The Balikbayan Program as instituted by Republic Act 6768 and amended by Republic Act 9174 was launched by the Philippine Government to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. As a balikbayan, you can enjoy additional entry and stay privileges for you and your family members.
You are considered a Balikbayan if you meet any one of these three criteria:
- A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year;
- A Filipino overseas worker; and
- A former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in one of the countries listed in the attached page and who comes or returns to the Philippines.
ONE YEAR VISA-FREE BALIKBAYAN STAY
The Philippines’ Balikbayan Program allows a one-year visa-free stay for former Filipinos who have acquired citizenship in certain countries. Click on the following link for the LIST OF COUNTRIES COVERED BY THE BALIKBAYAN PROGRAM.
The visa-free stay privilege may be extended to the balikbayan’s non-Filipino spouse and children, provided that:
- The family members enter the Philippines with the balikbayan; and
- They are citizens of one of the listed countries.
Former Filipino balikbayans traveling to the Philippines should declare before the Immigration Officer at the port of entry that they are availing of the privilege, and to bring either their old Philippine passport or copy of their Philippine Birth Certificate as proof of their former Philippine citizenship.
Accompanying family members of the balikbayan should also bring appropriate supporting documents to show evidence of their relationship:
- For the spouse: Copy of marriage certificate
- For each child: Copy of their birth certificate indicating the balikbayan as a parent
- For adopted children: Copy of adoption papers
TAX EXEMPTION BENEFITS
Aside from visa-free entry to the Philippines, Philippine Law (R.A. 9174) provides benefits to balikbayans:
- Tax-exempt maximum purchases in the amount of USD 1,500, or the equivalent in Philippine and other currency, at Philippine Government–operated duty-free shops; and
- Exemption from Travel Tax provided that their stay in the Philippines is one year or less. If their stay in the Philippines exceeds one year, Travel tax will apply to them.