GUIDE TO STUDYING IN THE PHILIPPINES
Students who wish to pursue their studies in the Philippines can look forward to a pleasant and rewarding experience during their stay in the country.
Just like any major decisions in life, choosing to study abroad needs advance planning in order to avoid problems and inconveniences in the course of applying for and studying in a school or university.
Before deciding to study in the Philippines, it is essential to obtain complete and accurate information on university admission procedures and fees, accommodation, and visa requirements.
Here are some important tips and information on how to start and proceed with your study plans:
- Choose a government-recognized school or university. A list of recognized schools and universities is available at the website of the Philippines’ Commission on Higher Education (CHED): www.ched.gov.ph .
- Establish direct contact with the university or school through their admissions office or international students office to obtain information on admission requirements, school fees, accommodation, and student visa. Most major universities and learning institutions have official websites where you can obtain their email addresses and telephone numbers. They also have an international students office to assist in the processing of visa.
- Beware of dubious agents and education consultants. The Embassy of the Philippines does not accredit any education consultants nor does it recognize their endorsements for visa processing. Validate any information that you get directly with the university or school concerned.
- Personal appearance and interview of the student is required by the Embassy of the Philippines in the acceptance of visa application. The interview process must be incorporated in your preparation and travel plans.
- The Embassy of the Philippines does not accept any application filed on behalf of the student by agents or proxies.
- Make sure that your documents are complete before appearing before the Philippine Embassy or Consulate for interview. The Embassy may require additional documents if it deems necessary, to fully ascertain the authenticity and veracity of documents and information provided to the Embassy.
- If you are planning to take Medicine or Dentistry, take note that these are quota courses with limited slots for international students, as required by the Philippine government. Make sure that your university has an available slot for you if you are taking these courses. Do note that pre-Medicine courses like BS Biology, BS Psychology, etc. will not automatically guarantee you a slot in the Medicine (MD) program. Your performance in the pre-Medicine program can be a factor in your acceptance to Medicine proper.
- Make prior arrangements with your university as regards accommodation or dormitory. You may choose to stay within the university campus if dormitories are available, or you may make arrangements with privately-run accommodations off-campus.
- Pay tuition fees direct to the bank account of the university. The bank accounts are usually under the name of the university itself.
- Make sure that you have the right visa before entering the Philippines. Guidelines for applying for visa for the purpose of studying in the Philippines are given below.
- Have all your documents authenticated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India and by the Embassy of the Philippines in New Delhi for the processing of your visa. A list of these documents can be found below (See visa guidelines).
- Coordinate the extension or conversion of your entry visa into another type of visa with the international student office of your chosen university. It is recommended that you enter the Philippines on 9(f) student visa instead of other visa category to avoid the inconvenience of visa conversion (See visa guidelines below).
9(f) STUDENT VISA
The applicant for student visa, having means sufficient for education and support in the Philippines, must be at least eighteen (18) years old and seeks to enter the Philippines temporarily and solely for the purpose of taking up a course of study higher than high school at a university, seminary, academy, college or school, approved for foreign students by the Commissioner of Immigration
The student applicant must first communicate with the school concerned and comply with the school’s institutional requirements.
Said school shall forward the application package to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for approval. Once approved, the application package shall be endorsed by CHED to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) and will then be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The DFA will inform the Philippine Embassy for issuance of the student visa. The Philippine Embassy shall then notify the student accordingly.
Requirements for (9f) Student Visa:
1. Personal appearance;
2. Two originals of duly accomplished application form;
3. Original passport valid not less than six months beyond intended period of stay in the Philippines;
4. Two (2) photographs;
5. Original and one (1) photocopy of birth certificate, verified and authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines;
6. Original and one (1) photocopy of affidavit of support executed by parent/s or legal guardian to be authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines;
7. Two (2) photocopies of parent/guardian’s passport data page;
8. Original and one (1) photocopy of transcript of records authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines;
9. Original and one (1) photocopy of certificate of good moral character authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines;
10. Original and one (1) photocopy of police certificate authenticated by the Embassy of the Philippines;
11. Original and one (1) photocopy of medical examination reports, including X-ray film contained in an envelope authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines;
12. Duly accomplished Personal History Statement forms from the school concerned;
13. Original and one (1) photocopy of comprehensive list of student’s possible contact persons in the Philippines;
14. Diploma is required for student applicant who will pursue graduate studies (authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines); and
15. Payment of Rs. 16,000 (subject to periodic change) in demand draft payable to the Embassy of the Philippines.
9(a) TEMPORARY VISITOR’S VISA FOR CONVERSION INTO 9(f) STUDENT VISA
Students are strongly advised to get 9(f) student visa prior to going to the Philippines in order to avoid the inconvenience of converting their 9(a) temporary visitor’s visa in the middle of their schooling). Nonetheless, foreigners who wish to study in the Philippines may also enter the country using 9(a) temporary visitor’s visa which may be converted into 9(f) student visa or Special Study Permit (SSP) in the Philippines.
The student is responsible for checking the accreditation of his/her prospective university with the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
A non-refundable fee of Rs. 2,560 (subject to periodic change) for regular processing will be collected upon submission of visa application, payable in demand draft to the Embassy of the Philippines.
Students who have been accepted into a learning institution in the Philippines must comply with the requirements for issuance of 9(a) visa.
Requirements for 9(a) visa for conversion into 9(f) visa:
1. Formal letter written (typewritten) and signed by the student addressed to The Head, Consular Section, Embassy of the Philippines, 50-N Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi stating the destination (if studying, state name of school or university), specific purpose (if pursuing a degree, state course or program), duration of the course/program (based on academic calendar) or expected stay in the Philippines, and requesting for issuance of appropriate visa. The letter must also indicate the supporting documents accompanying the letter, with tabs, as follows:
Tab “A”: Original letter requesting for issuance of appropriate visa as indicated in number 1 above;
Tab “B”: Completely filled out Visa Application Form;
Tab “C”: Original and photocopy of acceptance letter from the university or learning institution, with required attachments as indicated in number 3 below;
Tab “D”: Proof of payment of tuition as indicated in number 4 below;
Tab “E”: Original and photocopy of Certificate of Eligibility for Admission from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), duly authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, for students pursuing Medicine or Dentistry. Leave this tab blank when it is not applicable;
Tab “F”: Original and photocopy of Affidavit of Support and Consent duly notarized and authenticated by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), with attachments as indicated in number 5 below (the attachments need not be photocopied); and
Tab “G”: Copy of return air ticket.
2. Duly accomplished Visa Application Form, with clear passport-size ID picture of the applicant, with white background. Scanned photo and incompletely filled out application form will not be accepted. (Visa Application Form may be obtained from the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Philippines, New Delhi or downloaded from www.newdelhipe.dfa.gov.ph).
3. Original and photocopy of the letter of acceptance from the university addressed to the student, printed on the university’s letterhead and bearing the clear imprint of the university’s dry seal and signature of the university’s registrar or its authorized representative.
The letter must state the complete name of the student, his/her passport details, the degree program he/she has been accepted into, and the inclusive semester(s) and school year(s) to complete the program.
The letter must be accompanied by the university’s schedule of all fees to be paid for by the student, simplified in matrix form, for the entire course or program in which the student has been accepted, including fees that involve the conversion of their 9(a) visa into 9(f)
4. Proof of payment of tuition fee for the first semester (i.e., original official receipt from the university, or wire transfer payable to the name and account of the accepting institution).
5. If student is pursuing Medicine or Dentistry, original and photocopy of Certificate of Eligibility for Admission from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), duly authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.
6. Original and photocopy of Letter of Support and Consent of parents, duly notarized and authenticated by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), with attached proof of financial capacity to travel and pay for tuition and other expenses (an example of such proof is bank statement bearing the seal of the issuing bank and signature of the bank’s authorized representative, including proof of income and/or employment of parents).
7. Personal appearance of the student at the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Philippines, for interview.
8. Return air ticket. The ticket must be valid for one year, or until or after the completion of the course or program to be taken by the student.