Planning travel to the Philippines is an exciting endeavor. You’re thinking of sunbathing, island hopping, and just simply enjoying the tropical sunshine. But first, is a visa is required to visit the Philippines?
Citizens of at least 150 countries may visit the Philippines without a visa for a period of 30 days. Those planning to stay for more than 30 days need to secure a visa prior to travel. Former Filipinos may also enter the Philippines without a visa and may stay for a year. Foreign spouses and minor children of these former Filipinos enjoy the same privilege.
If and when you do need a visa to visit the Philippines, you need to apply for the right type to avoid issues with the Bureau of Immigration. Presenting the wrong type of visa may subject you to long waits at the airport.
Who can visit the Philippines without a visa?
Citizens of the following countries may travel to the Philippines without a visa and stay for 30 days:
|Andora||Cameroon||El Salvador||Hungary||Madagascar||Nicaragua||San Marino||Turkey|
|Angola||Canada||Equatorial Guinea||Iceland||Malawi||Niger||Sao Tome and Principe||Turkmenistan|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Cape Verde||Eritrea||Indonesia||Malaysia||Norway||Saudi Arabia||Tuvalu|
|Argentina||Central African Republic||Estonia||Ireland||Maldives||Oman||Senegal||Uganda|
|Bahrain||Colombia||Finland||Jamaica||Marshall Islands||Papua New Guinea||Slovak Republic||United Republic of Tanzania|
|Barbados||Comoros||France||Japan||Mauritania||Paraguay||Slovenia||United States of America|
|Belize||Costa Rica||Gambia||Kenya||Mexico||Poland||South Africa||Uzbekistan|
|Bolivia||Cyprus||Greece||Kyrgyzstan||Mongolia||Republic of Korea (South)||Swaziland||Venezuela|
|Brazil*||Democratic Republic of Congo||Guatemala||Latvia||Mozambique||Russia||Switzerland||Zambia|
|Bulgaria||Djibouti||Guinea Bissau||Liberia||Namibia||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Thailand|
|Burkina Faso||Dominica||Guyana||Liechtenstein||Nepal||Saint Lucia||Togo|
|Burundi||Dominican Republic||Haiti||Lithuania||Netherlands||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Trinidad and Tobago|
*Citizens of Brazil and Israel may stay for 59 days.
Who needs a visa to enter the Philippines?
If you are a citizen of the following countries, you need to secure a visa before traveling to the Philippines:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Lebanon||Sierra Leone||Tonga|
*Taiwanese nationals may apply for an ETA online.
Types of Philippine Visas
A tourist visa is required to visit the Philippines and stay beyond the allowed visa-free stay. You may use this visa for tourism, business, and health purposes.
Single-entry visas are valid for 3 months and multiple-entry visas allow stays for up to a year. Extensions must be applied for at the Bureau of Immigration before the visa expires.
If you are a citizen of a country that is not part of the visa waiver program and you have a layover in the Philippines, a 9B Transit Visa is required. This visa allows you to stay within the airport premises for 72 hours.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila offers shuttle service between terminals. They also have food concessions and comfortable resting areas. There are many shops in the airport so you can shop for souvenirs while waiting for your next flight.
Seafarers traveling to the Philippines to join the crew of a ship docked in the country need to secure a 9C visa. Similarly, all non-Filipino crew members of a foreign-registered vessel or aircraft bound to the Philippines must enter under a crew list visa. Anyone not on the list must present an individual entry visa.
Seaman visa holders do not need to present proof of onward travel when entering the country.
Trader and Investor Visa
Citizens of the United States, Germany, and Japan entering the Philippines to carry on trade or commerce must apply for a 9D treaty trader visa. They must follow their country’s treaty of commerce and navigation with the Philippines in order to make all transactions legitimate.
Similarly, a foreigner traveling to the Philippines with the purpose of managing or developing an enterprise that has invested substantial capital in the county needs a treaty investor visa. An employee/representative of said investor must enter the Philippines with a 9D visa.
Those who wish to continue academic studies in the Philippines must secure a Student (9F) visa. Foreign nationals from India and the Middle East seek post-graduate medical diplomas in the Philippines. You must be admitted by a Higher Education Institution authorized to accept foreign students. Once the HEI admits a student, he/she may apply for the 9F visa.
Spouses and minor children of student visa holders may reside in the Philippines without additional visa requirements.
Foreign nationals who have pre-arranged jobs in the Philippines must enter the country with a 9G Work visa. This visa’s validity depends on the holder’s employment contract. Additionally, the holder is entitled to multiple entries and exits while he/she is employed by a legitimate business in the Philippines.
An Alien Employment Permit is required to apply for a Work Visa in the Philippines. This AEP is valid only for the position currently held at the company. If you transfer to another company, you need to secure an updated AEP.
Special Non-Immigrant Visa
People whose purpose does not fall under the visa types mentioned above may still enter the Philippines with the 47A Special Non-Immigrant Visa. This visa only allows single entry and validity depends on the issuing office.
The following may apply for Special Non-Immigrant Visas
- Executives, supervisors, specialists, consultants, contractors, personal staff of enterprises and those employed in enterprises that have existing agreement/s with the government
- Exchange professors, fellows, students, scholars, participants, volunteers, and social workers under the sponsorship of a recognized local or international organization.
The Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles’ website has a comprehensive list of requirements and other important information. You may visit their page on Special Non-Immigrant Visas if you want to know more.
Special Resident Retiree Visa
The SRRV is for foreign nationals who want to spend their golden years under the glorious tropical sun. More and more retirees find the benefits of retiring to the Philippines very enticing. The low cost of living is at the top of the list. The Philippine Retirement Authority issues the SRRV.
SRRV holders enjoy the benefits of indefinite stays in the Philippines with multiple entries and exits. They are also provided special discounts in PRA-accredited establishments. Likewise, SRRV holders may register with PhilHealth to avail themselves of healthcare subsidies.
General Requirements for Philippine Visa
There are requisite requirements for each visa type. You need to contact the Philippine Embassy in your country of origin for the additional documents you need to secure.
The following are required for all types of visa applications:
- Passport with 6 months validity from return date, photocopy of the data page
- Completed visa application form
- Return or onward travel tickets
- 1 2×2 colored photo (not more than 6 months old)
- Self-addressed return envelope
- Payment for fees
Additional Entry Requirements
Whether or not you require a visa, there are entry requirements you need to comply with. One is to present a passport that has at least six months of validity. This is counted from your planned date of exit from the Philippines. Another is proof of return or onward travel. You need to present either a return ticket to your country of origin or a ticket to your next destination. Seaman visa holders are exempt from this.
Now that you know if a visa is required to visit the Philippines, you can either start gathering your documents or book your tickets and fly to paradise. The Philippines is ready and waiting to welcome you with Mabuhay smiles!