As instituted by Republic Act No. 6768 (amended by Republic Act No. 9174), the Balikbayan Program 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.”
A visa-free stay of a maximum of one (1) year is extended to the following balikbayans every time they visit the country, regardless of the frequency of their travel:
- A former Filipino citizen holding a foreign passport AND members of his/her family (family shall mean the non-Filipino spouse and minor, unmarried children of the balikbayan, who are not balikbayans in their own right). The family member/s can avail of the privilege on the condition that they enter and exit the Philippines with the balikbayans, and they are citizens of countries covered by the Program;
- 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 and his/her family; and
- A Filipino overseas worker.
Documents to be presented to the Immigration Officer to prove BALIKBAYAN status
Former Filipino balikbayans travelling to the Philippines are advised to bring either of the following as proof of their former Philippine citizenship (Note: these documents should be returned to the balikbayans after assessment):
- Old Philippine passport;
- Copy of Birth Certificate;
- Naturalization papers indicating former Filipino citizenship; or
- Certification issued by the adoptive country that the individual is a former Filipino citizen.
Accompanying family members of the balikbayan can bring appropriate supporting documents to show evidence of relationship:
- For the spouse: copy of Marriage Certificate
- For each child: copy of Birth Certificate (proving kinship to the balikbayan parent)
- For legally adopted children: copy of adoption papers
Filipino citizens who have been continuously out of the country are advised to bring their Philippine passport showing date of last departure.
The balikbayan may also show to the Immigration Officer a printout of the Balikbayan Program page of the Bureau of Immigration website, which can be found HERE.
Extension of Stay
Visitors who are admitted as balikbayan are given an initial stay of one (1) year. Their stay may be extended for an additional one (1), two (2) or six (6) months at the Visa Extension Section of the Bureau of Immigration office. Balikbayans who have stayed in the Philippines after thirty six (36) months may be required to submit additional requirements. For more information, please click HERE.
Countries covered by the Balikbayan Program
Former Filipinos who have acquired citizenship from a country listed below can avail of the one-year visa-free balikbayan stay. If the country of citizenship is not listed, the balikbayan must apply for a Philippine visa.
The non-Filipino spouse and dependent children of a former Filipino can avail of the one-year visa-free balikbayan stay if their passport is issued by a country listed below (if the country of passport is not listed, the spouse or dependent children must apply for a Philippine visa):