Can a U.S. Citizen Retire to the Philippines?


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The Philippines undeniably has one of the best performing economies and some of the friendliest people. This is why it is no surprise that many Americans would love to live there in the future. But is it even possible for a U.S. citizen to retire there?

A U.S. citizen can retire to the Philippines. However, there will be things that you will have to consider before moving, such as the restrictions that are placed on foreigners. There are many beneficial factors to look at as well, such as economic standards. 

This article will discuss important factors concerning retirement and the advantages and disadvantages of retiring in the Philippines. Continue reading below for more information regarding this topic. 

What to Consider Before Retiring in the Philippines

 

Can a U.S. Citizen Retire to the Philippines?

 

When looking to retire in a different country, there are some factors that you will want to consider beforehand. Below, we will discuss some of the most important factors to determine before retiring to see if the Philippines is the right decision for you.

Retirement Programs

When retiring in the Philippines, there are special programs available through the Philippine Retirement Authority. Most foreigners prefer the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). This visa includes long-term residency, a government healthcare program (PhilHealth), an exemption from certain taxes, and other special benefits. 

However, there are requirements one must meet to qualify for the SVVR, including:

  • Must be at least 50 years old
  • Have proof that you have a monthly pension of at least $800 (or $1000 for couples)
  • Deposit at least $20,000 into a Philippine bank if you do not have a monthly pension
  • Deposit an additional $15,000 for each dependent

Note: If you receive retirement income such as Social Security Benefits, you will most likely qualify for the pension requirements.

Along with the SVVR, you will need to purchase the application, which will be approximately $1,400 (an additional $300 will be required for each dependent, as well). Further, there are annual renewal fees that accompany the visa.  

Additionally, foreigners who want to live in the Philippines must obtain an Alien Certificate of Registration Card (ACR-I). This card includes a microchip for biometric data, your fingerprints, and it acts as a valid re-entry permit along with your passport and visa. Keep in mind that this card will cost approximately $50 and will also need to be renewed yearly. 

Note: More information can be found on the Embassy’s webpage about other entry and visa requirements. 

Purchasing Property

As a foreigner, you will probably have a difficult time finding housing options in the Philippines. Unfortunately, this country has many restrictions when it comes to purchasing a property. Foreigners are unable to obtain land ownership as it is only available to native Filipinos. However, you can purchase condominiums or townhouses

We know that these living options aren’t ideal for everybody, but they do have their perks. They are also a cheaper option compared to owning land property.

Economy and Taxes

The cost of living in the Philippines is considerably lower compared to the United States. Data suggests that most individuals can live comfortably on $800 to $1,200 a month. Below are some differences in average as well:

  • Rent is 79.16% lower 
  • Groceries are 50.24% cheaper
  • Basic utilities are 98% cheaper
  • Internet cost is 8% lower

Furthermore, the Philippines’ healthcare is also less expensive compared to the U.S. Better yet? Foreigners have access to international healthcare. 

However, although healthcare is cheaper, it can be more difficult to access if you do not live in the capital, Manila. The capital is where it is easiest to access healthcare options, but other areas do not have as many healthcare facilities to access. You will want to keep this in mind if you decide to retire there. 

If you are wondering about taxes, you will be happy to know that the rates are typically cheaper than in the U.S. The rates do vary, however, depending on the amount of income you receive and other factors. 

Cities to Live In

Just like in the U.S., you have options to live near your favorite landscapes, whether you prefer the beach or the mountains, or if you enjoy the city or country—you will find them all! Below are popular recommendations for retirement cities in the Philippines.

  • Dumaguete: Affectionately known as the “City of Gentle People,” Dumaguete is one of the best cities to retire in the Philippines. It is also the largest city in the country and features the most primary seaport, so there are plenty of resorts and attractions to see here. Furthermore, there are nearby medical facilities and even a medical resort for future retirees. 
  • Cebu: This modern city is conveniently located near beaches and mountains and is the region’s best province for commerce, industry, and trade. It also houses one of the best medical facilities in the Philippines, Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital. 
  • Manila: This metro city is a popular residency area for expats. The food, beverage, and other service outlets are considered the best of the best. There are plenty of shopping areas, fun activities, and top-notch medical facilities here.
  • Baguio: Nicknamed the “Breezy City” for its cooler temperatures, it is the perfect city for many outdoor activities, including golf and biking. Retirees can also enjoy several festivities that occur throughout the year. Furthermore, there is no need to worry about finding healthcare facilities, as several medical institutions are nearby.
  • Tagaytay: If you prefer a mountainous region, then this is the city for you. It offers beautiful scenery (including Lake Taal), many outdoor activities, and several healthcare facilities nearby for you to choose from. 

While there are many great places to retire in the Philippines, the U.S. Department of State does recommend exercising caution in travels to the Philippines. There are a few areas they recommend to avoid, including the Sulu Archipelago and areas of Mindanao. These areas are associated with terrorism, crime, and civil unrest. 

However, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the other areas that do not have these kinds of problems. The Philippine government is committed to keep popular areas safe, and all retirement communities are far from dangerous areas. 

Cultural Differences

When you plan on retiring to a new country, it might be worthwhile to learn more about the culture. Below, we have created a list of some interesting, relevant facts to understand more about the amazing Philippine culture. 

  • The Philippines comprises approximately 7,500 islands, but only 2,000 of them are actually being inhabited. The Philippine islands were named after King Phillip II of Spain, and there are many Spanish colonial influences throughout the country. 
  • The country is linguistically diverse, with over 100 local languages, including English and Filipino as the official language. 
  • This country produces and exports more coconuts than most other countries in the world. It is the world’s second-largest hub! 
  • Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, the most practiced religion in the Philippines is actually Christianity, and over 80% of that population practices Roman Catholicism. Most of their “neighbors” practice Buddhism
  • The most popular sport in the Philippines is basketball. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), their professional league, is actually the second oldest globally, right after the NBA. 

These are just some fun facts that will help you prepare for retiring in the Philippines. Understanding different cultures is important for adapting to new regions and countries. If you are looking for some more interesting facts about the Philippines, you can look into some reading material online or in the library.

Conclusion

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy life to the fullest. This can even be your chance to move to a different country. Luckily, U.S. citizens can retire in the Philippines with just a few adjustments. 

In this article, we discussed what to consider before traveling, such as how to obtain a visa or which cities would be the safest. We also provided a few fun facts to get you more aligned with the Philippine culture. These tips and information will help you to make the best choices if retiring in the Philippines! 

Sources

Ruth

Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

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