The Balikbayan Program is one of the ways the Philippine Government shows its appreciation to the overseas Filipino community. Instituted by Republic Act 6768 and amended by Republic Act 9174, the program offers unique privileges to balikbayans who choose to visit their home country.
What makes this program remarkable is that it encourages balikbayans to bring their family members along for the visit, and they too can enjoy additional entry and stay privileges. With these exclusive benefits, balikbayans can fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the Philippines, explore what the country has to offer and create unforgettable memories with their loved ones.
What are the Benefits and Advantages of a Balikbayan Privilege Program?
Balikbayans enjoy the following privileges:
- Initial stay of one (1) year.
- Option to extend stay for an additional one (1), two (2), or six (6) months.
- The extension process requires a valid passport, a completed visa extension form, and submission to the Visa Extension Section in the BI Main Office or any BI Offices nationwide.
- Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines for more than thirty-six (36) months may be asked for additional requirements.
Who is eligible for the Balikbayan Privilege Program?
a. A Balikbayan may be one of the following:
- A Filipino citizen who has been residing outside the Philippines continuously for at least one (1) year.
- A Filipino overseas worker.
- A former Filipino citizen and their family have acquired foreign citizenship and choose to come or return to the Philippines.
b. Immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are citizens of countries covered by EO 408, can travel together with the Balikbayan.
Who is NOT eligible for the Balikbayan Privilege Program?
The Balikbayan privilege does not apply to former Filipinos and their immediate family members (spouse and children) who are nationals of visa-required countries (countries not listed under EO 408). Before their travel to the Philippines, they must obtain entry visas.
Tips for Maximizing Your Balikbayan Privilege
Are you a Filipino citizen living abroad and looking to take advantage of the balikbayan privilege?
Here are some tips that can help you maximize your benefits when visiting the Philippines:
- Make sure to bring proof of overseas residence. This could be in the form of a passport, birth certificate, or other government-issued identification showing that you have been living abroad for at least six months.
- Be prepared to show your employment contract or proof of income from abroad, which will help you qualify for the privilege.
- Take advantage of duty-free shopping opportunities by bringing items with you that are not available in the Philippines, such as electronics and luxury goods. Just make sure those items are within the prescribed limits of balikbayan privileges.
- Apply for a tax exemption certificate or take advantage of tax-free shopping opportunities, such as the VAT-exempted items available in major supermarkets and malls.
- be sure to check the expiration date of your balikbayan privilege so you can make the most of it while it lasts!
With these tips, you’ll be able to make the most out of your balikbayan experience and enjoy all the privileges available to you!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Balikbayan Privilege?
A: Balikbayan Privilege is a special program that grants certain benefits and privileges to Filipino citizens who have been living abroad for an extended period.
2. Can Balikbayans bring their family members with them?
A: Yes, Balikbayans can bring their spouse and children with them to the Philippines under the Balikbayan Privilege program.
3. Do Balikbayans need to provide any documentation?
A: Balikbayans need to present a valid Philippine passport or a foreign passport with a Philippine visa, as well as proof of their previous residence abroad.
4. Can Balikbayans extend their stay in the Philippines?
A: Yes, Balikbayans can apply for a visa extension if they wish to stay in the Philippines for more than one year.
5. Are there any restrictions on Balikbayan Privilege?
A: Balikbayan Privilege is subject to certain conditions and limitations, such as the purpose of the visit and compliance with immigration regulations.
6. Can Balikbayans work in the Philippines under Balikbayan Privilege?
A: Balikbayans are not allowed to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines under the Balikbayan Privilege program.
7. How often can Balikbayans avail of Balikbayan Privilege?
A: Balikbayans can avail of Balikbayan Privilege as often as they meet the eligibility criteria and requirements for the program.
The Balikbayan Program is a Philippine Government initiative to express gratitude to overseas Filipinos by providing them with various benefits during their visits. These advantages include longer stays in the country and the ability to bring family along. This allows them to cherish the magnificence of the Philippines, form unforgettable memories and spend quality time with their loved ones.
The Balikbayan Program is exclusively accessible to people who are permanent residents or citizens of the Philippines. Former Filipinos and their immediate family members hailing from visa-required countries must obtain visas before embarking on their journey to the Philippines.