“We are enriched by our reciprocate differences.”

Paul Valery, French Poet, Essayist and Philosopher


By Realttorney

AA is a European based in Dubai. He first visited the Philippines a decade ago and immediately fell in love with our country. Throughout the years, he has frequented numerous tourist destinations in the country and has invested in several condominium units.

He currently has a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA). He is passionate about promoting the Philippines in Dubai, the rest of the United Arab Emirates and Europe as well.

The main reason for his appointment with me last week concerns his desire to become a licensed real estate service practitioner (RESP) in the country. He is a licensed real estate broker in Dubai.

He has consulted with several lawyers and was told that he can never be a licensed real estate broker in the country. He was very discouraged.

But when AA conducted his research in the internet, he chanced upon my article which I wrote in August 2009. Can a Foreigner Become a Licensed Real Estate Service Practitioner in the Philippines? answered whether a foreigner can become a licensed RESP in the light of the passage of Republic Act No. 9646 otherwise known as the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) way back in 2009.

ReciprocityPlainly, Section 24 of RA 9646 allows foreigners to “be admitted to the licensure examination or be given a certificate of registration or a professional identification card or be entitled to any of the privileges of [RESA].” However, this is not automatic because there is a condition that needs to be proven.

The condition is that the country of the foreigner “which he/she is a citizen specifically allows real estate service practitioners to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as citizens of such foreign country.” I used Section (j) of Presidential Decree 223 as the guide on how foreigners can go about proving reciprocity.

Currently, in the light of the passage of Republic Act No. 8981, otherwise known as the “PRC Modernization Act of 2000,” the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) promulgated Resolution 2012-668, Series of 2012 to govern the practice of foreign professionals in the Philippines. The said Resolution was signed on June 21, 2012 and took effect fifteen (15) days following its full and complete publication.

Resolution 2012-668 provides the guidelines in implementing Section 7, paragraphs (J), (L) and Section 16 of RA 8981, and the pertinent provisions of the professional regulatory laws, the general agreement on trade services, and other international agreements on the practice of foreign professionals in the Philippines.

It should be emphasized that Section 7, paragraph (J) of RA 8981 is more or less the same provision as Section (J) of PD 223. Moreover, Rule III, Section 24 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9646 (PRBRES Resolution No. 2, Series of 2010) does not give the details on how foreign reciprocity can be availed of.

What then are the requirements needed for foreign professionals to practice a profession in the Philippines under reciprocity or other international agreements?

Under Resolution 2012-668, the PRC now requires foreign professionals who intend to practice a profession in the Philippines to file an application for registration with or without Board Licensure Examination in accordance with the pertinent provisions of RA 8981 and the Professional Regulatory Laws, their respective implementing regulations and the provisions set forth in the said Resolution.

Specifically, here are the requirements which the applicant shall submit to the International Affairs Division or the Regional Office of PRC:

1. A duly accomplished and notarized Application Form.

2. A copy of the international agreement or law of the state/country of the applicant showing that the requirements for registration or licensing from the country of origin are substantially the same as those required and contemplated by RA 9646.

The document must be duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate/ Legation to the country/state of the applicant and have a copy of the official English translation thereof.

3. An official document issued by the appropriate government office/agency certifying that the applicant is a registered real estate service practitioner (broker, appraiser or consultant).

The document must be duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate/ Legation to the country/state of the applicant and have a copy of the official English translation thereof.

4. A photocopy of the valid passport as proof of citizenship, identification of the visa issued, and proof of entry in the Philippines.

It is important to note that the Resolution also mandates that all applications be filed by the individual applicant. Upon the filing of the application, the applicant shall pay a non-refundable processing fee of Three Thousand Pesos (PhP 3,000).

Foreign professionals who are allowed to practice a profession with or without examination shall register with the Registration Division of the PRC. Data pertaining to foreign professionals shall remain confidential from any person/entity without the express written authority from the PRC.

In addition, foreign professionals who have been issued Certificates of Registration and Professional Identification Cards shall be monitored by the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES) through the Standards and Inspection Division.

Finally, the foreign professional shall inform the PRC, through the International Affairs Division, of any change in his/her place of residence in the Philippines within ten (10) days from such change.

The procedure for the approval or disapproval of the application will take up only nine (9) working days. All applications shall be considered duly filed upon submission of complete requirements and payment of prescribed fees.

All applications denied by the PRBRES shall be issued a corresponding letter signed by the Chairman of the Board. The letter of denial shall be sent through mail to the applicant within three (3) working days from receipt by the International Affairs Division of the Notice of Denial from the Board.

This briefly sums up the entire process that a foreign professional will have to go through to become a licensed real estate service practitioner in the Philippines. So if you are a foreign professional and reading this here are your takeaways:

YES, a foreigner can indeed have a license to practice the real estate service profession in the Philippines if one is willing to submit the requirements and undergo or follow the process listed above.

The requirements and process enumerated above are all mandatory pursuant to the laws, implementing regulations of RA 8981 and RA 9646.

Everyone brings something – extraordinary zeal or a peculiar skill – of value to a real estate market, even as small like the Philippines as compared to first world nations. I think we should welcome these foreign professionals and their contacts with open arms.

I hope that AA will be one of the first foreigners who will be given a license as a real estate service practitioner in the country. If he does get his license, I will not consider him as competition but a valuable colleague.

Because… It’s more fun to do real estate in the Philippines!