US Vet Shares How He Retired within the Philippines With a Particular Visa


This as-told-to story is predicated on a dialog with Steven Johnson, a 60-year-old American retiree and content material creator residing within the Philippines since 2018. It has been edited for size and readability.

I am from a small metropolis in Massachusetts and labored as a therapeutic mentor and faculty security officer for 18 years. Earlier than that, I had a profession within the army as a prepare dinner within the US Navy, the place I labored on two submarines within the ’80s.

As I received older, I spotted the tradition and politics within the US was evolving. Dwelling there was not a match for me, so I set my sights on the Philippines. My ex-wife was a Filipina, and I had visited the nation earlier than, so I knew what to anticipate. I moved to the Philippines in March 2018 and settled down with Susan, my 55-year-old girlfriend.

I utilized for the Particular Resident Retiree’s Visa Expanded Courtesy. This non-immigrant visa is particularly for folks with prior service within the army. I discovered the applying course of low cost and simple — it price me $1,400 to use for the visa from the Philippine Retirement Authority.

There have been a number of necessities to get this visa — I needed to make a safety deposit of $1,500, be over 50 years previous, be honorably discharged, and have served not less than two years within the army.

The visa permits me to remain within the Philippines indefinitely, and I can nonetheless journey in another country every time I need. This privilege additionally extends to 2 dependents — and extra, for $15,000 every — which suggests I may produce other relations be part of me right here down the street. My daughter is 33 and lives again in Massachusetts. We keep up a correspondence over the telephone, however she’s not serious about transferring.

I began a YouTube account, The Philippine Data Channel, to share with different expats what it is prefer to retire right here and have 28,000 subscribers. Lots of them maintain a Particular Resident Retiree Visa too, however via different means, like investing in property. In complete, over 73,800 foreigners are holding this particular visa.

Life right here is way more reasonably priced.

I made a decision to retire within the Philippines as the price of residing right here is way decrease than within the US. I dwell in Trece Martines in Cavite, a province some 30 miles from Manila, the capital.

The exceptionally low hire is a plus level. For instance, Numbeo, a comparability web site that gives crowdsourced summaries of the price of residing in main cities worldwide, lists renting a three-bedroom home in Cavite as costing 9,000 Philippine pesos per 30 days, or $218. Compared, renting the same home in Boston would price some $3,450, per Zillow.

Touring across the nation is reasonably priced too. A flight from Manila to Boracay — probably the most common vacationer spots within the Visayas islands — prices 1,636 Philippine pesos on Philippine Airways, or $30, on common. Total, it is an amazing place for expats on a funds.

I even have entry to a US Veterans Administration Clinic. They assist me with my again situation, and I am significantly better taken care of right here than within the US. The Filipinos working on the clinic take their jobs very severely and are cherished by most veterans right here.

No plans on returning to the US

Regardless of small drawbacks, I’d by no means return to the US after residing within the Philippines for over 5 years. I’ve fond reminiscences there, however the skyrocketing costs and the poisonous tradition between the 2 main political events have deterred me from returning. I’ve discovered workplaces to be cutthroat in case you are not in the identical social gathering as these with affect there. The best way folks deal with one another may be very disheartening and unhappy.

However, as a foreigner right here, I haven’t got to become involved in native politics. I’ve made my house right here within the Philippines and am right here to remain. It is not with out its points, in fact, however the secret’s to have some persistence and discover an space that most closely fits your way of life and funds.


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