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Philippines/Travel to Philippines with white collar Felony


QUESTION: I called the embassy In Wash, DC and they told me they won't give a visa to anyone with a fraud conviction. Mine was in 1996 and no trouble since then. When I go with my passport, I can stay for up to 29 days. If I want to extend, do I have to five a visa application which asks about criminal history? If it does, is my only option to exit the country every 29 days using my passport to come back?

ANSWER: Allan, I hope you didn't give the Philippine Embassy your name because if you did then you created your own red flag. Not 29 days but 21 day tourist visas are issued upon arrival. And the first extension is referred to as a VISA WAIVER extending the 21 days to 59 days meaning an extra 38 days and after that extensions are issued for maximum of 60 days for up to 16+ months. And with immigration dept chief's signature can be issued up to 24 months then leaving the country for even one day the whole process starts over again. I can not advise you or anyone else to lie but you overzealous attitude is so common among Americans who've asked me questions in the past 10+ years. In S.E.Asia it's a different more laid back mindset where less is said or expressed so why volunteer past details and information and allow the government employees to do or not to do their job. Got it?

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QUESTION: I used the first half of my last name, as my last name when I called, not my complete last name. Is that a problem? Also, I thought the time you could stay on a passport was lengthened to 29 days. Are you sure it's still 21? Is there a question on the visa waiver form asking about crime? I assume there is based on your answer but it sounds like I am being overly paranoid. Is that right? Do you think by giving them half of my last name, I created that red flag? If so, what could happen?

ANSWER: first of all why call them? The last time I went to the Philippine Embassy in New York City was 12+ years ago and had already been in the Philippines on and off since 1980 buying our first house in 85 and all I wanted was a 59 day tourist visa and the embassy staff required my banking statements and details etc etc etc so I vowed I'd never contact them again. Generally speaking all over the world government employees are not keen to do their jobs but feel empowered when creating obstacles for the rest of the population. So instead of allowing your fear and anxiety about the unknown to seek 100% assurances , just go for it, or do it. Skim over my past answers to find the Philippine DFA and Immigration websites and spend and hour or more reading the details informing yourself of the regulations withOUT contacting anyone. Then go to yahoogroups and search for Philippines related forums and groups where from a few hundred to a few thousand members often have had similar experiences and backgrounds and can answer you from personal experience rather than the by the letter of the law or regulations. Good Luck! Mabuhay Philippines!

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QUESTION: Again, thanks for your response and I will do what you say. I didn't know calling them was a bad idea. They were difficult to get on the phone and I finally ended up talking to a supervisor. I had to leave a message to get a call back from a "visa expert" which did happen later in the day. That's when I gave the abbreviated version of my last name. If possible, please answer my previous question again as I had asked a few direct questions there. Thanks!

THANK YOU ALLAN FOR YOUR NEGATIVE RESPONSE! Guys like you help remind me that the likes of you American ex-convicts or under cover government employees are best not answered. So in the future upcoming months and years I will refuse to answer such ridiculous cries for help!! Years ago I noticed native English speaker don't like to read and prefer to receive their knowledge verbally and non-native English speakers prefer to read and not receive information verbally. Making a call is easy reading and researching takes more effort.  


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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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