With over 7000 islands in the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, the Philippines is well known for its tropical climate, sunny beaches and welcoming community.  This and its reasonable cost of living makes the Philippines one of the most popular places to retire.

As an expatriate, you may be looking for a nice place overseas where you can settle down and spend your golden years; and as a place which offers new experiences, sunny climes, peace and warmth, and where your money can go further, the Philippines is a worthy candidate.

So you must be asking yourself, what do I need to do to retire there? This article will provide you with that very answer. Here we will be giving you a guide to retiring in the Philippines, and we will tell you what you need to know about arranging your move and the type of lifestyle you can expect there.

Money

The official currency used in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. One Peso is further divided into 100 Centavos (which may also be written as sintabo or sentabo). The code you will see in currency exchange offices will be PHP and the symbol is ₱.

The value of a Philippine Peso in the exchange rates is always rising and falling, so it is best that you keep your eyes on the market. However, to give you a general idea of the value, we will provide you with some rounded figures of some currencies at the time of writing this article.

  • 1000 GBP (pounds) = 63,840 PHP (Philippine pesos)
  • 1000 USD (U.S. dollars) = 47,480 PHP (Philippine pesos)
  • 1000 AUD (Australian dollars) = 37,370 PHP (Philippine pesos)

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Philippines varies from area to area. For the most part though, it is very affordable. You will find many malls, amenities, imported and luxury goods in the larger cities.  However, if you live more like a local and get to know the local vendors you can attain a comfortably high quality of life at an affordable cost.

To give you a better idea of what the cost of living may be, we will share a table with the prices of everyday essentials, entertainment and travel in different locations. Please keep in mind that these are the average prices across the country and actual costs will vary by region and city.

Regular Products Average price in Phillipines (USD)
Three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant $14.73
One litre of milk $1.53
Loaf of white bread $1.02
Petrol (One litre) $0.82
City centre apartment rental (One bedroom) $239.48
City centre apartment rental (Three bedroom) $464.04

Last update: December 2017

Climate and Weather

Philippines has a Tropical climate and can be exceptionally hot and humid. However, there are areas known for its cool weather such as Baguio City. Also, should you decide to settle near a beach then you can enjoy the cool sea air blowing into your face.

Internet & Infrastructure

The Philippines is classified as a third world country; however, that does not mean that the infrastructure is any less advanced than most other Asian countries. The cities are well developed with well-structured houses and skyscrapers. What is more, as a developing country, the Philippines is subject to major growth, with many different countries investing there. For example, the U.S. department of commerce named the country as one of the top three in its Infrastructure Initiative. The Philippines economy continues to grow as well, with its GDP going from 1.8 percent in 2011 to 5 percent in 2016. Public transport is widely available with buses, taxis and tricycles; however, traffic in the major cities can be quite heavy.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are critical players in Philippine infrastructure development as they continue to finance projects such as road improvement, water and sanitation, transportation, solid waste management, flood management projects, and energy-related projects.

As for the country’s internet, the Philippines boast well-connected telecommunication facilities, which are improving day-by-day. You will get a wide variety of choice of providers which will help you keep in touch with anyone around the world.

Medical and Healthcare services

The Philippines offers world-class health care facilities with highly trained medical personnel and caregivers who are known for their expertise, care and compassion. What’s more, medical services in the Philippines are more affordable as well.

Language

The two official languages are Filipino and English. Filipino is the national language. However, English is widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. And almost every Filipino can understand and speak some English.

Housing & Properties

According to Philippine law, foreigners can legally own a residence there. However, they are prohibited from owning land.  Therefore, the easiest option for an expat would be to purchase a condominium.  What happens if you want to buy a house? There is a way around this. As a foreigner, you can buy a freestanding property, however you will need to lease the land on which it is built. Another way that a foreigner can own property is by starting a corporation in the Philippines where 60 percent of the owners are Filipino citizens, and the rest can be owned by foreign partners.

Best places to Retire

As we said before, the Philippines consist of over 7000 islands, making it a large and varied country. Its capital city, Manila, is a truly global city with a huge expatriate community. It is also filled with modern amenities like malls, theatres and quality medical care. However, the cost of living in Manila is high when compared to the rest of the Philippines and you will have to face the heavy traffic of the city. A good alternative is to live outside of the city, within easy travel distance.

Other choices for retirement for expats include the highland city of Baguio, known as the ‘City of Pines’, Laguna and Cavite. The last two also have strong transport links, good properties on offer and facilities such as golf and country clubs.

Visa type and Requirements

The Philippines offers a special retirement visa called the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa or SRRV for expatiates. It comes in different options: SRRV SMILE, SRRV CLASSIC, SRRV COURTESY/EXPANDED COURTESY and SRRV HUMAN TOUCH.

There are certain requirements that you need to fulfil in order to qualify for this visa. You must be 35 years old or above, pay a fixed deposit amount which varies depending on the visa option you take, you need to pay an admin fee and may be subject to a small annual fee which entitles you to some ongoing support.

Here is a table which provides more detailed information for applicants:

SRRV OPTIONS

SRRV SMILE

 For Active / Healthy Retirees

SRRV CLASSIC

 For Active / Healthy Retirees

SRRV COURTESY / EXPANDED COURTESY

 For Former Filipinos / Diplomats

SRRV HUMAN TOUCH

For Ailing Retirees

Qualified Nationality

Any foreign national or alien who is not included in the Excluded Classes under Section 29 of the Immigration Act of 1940.

Age Qualification & Visa Deposits

5 Years Old & Above

= US$20,000.00

35 to 49 Years Old

= US$50,000.00

50 years old and Above:

A. With Pension = US$10,000.00

B. Without Pension = US$20,000.00

Former Filipinos:

35 Years old & Above

= US$1,500.00

Foreign Nationals:

50 Years old & Above = US$1,500.00

35 Years old & Above

= US$10,000.00

Dependents
  • Principal may be joined by dependents (spouse and children)
  • Spouse – should be of legal age and the legitimate spouse of the Principal applicant.
  • Child – legitimate or legally adopted child by the Principal, who must be unmarried and below 21 years old.
  • The visa deposits are for the principal retiree and 2 dependents. An additional visa deposit of US$15,000.00 is needed for each additional dependent, in excess of two. The additional visa deposit is waived for Former Filipino citizens.
Principal may be joined by only one dependent, either the spouse or the child.
PRA Designated / Accredited Bank(s)
  • Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
  • Allied Bank, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Banco de Oro (Pacific Star Branch Only),
  • Bank of China, Korea Exchange Bank, Yuanta Savings Bank, Unionbank.
Convertibility of Deposits Must be maintained with the PRA Designated/Accredited Bank and may only be withdrawn upon cancellation of the SRRV or to satisfy end of terms needs or catastrophic obligations.

May be used for investment/s in RFO Real Estate Properties;

Investment value must be at least US$50,000.00

May be used for investment/s in RFO Real Estate Properties;

Investment value must be at least US$50,000.00

Must be maintained with the PRA Designated/Accredited Bank and may only be withdrawn upon cancellation of the SRRV or to satisfy end of terms needs or catastrophic obligations
Document Requirements

Original of the valid Passport with valid/updated tourist visa in the Philippines (Tourist Visa sponsored by Travel Agency/Tour Operator is NOT allowed);

Accomplished PRA Application Form;

Original of the Medical Clearance;

Original of the Police Clearance from country of origin;

NBI Clearance (if applicant has stayed in the Philippines for more than 30 days from last date of entry prior to application of SRRV);

Photos (12 copies of 2″x2″);

Proof of Relationship for joining dependents.

Documents obtained/issued outside of the Philippines must be translated into English, if necessary, and authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate.

Additional Documentary Requirements

SRRV Classic with Pension

Certficate of Retirement Benefits, equivalent to at least US$ 800/month (single applicant) or US$1,000/month (couple).

NOTE: Documents obtained / issued outside of the Philippines must be translated into English, if necessary, and authenticated by the Philippine Embassy / Consulate.

Former Filipinos

NSO Birth Certificate or Old Philippine Passport

SRRV Courtesy

Certificate of Employment stating position and duration of employment

SRRV Expanded Courtesy

  • Certificate by the concerned agency/organization pertaining his/her achievement
  • Proof of monthly pension or any other similar benefits of at least US$1,000.00

NOTE: Documents obtained / issued outside of the Philippines must be translated into English, if necessary, and authenticated by the Philippine Embassy / Consulate.

Fees to be Paid upon Joining the Program

Application Fee

Principal Applicants  US$1,400

Dependent                 US$   300 (each)

Annual Fee (PAF)           US$   360 (covers 3 family members)

For more than 3 retiree members in a family, an additional PAF of US$100.00 for each additional dependent must be paid.

Under the SRRV Courtesy/Expanded Courtesy, the PRA Annual Fee of US$360.00 is not applicable. However, in case of more than two dependents, US$10.00 for each dependent must be paid for the issuance of the PRA ID Card.

Obligations of a Retiree Member
  • To update the Authority of any changes in contact information (e.g. status name, address, telephone/fax number and email address);
  • To secure an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) from the Department of Labor and Employment for purpose of employment in the Philippines;
  • To renew the PRA ID Card and pay the PRA Annual Fee of US$360.00. For PRA Members under the SRRV Courtesy pay the Annual Fee of US$10.00 for each retiree member in the family.

 Source: pra.gov.ph

You can apply for your own SRRV Online.

The chance to retire in the Philippines is one that attracts people all over the world. Whether you prefer the city life, or life on a beach, Philippines has something for everyone and will welcome you with open arms.

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