How to Get A Balikbayan Visa for Foreign Spouse and Filipino Dual Citizen

During my husband’s first visit to the Philippines back in 2011 just after our wedding, we were told by the Philippine Immigration Officer on arrival about the Balikbayan Visa program. It was a surprise for us as we both thought that British citizens can only stay in the Philippines for 30-days visa-free. 

However, this is not the case if you are staying under the Balikbayan Visa or the “BB” mark on your passport. 

Staying in the Philippines for more than 30 days has always been a frequently asked question from my blog readers, who are dual citizens and wish to travel back to the Philippines for an extended number of months. 

Let me share with you our personal experience and things that you need to know in getting a Balikbayan Visa for your foreign spouse, children or for you as a Filipino Dual citizen.

Read More: The Benefits of having Dual Citizenship (Filipino and British)

What is a Balikbayan?

“Balikbayan” is a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for more than one year.   Good examples are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), a former Filipino citizen and their immediate family (spouse and children) that have been naturalised in another country and want to visit the Philippines.

Read More: How To Send Balikbayan Box to the Philippines (New Rules 2019)

What’s a Balikbayan Visa?

Balikbayan visa is a type of visa given to the people who are arriving in the Philippines that qualify under the definition of Balikbayan e.g OFWs, former Filipino citizens and their immediate family.

Balikbayan Visa
Balikbayan Visa: Sample of Balikbayan Visa Passport Stamps

The Balikbayan visa will grant a one-year visa-free balikbayan stay and tax-exempt “Kabuhayan shopping privileges”This special privilege is given as part of the Balikbayan Program instituted by the Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174), to encourage Filipinos and their family to visit their motherland. Also to recognise the hard work and significant contribution they make to the Philippine economy.

Read more: 13A Visa: How To Apply For A Residence Visa For The Spouse Of A Filipino Citizen

What are the rules and who qualifies for a Balikbayan visa?

The Balikbayan visa is applicable to either of the following:

  • Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of time of more than one year.
  • Overseas Filipino Workers
  • Former Filipino citizens and immediate family that had been naturalised.

Immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are nationals of countries falling under EO 408, that are travelling together with the Balikbayan. 

What is Executive Order 408?

The EO 408  grants a No Visa Entry for 30-day Policy.  Provided that their passport has more than 6 months of validity during the point of entry and return or an onward ticket back to their country of origin or to their next destination. 

Read more: Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines During the Pandemic

This Visa-free entry is only given to the citizens of the following countries:

Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria

Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi

Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic

Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia

Fiji, Finland, France

Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana

Haiti, Honduras, Hungary

Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy

Jamaica, Japan

Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan

Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg

Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar

Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway


Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal


Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda

Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, SaoTome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland

Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu

Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan

Vanuatu, Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam

Zambia, Zimbabwe

Citizens of countries NOT mentioned on the above list must secure a visa prior to their visit to the Philippines.

Read More: How To Travel With Two Different Passports As A Dual Citizen

How to get a Balikbayan visa?

Balikbayan Visa Stamps for the FIlipino Balikbayan and dual citizens
Balikbayan Visa: My passport stamps for the Balikbayan and dual citizens

Upon arrival in the Philippines, you will need to provide a valid passport, your previous Philippine passport or supporting documents to prove your previous Filipino citizenship.

  • Cancelled Philippine passport or Philippine Birth Certificate
  • Naturalization paper to show former Philippine citizenship
  • Certification from the adopted country

The spouses and minor unmarried children of former Filipino citizens must present the following documents to the Philippine Immigration Officer at the point of entry:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Marriage certificate (for the spouse)
  3. Birth Certificate (for minor children) or adoption papers (for adopted children

You have to make sure that these documents are readily available upon arrival request of the Immigration officer.  Based on my personal experience, it is advisable to approach the immigration desk together as a group for an easy assessment.  

It is important that the foreign spouse will be travelling with the Balikbayan to avail of the Balikbayan visa. Otherwise, the standard visa rules will apply. 

What are the Balikbayan visa Benefits?

The Balikbayan and their family can enjoy the benefit and privileges as follows: 

(a) Tax-exempt maximum purchase in the amount of One Thousand five hundred United States dollars (US$ 1,500.00) or it’s equivalent in Philippine peso and in other foreign currencies at all government-owned and – controlled/operated duty-free shops subject to the limitations contained in Section 4 hereof;

(b) All domestic carriers shall establish a special promotional/incentive program for the balikbayan;

(c) Visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year for foreign passport holders, with the exception of restricted nationals;

(d) Travel tax exemption as provided under Presidential Decree No, 1183, Executive Order No.283, and other allied laws;

(e) Especially designated reception areas at the authorized ports of entry for the expeditious processing of documents;

(f) Accredited transportation facilities that will ensure their safe and convenient trips upon arrival. The Department of Tourism and the Department of Transportation and Communications and other concerned government agencies are hereby mandated to implement the program for this particular purpose; and

(g) Kabuhayan shopping privilege and additional tax-exempt purchase in the maximum amount of Two Thousand United States dollars (US$ 2,000.00) or its equivalent in Philippine peso and other acceptable foreign currencies; exclusive for the purchase of livelihood tools at all government-owned and controlled/operated duty-free shops.

The total amount of tax-exempt maximum purchase as mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) and (g) of this Section may be used for the kabuhayan program, subject to the limitations.

Tax-exempt limitations for the Balikbayan visa programme?

The Limitations on Tax-exempt Purchases at all Government-owned and Controlled/Operated Duty-Free Shops. – The tax-exempt purchase privilege shall be subject to the following limitations:

(a) Purchases shall be made within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of arrival: Provided, That during the Christmas season, reckoned from November 15 to January 15, the privilege is extended to thirty (30) calendar days from the date of arrival: Provided, further, That said privilege shall be availed of on a one-time shopping basis only: Provided finally, That in the case of senior citizens and handicapped balikbayan, they shall be allowed to enjoy the privilege within one (1) year from date of arrival in the country;

(b) The privilege can be availed of by the balikbayan only once a year;

(c) The privilege is non-transferable; purchases shall be made personally by the balikbayan: Provided,That a balikbayan who has gone back abroad may still avail of the kabuhayan shopping within a maximum period of one (1) year from date of arrival in the country, and that immediate family members of the balikbayan shall be allowed to claim the kabuhayan tools purchased.

Provided further, That an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), duly described as such by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Philippine Overseas Labor Officer or by the embassy/consulate of the Philippines in the country where he or she had been deployed.

Taking into consideration the evidence of remittance, may opt to endorse in writing the kabuhayan shopping privilege to his or her immediate family members within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity residing in the Philippines once within two (2) years from the date of effectivity of his or her contract and only during the duration of the same.

(d) Only a balikbayan of majority age under Philippine laws can enjoy the privilege: Provided, however, That the family members who are minors shall continue to be entitled to purchase privilege not exceeding the allowable tax-exempt limit for arriving passengers; and

(e) In addition to existing limitations on the number of consumables purchased, a balikbayan shall be entitled to buy only one (1) item of every product category of non-consumables whose selling price exceeds Two Hundred United States dollars (US$ 200.00).

How much does a Balikbayan visa cost?

The Balikbayan visa is FREE  to all qualified individuals who will be arriving in the Philippines. 

Would it be possible to get a Balikbayan visa for my foreign spouse?

Yes, it is possible to get a Balikbayan visa for a foreign spouse provided that they will be travelling with the Balikbayan which will comply with the requirements needed in the Balikbayan Visa program. All necessary documents must be provided at the port of entry.  

Is Balikbayan Visa multiple entry?

Yes, The Balikbayan Visa is a multiple entry type of visa. 

How to extend a Balikbayan visa?

You can extend your Balikbayan visa after the one-year visa-free validity. You may apply for a 1-month, 2 months or 6 months extension to the Visa Extension Section of any Bureau of Immigration office. You have to apply for your Balikbayan Visa extension 

You can visit the Bureau of Immigration Main Office in Manila:

Magallanes Dr, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines (Show Map)

Alternatively, if you live outside Manila you can visit other Bureau of Immigration Offices. You can find all the list of Immigration Offices in the Philippines here.

Here is the process on how you can extend your visa:

  1. Secure the CGAF from either at the Public Information and Assistance Unit (PIAU) at BI G/F Main Office or from the official BI Website.
  2. Pay the MR fee at the Cashier and submit the MR and OR and other documents to Central Receiving Unit (CRU) or to the frontline officer or staff of other Immigration Offices able to process this transaction.
  3. Claim the approved MR from the Visa Extension Section and proceed to their counters for release of Order of Payment (OPS).
  4. Pay the fees.
  5. Submit the Official Receipt with the application form, attachments and passport to the receiving/assessment Officer.
  6. Claim the passport stamped with the requested extension of stay.

How much does the Balikbayan extension fee cost?

The Balikbayan extension fee will cost around PHP 500 (For Motion of Reconsideration fee) and PHP 10 for Legal Research fee. 

Administrative Fine (PhP 5,000.00) to be charged every year of overstay. Eighteen (18) months of over stay is considered as two (2) years. BALIKBAYAN is exempted from this fine.

You can download the Tourist Visa extension form here and additional information form if the applicant has children.

What if I overstay in my Balikbayan visa?

In such case that you l overstay in the Philippines while you are under the Balikbayan visa, you are exempted to pay the Administrative fine.

The Administrative Fine (PhP 5,000.00) to be charged every year of overstay. Eighteen (18) months of overstay is considered as two (2) years.

Can I work on a Balikbayan visa?

If you are holding a Balikbayan visa in the Philippines, you are NOT ALLOWED to take any form of work. You need to apply for a 13a Non-Quota Special Working Permit (SWP) (applicable if you are married to a Filipino citizen) if you wish to take any local employment.

The Balikbayan visa program is definitely a great perk to help the OFW and returning Filipino dual citizens and their families. Have you tried to avail the Balikbayan visa on your recent visit to the Philippines?
Let us know your travel experience in the comment box below.

how to get a balikbayan visa guide


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

31 thoughts on “How to Get A Balikbayan Visa for Foreign Spouse and Filipino Dual Citizen”

    • Hi Ryazan
      For the balikbayan privilege for the marriage certificate do they really need the apostille marriage certificate I got married in Hong kong and I am married to Indian citizen and we are living In united Kingdom and we are travelling next Month to philippines do you think we can get the balikbayan privilege thank you!

  1. Hi, thanks for the info.
    I just want to ask. How about my husband is an indian citizen. Is Balikbayan visa applicable for him too?
    We do have marriage certificate apostilled from hong kong.
    Looking forward for your response. Tnq.

  2. Hi Ryazan,
    Upon reaching the immigration booth Where should you fall in line is it under foreign passport holder or Philippines passport holder?
    Thank you,

      • Hi Ryazan
        For the balikbayan privilege for the marriage certificate do they really need the apostille marriage certificate I got married in Hong kong and I am married to Indian citizen and we are living In united Kingdom and we are travelling next Month to philippines do you think we can get the balikbayan privilege thank you!

  3. Hi are we still able to get the visa on arrival . I usually have Balikbayan Visa upon arrival. But because if this Pandemic I don’t know the situation now as I am holding British passport and not have a dual citizenship.
    I know that COVID SWAB TESTING IS A requirement . That I don’t know if I have to secure a visa before travelling. Please advise.

    • It depends on the situation and rules at the time of your travel. At the moment, due to the increasing number of cases in the PH the border is closed to everyone including previous Filipino except for the OFWs. In this case, you will probably need a visa to travel to the Philippines. Once the situation gets better, and the border rules relaxed a bit you can enter again the PH under a Balikbayan visa.

  4. My mother,83 years old, overstayed in the philippines for one year now with australian passport granted balikbayan visa formerly filipino citizen. How must is the cost of visa extension? Her overstayed here in the philippines due to covid-19 pandemic and because of this. Her flight going to australia was always cancelled. May i also know if the immigration office have offer some consideration regarding this kind of situation.

    Thank you so much for your kind attention regarding this matter.

    Benjamin Sy

  5. Hi. If my wife is already living in the Philippines and I travel to stay with her for 12 months, how do I get a balikbayan stamp at the airport if she is not with me. Thanks in advance

    • Hi Max, if you are not travelling with your Filipino spouse, unfortunately, you might need to get a visa from your nearest PH embassy or consulate. Alternatively, you can still carry on to go to the Philippines under 30 days visit and make an exit with your spouse (maybe a short 3 days holiday outside PH). In this way, you can re-enter the Philippines with her again this time with a Balikbayan visa valid for a year.

  6. Hi, im a dual citizen and me and my husband are going home this coming May or June, 2021 under Balikbayan program. As we are under Balikbayan visa can my husband applied for a non- qouta 13A visa(spouse visa).? And ho w soon he can apply. As we are planning to stay longer. Thank you.

    • Hi Joji, I have written a detailed blog post about the 13A Spouse visa. You can typically apply for it as a conversion at the Bureau of Immigration after the BB visa expired. Make sure that you apply 3 months before the expiry date to give you plenty of time in processing the visa.

  7. Hello,, i am married to a foreign but we havent register our marriage in ph, tho i have my marriage cert apoatilled from his home country, we will travel next month, do i have to ask or tell to immigration officer if my husband will be granted balikbayan visa?
    A foreign marriage cert translation (with apostille) will be accepted as a proof of marriage?

  8. Hello, This was very helpful. My mother is in the Philippines and suffering in her age with Parkinsons (80 yrs). I am Australian (living in Los Angeles) and would like to visit her to find a caregiver and have doctors care for her immediately. I entered the Philippines in 1980 as a Balikbayan. I was wondering if I can re-enter in June again as a Balikbayan? Or what do I need to be able to come to the Philippines to care for my mother?
    Thank you in advance for any help.

  9. Hi
    Is an apostilled marriage certificate from Australia acceptable as I see the latest requirements only marriage certificates apostilled from USA are acceptable, all other marriages need to be registered with PSA.

  10. Hello,

    Do I inform the Immigration officer that my husband and I want to avail the Balikbayan Visa or do I wait for the officer to ask us? I can’t find anything online regarding how to get it. I see a lot about benefits and what’s required but not guide on how to get it. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Hi MK, the Immigration officer will automatically give you the Balikbayan visa once you tell him that you are travelling with your husband and you need to approach the desk together. You can queue on the Non-Filipino lane at the airport immigration to be with your husband. Hope that helps!

  11. Hi Rya,
    I share the same surname as you.My name is Rusell.Tristram I’m an Angloindian living in Bombay and i’m married to filipina with three kids.I work in Kuwait and am leaving for Bombay.I could not get my visa on time.Is it possible for me and my wife to meet in Thailand or Singapore and then fly to Manila.Can I avail the balikbayan visa.

    • Hi Russell, I hope you are well. Tristram (my husband’s family name) is an uncommon surname, so lovely to e-meet another Tristram. About your question, Yes, you can meet your wife in Thailand or Singapore provided that you follow all the country’s guidelines and protocol. As for the balikbayan visa, you can automatically have that provided that you travel back to the Philippines with your wife. Kindly approach the Immigration desk together so the officer can give you the Balikbayan visa with no fuss.

  12. Hi Rya,
    This forum are very helpful ,my question is, me and my British husband are travelling to Philippines this Dec for my daughter’s wedding…does he need to secure a visa or can we get balikbayan program once we arrived at the Philippine airport,My husband says Philippine Immigration doesnt give any visas as of the moment, normaly he got 30 days stamp automatic everytime he travel to Philippines,but since this pandemic starts things have changed were so confused if you coud share us some ideas that would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Joan! Congratulations and Best wishes to your daughter. As for the Balikbayan visa, your husband should be ok to enter the Philippines AS LONG AS HE WILL BE TRAVELLING WITH YOU. Since you will be the one who are entitled for the Balikbayan program, your foreign spouse should travel with you. Please approach the Immigration desk together as well.

  13. Hello, I’m Italian and my wife is Filipino.
    Knowing that Italy is included in the “red list” of countries whose citizens are not able to enter the Philippines, I would like to know if Italian citizens under the Balikbayan Program (RA6768), as spouses of Filipino citizens, will be able to enter by travelling together. My words are written because of doubts due to the following rule: ….. “for Filipinos returning from Italy during this period they can only reenter the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights, subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for Red List countries. “

  14. Hi,
    We used Bb for my daughter getting last 2010. She was only 2 months old that time.
    I have paid her first Yr after the BB visa expired but only her father is picking her up going back to UK this March. I am told at the BI that I have to pay 25k estimate not including penalty per year!!! She’s not dual. I still have my Filipino citizenship. Do you any idea what form to use and how much I need to pay? Your immediate reply much appreciated. Thanks

  15. I am very impressed by the high level and accurate information in your blog. Very informative and easy to understand. Ryazan I hope you can help me to find answer to the following: My wife is a Filipina with dual citizenship. When I travel with her, I always got BB 1 year visa at the entry. This time my wife need to return to Norway before me, and I will stay to finalize the sale of our property there. Am I allowed to stay behind? by return ticket will show different from hers.

  16. Hello po Miss Ryazan, tanong lang po. Me and my husband just got Naturalized in the US and we are planning to stay long in the Philippines, but we are not yet dual citizens. My question is, do we need to provide or get a return ticket first when entering the Philippines?

    • Yes, it is advisable to have a return ticket with you. You are only entitled to a Balikbayan Visa which will guarantee you a 1-year stay in the Philippines. Otherwise, you can sort out an extension with DFA or even possibly get your dual citizenship back while you are in the Philippines. All the best!


  17. Hello Ryazan,

    I arrived in Philippines in july 2022 and got a balikbayan until july 2023 for me and my son of 1 year old.
    In October I will travel in France for one month.
    Some foreigner told me that my balikbayan visa will be canceled from the moment i leave the philippines…
    Is it true? My balikbayan won’t be anymore good when i will come back with my son and wife?
    I apologize for my poor english…hoping you could understand
    Thank you for your answer



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