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The Balikbayan Program, as instituted by Republic Act No. 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174), was launched by the Philippine Government “under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow that they generate.”

Who falls under the BALIKBAYAN Program?

By legal definition, a balikbayan is:

  • A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year from the date of last departure;
  • A Filipino overseas worker; or
  • A former Filipino citizen with foreign passport and members of his/her family. The term “family” shall mean the spouse and the children of the balikbayan (who are not balikbayan in their own right) who are travelling to the Philippines with the balikbayan.

What are the documents to be presented to show proof of BALIKBAYAN status?

  • For Filipino citizens who have been continuously out of the country, you would need to show your Philippine passport showing date of last departure;
  • For former Filipino citizens with foreign passport, you need to present your foreign passport and any of the following:-   Previous Philippine passport;
    -   Foreign Naturalization papers to show former Filipino citizenship; or
    -   Certification issued by the Embassy or Consulate of the adoptive country that the             individual is a former Filipino citizen.

Who else can avail of the BALIKBAYAN Program?

Family members of the balikbayan can go to the Philippines without having to apply for a visa,provided they are travelling together with the balikbayan, pay immigration fees, and observe and comply with immigration rules and regulations.  In addition to showing their foreign passport, a family member must present:

  • A Birth Certificate (with English translation), in case of children;
  • A Marriage Certificate (with English translation), in case of spouse; and
  • Adoption papers (proof of adoption) in case of legally adopted children.

According to the Bureau of Immigration, the Balikbayan Privilege can be availed of by the foreign member of a balikbayan‘s family EVERY TIME they enter the Philippines with the balikbayan (former Filipino/dual citizen) AND NOT ONLY ONCE A YEAR.

Please note that only family members of balikbayans from the Netherlands and the other countries that enjoy the no-visa entry for 21-day stay may avail of the balikbayan privilege and be able to stay in the Philippines for a period of one year without having to apply for a temporary visitor’s visa.  All other nationals must secure entry visas prior to their travel to the Philippines.

If a balikbayan has used his/her privilege and stayed in the Philippines for one year, he/she may apply for an extension of stay for multiples of two months up to one additional year by paying the appropriate fees at the nearest Bureau of Immigration office.

IMPORTANTPlease download the attached letter signed by Atty. Edgardo Mendoza, Chief, Immigration Regulation Division of the Bureau of Immigration and print it out, bring it with you when you travel to the Philippines.