How-To: Apply for 13(a) Non-quota Immigrant Visa in the Philippines

This post was long overdue, as we have done this process around 2008-2009. But in any case I would like to outline the steps we took in order for my US citizen husband to obtain his permanent residency in the Philippines.

Please note that these instruction may be more specific to Filipinos applying for 13(a) non-quota immigrant visa for their foreign spouse.

1) First things first, you need to review carefully the requirements for applying for a 13(a) non-quota immigrant visa. Head over to the Phil. Immigration site and read away.

Full details of the requirements here:

2) Once you have all the paperwork together, make sure to put them in the order as stated in the requirements, make triplicate copies and put each copy in a long folder (they are quite strict about this.)

3) Go to the nearest immigration office in your area and pay for the appropriate fees. The two that I have been so far were in Intramuros and in Makati.

Note: Please don’t ever go to the Immigration office wearing shorts, sando (wife-beater) or tsinelas (slippers), otherwise you will be turned down and will not be allowed to enter the Immigration premises.

4) After you have paid the necessary fees, you will be asked to photo copy the receipt. Make sure you have small bills, it’s always been a hassle for us to make photo copies inside the Immigration in Makati. You will be asked to go to the 2nd floor and photo copy and usually they say they don’t have change. Go back to immigration and give them a copy of your receipt.

Above all else, read this notice from the Immigration website carefully and pay very special and careful attention:

Republic of the Philippines
Department of Justice


To avoid the inconvenience of a summary denial of your applications/petition, please be advised of the following:

1.All sworn statement of affidavits must be properly notarized. Indicating therein the proof of identification of the party being sworn by the notary public.

2.All documents to be submitted must be properly authenticated. Documents executed outside the Philippines must be authenticated by the official of the Philippine foreign service at the place of execution or nearest to it. Any document executed within the Philippines must be duly certified by the offices having official custody of the originals.

3.All required documents required in nos. 1 & 2 must be submitted and must be in order, otherwise your application or petition cannot be processed immediately.

To summarize the general rule:

  • only NSO issued marriage and birth certificates (or, forget about your application)
  • bring pictures in the sizes it is asked
  • submit papers in triplicate copies, each in folder and in order
  • notarize all sworn documents
  • bring small bills and exact change when possible
  • dress properly when visiting the immigration office

Taking this to heart will save you time, money and effort (and frustration as well.)

That’s pretty much it for the application. Then you will just need to check with the Immigration every 2 weeks. From what I remember, we received a decision (application approved) in less than 2 months and my husband received his 1 Year Temporary 13(a) Non-quota Immigrant Visa.

The next step will be to convert the 1 year temporary 13(a) non-quota immigrant visa to permanent which will allow your spouse to stay here for 5 years before renewing his visa again (he will just need to check-in every start of the year for the annual report.) I will write more about this on a succeeding post.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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6 Responses to How-To: Apply for 13(a) Non-quota Immigrant Visa in the Philippines

  1. yeenz says:

    Hello. Thank you for all the information. It has been very helpful and very informative. I’d only like to ask though, were you the one who wrote the petition letter/the request letter for the 13A non quota visa or some lawyer? If the petitioner would be the one to write it, to whom shall it be addressed? To the Immigration Commissioner himself? Thank you very much. I’d be expecting for your response. :)

    • admin says:

      hi there. thanks for asking. we did the process ourselves without any help from lawyers. i wrote the petition for my spouse and addressed it to the commissioner. you will need this petition letter notarized as well before submitting.

  2. Elvie says:

    Thank you for the information. Can you help me with this?- what supporting documents do we need for the affidavit of financial capacity and support.

    Thank you very much for whatever help.

  3. Andrew Benson says:

    Hi Many thanks for your experience. My only question is what needs no be said in the sponsor letter written by my wife??? no one in the local immigration appear to know. Are there any guidelines published by the PH immigration service? Or maybe you would care to provide some examples. Many thanks Andrew

  4. Thank you for posting this & it is really a great help for me. I would like to know when & where is the succeeding post about the next step. My husband was already granted a 1 year temporary 13(a) non-quota immigrant visa and it will a great help for me this time to read your succeding post about converting this into a permanent visa for 5 years.

  5. BC57 says:

    I was on the BI website and have question about checklist item 8. If a foreigner is in the PH for longer than 6 months he or she only needs to have an NBI clearance and BI clearance certificate, correct? Or is there a new change that requires this person to also get police clearance from their home country?

    7. Valid Police Clearance from country of origin or residence, if the applicant has stayed in the Philippines for less than six (6) months;

    8. Valid National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance, if the applicant has stayed in the Philippines for six (6) months or more from the date of latest arrival; and

    9. BI Clearance Certificate.

    Thanks for your assistance,


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