(Click here to read about my post about a child born in Canada but will stay longer in the Philippines issue. Please leave comment below if ever you have encountered similar situation.)
Couple of times, former Filipino citizens who are now naturalized Canadian citizens ask us about staying in the Philippines for more than 21 days – they wanted to know if they will need a visa if they decide to stay longer.
From what we know about the Philippines Balikbayan Program, we usually tell them that as former Philippine citizens, they are allowed to stay in the Philippines for a year without the need to apply for a visa.
Some of them will counter that the information they get is that the ruling only applies to dual citizens.
Although majority of our customer are from the Filipino community or those buying cheap tickets to the Philippines – we don’t exactly know how to accurately respond to that query except to tell them to phone the Philippine Consulate in Toronto for the info. But, as travel agents specializing in the Philippines, I think its best to learn about the Philippines Balikbayan Program for our and our customers’ benefit.
According to the website of the Philippine Consulate in Toronto, former Filipino citizens and their accompanying family members may avail of the Balikbayan stamp wherein they are allowed to stay in the Philippines for a year without need of a visa. All they have to show the Philippine immigration officer upon their entry is either (a) an old Philippine passport, (b) Philippines birth certificate.
It’s not clear, though, if you need both or just one of each. It is not also specified if the birth certificate need to be authenticated by the National Statistics Office in the Philippines.
Click here to go the Philippines Balikbayan Program webpage of the Philippine Consulate in Toronto.
If the balikbayan is travelling with his/her spouse who is not a natural-born Filipino and wanted to avail also of the Balikbayan privilege, they have to show their marriage certificate to the immigration officer.
Anyway, I noticed that foreign passport holder who were natural-born Filipinos do not even need to show those requirements or ask for the Balikbayan stamp when entering the Philippines. I am one and I noticed that the immigration officer automatically stamps my passport with a BB or Balikbayan stamp.
I’m not so sure though if this is an SOP – so to be sure, just bring along the documents that were specified at the Consulates’ webpage.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.