information, and I will probably get it done here. I was unaware that after the one year probation I would have to do it all over again. And yeah we have all those documents with us so I can go that route as well but would have to come to US soil to reset my time.

  10. Jim D. says

    I want to apply for my immigrant visa before we leave the US. I’ve been told conflicting information on which visa I’d qualify for. My wife who is a natural born citizen of the Philippines became a US citizen in 2013. A few months ago she reclaimed her Philippine citizenship and is dual now. Do I qualify for the 13(a) or 13(g) visa?

    Also it’s disappointing to hear that the visa is only good for 6 months after issuance as we wanted to spend a month in California and then 6 months in Hawaii visiting family before we leave.

    When you say it’s faster to get the visa from the US, would you know how long? I.E. would I be able to apply in person and pick up within a couple of days or so?

    Thanks for any info you can provide.

    • says

      Hi Jim – I understand that it is disappointing that the visa must be used within 6 months, but that is fairly standard. Our own country, the USA, has the same policy on visas. So, it is nothing that the Philippines is doing that others are not.

      If your wife is a dual citizen you should apply for a 13a Visa.

      It is faster and easier to do it in the USA. It takes many months to apply in the Philippines, and the visa issued in the Philippines is probationary and must be done again in a year before you will get a permanent visa. If you apply in the USA you get the permanent visa immediately and no need to ever apply again.

      When I did it, it took about 4 weeks to gather all of the things needed, then just a couple days to get the visa.

  11. Mike says

    Hi, I’m an American citizen and my wife is a Filipino citizen, we have been married for almost 2 years. I’m planning to move to the Philippines with my wife because I don’t meet the income required
    to bring her here to the U.S. and we cant find a joint sponsor. Could someone please tell me everything I need to obtain the permanent visa for the Philippines? And do u think I could pass the interview at the
    Philippines Embassy and get approved a permanent visa if I have all our documents in order, like medical records, police clearance, marriage certificate, passports, ect…even if I can not
    show a monthly income? I can only show that we have some money saved in a joint bank account in the Philippines and that my wife owns a small house. We’re planning to make a small business and live a simple life. Thanks for your time.

    • says

      Hello Mike,

      Thanks for writing! All of the information you are asking is available in my book series “How to Move to the Philippines” which is detailed below.

      If you want to move to the Philippines, there are many things to find out about, and to do in preparation for the move. I have come up with a series of electronic books that will provide you with all of the information that you will need to make the move easy and smooth. There are a total of 31 eBooks in the set, you can find out about each title at my website: How to Move to the Philippines.

      I have a special deal that I want to let you know about, though. The books are $4.99 each, but that can add up if you want the whole set. Because of that, I have a special package that includes all of the books, 31 titles in all. You can get the entire package, which I call the PH Pro Package, for just $39.

      You can find the PH Pro package here:

      I really believe that this package of books will give you all the information you need to make it a successful move. If you have other questions that you don’t find answered in the books, though, you can e-mail me any time for a personal response to your question.

  12. Susan says

    Hi Bob,

    You mentioned above that a Filipina wife can withdraw her sponsorship of her spouse’s 13 A visa. Would you know the process to do so? Are there fees to pay and how long in the entire process? If the foreign husband loses the visa, will this automatically mean he can’t work in th Philippines anymore?


    • says

      Hi Susan – Just go to the BI and tell them that you no longer wish to sponsor your husband for the 13A.

      No, it does not automatically mean that he cannot work, or that he would be deported.

  13. Susan says

    Hi again Bob, Follow up question: what are the grounds for having a foreign spouse deported? How long will the process take and how do I go about this. My husband of 3 years has been emotionally abusing me for the past 6 months and is cheating on me.


  14. Richard Staggs says

    Can I get the 13a on line to send to the USA embacy phillipines. I am married to a philpino and she and I want to retire there this year.

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