Traveling to the Philippines


What are the formalities to fill in while traveling to the Philippines? Do you need a visa? Find out in this article.

If you intend to travel to the Philippines, you should probably start by inquiring on related formalities and procedures. The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs has written a guide defining the Philippine visa, as well as application procedures. But beforehand, you are required to inquire whether you need a visa to travel there as nationals of some countries are exempted from this requirement.

The Philippine visa

The Philippine visa is a pass which is stamped on the passport. It can be obtained from the Philippines embassy or consulate in your home country. However, bear in mind that having obtained a visa does not guarantee your entry into the country. In fact, this will be determined by the Immigration Bureau.


You can, for instance, apply for a temporary visa to travel to the Philippines. If you are less than 18 years old, the application has to be made by your legal guardian. You will also be called for an Interview at the embassy or consulate, accompanied by your guardian.

In general, the application has to be made at the Philippines embassy or consulate in your home country. But nationals coming from some countries have to apply for the visa at their respective home country's embassy or consulate.

To apply for a visa, the following documents are required:

  • passport or other travel document which has to be valid for at least six months following your return date
  • a duly filled and signed application form
  • two passport-size photos
  • a certificate of good faith as a tourist or business traveler
  • your return tickets or tickets for another trip from the Philippines
  • fees applied.

Other documents may also be required depending on the nature and purpose of your trip. You can have more information on the Immigration Bureau's website.

Extension of stay

If you hold a temporary visa, you can request for an extension of stay at the Immigration Bureau. Note that fees apply.

Types of visas

Immigration visas:

  • Quota visa
  • Immigrant Visa by Marriage
  • Permanent Resident Visa
  • Child Born Abroad to Immigrant Mother Visa
  • Returning Resident Visa
  • Returning Former Natural (born) Filipino Citizen Visa
  • Child Born Subsequent to the Issuance of Immigrant Visa of the Accompanying Parent

Temporary visas:

  • Temporary Resident Visa
  • Temporary Visitor Visa
  • Treaty Trader / Investor Visa
  • Accredited Official of Foreign Government Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Pre-arranged Employment Visa

Special visas:

  • Visa Upon Arrival
  • Special Visa for Employment Creation
  • Special Non-immigrant Visa Under A.A 8756 (issued to foreign staff or managers of a regional headquarter, a regional operating headquarter or multinational companies)
  • Special Employment Visa for Offshore Banking Unit(issued to foreigners working in the offshore banking sector).

Visa exemptions

Nationals of the following countries can travel to the Philippines for business and tourism purposes without a visa for a maximum of 30 days following their arrival date, provided they have valid return air tickets or tickets to another destination:

Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea (Republic of Korea), Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru ,Poland ,Portugal ,Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania (United Republic of Tanzania), Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, UK, USA, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

They must also have a passport which is valid for at least 6 months following their return to their home country or their trip to another destination. Note that immigration officers at entry posts may decide whether or not to allow them into the country. Moreover, foreigners having been deported or blacklisted by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an Immigration Bureau are not allowed to enter the Philippines.

Foreigners having Brazilian and Israeli passports are allowed to stay in the Philippines without a visa for a maximum of 59 days.

Those holding a Special Administrative Region (SAR - Hong Kong and Macao) passports are allowed to stay in the Philippines without a visa for a maximum of 14 days.

Finally, foreigners holding a British National Overseas (BNO) passport and a Portuguese passport issued in Macao are allowed to stay in the Philippines without a visa for a maximum of 7 days.

 Useful links: - Philippines Formalities Forum 
Bureau of Immigrations

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See also

Cagayan de Oro is deemed to be Northern Mindanao's economic center, hence providing various professionals opportunities for expatriates.
As Cebu is one of the most developed Philippine provinces, expatriates should not have much trouble in finding a job there.
Located in Mindanao, Davao is a very dynamic city in economic terms, providing many professional opportunities for foreigners.
Iloilo, nicknamed the Heart of the Philippines, is mainly an industrial region that provides many career prospects for skilled foreigners.
Manila is very welcoming towards qualified and skilled foreigners looking for job opportunities thanks to its developed economy.

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