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Policies and Guidelines on the Registration Requirements of Foreign Nationals in the Philippines

Foreigners or those individuals who are not citizens of the Philippines who wished to work or engage in business in the Philippines are required to secure permits from the respective government department or agency before they can be gainfully employed or do business in the Philippines. The following are the policies and guidelines on the registration requirements of foreign nationals in the Philippines for your guidance and information.

Date : May 30,2019  


SUBJECT  : Prescribing Policies and Guidelines on the Registration  Requirements  of Foreign Nationals

TO : All Internal Revenue Officials, Employees, and Others Concerned.

This Order is being issued to prescribe the registration requirements of foreign individuals not engaged and/or engaged in a trade or business or gainful employment in the Philippines.


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and Bureau of Internal  Revenue (BIR) signed a Joint Guidelines on the issuance of work and employment permits to foreign nationals. The Joint Guidelines clarified and harmonized existing regulations on the issuance of appropriate permits to all foreign nationals who intend to work, perform specific activities, and/or render services in the Philippines, whether in the context of an employment arrangement or otherwise.

Under the new guidelines, foreign nationals who will engage in work outside  of an employment  arrangement  are required  to secure a Special  Working Permit (SWP)  with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), provided that performance of work or service which constitutes practice of a regulated  profession are required to secure a Special Temporary  Permit (STP) with Professional  Regulatory Commission  (PRC). An SWP allows foreign national to work under a Tourist  Visa (9A), provided that the validity of the contract is for only up to three months which may be extended for another three months.

Foreign nationals intending to engage in gainful employment shall apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) with the DOLE. Pending issuance of their AEP or with valid AEP but pending approval of Commonwealth  Act (CA) 613, Sec. 9(g) work visa, foreign nationals shall secure a Provisional Work Permit (PWP) with the BI.

An  AEP authorizes a foreign national to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines, though not an exclusive authority for a foreign national to work in the Philippines, it is one of the requirements in the issuance of work visas (9g) to legally engage in gainful employment in the country.  Foreign nationals exempted from securing  AEP are required to secure a Certificate of Exclusions with DOLE.

Other agencies that issue a working permit to foreign workers include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the geoscience and mining industry; the DOJ for nationalized or partially nationalized industries.


1.   Alien Employment Permit or AEP - refers to a permit issued by the DOLE to foreign nationals pursuant to an employment arrangement with a Philippine-based company. after determination of the non-availability of a person in the  Philippines who is competent, able, and willing at the time of application, to perform the services for which the foreign national is desired.

2.  Provisional Work Permit or PWP - refers to a permit to work issued by the BI which allows foreign nationals to engage in work pursuant to an employment arrangement pending issuance of their AEP or with valid AEP but pending approval of CA 613, Sec. (9g) work visa.

3.   Special Temporary Permit or STP- refers to a permit issued by the Professional Regulation  Commission to a foreign professional to practice in the Philippines for a limited period of time, subject to the limitations and conditions provided for by law.

4.  Special Work Permit or SWP - refers to permit to work issued by the BI that allows foreign national to engage in work outside of an employment arrangement.


Foreign nationals who are planning to work, engage in trade or business in the Philippines, are required to secure their Taxpayer  Identification  Number  (TIN)  following existing related revenue issuances.

Nonresident aliens not engaged in trade or business shall be issued a TlN for withholding taxes on their income from sources within the Philippines.  The withholding agent shall apply for the TIN on behalf of the Nonresident aliens not engaged in trade or business under Executive  Order  No. 98 (E.O. 98) to the following Revenue  District  Offices  (RDOs) prior to or at the time of the filing of their monthly withholding tax return.

PWP/AEPRDO having jurisdiction over the E.O. 98 physical address of the employer.

No alien individuals shall be registered with LTAD/ELTRD/ LTD­ Cebu/LTD-Davao.  LT-employer shall go to the RDO having jurisdiction over the physical address of the LT-employer.

The employer or withholding agent shall secure the TIN of these alien individuals manually from the RDO and will not use the eREG System.

E.O. 981. BIR Form No. 1904:
2.  Photocopy of Passport:
3. An employment contract or equivalent document indicating the duration of
employment, compensation, and other benefits.    and scope of duties.
SWP**RDO No. 39- South Quezon CityE.O. 981. BIR Form No. I 904;
2. Photocopy of Passport

STP**RDO No. 39- South Quezon CityE.O. 981. BIR Form No. I 904;
2. Photocopy of Passport

Other purposes**RDO No. 39- South Quezon CityE.O. 981. BIR Form No. I 904;
2. Photocopy of Passport

An additional requirement, if applicable:
Authorization letter indicating the name of the withholding agent and authorized representative and photocopy of government ID of the authorized person, in case of authorized representative.

**Foreign nationals who intend to work. engage in specific activities, or render services outside of an employment arrangement as enumerated below, shall secure their TINs with RDO No. 39- Quezon City:
a. Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants;
b.International  performers with excellent abilities;
c. Artists, performers and their staff, who perform before an audience for a fee, subject to  compliance with the requirements of concerned agency.office or body;
d. Service suppliers coming primarily to perform temporary services and who do not receive salary or other remuneration from a Philippine source other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay;
e. Treasure hunters authorized to search for hidden treasure with permit from the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities;
f. Movie and  television  crews authorized  to film  in the country  by  the  relevant regulatory office, body or agency:
g. Foreign journalists practicing their profession or covering a specific event in the country;
h. Trainee/s assigned in government institutions. government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), and private entities;
i. Lecturers,  researchers,  trainers  and  others  pursuing  academic  work.  who  are assigned in schools, universities, educational and research institutions, government agencies and other entities (with or without compensation);
j. Religious missionaries and preachers: k. Commercial models and talents;
l. Culinary specialists/Chef;
m. Professionals; and
n. Consultants or specialists.
Foreign  National with Working  Visa (9g)

Foreign nationals who had been issued or holder of AEP or working visa (9g) upon arrival shall be registered by their employer to the RDO having jurisdiction over the physical address of the said employer under the taxpayer type category of Employee.

Foreign nationals who intend to work or engage in trade or business and had been issued a working visa (9g) upon arrival shall be registered to the RDO having jurisdiction over the place of business; or to the RDO having jurisdiction over the place of local residence in the case of practice of regulated profession, under the applicable taxpayer type.

Registration Update

Employers of foreign nationals with PWP who had been registered under E.O. 98 and later on had been issued an AEP or working visa (9g), with proper authorization, shall update its registration information from E.O. 98 to Employee with the RDO where they had been registered. ln case of termination of employment, foreign nationals registered as Employee shall update its registration with the BIR.

Foreign nationals with SWP who had been registered under E.O. 98 and later on had been issued a working visa (9g) shall apply for transfer of its registration information from RDO No. 39 where they had been initially registered to the new RDO having jurisdiction over the place of business if engage in trade or business, or local residence in the case of practice of regulated profession. They shall update their registration and apply for business registration, if applicable.


Registered foreign nationals can avail of preferential tax rates under effective Philippine tax treaties. Currently, the Philippines has forty-three (43) effective tax treaties posted in the BIR website. Foreign nationals in the Philippines who are residents of countries with which the Philippines have effective tax treaties may opt to file a Tax Treaty Relief Application with the International Tax Affairs Division (lTAD) following the requirements set forth under Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 72-2010 to avail of the benefits under the tax treaty. However, the tax liability of foreign nationals engaged in trade or business or are gainfully employed in the Philippines will depend on the provisions of the applicable tax treaty. Moreover, the entitlement to tax treaty relief is on a case-to-case basis depending on facts as represented by the foreign national applicant.


This Order shall take effect immediately.

(Original Signed)
Commissioner of Internal Revenue

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About Vincent Perdiguez

The above article was shared by Vincent on this website. He is currently working as a government employee. He is an accountant by profession and his field of interest is audit and taxation. He is writing about business and he loves sharing his knowledge. He is also a practicing Christian and loves to talk about the Bible. He is an active promoter of the 1611 King James Bible. You can reach him through email at cpadavao@gmail.com or through mobile number +63-916-276-4585. You can also post your comments or suggestions about the subject below. Thank you for subscribing to us!
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