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Resident EXPAT Information

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Visa's

Very few EXPATS that live in the Philippines have obtained resident visas. If you are planning to try living in the Philippines, I recommend you obtain a one year visa (cost about $75). You will usually have to show a round trip airplane ticket to the embassy to obtain this visa. This will allow you to enter the Philippines for 59 days. Somewhere around the 45 day point you should apply for a two month extension. Cost around $100. The next two month extension is approximately $ 100. To go past the six month point you require some extra paperwork at immigration, so this extension will cost approximately $150. Ultimately, you can extend up to one year, then you must plan a "visa trip."

Round trip to Bangkok is about $200-300. Other options include Hong Kong, Singapore, or Guam. All are slightly more expensive than Thailand, but occasional airfare specials can make them cheaper. Slightly more expensive (and with visa requirements) are Cambodia and Vietnam.

(NOTE: you can enter the Philippines without a visa. You will probably be required to show an onward ticket when you enter. You will be given a 21 day visa. This visa may also be extended, but immigration may elect at any time not to grant you an extension since you did not have a visa at the start.)

The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) has a plan for investors that entitles you to a resident visa. Before you enter into this plan or attempt to get a resident visa, you should visit for 30 - 60 days to be sure you want the restrictions of this plan. 

Housing

From April to September there is a good chance of finding an apartment or house with little waiting period. From September to April the selection of apartments and houses is minimal. There was plenty of housing here in the 90's after the USAF departure, but about 95% is occupied now. Rents now exceed the levels they were in 1991and they are currently going up by 20--30% a year (depending on the subdivision).

Housing can be found in a wide variety of price ranges. Our employees live mostly in small apartment houses. They get a unfurnished room (about 8' x 8') with a private toilet for around $50 a month. Of course there are places without a private toilet that are even less than that. Unfurnished apartments with one to two bedrooms start as low as $130 to $200 per month. A nice unfurnished two bedroom apartment or duplex runs about $300. A nice furnished two bedroom apartments is around $400.

Houses are a little more difficult to find and often have long waiting periods. Some people that have fixed up their houses in good subdivisions will "sell their lease to you". This means that you pay $2000 - $5000 to pay for the improvements that they made and any furniture that they plan to leave behind. Often if you won't take their furniture, you can not get their house. House rents vary from marginal houses in bad neighborhoods for $180 per month, to nice houses in good areas for $450-600. To very nice houses in subdivisions with swimming pools and club houses for $1000+ per month.

Utilities

Electric will run $35 to $50 per month for a non air-conditioned unit. Add $5-20 per day for one aircon (depending on usage). Water will usually cost less than $10-15 per month (this might be included in some apartments). Some areas require security guards, if so, this might add another $10-20 to your monthly fees. You can get housegirls to live in, or to come one to seven days a week to clean. Expect to pay a live-in maid around $125-200 a month plus meals.

Jobs

Job opportunities?? I am frequently asked this question through email. The answer is: There are very few jobs here for EXPATS. There are 300+ guys here for every job as a bar manager (which is the most common EXPAT job). If you can land a job as a manager, salaries run from about $300 (plus drinks) to $400 a month. Several premium ones paying $750 "plus all you can drink + commission." (NOTE: nobody hires a manager via email or on references. They want to know the individual and see how they are around alcohol, the employees, and other EXPATS. My recommendation is, if you want a job somewhere in Angeles, make yourself into a good customer FIRST!)

Other jobs???.....only if you can figure out a way to market yourself. Nobody wants an EXPAT computer specialists when he can get a Filipino for less than $100 a month! There are occasionally jobs for EXPATS on Clark SEZ and in Manila, but you aren't going get one of those via email either. You have to live here and meet the right people.

Be advised that most of these jobs are "illegal jobs," i.e., you cannot work on a tourist visa. If you are on a tourist visa, you do not have a work permit, and you do not report income to the Philippine government. If you are caught, you could be fined and/or deported. Doesn't happen often, but it does with guys that think they are kings and act accordingly.

More information on available jobs in the Philippines for EXPATS can be obtained at: www.jobsnet.net

Investments

There are as many opportunities here as in any developing area. There are many needed goods and services that are not available here yet that some enterprising individuals will find lucrative someday. Again, you have to visit and see if there is something in your expertise. You cannot do anything here without a Filipino partner or "front person." 

I don't recommend investments (if they were sure deals, I'd do them myself!) and I don't recommend partners. You have to build your own trust with someone.  

One piece of FREE advice is: DON'T MAKE AN INVESTMENT IN THE NAMEOF  YOUR FILIPINA GIRLFRIEND OR WIFE.   When that relationship breaks up, there goes your life savings. I have seen it over and over and over again!

Banking

Almost all the banks here will take 21 to 30 days to clear a check [personal, cashier's, or travelers check!] if you have an account there. There are several banks that will accept direct deposits from USA (like US military retirement). Check into a bank account when you visit for more information. All will require 2-3 pieces of identification and most will require a reference from someone that does business with the bank before they will let you deposit.

Vehicles

Even on a tourist visa you can buy, register, and insure a motor vehicle. Vehicles are not cheap due to the high customs duties, but you can find a reliable used car for $3500 to $5000.

 

The Clark Area RAO (Retiree Affairs Office) has a new home page that has lots of great information for US military retirees that may be considering relocating to the Philippines. This site also has lots of information that will be helpful to any individual considering living in Angeles City.

(http://www2.mozcom.com/~rao_cabr)