Foreign retirees laud 6-month PH visa validity

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 21 2013 09:31 AM | Updated as of Aug 21 2013 05:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Foreign retirees have welcomed the government’s move to extend the visa validity of visiting retirees for up to six months.

The Retirement and Healthcare Coalition (RHC), composed of representatives from the American, European, Japanese and Korean chambers, lauded the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) issuance of new Long Stay Visitors Visa Extension (LSVVE).

“We worked with the Department of Tourism, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration for quite some time on the issuance of this new visa, which is the ideal vehicle to market the country as long stay destination including overwintering and second home destination,” RHC executive director Marc Daubenbuchel said.

“The LSVVE will ideally help in making the long stay guest of today the retiree of tomorrow,” the RHC official said.

He said retirees choosing the Philippines as their permanent destination can avail of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa, a lifetime visa that allows the holder to permanently reside, gain employment or study in the Philippines.

“With the new visa, the Philippines now has a complete visa-portfolio which will allow it to compete with Thailand and other potential retirement destinations in attracting foreign retirees,” Daubenbuchel said.

The new LSVVE allows foreign travelers to extend their stay to six months from the previous two months.

The visa can be obtained in succession, thereby allowing a foreigner to stay in the country up to 36 months with approval from the BI.

The RHC currently promotes Metro Manila, Cebu, Dumaguete, Clark and Subic, and the Calabarzon area as retirement destinations.

RHC is also now studying seven new destinations including Bacolod, Bohol, Davao, Iloilo, La Union, Puerto Princesa, and Puerto Galera as new ideal destinations for foreign retirees.

“These places all have foreign communities, mature enough, and offer a wide range of healthcare and lifestyle products,” he said.

RHC sees the Philippines as an ideal long stay and retirement destination and provider of world-class medical care and wellness while having an excellent price-performance ratio and an adequate infrastructure for travel.