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Moving to the Philippines Part 1 (Manila)


Figured this might help for those looking to move to the Philippines.

First of all, when moving to the Philippines, if you wish to ship a vehicle of any kind (Motorcycle or car), you must first apply for paperwork through the Philippines to ship the vehicle before shipment or your vehicle might be withheld at Customs. I didn’t ship a vehicle so I don’t know the whole procedure. This is what I got from my shipping company in reference to shipping a vehicle:
Prior to shipping, Authority/Clearance to import must be acquired to avoid seizure/penalty. Currently, only returning residents and diplomats are allowed this permission. An import permit can be processed through the Bureau of Import Services, Department of Trade, Manila. Personal documents are required plus Import Authority, stencils of chassis/engine numbers, Commercial invoice or deed of sale, car registration certificate, and separate OBL (if car is shipped in the same container as the household goods). (For more info website: Protected content

For shipping pets, you must make sure all vaccinations are good 30 days prior to flying. Put a chip in your pet which will also help. You will also need an import document, info below:
Procedures in Applying for Import Permits
• Write the Director of Bureau of Animal Industry (above address) for issuance of Import Permit. In the application letter, indicate the number of animals to be imported, the sex, age and breed; and also the possible date of arrival, mode of transport – aircraft / flight number.
• To apply online for an import permit for pet dogs and cats, please visit the official website of the Department of Agriculture, Protected content .
• Upon receipt of the application, the BAI will process and issue the Import Permit and immediately send the same to the applicant by mail or by facsimile.
• Payment of Import Permit Issuance Fee of P100.00 and Quarantine Inspection Fee or Landing Permit Fee of P250.00 will be made to the Quarantine Office upon arrival at port of entry. (Fees are subject to change without prior notice).
I actually got away from having to have this document but the airlines at Inchon gave me a hard time about flying in with my pet without the Import Docs. We went back and forth for about a good hour or so. Wish I knew about the Import Doc cause I probably would have preferred to do that than worry about having to leave our pet. Now, 10 days prior to flying get a health certificate at your local vet (less than $10). On the day flying out, make sure to check in at least Protected content early at the Quarantine Office. Give them the shot records and health certificate; they will issue you another document. Cost another Protected content won. Take your health certificate, Import Doc, and Quarantine Doc and check in your bags. Now if your flight happens to be a small plane like mine flying to Clark International, then you should bring a soft carrying case for your pet. You will not be able to fly your pet via Cargo. If your fling into Manila then you can fly it Cargo but if you have a connecting flight then it might not be able to fly Cargo after that. You will have to somewhat buy your pet a plane ticket, less than 60K won. Once you land, you will have to present all your documentation again to Customs and pay roughly Protected content ($6.25) and another Protected content for the import doc ($2.50).
If you are shipping your items under your own accords then all items are subject to a 15% Duty and 12% Tax. If you plan to apply for a 13A visa because you are married to a Filipina then all items can be processed through customs without taxes. Documents required for customs:
• Original Passport with approved/stamped 13A or 13G visa
• Affidavit of legal ownership (provided by shipping company)
• Authorization letter (provided by shipping company)
• Original or NSO copy marriage certificate (make sure you get two NSO copies if possible for future paperwork)
• Original or NSO copy birth certificate (your birth certificate, not your wife’s)
• Alien registration Certification (ACR card)(This is part of getting your 13A visa so you will get this after your 13A visa is approved)
• Tax Account Number (TIN number)(Can apply at your local Bureau of Internal Revenue once in the Philippines)

The biggest issue is that all your items have to arrive within Protected content of you landing in the Philippines. I put my items in storage for 30 days in my local country and then had them ship it to the Philippines. This gave me the needed time to process all the documentation prior to my items arriving, roughly a 55day window (13A visa will take over 30days to process, I started my application on Feb 27th and am scheduled to pick it up on the 11th of April). If your items arrive prior to you having all the required documentation then they can put it in storage at the port till your visa is approved. Only problem is that you will have to pay port fees which can get very expensive. It would almost be cheaper to pay the duty and taxes on your shipment than pay the storage fees at port.

All documentation will be returned to you so submitting originals is OK.

Before flying to the Philippines, you are required to have an exit flight out of the Philippines even if you intend to become a resident of the Philippines. The immigrations in the Philippines didn’t give me a hard time but the airlines in Inchon, S. Korea didn’t want to let me fly to the Philippines without an exit ticket. They almost didn’t let me fly to the Philippines. I even tried to buy a ticket at the airport to fly out of the Philippines but for some strange reason, you cannot buy a ticket at the airport. They told me that I had to buy my ticket in the Philippines but then again they wouldn’t let me fly into the Philippines to buy it. It’s a Korean thing I guess. If you want to avoid the headache, prior to going to the airport, get with a travel agent and buy a ticket flying out 20 days after you land going to Singapore or some other close, cheap flight. I think it was running around $150 to fly from Manila to Singapore or Saipan, can’t remember. Once you land, you can try to cancel your ticket and get back most, not all of your money.
If you are flying in with your wife to the Philippines, make sure that you and your Filipino wife approach the immigrations officer together when flying in so that you get a Balikbayan visa stamp. This gives you a visa good for a year. If your wife approaches the immigrations officer by herself then you follow suit, the officer may not know that you are together and will only give you a 21 day tourist visa. This can cause a problem when trying to get your 13A visa because you will have to request an extension on your initial 21 day visa to complete the 13A visa which will easily take over 30 days to process. Like I said, I started the initial application on the 27th of February and was scheduled to pick it up on the 11th of April Protected content .

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