SRRV: How to Apply and Benefits of Retirement Visa in the Philippines

SRRV – Are you wondering how to apply for a retirement visa in the Philippines? You are not the only person who fantasizes about spending your golden years basking in the warm rays of the sun in the Philippines. It has a beautiful tropical climate and a welcoming community, making it a favourite destination for retirees from the United Kingdom, USA, Canada and other Western countries.

The cost of living is relatively inexpensive, and the country itself is stunningly beautiful, boasting some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world.

However, in order to retire in the Philippines, you will first need to obtain a Philippine retirement visa from the Philippine government. In this section, we will discuss everything that you need to know, including how to apply, the documents that you will need, and the cost of the service.

If you are a Filipino citizen married to a foreign partner, you may apply for another type of visa. Read more about it here: 13A Visa: How To Apply For A Residence Visa For The Spouse Of A Filipino Citizen 

What is SSRV?

You can apply for a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SSRV) if you are at least 35 years old and want to retire in the Philippines. You are permitted to reside indefinitely in the Philippines with unrestricted access to and departure from the country if you have been awarded an SRRV by the Philippines Retirement Authority (PRA). You will be given a PRA ID card once the permit has been issued to you, and this card needs to be renewed every year.

SRRV Special Retirement Visa in the Philippines
SRRV Special Retirement Visa in the Philippines

The program allows participants to obtain a resident visa in three different ways: if they have a pension, if they make a deposit at a local bank, or if they do both.

You will need to obtain an Alien Employment Permit in addition to this visa to be legally permitted to work in the Philippines (AEP).

If you participate in this program, you will also be exempt from paying income tax on your pension and annuities. In addition, you will be exempt from paying customs duties on the importation of household goods and personal effects worth up to US$7,000. You will be exempt from paying travel tax if you remain in the Philippines for less than one year from your most recent entry date.

The SRRV is the most straightforward and hassle-free long-term stay visa available in Southeast Asia thanks to the government’s unwavering support of the Philippines, its low financial requirements, and its minimum age requirement of only 35 years old.

If you are a dual Filipino citizen married to a foreign partner, you may apply for a Balikbayan Visa. Read more about it here: How to Get A Balikbayan Visa for Foreign Spouse and Filipino Dual Citizen 

How do I get a retirement visa in the Philippines?

You can apply for a retirement visa if you are a foreign national or a former citizen of the Philippines who is at least 35 years old, does not have a criminal record, and does not currently have a court case pending against you.

Suppose you have previously violated Philippine immigration laws by overstaying in the Philippines or breaking them in another way, and you are currently subject to a Block List Order (BLO), you are not eligible to apply for an SSRV.

Below are the steps to apply for a retirement visa in the Philippines.

Step 1. Choose your SRRV

Step 2: Open a USD bank account

Step 3: Submit the required documents

Step 4: Submit completed documents to the PRA head office

Step 1: Choose your preferred SRRV

Four distinct types of SRRVs are made available by the Philippine Retirement Agency (PRA).

1. SRRV Smile

If you are healthy, active, and able to deposit $20,000 in an approved Filipino retirement account and keep it there until you choose to cancel your SRRV, the Smile visa is the easiest. Please know that anyone between the ages of 35 and 49 is eligible to apply.

The Smile program, in contrast to other SRRV programs, does not give you the option to invest any of your funds in a business venture. On the other hand, it is not particularly complicated. Your deposit of $20,000 gives you the right to live in the Philippines for an annual period that can be extended, and you can pay additional fees for dependents. 

Medical clearance and a clean record with the police in the Philippines are about as stringent as it gets in terms of the requirements to apply for the job.

2. SRRV Classic

Because it allows for greater flexibility, the Classic visa is likely the one that is chosen by retirees more often than any other type of visa. Applicants between the ages of 35 and 49 can obtain the Classic visa by depositing a minimum of $50,000. In contrast, applicants 50 years old or older can qualify with a deposit of just $10,000 if they demonstrate a guaranteed monthly income of $800 for individuals or $1,000 for couples. Those over the age of 50 who are unable to provide evidence of a regular income can still obtain the visa by depositing $20,000.

Your pension from Social Security is included in the guaranteed monthly income category. The Social Security Administration’s yearly letter outlining your benefit amount serves as adequate documentation of your income. The United States Embassy in the Philippines has employed staff members trained to assist you with Social Security services due to the large number of retirees who live in the Philippines and applicants who want to retire in the Philippines. 

You have the option of having your check delivered to the Embassy, where you can pick it up, or setting up direct deposit to a bank in the United States; however, you are unable to have your check deposited in a bank that is located within the Philippines at this time.

The SRRV Classic program is one of a kind because it allows you to turn your initial deposit into an investment, including an investment in a condo that is already ready for occupancy (no pre-sale purchases of condos). However, a minimum of $50,000 is required for your deposit to be considered convertible.

3. SRRV Courtesy

The Courtesy visa is available to former Filipinos who are 35 years of age or older, as well as to foreign nationals who are 50 years of age or older who have worked in the Philippines as diplomats, ambassadors, officers, or staff members of an international organization (such as the UN or the Asian Development Bank).

However, if they only want to live in the Philippines, you could save thousands of dollars by having your spouse apply for a Courtesy visa instead and listing you as a dependent in their application. If you are married to a former Filipino citizen who lost citizenship, you could reclaim your citizenship through the Philippines dual citizenship program.

With the lower deposit requirement of just $1500 and the application fees ($1400 for the primary applicant and $300 for the spouse), you could get two residencies in less than two weeks and for less than $3500. This is a good deal, even compared to the $10,000 down payment needed for the Classic visa.

4. SRRV Human Touch

Applicants with pre-existing (non-contagious) illnesses who might require medical and/or clinical assistance are eligible for this option. The requirements include a health insurance policy accepted in Philippine hospitals, a monthly pension of at least US$1,500, and a visa deposit of at least US$10,000.

The visa applicant and up to two dependents, such as spouses or children, are covered by the deposit. Visas are issued only to the applicant. For each additional dependent, an additional deposit of USD 15,000 is required. These deposits also have the potential to be turned into investments.

If you decide against investing with your funds, you will be able to get your deposit back when you exit the SRRV program or switch to a different visa category.

Step 2: Open a USD bank account

Applicants for the SRRV are required to open a time deposit account in the amount needed for their chosen visa option in the currency of the United States Dollar in any bank that the Philippine Retirement Authority has approved. The bank will issue a time deposit certification of inward US dollar remittance; this certification is required for the steps that come after it.

You may open an account with the following banks. 

  • Philippine National Bank – all branches 
  • Unionbank of the Philippines – all branches
  • Bank of Commerce – all branches 
  • Development Bank of the Philippines – all branches
  • Banco de Oro – only at the Pacific Star branch and Cebu IT Park branch
  • Shinhan Bank – only at RCBC Savings Corporate Center branch
  • KEB Hana Bank – only at Paseo de Roxas branch

Step 3: Submit the required documents

Please submit the following documents to the Philippine Embassy or Consulate to have them authenticated on behalf of the principal applicant, accompanying spouse, and/or dependents. Please note that a simultaneous English translation is required for all documents.

  • You will need an accomplished PRA application form
  • Bring your original passport with valid entry status.
  • You must present a medical examination clearance. 
  • You should have a clearance from the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or you may present a police clearance from your country of origin. 
  • To be safe, prepare eight copies of 1″x1″ and 2″x2″ ID pictures. 
  • You will need the bank certification issued in STEP 2 
  • If you have stayed in the Philippines for more than 30 days from the last date of entry prior to applying for an SRRV, you will need an NBI clearance. 
  • For retiree spouses, their marriage certificate. 
  • For dependent children, their birth certificate(s).

Most of the documents you will be asked to provide should be originals. They may need to be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consular Office, most convenient to your location.

Processing and service fees are 

  • For the principal applicant (one-time): USD 1,500 
  • For the spouse and each dependent. (one-time): USD 300
  • For the annual fee for a PRA ID card (The first year is free.): USD 10

STEP 4: Submit completed documents to the PRA head office

Please bring all your authenticated documents to the PRA Head Office, located on the 29th floor of the Citibank Tower on Paseo de Roxas in Makati City, Philippines 1227, so they can be evaluated.

After approval has been granted, the PRA will send your original passport along with your documents to the Bureau of Immigration so your passport can be stamped with your SRRV.

What Happens To The Retirement Visa Deposit?

If you decide to withdraw from the SRRV Program, your deposit will be returned to you. The amount of work that is behind schedule at the PRA will determine how much time it takes to return the deposit. In practice, the PRA’s documented Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) states that the process should take 15 to 20 business days, but waiting a couple of months is not unusual.

Take note that you have to send PRA an advance notice (30 days) if you plan to quit the program.

How much does a retirement visa cost?

It is essential to be aware of the two direct costs associated with the Philippine retirement visa. The first item is the fee for applying. The primary applicant will be required to pay 1,400 USD1 (approximately 1,015 GBP) and 300 USD1 (about 217 GBP) for each dependent person included in the application.

The second fee is annual; because of this, you will be required to pay a total of 360 USD1 (approximately 261 GBP) per year for all applicants on the SRRV.

What are the Benefits of a Retirement Visa?

Every one of the distinct programs has access to the same set of benefits and entitlements.

– Including your spouse and one child under the age of 21 who is not married to either you or your spouse on the initial application and deposit amounts is possible. After that, you are free to add as many dependents as you want, so long as you pay an additional deposit of $15,000 for each.

– There are not many restrictions placed on nationalities. They are willing to basically accept anybody who is able to make the necessary deposit.

– There are no requirements for exit clearance or re-entry permits at this time.

– It is possible to obtain permanent residency. There is no need to make any additional arrangements to extend your stay beyond paying the annual fee of $360. (which covers three family members).

– Obtaining the ACR I-Card (Alien Certificate of Registration Immigration Card) from the Bureau of Immigration is no longer a requirement. 

– If it has been less than a year since the date of your last entry, you will not be required to pay the Travel Tax for this trip. 

– Children who are dependent on their parents and are participating in the program do not need to apply for a study permit or student visa.

– Your annuities and pensions will be transferred to you free of tax liability.

– If you decide to back out of the deal, your deposit will be returned to you without fail.

– One-time importation of personal effects and household items valued up to $7,000 that is exempt from taxes and customs duties.

-Help from the PRA to acquire fundamental documents from other government agencies, such as an Alien Employment Permit, a driver’s license, a tax exemption/extension certificate, a tax identification number, and a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

– The interest earned on your deposits made in a foreign currency is exempt from tax and will be paid to you in Philippine Pesos (PHP). You have the option to convert your deposit in a foreign currency into Philippine Pesos; however, a withholding tax will be applied to any interest earned on the deposit.

– Anyone who holds an SRRV has the ability to submit an application for Philippine citizenship; however, in order to do so, they must first have maintained a residence in the Philippines for a period of ten consecutive years.

However, if you have held a government office in the Philippines, established a new industry or introduced a helpful invention, married a Filipino citizen, taught in the Philippines for at least two years, or were born in the Philippines, you can reduce the time to five years. You can also reduce the time if you teach in the Philippines for at least two years.

How much is the bank balance required for the Philippines visa?

No one can answer how much a bank balance is required for a Philippine visa, but the amount should be close to one thousand dollars. 

The Embassy of the Philippines has mandated that this sum be at least one thousand dollars. This indicates that to apply for a tourist visa, you must have a minimum of one thousand dollars in your bank account at the time of application.

An additional requirement stipulates that the total amount of money in your bank account must be at least two thousand dollars if you intend to remain in the country for more than thirty days.

Investment Options

After a 30-day holding period following the issuance of their SRRV, SRRV holders can convert their time deposits into active investments. An SRRV holder can invest their money in a few places, though.

A first investment possibility is a condominium unit. I’ve previously discussed the Philippines’ overheated condo market, but the nation does have Asia’s highest average rental yields at 7.5%, so it is worth your consideration.

Your second choice is to invest your money in a long-term lease for a home, lot, condo, or townhouse that lasts no less than 20 years.

Curiously, your third choice is to buy stock in a country or golf club.

You can switch out one of the three options for one of the other investments after you’ve made your initial investment. The substituted investment’s value must be at least as valuable as the required deposit. Because only Filipinos can typically own land in the Philippines, the investment options are restricted.

There is one way outside of your SRRV investment: you can acquire land if you want to do so but are not married to a Filipino citizen. Foreign investors can fund SEC-registered corporations, which they can use to buy land. The Philippines offer some of the most affordable agricultural land available anywhere, so it is a choice worth considering.

Read more about buying properties here: How to Buy Property in the Philippines (Detailed Guide)

SRRV Special resident retirement visa in the Philippines pin
SRRV: How to Apply and Benefits of Retirement Visa in the Philippines

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Everything Zany Dual Citizen Travel Blog

Everything Zany

Travel Blog

Everything Zany Travel Blog exploring the UK and beyond. Sharing travel guides, tips, history and culture. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Birmingham, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the UK and beyond with a mission to share the best of the world.

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