Moving back to the Philippines! Need help!

Flordeliza sent me a message today regarding her pending move to the Philippines with her American husband.

Here is Flordeliza asked:

Hi Bob,

My husband is medically retired from the US Army and we are planning to retire in the Philippines. This is probably a question that was asked before but I need to clarify for myself .I am planning to apply for my dual citizenship and I wanted to know if I needed to get my philippine passport as well? I live in New York and I plan to go back to the PI in September of 2011. I know it takes 10 weeks in order for the passport to get here, and I worry that I wont get it in time. Also with the balikbayan visa, my husband is entering the country with me, so is the only requirement our marriage certificate or should I get a report of marriage notorized in the Philippine Consulate here in NY? Thanks Bob and I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Hi Flordeliza,

Thanks for your note, and congratulations on your coming move to the Philippines.  Please thank you husband for his service to the United States!

Basically, what I would advise to you is to get your Dual Citizenship, and get your Philippine Passport.  If you enter the Philippines on your US Passport, then you are treated as a foreigner here, legally.  So, you will have to leave the country after a certain time, have to pay Visa fees and such, just like any other tourist.  So, you certainly should get your Philippine Passport and enter the country using that Passport, giving you the rights and privileges of any other Philippine Citizen.

As for your husband, why don’t you apply for a 13(a) Visa for him?  A 13(a) is a resident visa and he can stay here for as long as he likes, no worries about renewing visas, having to leave the country or anything else.

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If you really want your husband to get a Balikbayan Visa, just request it upon entry, but remember that it is only good for 1 year, though, then he will have to leave, or convert it to a tourist visa.

Good luck on your move, Flordeliza!


  1. says

    13a is a great way to go especially if you plan to live here and ship your household goods. It’s easiest and cheaper to get everything in the US. Once in Manila, have your husband apply for his permanent resident status. It takes about 2-3 hours. Then you can submit a letter to dept of Finance to request tax free shipment of your household goods. I found it best to hire a broker to handle all the shipping affairs to include Dept of Fin…Oh b4 I forget. We had to get a passport for our son and were worried about not getting it back on time so we learned that you could do an expedited one if it was close to the time you are leaving. Approx 1-2 weeks. They had it done when they said they would, 3 days.

    • says

      Hi Travis – Thanks for stopping by at my new site. I agree with you, get the 13 series visa in the States, it is less hassle. Also, you can ship your stuff immediately after getting the 13 series visa and it’s tax free. The law allows up to $7,500 of goods tax free, although I found that they don’t really check the value. As long as you don’t have any contraband items, they seem to accept any size shipment without any taxes.

  2. says

    Hi. I just wanna ask if what should i do of going back to the philippines. I arrived here last december 29 of 2012. I have a plan, im applying for a job now and i should work for 1 year before im going back to my country which is in the philippines. I just wanna ask if what should i do? I am a green card holder now . Can i visit the philippines ? What papers do i need? Oh by the way, i have a passport but it will expire this coming march. Im planning to apply american passport . Is it okay forbgoing back to my country? I want to stay there for 6 months. Please, i need your answers through yahoomail.

    Thank you so much.

    • says

      Hi Angela – You do not qualify for a US Passport, since you are not a US Citizen. You need to renew your Philippine Passport. Also, if you have only been in the USA for about 1 month, and you leave and go back to the Philippines for 6 months, I would guess that your green card will be revoked.

  3. says

    Where should i go to renew my philippine passport?

    My plan is, ill work here for 1 year and i want to visit philippines just for 4 to 5 months. Would that be possible? What should i do? If example, i only have us passport . What should i need to visit my country? I have a green card now. Please help me . Im looking forward for my plans.

    Okay here, i want to make it clear.
    Since im still looking for a job. my plan is I’ll be working here for 1 year and after that i want to visit philippines . But my passport will expire next month . My tito is planning to have my us passport . Can i use the us passport to visit my country? I am a green card holder now. Can i sign the I-130 ? So that they will believe me for not abondoning my residence here in us if ever ill visit my country next year . What should i do? Please help me.

    Thank you.

    • says

      You should renew your Philippine Passport at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate that serves your area. You keep talking about your US Passport.. but you say you are a green card holder. Green card holders cannot get a US Passport. Passports are only for citizens. You are not eligible for a US passport and will not be until you become a naturalized US Citizen.

  4. Share says

    Hello Bob!
    Thank you for all your knowledge shared and services. Need to ask. My husband and I both dual USA and Phil.citizens with our small kids are scheduled to move back for time being, hoping for good in Phils. Very soon. We are both in our early 40s and been here in USA for almost 20yrs. And want to live and raise our kids and enjoy life back in our native country. My question, 1st-a lot of preparations but, 1st Taxes-IRS, what do we do if we still have remaining property in USA ( want to keep our property for 1-2 yrs. to test grounds if everything works out) and home base business in USA, 2nd- want to take our early retirement accts. with huge penalty I believe, thought about it, and we want use this hard earned money for our future here in Phils. start our lives and our kids future, instead of waiting for our retirement in USA which we do not want wait. 3rd- our important mails and bills in USA? How can we redirect those important MAILs if we are not here in USA?

    • says

      Hello Share – So, you are ready to make the move! Good luck to you! Here are my answers to each of your questions:

      1. As a US Citizen, even if you sell your property, you will always have to pay US taxes, no matter where you live. Any money that you earn anywhere in the world will be taxable by the USA.

      2. Not sure I see any question there. If you want to take your money from your retirement accounts early, you can do it, but indeed, there are heavy penalties for doing so.

      3. Set up a mail forwarding account with a company like My US, they will send it to the Philippines for you.

      Good luck with your move, and enjoy life in the Philippines.

  5. Share says

    Thank you Bob! Appreciate your input, indeed a big move but with Gods’ grace, in His perfect time we can do it.

  6. Cynthia says

    Hi Bob!

    I came across your site and I would like to few questions too about moving back in the Philippines.

    My husband and I are moving back in the Philippines and our target date is this coming November. After recovering from Breast Cancer, we decided that maybe its time to start a new life back home. He is a US citizen and I’m in the process of getting my dual citizenship. After seeing your post about the 13(a) visa I will surely apply for my husband’s 13(a)visa.

    My questions are, what fees do we need to pay to claim our cargo in the Philippines, how can we avail exemptions? We are shipping our few furniture’s and most of his work tools so he can start a small business. I am starting to worry that the fees will be more than the value of our old goods.

    I will greatly appreciate your advice.

    Thanks and God bless!

    • says

      Hello Cynthia – Given that you will be a Philippine Citizenship when you move back (since you said you are in the midst of getting your dual citizenship) and also because of your husband’s 13a Visa status, you will be allowed to bring your household goods, up to $7,500 in value to the Philippines duty free. In most cases, even if you go over $7,500 in value, no custom duties are charged.

  7. Cynthia says

    Hi Bob again!:)

    I was told that I have to pay a TARA to claim my stuff at the Philippine port. Do you know anything about this? Because I was told that it will be around P160,000 to 180,000 pesos to claim my stuff. I’m starting to get confused about this. pls your advice will be greatly appreciated.



    • says

      Hi Cynthia – I brought in 2 container loads when I came, and I know many people who brought in large amounts as well. I have never heard of anybody needing to pay anything. Just make sure that you are entering the Philippines as a Balikbayan or have a 13 series resident visa. An SRRV also allows for duty free shipment of your goods.

      • Cynthia says

        Thank you Bob!

        Your website is really a great help! I told my husband about your website and he is very grateful for your help too. Hopefully our moving will not be that stressful!:)


  8. leynes says

    Hi bob!

    I would like to ask, regarding Auntie is a dual citizenship US & Philippines ..she already retired from America then she go back in the Philippines last march 2013 ..then now she planning to go back to US again by next year..

    My question is, is their anything she need to pay to US or Philippines embassy? Or any where regarding of her citizenship..except for her plane ticket & travel tax..

    Thank you and I’ll wait for you response ..


  9. says

    Hi bob,
    I am a philippine citizen living here in US with a 10 year green card ,my question is i am planning to live again in the philippine maybe after 10 years from now,do i really need to apply for philippine dual citizen?

    Thank you,and i’ll wait for your response

    • says

      Hi Aby – You certainly are not required to. For example, I live in the Philippines and I am not a citizen – I am a US citizen. However, since you are a former citizen, you have the right to dual citizenship, and there is no harm in doing so. I believe you should take advantage of all of your rights and get the dual citizenship. There is no downside to it. If you don’t, it will be somewhat of a hassle to live here.. you will have to get visas, pay fees for your visa each year, etc. But, it is not required, and your decision to make.

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