The Philippines has instituted the Balikbayan Program (through Republic Act 6768), under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their country of birth.
Under this program, Balikbayans (overseas Filipinos and former Filipino citizens who had been naturalized as a citizen of a foreign country), including their spouse and unmarried children, can avail of certain benefits and privileges when they visit / return to the Philippines. The privileges include the following:
- Tax-free maximum purchase in the amount of One thousand United States dollars (US$1,000.00) or its equivalent in other acceptable foreign currencies at Philippine duty-free shops subject to certain limitations as specified in Section 4 of RA 6768;
- For foreign passport holders with the exception of certain nationals*, visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year;
- (c) Travel tax exemption as provided under Presidential Decree No. 1183, Executive Order No. 283, and other allied laws;
To avail of the visa-free entry with an allowed period of stay of up to one year, the foreign spouse and/or child of the overseas Filipino/former Filipino must observe the following requirements:
- Must travel together with the Filipino or former Filipino spouse or parent;
- Must travel with a valid passport with a period of validity not less than six months beyond the contemplated period of stay in the Philippines;
- Must be able to present a return ticket to country of origin or next country of destination;
- Must be able to show proof of blood relation to the overseas Filipino/former Filipino spouse or parent (i.e. NSO Marriage Contract / Report of Marriage, Birth Certificate, Koseki Tohon with English translation, etc.) to the satisfaction of the immigration authorities at the port of entry.
- Must comply with entry requirements at the time of travel to the Philippines.
The overseas Filipino/former Filipino must be able to show proof of current Philippine citizenship (i.e. valid Philippine passport) or former Philippine citizenship as applicable (i.e. NSO Birth Certificate, old Philippine passport etc.) to the satisfaction of the immigration port authorities.
- The term “balikbayan” shall mean a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year, a Filipino overseas worker, or a former Filipino citizen and his family, as this term is defined hereunder, who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines; and
- The term “family” shall mean the spouse and the children of the balikbayan who are not balikbayan in their own right traveling with the latter to the Philippines.
- *Family members of Balikbayans as well as former Philippine citizens who acquired the citizenship of countries NOT LISTED under EO 408 (please see the matrix of countries under the 21-day visa-free entry subsection in this website) are not entitled to the Balikbayan privilege. THEY MUST SECURE APPROPRIATE ENTRY VISAS PRIOR TO THEIR TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES.
- Furthermore, nationals who are subjects of deportation/blacklist orders of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration are not covered by the Balikbayan privilege.