An Expat’s Guide To Getting A Loan In The Philippines

6 min. read By Kia Navarro on

It is never easy to move out of your country. There are a lot of preparations to do and a whole ton of payments!

If you are a foreigner, looking to make a home in the Philippines and all of these expenses are getting the best of you, fret not. There are a lot of loans for expats in the Philippines that you can choose from.

Banks like the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Citibank, HSBC, Banco de Oro (BDO) and other lending institutions serve the Filipino people the best loans, designed specifically for them and their financial state. But since there has been a huge influx of foreigners in the country, lending companies and various banks now entertain loans for expats in the Philippines as long as they pass the requirements of the company.

Do note that loans for foreigners are not just handed out to you just like that. There are procedures, requirements, and documents or proof that you are staying in the country legally.

1. Home loan for foreigners

If you are thinking of buying a property in the Philippines, you need to be aware first of how the system works for foreigners.

The processing of loans for locals and foreigners are totally different from each other. Keep in mind that foreigners are not allowed to buy land in the Philippines, therefore you can only purchase a condo unit.

So how should a foreigner go about getting a home loan in the Philippines?

There are banks (local and international) that offer great deals for mortgages with different rates, products, and payment schedules. Make sure that before you sign any paper, you are 100% sure that you are choosing the loan that is best for you and your financial state.

Bank vs. Broker

No idea where and how to get your home loan? You might want to consider going to a broker.

Brokers are a great help but you have to consider the extra costs that they will charge you compared to getting a loan from the bank. Brokers are experts that will make sure that you are getting the best loan for you.

But…do your research first before going to a broker. There are fraudsters out there that could and would just take you for granted to please, ask around first.

Ask your friends or family who live in the Philippines if they know a mortgage agent who can be trusted and has a great record, or go through an online portal for loans.

Banks that offer home loans and mortgages

  • Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
  • Banco de Oro (BDO)
  • Metrobank
  • Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)

Requirements for getting a home loan in the Philippines

  • Must be a resident for two years
  • Must be of legal age and able to repay the loan
  • Must be employed for at least a year
  • If the expat is self-employed, then their business must be operating in the Philippines for at least two years
  • Must have a working landline

(Read: 5 Factors Affecting Property Appreciation And Depreciation In The Philippines)

The documents needed for home loans or mortgages

  • Original and photocopies of your valid IDs—your passport must include the validity and visa type
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or ACR I-Card
  • Employment certificate or contract
  • Work permit with valid visa
  • Immigration Certificate of Residence (ICR)
  • Any proof of legal residence in the Philippines
  • Proof of income
  • Letter from your employer

If your documents are not in English, make sure that you request for a copy that is in English or request for a translator to translate the needed information from your documents.

Step-by-step procedure

  • Compare personal loans online using a financial website
  • …Or, visit the website of the banks stated above. You may also visit them at the most convenient branch for you and ask for assistance there
  • Once you have chosen a bank and the mortgage or home loan that is best for you, submit all the required documents. (Note: Different banks might have different requirements so make sure that you call in advance before you go to their office to save time and money)
  • Ask the bank of the broker to help you look for a home and set up a price deal with the seller
  • If you are 100-percent sure that you are settling for that new home, remember to deposit at least 20 percent to 30 percent to secure the place
  • The remaining 70 to 80 percent will be divided by the professional who is handling your loan

2. Credit cards for expats

Expats planning on staying in the Philippines for long should consider getting a credit card to manage their finances. Credit cards can be useful in many different ways: paying your bills, shopping, medicine and more.

Even if you have an international credit card with you, you might as well get a local one as it is likely that you will be asked to pay for foreign transaction fees if you use an international credit card in the Philippines.

List of banks that provide credit cards for expats

Only expats who are residing in the Philippines for two years are allowed to apply for credit cards with these banks:

  • Banco de Oro (BDO)

For expats who already have a credit card issued in the Philippines for a year:

  • Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)

(Read: Top Credit Cards In The Philippines 2019: Air Miles, Rewards, Cashbacks, And More)

Requirements for getting a credit card

  • Must be a resident in the Philippines for two years
  • Applicant must be 21 to 65 years of age
  • Must be employed for at least a year
  • If the expat is self-employed, then their business must be operating in the Philippines for at least two years
  • Must have a working landline

How to apply:

  • Go to the bank near you
  • Ask for assistance when it comes to choosing the credit card that will match your lifestyle
  • Submit all the required documents

3. Car loan for foreigners

Aside from home loans and credit card applications, expats are also allowed to avail for a car loan! But before you do, GET YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE ASAP!

Your foreign driver’s license (as long as it is written in English) is valid only for up to 90 days. Once your stay exceeds 90 days, you can no longer use your foreign driver’s license and therefore you need to get a valid license that is issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

IMPORTANT: If your foreign license is written in English and is still valid, you are allowed to convert it to Philippine driver’s license. But if it has already expired, you are required to take the written and practical exam.

Bring your Passport, valid visa, Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or ACR I-Card.

Eligibility for a car loan

  • 21 years of age but should not exceed the age of 65 before the loan term ends
  • Must have been residing in the Philippines for at least two years
  • Should have a stable source of income
  • Worked two years with a company
  • If you are self-employed: the business should be active and earning for two years
  • P50,000 should be the minimum gross family income

(Read: What To Do When Your Car Loan Gets Rejected: A Step-By-Step Guide)

Requirements (Brand-new car):

  • Valid ID
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or ACR I-Card
  • Certificate of Employment that has been issued within the last two months
  • Valid Visa
  • Valid Bank Account
  • Latest Income Tax Return (ITR)
  • BIR Form 2316
  • Latest payslip
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Requirements (Second-hand car):

  • Valid ID
  • Copy of Certificate of Vehicle Registration
  • Receipt of Registration
  • Notarized Deed of Sale
  • Original LTO Plate Number

If you are considering getting a brand-new car, look for a car dealer that best suites you. If you are aiming for a secondhand car, make sure that you will meet the owner and that you are with another person who is familiar with cars.

About the author

Kia Navarro

Kia Navarro Kia Navarro still lives with her parents. She is, after all, a 24-year-old student who just happens to write content for eCompareMo, which she refers to as "the coolest company she's ever written for."