I am a British who fell in love with a wonderful Filipina. We are living together in Pampanga with her daughter. Upon extension of my tourist visa at the main office of the Bureau of Immigration, I was informed that I have to exit the Philippines because I have reached the maximum allowable period of extensions. I don’t want to leave the Philippines because I consider this my home. What should I do to stay longer in the Philippines? I could not apply for a spouse visa because my partner is still married to the father of her child. Is it possible that I apply for a fiancé visa?
Dear K. Williams,
Foreigners holding temporary visitor’s visa pursuant to Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and aliens admitted under Executive Order (E.O.) No. 408 may extend their stay in the Philippines for a total stay of 16 months. A foreigner who seeks to extend his tourist visa beyond the 16-month limit should first seek the approval of the Commissioner (Memoran–dum Order No. RADJR-2013-007 or the “Implementation of the Long-Stay Visitor Visa Extension [LSVVE]”). Based from the fore–going, you should abide with the order of the officer of the Bureau of Immigration since, as stated, you have already reached the maximum allowable period for tourist visa extension. However, you may ask the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration for reconsideration to extend your visa. The approval of the Com-missioner is necessary before extensions can be made.
Since your intention is to stay permanently in the Philippines, which you consider your home, it is better if your secure a permanent visa. One of the permanent visas available to foreign national is that given to foreign nationals who are married to a Filipino under Section 13(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Unfortunately, this kind of permanent visa cannot be applied by your fiancée for you because you are not yet married and the said marriage is not possible as of the moment because, according to you, she is still married.
Our country has no fiancé visa but there are other permanent visas which you may apply, to wit: quota immigrant visa; Special Visa Employment Generation (SVEG); and Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). However, this kind of visas requires from you a certain amount of investment in the Philippines before it may be granted, such as the required bank certification of inward remittance amounting to at least US $50,000.00 or its equivalent in foreign currency for applicants of quota visa. On the other hand, if it is really your desire to marry your Filipina partner, you may suggest for the filing of annulment or declaration of nullity of her marriage with the father of her child. When annulled or their marriage is declared as null and void, you may now marry her and she may petition you to have a permanent visa in the Philippines.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are stated.