Buy Property in Philippines on a Visa in the U.S.

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Property Ownership for Foreigners in the Philippines: Foreigners with valid visas can buy property in the Philippines, but they are restricted from owning land.
  • Legal Ownership Conditions: Foreigners can legally own a residence or condominium unit, subject to conditions like majority ownership of the building by Filipinos.
  • Alternative Ownership Options: Long-term leases or purchasing property through a corporation with majority Filipino ownership are alternative options for foreigners.
  • Procedures and Financing: Specific documents, legal procedures, taxes, and fees must be followed when buying property. Foreigners can explore financing options, such as personal loans from lenders like Stilt, to facilitate their property purchase.

Are you looking to invest your money in real estate? Are you perhaps looking for a vacation home abroad? Or are you simply in the market for a retirement destination in a foreign country? Perhaps you should consider buying property in the Philippines.

Foreigners can buy property in the Philippines. It is actually much simpler than you’d think. Here is some more information about how to buy property in the Philippines.

Can Visa Holders Buy Property in the Philippines?

First, let’s address the most important question. Can visa holders buy property in the Philippines? Yes, foreigners with valid visas may buy property in the Philippines. You are allowed to own a residence, but you can’t own the land it is built upon. There are specific rules and regulations that govern the real estate industry in the Philippines.

Here are the key takeaways for foreigners in the process of buying property in the Philippines:

  • Foreigners are prohibited from owning land, but they may legally own a residence.
  • The Philippine Condominium Act allows foreigners to own condo units, as long as 60% of the entire building is owned by Filipinos.
  • Consider a long-term lease with a Filipino landowner if you want to buy a house.
  • It’s possible to buy a property through a corporation as long as 60% (or more) of the ownership is in control of Filipino citizens.

So yes, you can own property in the Philippines. But you’ll have to be mindful of local laws and regulations governing the Filipino real estate industry. Your situation is unique and you’ll have to make sure you comply with the required eligibility criteria. The best advice would come from Filipino real estate experts. Ask specialists like real estate agents or attorneys registered in the Philippines to assist you with the process. They’d also be able to advise you about ways to send money to foreign countries to pay for your new property.

Documents Required to Buy Property in the Philippines

There is a legal side to every real estate transaction and it usually requires specific types of documents. You need to make sure you comply with the local laws and get the paperwork in order before you can legally own a property.

Here is a list of documents you need to buy property in the Philippines.

  • Deed of Absolute Sale (DOAS)
  • Land Tax Declaration
  • The new title deed

This is a very basic list of the most important documents. There are many other documents that may be required when you purchase a property. Your situation will determine which exact documents are required. Find attorneys or real estate agents you trust to help you. They’ll give you the advice you need.

How to Buy Property in the Philippines

Each country has its own way of governing its real estate industry. The Philippines has specific rules and regulations that apply to the buying and selling of property. Here is a basic outline of the legal procedures required for the transfer of a title.

Deed of Absolute Sale

A buyer and seller must come to terms and have the intention to conclude a transaction regarding a property. They agree on the sale and create a Deed of Absolute Sale (DOAS) with the help of a lawyer.

Land Tax Declaration

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issues a Land Tax Declaration that details the tax implications of the sale and subsequent ownership of the property. The document must be submitted to the city or municipal Assessor’s office.

Real Estate Tax

The buyer of the property must now go to the City Treasurer’s Office where they are required to pay real estate taxes on their new property.

Market Value Estimation

The Assessor’s office determines the market value of the property in this step. The valuation has an effect on tax payments.

Transfer Taxes

The Assessor’s office will determine the transfer taxes applicable to the sale. The buyer then has to pay the transfer taxes for the property to the Assessor’s office.

More Tax-Related Payments

The BIR also needs other payments during this process. For example, the seller has to assess whether they have any Capital Gains Tax payments due. A Documentary Stamp Tax payment is another payment required by the BIR.

New Title Deed

After everything has been done, the buyer will need a new title deed stating they are the new rightful owner of the property. The Registry of Deeds cancels the old title and issues the buyer a new title confirming they are the rightful owner of the property.

Tax Declaration

The buyer must request a copy of the new title deed as proof of their ownership. They also need to use that document to request a tax declaration from the Assessor’s office.

Fees Related to Buying Property in the Philippines

Not only does the process of buying property in the Philippines consist of quite a few steps, but there are also quite a few fees involved.

Here are the fees a buyer needs to pay when purchasing a property in the Philippines:

  • Notary Fee – Between 1% and 2% of the total property price.
  • Local Transfer Tax – 0.50% to 0.75% must be paid with regards to a local transfer tax.
  • Registration Fee – 1% of the total value for the registration of the title in the buyer’s name.

How to Use a Stilt Loan to Buy Property in the Philippines

Buying property in the Philippines could be a great investment opportunity. But you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the cash to grab the opportunity. What can you do and where can you get financing? Have you thought of taking out a personal loan?

You can use a personal loan for whatever you want to. You don’t have to declare to a lender why you want to take out a loan or what you will use the money for. Personal loans can be both secured or unsecured. Secured loans have an asset that serves as collateral (which is security for the lender). The asset you provide as collateral will cover the balance of the loan if you can’t repay it.

Even if you are a foreigner, you can get a personal loan in the U.S. with Stilt. Stilt offers great personal loans that currently start at an APR of 7.99%. You can borrow up to $25,000 and repay in monthly installments. You can also repay the loan in amounts larger than the required installments without being hit with early payment penalties.

This is how getting a personal loan with Stilt works.


Apply online for the loan you need. Submit your best possible application. Strong applications get better loan offers.

Get Your Offer

Stilt will contact you within 24 hours of your application. Supply any additional information they require to complete your application. Soon you’ll get a loan offer and a promissory note. Please sign and return this note if you want to accept the offer.

Start Repayment

The loan should be disbursed into your U.S. bank account within 2-3 business days. The only thing left to do is to set up your repayment method online. Consider using an autopay option. This will help you pay on time every month.

Getting a loan with Stilt is that simple!


The Philippines has some wonderful investment opportunities. There are great pieces of real estate to buy. Foreigners are allowed to own property in the Philippines, but you need to meet the eligibility criteria set down by the local government.

You also don’t have to miss any great buys due to a lack of cash. You can get a personal loan to buy property in the Philippines. Make sure you are eligible for a loan and apply today to buy your piece of Filipino heaven.

Buying Property in the Philippines on a U.S. Visa FAQ

Can U.S. visa holders buy property in the Philippines?

Yes, U.S. visa holders can buy property in the Philippines, but there are restrictions based on the type of property and the nature of your visa. Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens and visa holders, are generally allowed to purchase the following types of property:

  • Condominiums: U.S. visa holders can buy condominium units without restrictions. This is a popular choice for foreign investors.

  • Townhouses and Apartments: Similar to condominiums, U.S. visa holders can also purchase townhouses and apartments without restrictions.

  • House and Lot: If you want to buy a house and lot, there are restrictions based on the type of visa you hold. Generally, you cannot acquire agricultural land if you are on a tourist visa, but you can if you are a former Filipino citizen or a resident alien. However, you can acquire residential land for your own use.

What are the restrictions on buying agricultural land?

Foreign nationals, including U.S. visa holders, are generally prohibited from acquiring agricultural land in the Philippines. However, there are exceptions, such as if you are a former Filipino citizen, a resident alien, or if you acquire agricultural land through hereditary succession.

Do I need to be physically present in the Philippines to buy property?

You do not need to be physically present in the Philippines to buy property. You can appoint a representative, typically a lawyer or a trusted individual, to act on your behalf during the property purchase process.

What documents are required to buy property in the Philippines?

To buy property in the Philippines, you will typically need the following documents:

  1. Valid Passport: Your passport as proof of your identity and nationality.

  2. Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR): If you are a resident alien, you will need these documents.

  3. Tax Identification Number (TIN): You need a TIN from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for tax purposes.

  4. Deed of Sale: A legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale.

  5. Title: The property’s land title, which should be clear of any encumbrances.

  6. Proof of Funds: Evidence that you have the financial means to purchase the property.

  7. Special Power of Attorney (SPA): If you appoint a representative, an SPA giving them authority to act on your behalf is required.

Can I get a mortgage in the Philippines as a U.S. visa holder?

Getting a mortgage in the Philippines as a U.S. visa holder can be challenging. Banks in the Philippines often have specific requirements for foreign borrowers, including proof of stable income, a local co-borrower or co-maker, and other documentation. It’s advisable to check with local banks and financial institutions for their specific mortgage requirements.

Are there taxes associated with buying property in the Philippines?

Yes, there are taxes associated with property transactions in the Philippines. These may include:

  • Documentary Stamp Tax: A tax on the deed of sale.

  • Transfer Tax: A local tax on the transfer of real property.

  • Capital Gains Tax: A tax on any profit from the sale of the property.

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): Applies to the sale of brand-new properties.

  • Local Taxes: Local governments may impose additional taxes.

It’s essential to consult with a tax professional or lawyer in the Philippines to understand and comply with all tax obligations related to property purchases.

Is it advisable to seek legal assistance when buying property in the Philippines?

Yes, it is highly advisable to seek legal assistance when buying property in the Philippines, especially if you are a foreign national. A local attorney who specializes in real estate law can guide you through the legal process, ensure compliance with regulations, and protect your interests.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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