The Department of Tourism has announced new reforms coming to the Philippines tourist visa. Changes that will make it cost less and allow you to stay longer. So far there is not a lot of information about the six month stay for retirees.

Six Month Long Term Stay For Tourist Visa

There was a short mention of it on a Philippines government website. I missed it when I first read the Extending my Philippines Tourist Visaarticle. I was already bored with it when I got to that point. The Philippines is very close to extended the length of the initial visit from 21 to 30 days for 166 countries and allowing Chinese and Indians stay longer too.  Honestly, the extra nine days did little more than cause me to yawn.  If I was a short timer it would matter.  I’m not so it has virtually no effect on me.

At the end of the article this statement was made:

Other policy reforms are currently being reviewed by a working group composed of representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Bureau of Immigration, including a special long-stay visa for active retirees.

Rumors in the forum are that this long term visa will be for six months. I haven’t read it that close to know where the rumor came from.  I found nothing on it after searching Google and others have not found anything on the Philippines immigration site. I suspect that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is not all that keen on the subject myself. For reasons, jaded as they may be, were explained in our Philippines forum.

Now six months free stay, that doesn’t make me yawn. Two less trips to the BI would be just fine with me. For retirees though, so  we will likely need to prove that. Governments don’t like to make things easier without throwing a few complications into the mix for us. I think its just the nature of governing. Lets face it, the governments are likely full of control freaks, even inside the more laid back Philippines.

Outside An Immigration office In The PhilippinesIn my case, they may not be familiar with the Office of Personnel Management and be looking for a social security document. I’m sure it will be okay though. I have found the people at immigration very easy to deal with myself. Not a bit of problems for myself. You can bet if I ever have one, I’ll be writing about it. The only people I’ve seen acting badly at BI are Americans that are full of themselves.

Be Respectful When Extending Your Tourist Visa

One guy was told to stop raising his voice to an officer there. He asked her what she would do if he didn’t stop. She answered in the matter of fact but polite way Filipino usually deliver a non-polite message.  She simply said “I may deport you, sir.”

Also when you visit a BI office, be sure you don’t wear shorts and no sandals. If you do, you might not get in. Those expats that love to complain about this. Come on, its not that big of deal. The office considers that disrespectful too. If it bugs you that much, go home, this clearly isn’t home for you.

That seem to deflate some of his self importance and he went back to his seat and waited it out like a normal human being. He was disrespectful and that is not tolerated in the Filipino culture. Unless he changed his ways, I doubt living in the Philippines turned out all that well. I think though, many of us might change us to some extent. I’m not very mellow but I’m more mellow than I use to be.

On a personal note, I have been incredibly busy lately. It seems all my tools I use are breaking. I mean my internet tools. I have been making a lot of changes though. I spent several hours putting the site in the cloud. I tried it about a  year ago and it broke the site every few days. So I killed it.

I tried it again over the last couple of weeks on my other sites. Then I put this one in too. After about three days, this site pushed the bill up over $100 so, I took it back out of the cloud. haha I’m watching the billing. It makes the site load about 1 to 2 seconds faster.

I’ve spent most of the day working on presenting video better. That doesn’t auto play for one. Getting video into a WordPress site is not easy. WordPress tends to break it. Also, its slow over Youtube so I keep my videos in the cloud already when possible.

All these changes and all this work has been keeping me away from my favorite place. I’m working long hours. This is a heck of a way to run a retirement. But since I want to travel around the Philippines, I need to work.

I’m also fairly sick. Scleroderma has been kicking my butt. Mostly just causing extreme fatigue and I have had a real hard time staying focused. I am taking Prednisone again though and that might be playing a role in the lack of focus. That’s enough of my personal problems. ha ha

These two pictures were taken on my first trip to a BI office. It was a little satellite office located in Tacloban City Philippines. They seemed a little suspicious of me. They didn’t like that I lived in Cebu but was extending in Tacloban. I explained that I had come to visit my girl’s family and it was time to renew so I did it there. They accepted that answer.

Then they wanted to know why I was taking pictures. I thought it was odd to ask at the time. Now I know they are worried about security. But do I look like a terrorist? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that. I explained to put it on my website and tell others about the Philippines which brought nothing but silence. The most surprising question was the first one. The lady behind the desk asked, “Did you marry a Filipina?” to which I said no.  She did seem to like I was there to see Jessie’s family though. Perhaps protecting the welfare of a Filipina for a human trafficker. If so, its okay, just doing her job. That was all very official. I was in and out pretty fast, just like in Cebu City.

It was pretty casual in this office though. Not in mannerism in dealing with me. It reminded me of the difference in the IRS office when I worked in Clarksdale Mississippi office  compared to the office in Jackson or Memphis Tennessee.

It is far from a done deal  yet but I’m hoping this six month stay comes to pass. Being able to stay for six months free will be nice if it comes to pass. It cuts back on the fees BI collects though. I won’t be holding my breath but I’ll be watching and informing when I find out. If the Republic of the Philippines does allow us to stay under a six months tourist visa it will be reported here as soon as I know about it.

By Rusty Ferguson

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