In the Philippines, any foreigner aged 18 years old and above who wishes to take higher education courses will need a student visa (9F). However, this is only available to applicants admitted to Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-accredited schools.

The 9F student visa is different from the Special Study Permit, which is given to foreigners under 18 and/or those not taking degree courses.

If you wish to learn more about the process of getting a Philippines student visa, then read on below.

What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in the Philippines?

The necessary documents vary according to your status.

Students Without a Valid Tourist Visa

If it’s your first time applying for any Philippines visa, then you will need to forward the following to the consulate:

  • Two copies of the accomplished application form
  • Two pcs. Passport photos
  • Original passport valid for more than six months
  • Photocopies of parent/guardian’s passport bio pages
  • Accomplished personal history statement (to be obtained from the school)
  • Diploma (to be authenticated by the embassy)
  • Original and photocopies of the following (to be authenticated by the embassy):
    • Birth of certificate
    • Affidavit of support
    • Transcript of records
    • Certificate of good moral character
    • Police certificate
    • Medical exam
    • List of student’s contact persons in the Philippines

Students with Valid Tourist Visa

Students who have a tourist visa for the Philippines may convert it to a student visa as needed. You need to submit the following documents to do so:

Completed application form

This form should detail the applicant’s personal data and travel data. Likewise, the student will also need to document other data, i.e., their guardian’s and school’s information.

Completed application form for student’s children

If you plan to bring your children with you to the Philippines, you will need to fill up a separate form as well.

Signed checklist of completed documentary requirements

This checklist from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) covers all the documents you need to provide:

  • A joint letter addressed to the commissioner from the school representative – should include the institution’s letterhead and dry seal
  • Endorsement addressed to the commissioner from the school, signed by the registrar (for status conversion)
  • Notice of acceptance from school with official dry seal
  • Accomplished CGAF form, which could be obtained from the BI website
  • Photocopy of passport pages – bio-page, latest admission stamp with duration of stay, and Bureau of Quarantine approval stamp
  • Clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation, to be filed within the first six months of arrival
  • Photocopy of the BI school accreditation ID of registrar/authorized representative
  • BI clearance

For Medicine and Dentistry students, a certificate of eligibility for admission from CHED is required as well. As these are quota courses, this document is proof that there is a slot available for you.

How much money do you need for a Philippines Student Visa?

For first-time applicants, the cost of a student visa is about $215. Additionally, the student must pay an application fee amounting to $35 upon submitting the documents.

For applicants who wish to convert their tourist visa to a Philippines student visa, the total fee is Php 9,720 or $195. It covers the following:

  • Application fee
  • Implementation fee
  • Service fee
  • Certificate fee
  • Visa fee
  • Legal research fee
  • ACR
  • Head tax
  • Express fees for certification, filing, and I-CARD processing

This does not include the ACR I-CARD fee, which costs another $50 plus another Php 50 ($10).

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in the Philippines

Here’s a breakdown of the steps required for student visa applicants:

1. Submit the documents for pre-screening.

If you are already in the Philippines on a travel visa, you may submit the documents mentioned above to the BI office. An authorized officer will receive the package and forward it for pre-screening.

If you are outside the country, you need to submit your documents to the Philippine embassy. They will authenticate these before visa issuance.

In most cases, the consulate may schedule you for a brief interview for a Philippines student visa.

It is important to note that consulates do not accredit visa consultants. Likewise, they don’t recognize endorsements for visa processing. If you have any questions regarding such matters, make sure to inquire directly with your institution.

2. Pay the fees.

You need to pay for the fees mentioned above. Make sure to keep your official receipt, as you may have to submit this as well.

3. Wait for the visa.

After receiving your package, the embassy will forward the documents to BI. BI, on the other hand, will submit them to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Once the DFA has issued the Philippines student visa, it will inform the embassy. The embassy, in turn, will notify the student.

This process will take about ten days, so it’s best to send in your application at the soonest possible time.

4. Get your image and fingerprint captured.

Once you are in the Philippines, you need to proceed to the BI-Alien Registration Division. Here, you’ll have your photo taken and your prints obtained.

5. Submit ACR I-CARD requirements.

Applicants who will stay for more than 59 days in the Philippines will also need to apply for an alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-CARD.)

The requirements for this document are as follows:

  • Completed application form
  • Signed and completed checklist of requirements
    • Application form listed above
    • Photocopy of passport bio-page, the page with a valid visa, and page bearing admission with authorized stay
    • Two pieces 2×2 photograph with white background, taken within the last three months
    • A certified true copy of the Bureau of Commissioner’s order for visa grant (to be obtained from the Records Section)
    • A certified true copy of the Order of Approval granting student visa (from the Records section)
    • Photocopy of fee payment receipts

6. Wait for the approval.

You can check the website to track your visa status and/or ACR I-CARD application.

7. Go to the BI office to get your visa and/or ACR I-CARD.

Once your documents have been accepted, you may proceed to the BI office to obtain your visa and ACR I-CARD.


I hope that this article on how to apply for a Philippines student visa was helpful. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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