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Philippines/Retiring in the Philippines ... challenge ...


QUESTION: Bill & Lorna, I am 53 & a USA citizen.  My partner (who holds a duel citizenship with the USA and Philippines) & I (actually we are legally married in CT & we are aware that the Philippines does not recognize same-sex marriages) will be relocating to the Philippines later this summer, early fall with his family there to manage his mother's apartments--we are hoping it will be permanent if we can get past my challenge of gaining residence in the Philippines.  I would love to take advantage of the SRRV; however, I don't have $20k to put into a savings & I will not be able to retire early until 9 more years where I will have at least $800 coming in from SSA.  Are there exceptions to the time deposit of the SRRV? or is there another approach I should consider until I reach age 62?  Can I work at the embassy & get a work permit? Work anywhere else in the Philippines with a work permit & have permanent residence there?  Now I am greatly appreciating what my partner had to go through to enter the USA.  I don't mean to be blank but what is time deposit anyway?  Obviously a newbie to living outside the USA.  Thank you so much in advance!  Bob

ANSWER: Bob, It's fairly easy to remain a tourist here and costs about U$600 / year extending every 2 months for up to 16 to 24 months before needing to leave the country for even one day to come back and start the whole process over again. I have been here on and off since 1980 but love traveling so except when I arrive with my wife or daughter with Philippine passports and get issued a Balikbayan visa I have been a tourist for decades. I frequently didn't apply for tourist visa extensions for 2 to 4 months late and it's no problem ( P1000 late fee / month )

Work permits are NOT easy to obtain nor is a foreigner getting a job here in the Philippines realistic. Small business ventures can be very profitable after foreign expats adjust to the local market and budgets but of course most likely 4 out of 5 foreigners who invest in small businesses lose their savings / capital within 1 to 5 years. But those who do succeed over a period of years prosper beyond their wildest dreams like us.

Depending on your skills sometimes other foreign and some Filipino business owners do employ foreigners for short term projects or a variety of partime work off the record without work permits. Remember and remind yourself the annual income in the Philippines is U$1000 to U$3000 / YEAR and maybe about double that in the largest cities so don't overvalue your time and skills. Start thinking like two thirds of humanity who live in the developing nations aka third world where credit is not readily available. In other words, turn back the clock about 80 to 100+ years when Americans got paid far less before the power of unions but paid less taxes and lived without so many government regulations. I LOVE the Philippines and the Filipino people and culture. The elderly are taken care of instead of being put in nursing homes, gays and lesbians are accepted and tolerated so much that they are a firm place in mainstream society.

Welcome Aboard!! Mabuhay Philippines!!!

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QUESTION: Bill & Lorna, wow, thank you for such a quick answer and such detail.  Very, very helpful ... may I ask one further question, since I am over 50, have no pension, how does this SRRV process works to invest $20K in property ... such as a condo?  Do you have to time deposit to a bank first, how long? then have PRA approval for a purchase?  I have been a music director and organist for the Catholic church for about 38 years ... we are attempting to communicate with my partner's priest friends to entertain some kind of work visa in a religious institution ... not sure how that will work.  Well, as you can see, I am trying to explore every avenue to be able to move there with my partner.  The tourist visa sounds like the most probably, but want to continue exploring other possibilities.  Again, thank you so very much!  Bob

Bob , You are not required to invest in an overpriced condo or golf course membership to obtain the SRRV; that applies only if you want to use the deposit for such purposes. Otherwise you just maintain the deposit until you reach the age when it's no longer required when you can remove it and use it anyway you prefer. We have an old friend who's lived in Sagada for many years; after their church organist passed away maybe 10+ years ago our friend was able to obtain a visa for him to play the organ at church. I don't know what type of visa it is but that it a possibility. Good Luck, Bill


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Bill and Lorna Collings


Feel FREE to ask us about traveling, living, relocating, retiring and investing in the Philippines. Guests from 93 countries, the latest being a female PHD from Uganda, make our place in Manila an incredible meeting place for world travelers who exchange travel stories. We understand both the joys and the hardships of living and traveling in the Philippines.


I arrived in the Philippines in January 1980 to travel for 2 months; I stayed 4 months before reluctantly leaving. I met my Filipina wife, Lorna. an incredible stellar, "one in a million" individual in 1983 in Seoul and we moved to the Philippines in 1986 and opened our 3BR house to world travelers on a budget. After welcoming thousands of guests from 93 nations our place has grown to 38 bedrooms in 5 townhouse units, 4 of which are attached but will never lose its "Home away from Home" atmosphere. Almost everyday at The Townhouse Hotel there's a party-like social scene with vibrant, almost magical energetic conversations between our guests who have the pleasure to meet each other and share their life's many experiences.Often three groups with conversations in different languages are going on at the same time. So we've been exposed to every kind of person from all over the world and shared their experiences. Since arriving back in the Philippines Nov 2011 from traveling for 8 months my wife and I have been busy buying land, building houses and expanding our Boracay beach front resort, Casa Camilla for 16 months. Hopefully we'll be finished by the end of 2013 with a total of 50 apartments, 44 units for yearly stays and the six units in our house to be saved for short term stays.

Publications,, who asked me to apply with

some college 2-1/2 years - no degree - I've been traveling since I was 18, almost 30 years.

Awards and Honors
Luckily, my wife and I have been semi-retired since we were 30 years old, almost 30 years.

Past/Present Clients
3000 to 4000 world travelers and guests on a budget pass through our guest house style Townhouse Hotel / Hostel each year since 1986 so we do get a lot of feedback and share a lot of experiences with people which we can then pass on to help others with their questions and problems

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