10.30.2019

What Happens If Your 13(a) Or TRV Visa Sponsor Dies?

What Happens If Your 13(a) Or TRV Visa Sponsor Dies?


This article is not legal advice. Consult with the Bureau of Immigration for answers to your specific circumstances. 

Table Of Contents


Death Of Visa Sponsor Can Result In Visa Revocation


It is not pleasant to talk about death and dying, but it is necessary to do so. I have read a few stories on the Internet that did not end well for foreigners whose visa sponsor passed away. There is an Immigration circular available that does address the issue, and this document is talked about on a few sites and it is also very much misunderstood.


The document in question is Immigration Memorandum Circular No. SMB-2014-009. The linked document is from the Immigration website and if you open it you may notice that there are two superscript references:
the surviving foreign husband, in his own capacity¹, or the child, as the petitioner²
In the linked document the notes that these refer to are missing so I have included my own copy of the document here that does include the two notes and I have also transcribed the complete document below.

I will go deeper into the explanation below, but the bottom line of this post is that if you hold a 9(a) visa and your Filipino spouse dies and the two of you have children who are recognized as Filipino citizens, then you can be your own petitioner or the child can be your petitioner in order to adjust your status to Non-Quota 13(a) visa or if you are from a non-visa reciprocity country you can adjust to TRV. Likewise, if you already hold a 13(a) or TRV, then you or the child can act as your petitioner to amend or extend the respective visa.

The circular is sometimes misinterpreted on the Internet. This is understandable. The document has a Flesch reading ease score of 26.3, meaning it is a difficult read, as most law documents are. The vast majority of information we read on the Internet is in the score range of 60-70. When people come across a more sophisticated document they have a tendency to read it as casually as anything else they find on the Internet and miss a lot in the process.

Documents written in legalese require a much more analytical approach to discern the meaning. Even trained attorneys argue over the meaning of laws. Many times the ambiguity is deliberate.

Immigration Memorandum Circular No. SMB-2014-009


GUIDELINES FOR REVOCATION OF NON-QUOTA IMMIGRANT VISA UNDER COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 613 SECTION 13(A) OR TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA (TRV)
In accordance with Opinion No. 52, series of 2013, issued by the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on 17 June 2013 concerning the interpretation of Section 13(a) of Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 613, otherwise known as the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended and the application thereof on Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) under Law Instruction 33 and Memorandum Order No. ADD-01-038, the following guidelines shall be observed:
1. The dissolution of marriage by declaration of nullity, annulment, legal separation or separation de facto between the foreign husband and Filipino wife shall operate as a ground for the revocation of the foreign husband’s Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV, except:
a. If the dissolution of the marriage is due to the death of the Filipino wife and there is/are surviving child/children of such marriage; and
b. In the case of petition for (i) adjustment of status from Temporary Visitor Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 9(a) to Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV; or (ii) amendment or extension thereof, respectively , the surviving foreign husband, in his own capacity¹, or the child, as the petitioner², may file a petition for Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV for the foreign husband.
2. Dependents under Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV must be:
a. Under twenty-one (21) years of age;
b. Unmarried; and
c. Accompanying or following to join his Filipino parent
Note #1 The foreign husband shall simultaneously be both the petitioner and the applicant.
Note #2 The foreign husband shall be the applicant and the child shall be the petitioner.


Guideline #1 Explained


Dissolution of marriage may cause the revocation of the foreign husband’s Non-Quota Immigrant Visa under C.A. No. 613, Section 13(a) or TRV, except in the case of condition "a" in which case the privileges in "b" apply.

Under condition "a", the exception to dissolution of marriage as grounds for revocation of a visa is applicable when dissolution is due to death of the Filipino spouse AND there are surviving children from the marriage.

The phrase "there is/are surviving child/children of such marriage" presumes the children to be Filipino citizens, as they will need to be in order to fulfill privileges in "b" (being the petitioner for the surviving parent).

The privileges in "b" apply to persons who have:
Individuals who fall under categories "i" or "ii" of Guideline#1b are given two options for maintaining their immigration status (explained by notes 1 & 2 in the document):
1. They can act as their own petitioner to convert their 9(a) to a 13(a) or TRV or amend or extend their existing 13(a) or TRV; or
2. The Filipino citizen child of the foreigner can act as the petitioner for their foreign parent.
A TRV is a type of visa that is available to foreigners married to Filipinos and who are from countries that do not have visa reciprocity with the Philippines, therefore they are not eligible for a 13(a) permanent visa.

The following list shows countries that DO have visa reciprocity with the Philippines. If your country is NOT shown, then you MAY be required to obtain a TRV, rather than a 13(a) Visa:

  
The following country list corresponds to countries that have no visa reciprocity with the Philippines (for exceptions see starred countries above):



Guideline #2 Explained


Guideline #2 is sometimes misunderstood to be a condition of Guideline 1(b). Guideline #2 is an entirely separate issue from #1. Guideline #2 is for dependents under a Non-Quota visa, meaning they are not Filipino citizens. They are children born outside of the Philippines and whose Filipino parent has not yet filed the paperwork to have them recognized as Filipino citizens. Guideline #1 is dealing with a Filipino spouse who has died, therefore it is not logical to interpret guideline 2(c) as a condition for Guideline 1, as it is impossible for the child to "accompany or follow to join" a deceased parent. And it is also not possible for a non-Filipino child to petition a foreign parent as stated in guideline #1(b). Furthermore, a child who is recognized as a Filipino citizen would have no need to be a visa dependent.

Immediate Steps To Take If Your Sponsor Dies


I have spoken to The Bureau of Immigration about this topic and they do confirm that the 13a Permanent Resident Visa will remain in effect due to having a child/children with the Filipino spouse if the child/children are also Filipino citizens.

BoI does caution that visa status may be lost on account of remarriage.

BoI also advises that a visa holder in this situation should also apply for a new ACR-I card to amend civil status from married to widowed.

Amendments to the 13(a) visa can be processed at the Legazpi, Naga City or Intramuros Manila immigration offices. I Base this off of the Immigration Subport Directory of Transactions. Be sure to check that document and double check by contacting the office to be certain that they do process these transactions before you ever set out to go there.

Other Options If you Have No Children Or If Your Children Are Not Filipino Citizens


If you have children with the Filipino spouse and they are not recognized as citizens, but can be, then you may want to expedite getting that done.


Otherwise, if you have no children who are Filipino citizens you only have a couple of options:

Section 13 Quota Visa - The Quota Visa is similar to the 13(a) Non-Quota Visa. Only 50 persons of each nationality that has diplomatic relations with the Philippines are allowed to apply for the Quota Visa each year.

You can see from the Quota Visa application that the requirements for approval are quite a bit more demanding than the 13(a), as demonstrated in item #4 on the checklist:
4. Proof of applicant’s special qualifications like academic degrees, awards, certificates of recognition, and other documents attesting to the applicant’s special qualifications, skills or knowledge, or proof of financial capacity or investment, including but not limited to:
a. Bank certification of inward remittance amounting to at least US $50,000.00 or equivalent in other foreign currency;
b. Documents evidencing ownership/purchase of a condominium [condominium unit(s) acquired within four (4) years prior to filing the Quota Immigrant Visa may be considered] with a corresponding proof that the amount that he/she invested came or was inwardly remitted from foreign sources;
c. Documents showing ownership of or investment in an existing corporation, enterprise or business concern [shares of stock or other equivalent proof of ownership in a corporation or business concern acquired within four (4) years prior to filing the application may be considered with a corresponding proof that the amount that he/she invested came or was inwardly remitted from foreign sources;
Regarding "a", I do not know if there is a time limit on how far back you can claim remitted cash into your bank account to qualify for the $50,000. There may also be a limit to how far back a specific bank can produce a certification for you. The one bank that I have spoken to about this told me that they can only certify remittances up to twenty-four (24) months into the past.  


Philippines Visa Policy Map
Philippines Visa Policy Map
9(a) Temporary Visitors Visa - This option will be quite burdensome, especially if you have been enjoying a relatively easy to maintain 13(a) Visa. The 9(a) must be extended every 59 days at a cost of about $100 per 59 day extension. The 9(a) can only be extended for three years for non-visa required persons and two years for visa required persons.

Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV) - The SRRV is managed through the Philippine Retirement Authority and not the Bureau of Immigration. There is no need for an annual report and you can come and go with no need for Immigration Clearance Certificates.


Five different options are available for the SRRV.

The Expanded Courtesy option is available to retired military:
For foreign nationals, 50 years old & above, who are retired Armed Force officers of foreign countries with existing military ties and/or agreement with the Philippine Government. A monthly pension of at least US$1,000.00 and an SRR Visa deposit of US$1,500.00 are required.The SRR Visa deposit includes the principal applicant and 2 dependents. Additional dependent, entails additional SRR Visa deposit of US$15,000 each (except for former Filipinos). CHILDREN must be legitimate or legally adopted by the Principal Retiree, unmarried and below 21 years old upon joining the program.
The initial processing fee for the principal applicant is $1400 and $300 for each dependent. A $360 annual fee is also stated.

10.21.2019

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 6: Tax Declaration in Buyer's Name

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 6: Tax Declaration in Buyer's Name






Posts in This Series:

Disclaimer

This is the sixth part in the series about buying land in the Philippines. As always, nothing you read here is to be taken as legal advice or professional guidance. This is our personal experience that we are sharing with you. So caveat lectorum.

Documents Required By The Municipal Assessor For Issuance Of A New Tax Declaration: 


REQUIRED DOCUMENT
NOTES
New Certificate of Title

Obtained from the previous step.

Deed of Sale


It is a good idea to have multiple copies of the DOAS notarized with original signatures at the time of execution.


 
Transfer Tax Receipt


The Transfer Tax Clearance fee is paid first to the Provincial Treasurer who issues the receipt.


BIR CAR/ Tax Clearance Certificate


Obtained from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.



DAR Clearance


Obtained from the Department of Agrarian Reform.



Real Estate Tax Clearance


Obtained from the Municipal Treasurer.

Technical Description


Obtained as a deliverable from the surveyor if you had the lot subdivided

Otherwise, the Technical Description can be obtained from the Land Management Bureau.

Certified True Copy of the Subdivision Plan (Blue Print)

Obtained as a deliverable from the surveyor if you had the lot subdivided

Otherwise, the Subdivision Plan can be obtained from the Land Management Bureau.



Special Power of Attorney



Required if the applicant is other than the buyer. 

sample SPOA

  



Submission Of Documents

  • We submitted only original documents.
  • Never leave your paperwork or any money without receiving an official receipt.
  • Never use fixers or people who say that they can expedite paperwork.
  • We also had the Assessor stamp "received" on our copy of each document that we submitted.

 

The Bottom Line 


It is very important to acquire an updated copy of your landholdings from the Municipal Assessor every year. This is how you can know that your land is secure in your name and that no one has changed it by error or otherwise.

10.20.2019

Expats And The Philippine National ID

Expats And The Philippine National ID




The Philippine National ID Is Coming


The Philippine National ID, also known as the PhilSys ID, is coming.

PhilSys ID mass enrollment of all Filipino citizens and resident aliens is projected to run from mid-2020 to mid-2022.

This will be Philippines' fourth attempt at establishing a national ID.

What does this mean for foreigners who are living in the Philippines?

Foreigners can use their ACR-I card to get a Philsys ID, but why would they?

Section 3 of the IRR of the PhilSys ID Law states that the PhilSys ID will be required:
a. to establish a single identification system for all citizens and resident aliens.
This is my assumption at this point, but the statement above also appears to indicate that the PhilSys ID will totally replace the ACR-I card. This may not be the case due to the following statement from the Philippine Statistics Authority:
The PhilID, however, does not and will not replace existing government identification cards that serve a purpose beyond identity authentication, such as the driving license (for driving), passport (for travel), and UMID (for social security transactions), etc. 
Although the ACR-I card is not explicitly named, it seems that it will be one of those exceptions. And if this is the case, then it really looks like paying twice for the same thing from an expat's point of view. 

The full story remains to be seen and there may be other as yet unknown uses for the card that make it seem less redundant.

As for what this new ID will cost, Section 6.c.(3) Fees states that aliens will have to pay a fee for the card, but the fee is not yet determined.

Where To Get The PhilSys ID


The Philippine Statistics Authority is in charge of the PhilSys ID project, and lists the following locations for individuals to apply for the new ID:
  • PSA Regional and Provincial Offices
  • Local Civil Registry Offices (LCROs) 
  • Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) 
  • Social Security System (SSS) 
  • Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) 
  • Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) 
  • Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 
  • Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) 
  • Other government agencies and GOCCS as may be assigned by PSA

Biometrics


The information that expats will have to give for the PhilSys ID is much the same as what has been required by Immigration for the ACR-I card and you also provided this to NBI if you had to get an NBI clearance. 

The old ACR cards showed the blood type right on the card. Blood type is no longer shown on the card, but the question is still on the application. One requirement that I do not recall for the ACR card, but which is required for the PhilSys ID is the inclusion of a retinal scan.

Project Owner: Philippine Central Bank


Why is the Philippine Central Bank spearheading the National ID program and producing the cards:
“As payment is considered the first and most used financial service, its availability, accessibility, affordability, and security are crucial in building an inclusive financial system,” says Diokno. “Regular and continuing use of digital payments, especially by the unbanked, can unlock access to other forms of financial services.”
Soon, everyone may need one of these cards to buy and sell in the Philippines.

This comes as the United States is nearing the deadline for full implementation of its Real ID system. The United States is also prepping for an unprecedented vaccine tracking system. Many other nations (likely all eventually) are planning health IDs to track COVID19 status.

The Bottom Line


What the Philsys ID actually means for expats, what it will cost and many other details about the program remain to be seen. Hopefully it will be a good thing for expats and others. Will it be?

It makes sense that all of these identity, banking and vaccination tasks will eventually be rolled into a single globally standardized and accepted platform to provide "secure" buying, selling, banking, travel and every other purpose that an identity document could possibly be used for wherever you may find yourself on the planet.

At any rate, this is definitely coming so mark it down on your calendars.

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 5: Land Registration Authority

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 5: Land Registration Authority





Posts in This Series:

Disclaimer

This is the fifth part in the series about buying land in the Philippines. As always, nothing you read here is to be taken as legal advice or professional guidance. This is our personal experience that we are sharing with you. So caveat lectorum.

Documents Required By The LRA (Registry of Deeds) For Titling:


REQUIRED DOCUMENT
NOTES
Notarized Letter of Request


I have provided this sample Letter of Request. The letter includes a listing of generic requirements for the LRA document package.

Owner’s Duplicate Copy of Title

Obtained from the seller.

 
Original or Certified True Copy of Deed of Sale


It is a good idea to have multiple copies of the DOAS notarized with original signatures at the time of execution.



BIR CAR/ Tax Clearance Certificate


Obtained from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.



DAR CLEARANCE


Obtained from the Department of Agrarian Reform.



REALTY TAX CLEARANCE


Obtained from the Municipal Treasurer.


TRANSFER TAX RECEIPT


The Transfer Tax Clearance fee is paid first to the Provincial Treasurer who issues the receipt.
Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration

Obtained from the Municipal Assessor.


Technical Description


Obtained as a deliverable from the surveyor if you had the lot subdivided

Otherwise, the Technical Description can be obtained from the Land Management Bureau.


Certified True Copy of the Subdivision Plan (Blue Print)



Obtained as a deliverable from the surveyor if you had the lot subdivided

Otherwise, the Subdivision Plan can be obtained from the Land Management Bureau.

Special Power of Attorney

Required if the applicant is other than the buyer. 

sample SPOA

 


Submission Of Documents

  • Originals and one (1) set of copies.
  • The LRA did not require submission of originals and copies in separate folders, as DAR asked us to do.
  • Never leave your paperwork or any money with the LRA without receiving an official receipt.
  • Never use fixers or people who say that they can expedite paperwork.
  • The receipt that we received from LRA listed all documents that we submitted to LRA.
  • We also had LRA stamp "received" on our copy of each document that we submitted.
  • It may take up to six months for LRA to complete their processing. Ours took three months.

 

The Bottom Line


It is very important to acquire an updated copy of your landholdings from the Municipal Assessor every year. This is how you can know that your land is secure in your name and that no one has changed it by error or otherwise.

Once you get your title there is one last step and that is to obtain a Tax Declaration in your name.