If you’re dreaming of a sun-soaked retirement in the Philippines, you’re not alone. It’s a popular spot for UK retirees, boasting a gorgeous tropical climate and a friendly community. The cost of living is low and the country is simply beautiful, with some of the world’s most stunning beaches.
Before you can jet off to the Philippines though, you’ll need to get yourself a Philippine retirement visa. We’ll cover everything you need to know here, including how to apply, the documents you’ll need and how much it costs.
We’ll even cover how to save money on your retirement visa fees, using Wise. Open a multi-currency account and you can send money securely over from the UK to the Philippines - for tiny, transparent fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. There’s even a contactless debit card you can use for low-cost spending in Philippine pesos once you arrive.
We’ll look at this in more detail later. For now, let’s get that Philippine retirement visa sorted for you.
There is one main route to getting a Philippine retirement visa as a UK citizen - the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). This is specially designed for foreign nationals wanting to settle in the country once they retire.
The SRRV comes with a few perks. These include permission to stay in the Philippines indefinitely, and you can leave and return using multiple entry/exit privileges. You’ll also be exempt from customs duties or taxes when you import over your household goods.
Lastly, you’ll get access to the Greet & Assist programme at certain Philippine airports. This is along with discounts from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) merchant partners, and PHILHEALTH benefits.
The SRRV has a few different streams, suitable for people in different circumstances. These are¹:
- SRRV Smile - for retirees able to deposit 20,000 USD (around 14,500 GBP) in a PRA accredited bank
- SRRV Classic - for people willing to invest in the Philippines, such as buying property. For over 50s, the minimum deposit is 10,000 USD (around 7,250 GBP).
- SRRV Human Touch - for retirees in need of medical or clinical care, who have a monthly pension of at least 1,500 USD (around 1090 GBP) and a health insurance policy accepted in the Philippines. Applicants will also need to make a visa deposit of at least 10,000 USD.
- SRRV Courtesy - for former Filipinos who’ve moved abroad, or foreign nationals who are retired officers of international organisations recognised by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Applicants will also have to make a deposit of 1,500 USD.
If you’re over 35 years old, a UK national and meet the requirements of your chosen SRRV type, you should be eligible to apply for a Philippine retirement visa.
Make sure you have the following documents ready to submit along with your completed application form¹:
- Valid passport with valid Temporary Visitor’s Visa
- 8 recent passport-size photos of yourself
- Proof of medical clearance - valid for up to 6 months
- Evidence of police clearance from the UK - valid for up to 6 months.
- Evidence of the required deposit amount
- Proof of a health insurance policy accepted in the Philippines
- Marriage or birth certificate - if a partner or child is included in the application
Most documents you’ll be asked to provide should be original versions, and may need to be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consular Office nearest to where you live in the UK.
SRRV applications tend to take around 15 to 20 working days, but processing time can be as long as 30 working days².
There are two main fees to know about with the Philippine retirement visa. The first is the application fee. This is 1,400 USD¹ (around 1,015 GBP) for the main applicant and a further 300 USD¹ (approx. 217 GBP) for each dependent person included in the application.
The second fee is an annual one, so you’ll need to pay a total of 360 USD¹ (approx. 261 GBP) a year for all applicants on the SRRV.
All set to apply for your Philippine retirement visa? Before you submit your application, it’s worth taking a moment to work out the most affordable way to pay your application fee and submit your visa deposit to a Philippine bank. Do it through your UK bank and you could face high fees and terrible exchange rates.
Luckily, there is a cheaper and easier way. Open a multi-currency account with Wise and you can send money to the Philippine Retirement Authority bank account for just a small fee. Better still, you’ll always get the real, mid-market exchange rate when you hit ‘send’. This means you can avoid paying too much when applying for your visa.
And when you finally land in the Philippines, your Wise account will keep on working for you. You can get a linked Wise debit card, which you can use to spend in local shops and restaurants just like a local. The card automatically converts the GBP in your account to Philippine pesos at the moment you spend.
So, say goodbye to exchanging lots of cash and having to carry it around with you. With Wise, you’ll have an easy, secure and low-cost way to manage your money from the moment you arrive.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about getting a Philippine retirement visa. We’ve covered all the key details of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) scheme, which very generously lets you apply from the age of 35.
So, start getting your documents ready and you’ll be all set for a fabulous retirement in the Philippines - good luck!
Sources used for this article:
- Philippine Retirement Authority - SRRV visa
- Philippine Retirement Authority - information guide to the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)
Sources checked on 15th April 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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