The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, consisting of over a thousand islands. It is a country known for its countless, sandy beaches, stunning natural beauty, and culture.

To visit the Philippines, you may have to apply for a Philippines visa, although citizens of several countries are exempt.

What are the Types of Philippine Visas?

There are three main types of visas which the Philippine government issues to foreign residents:

  • Philippine Non-Immigrant Visas, which are issued to foreigners who are visiting for a short period of time and who do not qualify to become permanent residents of the Philippines. This includes:
    • Philippines Tourist Visas, to foreigners who are entering the Philippines for recreational purposes.
    • Philippines Business Visas, to foreigners entering the Philippines for business-related purposes, such as to attend a meeting, conference, sign a deal, etc.
    • Philippines Student Visas, for foreigners who will enroll in higher education institutions in the Philippines
    • Philippines Work Visas, to foreigners who have a pre-arranged work offer with a Filipino company.
  • Philippine Immigrant Visas, issued to foreigners who fall under one of the following categories:
    • Quota Immigrants: Highly-skilled foreigners who will be of benefit to the Philippines, and who are from countries that have a reciprocal agreement with the Philippines
    • Former citizens of the Philippines
    • The spouse and/or child(ren) under the age of 21 of Filipino citizens
  • Philippines Special Visas, which includes the following:
    • Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV), issued to foreigners investing in a manufacturing or service company in the Philippines, a company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, or in a project listed on the Philippines Investment Priority Plan.
    • Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG), issued to foreigners who hire at least ten Filipinos on their company/organization.
    • Special Resident Retiree Visa (SRRV), issued to foreigners who wish to retire in the Philippines.

Fore mor information on non-touristic visa to Philippines visit the article.

Philippines Tourist Visa (Temporary Stay)

A Philippines Tourist Visa is a short-term visa, which is issued to visa-required foreigners who will enter the Philippines for:

  • Tourism/sightseeing
  • Medical treatment
  • Conducting business
  • Attending a cultural, academic, or sports event
  • Visiting family members
  • Any other short-term purpose which does not require the holder to work

This is the type of visa you have to apply for if you do not intend to set up permanent residence in the Philippines, but will simply stay there for a short period of time.

Passport holders of several countries are exempt from holding a Philippines Tourist Visa at all, while those who need it can apply for it at an Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines abroad.

Do I Need a Visa for the Philippines?

The visa policy of the Philippines is not very severe. Citizens of several countries, including EU Member States, Canada, Australia, and the US can enter the Philippines visa-free.

However, the visa-free entry permission only applies to short-term stays (up to 59 days, depending on the country). For stays longer than 59 days, you will have to get a visa or at least a visa extension.

See who is exempt from a Philippines visa and who needs one.

How Can I Apply for a Philippines Visa?

You can apply for a Philippines visa in one of the following ways:

  • At an Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines in your jurisdiction
  • On Arrival, at an international airport in the Philippines
  • Online, through the website of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office

Apply for Philippines Visa at an Embassy/Consulate

If you are required to have a visa for the Philippines, you can apply for one at the Philippines Embassy or Consulate in your country or the one responsible for your jurisdiction.

  • Find the Philippine Embassy/Consulate responsible for your jurisdiction. This includes one in your country of residence, or abroad such as in a neighboring country.
  • Contact them to learn about any specific requirements about the Philippines visa application process.
  • Collect the required documents
  • Submit the Philippines visa application and the required documents at the Embassy/Consulate in person. Submissions on behalf of minors (under the age of 18) can be submitted by their parents or another legal representative.
  • Wait for the visa to be processed
  • Collect the passport which has the Philippines visa affixed to it

 

Apply for a Philippines Visa On Arrival

Citizens of all countries can apply for a Philippines Visa On Arrival, except those from the following countries:

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Armenia Azerbaijan
Bangladesh Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina China Cuba
Egypt Georgia India Iran Iraq
Jordan Kosovo Lebanon Libya Moldova
Montenegro Nauru Nigeria North Korea North Macedonia
Pakistan Palestine Sierra Leone Serbia Somalia
South Sudan Sri Lanka Sudan Syria Taiwan
Timor-Leste Tonga Ukraine Yemen  

 

To apply for a Philippines Visa On Arrival, you have to download the Visa On Arrival application form from the website of the Philippines Immigration Bureau (here).

Apply for a Philippines Visa Online

Only citizens of Taiwan can apply for a Philippines visa online (also known as Electronic Travel Authorization – eTA) through this website.  The eTA is a facilitated method of obtaining a Philippine Tourist Visa, currently available only to citizens of Taiwan.

The eTA allows those who are eligible to receive authorization to enter the Philippines entirely online, by:

  • Accessing the website of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office
  • Completing the application form
  • Paying the fee through a credit/debit card

Once the visa has been processed and approved, they will receive an email informing them of the decision. They can print the visa and show it to the Immigration Officers when they enter the Philippines.

How long does it take to process a Philippines Visa application?

It takes anywhere between two to ten working days to process a Philippines visa application. The time it takes for a visa to be processed depends on the specific Embassy or Consulate in which you apply. Whether you have all your documents in order or not also affects the processing time of your application.

However, you should always apply well in advance of the time you intend to travel.

What are the Philippines Visa Requirements?

The standard set of documents everyone who applies for a Philippines visa  must have are:

  • Philippines Visa Application Form, which you can usually find at the Embassy/Consulate in which you are applying or on their website. Completed and signed.
    • Submit as many copies as you are required (usually one or two)
  • Passport, valid for at least another six months and which has at least two blank pages to affix the visa in.
    • You may also have to submit photocopies of the personal information page on your passport and previous visas.
  • Passport-size pictures, with the following requirements:
    • Dimensions: 35 mm x 45 mm
    • Colored (not black and white)
    • White background
    • Recent (no older than three months)
    • You must be staring ahead, with a neutral facial expression
    • Your entire face must be visible, so your hair has to be pushed away from your face
    • Glasses are allowed, as long as they do not obscure your face or eyes (no thick rims, no tinted glass)
    • Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes, and as long as it does not obscure the face
  • Reserved return-flight ticket or a ticket for onward travel.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay in the Philippines (bank statements, pay slips, etc).
  • Proof of employment, based on your status:
    • If you are employed: Letter from your employer
    • If you are a student: Letter from your school
    • If you are self-employed: Business registration certificate
  • Payment of the Philippines visa fee

Keep in mind:

  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, qualifications, and other documents issued in your country of residence have to be verified and authenticated at the Philippine Embassy in your country before you submit them.
  • The documents have to be either in English or Filipino when you submit them. If they are not, you must have them translated by a professional translator before submission. Make sure to learn the exact language requirements before translating anything, however.
  • Depending on where you apply, you may have to submit both the original as well as a photocopy of a document.

What are the Philippines Visa requirements for minors?

If a minor is traveling alone to the Philippines, then he or she must have the following documents:

  • The birth certificate of the minor.
  • The parent or legal guardian’s valid passport.
  • Fight itinerary for the minor.
  • Authorization for the minor to travel, issued by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s), and notarized by a Notary Public or by a Philippine Consulate or Embassy.
  • Bank statements of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s), issued in the last month.

Philippines Tourist Visa Requirements

If you are entering the country for tourism or other short-term purposes*, then you have to submit the following additional documents:

  • Proof of accommodation in the Philippines, such as a hotel reservation
  • If you are visiting someone in the Philippines: Letter of Invitation
  • If you are traveling as part of a journalistic crew/mission:
    • Your CV
    • Background of your hiring company or organization
    • The planned itinerary of your activities in the Philippines
    • List of all the members on the team
    • List of equipment you and your team will bring
    • Proof of one article written by you
  • If you will take part in a short-term non-degree course:
    • Letter of request addressed to the Embassy/Consulate
    • Letter of acceptance into the educational institution
    • Your Birth Certificate
  • Any additional documents that the Filipino Embassy or Consulate requires you to submit

Philippines Business Visa Requirements

If you are traveling to the Philippines to conduct business, then you have to submit the following additional documents with your visa application:

  • Letter of Invitation from the company hosting you in the Philippines. The letter has to be signed by a person of authority in the company and notarized in the Philippines.
  • Letter from your company where you work, explaining the purpose and duration of your trip, and explaining who will cover the trip’s expenses.

How long is a Philippines Visa valid?

Philippines visas can be issued for a period starting from three months to one year, for single or multiple entries.

However, it should be noted that despite being valid for longer, a Philippines visa only allows the holder to stay in the Philippines for 59 days per entry. This means that even if you have a Philippines visa with a validity of one year, you will have to leave and re-enter the country every 59 days.

Can I extend a Philippines Visa?

Yes, you can.

If you are in the Philippines with a Tourist Visa or under the visa-exemption rule, you can apply to extend your stay if you want/need to stay longer. You have to submit the application for a Philippines visa extension (extension of stay) at an office of the Immigration Bureau in the Philippines.

If the initial number of days you were allowed to stay was 30 days, and you want to extend your stay for another 29 days, then you can apply for a Visa Waiver from the Philippines Immigration Bureau at least one week before your stay ends.

If you have already stayed in the Philippines for 59 days, and want to stay beyond that, you have to apply for an Extension of Stay from the Immigration Bureau in the Philippines.

You can apply for an extension of: 1 month, 2 months, and 6 months.

If you enter under visa-waiver, you can extend your stay for up to 36 months.

If you enter with a Philippines visa, you can extend your stay for up to 24 months.