How to process your work permit in the Philippines? What types of work visas are available and which are most common for a foreigner to apply for?

In this article we will give you an overview of how to legally hire foreign nationals in the Philippines or what do you need to prepare in order to receive a work permit in the Philippines.

In case you don’t have a company to employ you in the Philippines we will also give you a few alternatives of how you can stay in the country for extended periods.

What is a Work Visa and a Work Permit?

You will need a 9(g) working visa as a foreigner if you want to be legally employed in the Philippines. Companies must prove that adding a foreign national to their team is necessary.

There are two types of work visas available:

  • 9(g) or Pre-arranged Employment Visa
  • 9(d) or Treaty Trader’s

If you plan on working less than half a year in the Philippines, you are required to apply for a Special Work Permit. However, if the duties last for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a permit called Alien Employment Permit (AEP).

What is a Pre-Arranged Employment Visa 9(g)?

The pre-arranged employment visa 9(g) Visa is the most common type of visa foreigners use for work purposes in the Philippines. In order to receive this multiple-entry visa, you should first apply for the Alien Employment Permit.

Note that your employment contract also limits the length of the pre-arranged visa’s validity. However, it can not be longer than 3 years. Foreigners travelling for work purposes with families do have one advantage – 9(g) visa is extendable with the purpose to cover your spouse and children under the age of 21 years.

9(d) Visa

As per the Philippine Immigration, foreigner can enter the country as a treaty trader. This applies if he is a national of a country with which the Philippines has agreed for the admission of treaty traders or investors. At this point such agreements are valid with Japan, USA and Germany.

How to Choose a Work Permit in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, there are three types of work permits that a foreigner can apply for. Keep in mind the validity times:

Alien Employment Permit

Special Work Permit

Provisional Work Permit

Main purpose

Gainful employment, work as per international agreements

Short term temporary assignment

Commence work while the pre-arranged employment visa is being processed (9g or 9d)


1 year

3 months

3 months


Maximum employment up to 5 years

3 additional months

Extendable until a working visa has been approved

Alien Employment Permit

Issued to all foreigners who plan on gainfully engaging in the work sphere in the Philippines. The Alien Employment Permit is also processed for those who are allowed to practice their profession under reciprocity and other international agreements.

Note that if you currently hold any of the following visas, you are good to apply for Alien Employment Permit. As long as you occupy any executive, advisory, supervisory or technical position in any establishment.

  1. Holder of a Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV)
  2. Special Retirees Resident Visa (SRRV)
  3. Treaty Traders Visa (9d)
  4. Special Non-Immigrant Visa (47(a)2)

Initial validity for Alien Employment Permit is for 1 year. It can also be co-terminus with your employment agreement, consultancy services or other forms of employment. Keep in mind that this period all together should not exceed 5 years.

Also, this is not a rotating permit . This means that Alien Employment Permit is valid for the exact company and position for which it was issued for.

The requirements for an Alien Employment Permit are:

  • Duly accomplished Application Form
  • Photocopy of Passport, including visa or Certificate of Recognition for refugees
  • Contract of Employment/ Appointment or Board Secretary’s Certificate of Election
  • Photocopy of Mayor’s Permit to operate business. In case of locators in economic zones, Certification from the PEZA or the Ecozone Authority that the company is located and operating within the ecozone
  • Photocopy of current AEP (if for renewal)

Special Work Permit

Issued to a foreign national who comes to the Philippines for short or temporary assignment. This permit must not be mixed up with a stay permit as it is purely for working purposes. Therefore, always make sure to keep the temporary visitor’s visa valid while staying in the country.

Initial validity of Special Work Permit is 3 months from the date of issuance, there is a possibility to extend it by an additional 3 months.

The requirements for a Special Work Permit are:

  • Notarized letter request
  • Notarized Consolidated General Application Form (CGAF)
  • Photocopy passport (bio-page, latest arrival, and authorized stay)
  • Applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
  • Photocopy of SEC Registration, By-Laws, and Articles of Incorporation
  • Photocopy of Employment Contract
  • Applicant’s Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • BI Clearance Certificate

Provisional Work Permit

Issued to a foreigner with a temporary visitor visa. This is the type of permit that applies to you if your employment visa application (9g or 9d) is in process. However, note that the Bureau of Immigration will not issue a 9(g) working visa unless and until you have the Alien Employment Permit from the Department of Labour and Employment.

Initial validity of Provisional Work Permit is usually 3 months from the date of issuance or until the 9g visa is issued. The Provisional Work Permit is extendable until a working visa has been approved.

The requirements for a Provisional Work Permit are:

  • Bio-data
  • Photocopy of passport with valid visa
  • Proof of 9(g) application
  • Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
  • Contract of Employment
  • Letter request from petitioner company
  • Affidavit of Support of the petitioner company
  • SEC registration of the company
  • ITR of the company

Schedule a free 15 minute call with Emerhub

Alternatives to Work Permit in the Philippines

If you wish to stay in the Philippines longer but do not have a company to employ you there are couple of alternatives to choose from:

Temporary Visitor’s Visa 9(a)

When you plan on coming to the Philippines for business, pleasure or health purposes, the range of Temporary Visitor’s Visa will cover your activities. This visa covers stays exceeding 30 days and allows multiple entry. This is a perfect fit if you plan to explore the culture more, learn the language or travel around the country.

Student Visa 9(f)

Entering the Philippines with a Student Visa is an option as well if you are at least 18 and plan on taking up a course higher than high school. This visa applies for foreign students studying in an educational institution in the Philippines and is also extendable.

Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)

Special Resident Retiree’s Visa allows you to follow through multiple entries to the Philippines and back, as well as stay indefinitely. However, a candidate must present a deposit depending on their age and retirement pension.

Which Visa Should I Apply For?

The above mentioned three visa types are only a few suggestions how your stay in the Philippines can be longer. However, if these did not meet your traveling criteria, do not worry. There is a longer list of visas with subcategories which might fit you better:

  • Non-Immigrant Visas
  • Immigrant Visas
  • Special Visas
  • Special Immigrant Visas
  • Applicable Visas Under Special Laws
  • Special Subic-Clark Visas
  • Special Investment Visas

Keep in mind that processing visa in the Philippines takes time. Gather your documents on a timely manner and apply well in advance. If you are unsure about what type of visa fits best for you or need assistance with applying for it, reach out to Emerhub Philippines for further tips or visa submission.

Get started With Work Permit Application

As a foreigner, it is mandatory to obtain work permits and working visas prior to starting any kind of employment. Documents must be submitted to Philippine Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE).

Thus, if you have had your fair share of bureaucracy and day-to-day government check-up’s, reach out to Emerhub Philippines. Our team in Manila will collect necessary documents and handle the processing of your work permit in the Philippines from start to finish on your behalf.

Tell us what you plan to do in the Philippines and our experts will advise and arrange the most suitable work permit for youill in  the form below or reach out to us via e-mail [email protected]

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