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Green Card Verses ACR Card – Differences in Residency

In The U.S. just as here in the Philippines, there are different ways of obtaining residency. Here you can receive residency from a marriage to a Filipino, by signing up for a Retirement Visa, there is even a new way if you own a business with ten or more employees.

For a 13a Visa, which you receive after marriage, you apply with your wife. Most of the application is from the Filipina including a petition for your permanent residency. At first, you receive a one-year temporary residency and ACR card. After one year, you reapply and you receive your permanent residence.

There is also a Retirement Visa or Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV). With this, you need to be over the age of 35. Depending on your age group and if you are receiving a pension the requirements vary. With all the variations, you need to invest a sum of money into the county either in a Time Deposit Bank account, a Condo or even a Golf Club Membership. If in a bank, you may remove the interest made over the year but you cannot remove the principle unless you are reinvesting the amount into one of the other approved investments. If you ever cancel one of these investments, you lose your permanent residency.

About the differences, in the U.S. if someone receives their permanent residency through marriage, after two years you need to apply.  I guess this is to prove your marriage was for real reasons and not a business deal to get a residency and Green Card. After those two years, if the marriage is dissolved the legal resident keeps their residency.

Here in the Philippines, the Filipino spouse who partitioned their spouse’s residency decides to, they can go to Immigration and withdraw their petition. At this point the Foreigner is back on tourist visa status unless is being deported for some illegal action.

Recently I heard of a man who cheated on his wife, she was so outraged she went to the Immigration office and withdrew her petition. I am not sure of the reason; the husband is currently in a jail cell at Immigration and might be expecting deportation action against him. I need to say, this is something I heard and do not know if the information is correct. Nevertheless, the point is, residency here is granted by the Philippine Government and can be withdrawn if the requirements are not followed.

I try to keep my nose clean and follow the rules, both with the government and my marriage vows and pray I will stay here peacefully.

16 Responses to “Green Card Verses ACR Card – Differences in Residency”

  1. Randy says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I believe in the Philippines, adultry is a punishable offence that can land you in jail for up to 7 years.
    At least, that is my understanding of the law.


    • Bruce says:

      As I see from your more recent comment, it is the law. But laws are not enforced all the time.
      About Laws on the books but ignored, in Riverside, California it is against the law to carry a brown paper bag down Main Street.

  2. ian says:

    Randy- I refuse to believe that that is true! Otherwise there would be only women on the streets here !! hehehe
    I do have a comment on “being faithful” in the Philippines. When i was still searching for a wife I talked to a lot of filipinas, all of whom said that they really wanted a man who wouldnt cheat on them, and many told me that that was the main reason that they wanted a foreigner and not a pinoy. [ thats what they said anyway] But after I found my wife every single one of the girls i had talked to previously wanted me to leave my wife for her !!! Seems faithfullness only goes so far here !!
    The other thing I dont understand here is the huge birthrate. Given the large numbers of ladyboys everywhere here i often wonder who impregnates all these girls/women I see with babies?
    I know the catholic church is very powerful here but I dont think even they have been able to achieve immaculate conception again!

    • Bruce says:

      Many married women cheat on their husbands too. I have a friend who was working abroad and as a good husband, sending money home. One return he did not notify his wife to surprise her and found a man living in his home.
      So it is not just men or foreign men cheating. It is a two way street.

  3. Randy says:

    It might not often be applied but here is an exurp from the Philippines law:

    Chapter One

    Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.
    Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

    If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.

    Art. 334. Concubinage. — Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, or shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

    The concubine shall suffer the penalty of destierro.

    To the best of my knowledge the minimum is 6 months and the medium is 6 years.

    Check out a recent story of a foreign British man who got arrested in the Philippines for being with his girlfriend who, it turns out was still married.

    • Bruce says:

      It is terrible where greed wins over logic. But it is the law here. I have heard of many cases where a Filipino OFW supporting a husband, wife or even boyfriend and while the person is away, there faithfulness and support is used for wrong purposes.

  4. ian says:

    I had to look up ” destierro” . It means that she gets exiled ie forced to leave [the Philippines or just to another island ?]

  5. alantooth says:

    hmmmm… i think you don’t understand why filipinos want to work abroad, if you were workin in a government or any private companies minimum wages here ranging from 175php-300php/day 8hrs/day meaning to say you’ve been working for an hour and you received just a little, not included the SSS, BIR, PHILHEALTH and etc., i knew you can’t blame them from migrating or workin abroad, the government!! yes the government!!!, philippines were known in the world as number #2 in corruption, GOD BLESS PHILIPPINES… hayst!!! if you ask me also? if given a chance to work abroad? i’ll grab also the chance and leave our country, but.. still in practice as culinarian, i hef to finished this first…

  6. ian says:

    My wifes friend just returned from 2 years in Dubai. Had to leave her family and baby to work like a slave there [ very demanding boss!]
    But do you know what depressed her most? it was that when she came back here every family member she had ever heard of was there with their hands out asking – some demanding!- that she give them money ! In the end she had to sell her lap top and new phone for the fare to go back to Dubai !! She figures it would be better in future to stay here and work for 250 pesos a day in the mall . At least she wouldnt have to miss being with her daughter in order to support a bunch of free loaders. [ her words- not mine!! ]

    • Bruce says:

      Tell her to go back to Dubai, bring her daughter save her extra income and forget all her family and friends. This way she can save for her future instead of supporting others that just want to live off her hard work.

  7. Jed says:

    I have a question about the application process for the 13a Permanent Visa:
    What exactly do you need as far as paperwork? And do you need to prove financial stability, and if so, then how? (Because I was told that you need to show that you have $10,000 US in a bank account available to you? Is that true?)
    And what other paperwork is needed?
    Thank you!

    • Bruce says:

      You might be confused with the SRRV Visa which is a Retirement Visa. With a SRRV visa you need to put an amount of money into a time deposit or some investment to receive the visa. You do not need to be married to a Filipina for that.

      For a 13(a) Residency Visa all you need is the following:

      13(A) The wife or the husband or the unmarried child under twenty-one years of age of a Philippine citizen, if accompanying or following to join such citizen;

      Checklist of Requirements for Non-Quota Immigrant by Marriage Under Section 13(a)

      1. Duly notarized letter of application by the Filipino spouse;
      2. General Application Form duly accomplished and notarized (BI Form No. MCL-07-01);
      3. NSO authenticated copy of Birth certificate of Filipino spouse;
      4. NSO authenticated copy of the Marriage Contract of alien and Filipino spouse or authenticated by the Philippine embassy/consulate nearest to or in the place where the marriage was solemnized;
      5. Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate; and
      6. Plain photocopy of passport of alien spouse showing dates of arrival and authorized stay.

      Besides the copies of your passport, the rest is all on your wife.
      First you receive a one year temporary residency. About 2 months before it expires you need to go through it all again to file for your permanent status.

      After you get your temporary residency, you then need to apply for your ACR I-Card. This is the ALIEN CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION which is similar to the US Green Card. All you need there is the forms, photos and photo copies and of course the fees.

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