Questions about visa are the most demanded inquiries in our mail and in travel forums. Whether you are coming to the Philippines or you are leaving the country, you need all the required documents.
Tourists can now stay 30 days with the free visa waiver. This free visa waiver is given to them at the immigration desk in ports and airports.
People from most European countries and the USA can enter the Philippines without a Visa and will be granted an entry permit (called a visa waiver) for 30 days. This permit may be extended at any Immigration Office in the Philippines for another 29 days and thereafter every two months for up to 16 months in total. Please read the section about Visa Extension for more details.
The list of all countries whose citizens are allowed 30 days without visa is here.
Countries with special regulations are: Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Sudan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Taiwan, Hongkong, Macau, East Timor.
The Bureau of Immigration reminds foreigners that possession of a Philippine entry visa is not a guarantee that its holder will be automatically admitted into the country. Read more here ...
Philippines Embassies abroad are also issuing different kinds of Tourist Visa (e.g. the 9A) for the Philippines:
Two Philippines arrival stamps
The stamp shows the arrival date, the flight number and the date of expire of the visa-waiver. If you have a visa from an embassy abroad with more than 30 days of stay, please verify the expiry date on the stamp. corresponds to the duration of the visa. Often the immigration officers do not change the date on their stamp and so does not corresponds to the duration of the visa.
A Philippines departure stamp
The stamp shows the departure date and the flight number. If you plan to come back to the Philippines, make sure that the stamp is readable. You will need the stamp's date on your next arrival.
3 months Tourist Visa, 1 entry: EUR 39.00
6 months Tourist Visa, multiple entry: EUR 78.00
12 months tourist Visa, multiple entry: EUR 117.00
Prices for Visas are taken from the Philippine Embassy in Germany but should be similar in all other countries.
In Norway the following visa fees apply:Single ENTRY valid for three (3) months NOK 210.00
If you are married to a Filipino citizen, you may ask for a Balik Bayan Stamp in your passport at the Immigration point where you want to enter the Philippines. A Balik Bayan stamp is good for 1 year and is free of charge. You have to bring you marriage certificate in English, your Filipino Spouse and you have to ask the Immigration Officer for it. Please read under Balik Bayan Visa for more details!
Also, if you are legally married to a Filipino you may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa 13A for the Philippines, as stated in the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, Section 13. Details are here: Resident Visa
If you are already retired and/or at least 35 years old, you may also apply for a Special Resident Retirees Visa from the PRA ( Philippine Retirement Authority). This Visa is not only for retirees, but also for investors and other people who just want to live in the Philippines and can prove their financial status. You can download the PDF File for detailed information and requirements.
An old 9a Tourist visa established in Geneva
You can now easily extend your stay in the Philippines for up to 16 month without ever having a Visa for the Philippines and without ever leaving the country. But in the last months friends reported to us, that you are questioned when you have lots of extension stamps in your passport. We strongly recommend to read the visa pages of the Bureau of Immigration.
Most foreigners enter the Philippines without any Visa and they will get a stamp, called a visa-waiver, in their passports which is good for 30 days. If someone wants to extent their stay, you would have to go the nearest Immigration Office and get your first extension, good for another 29 days. The cost for this first extension is 3010,- Peso. Now you are already 59 days in the Philippines and your regular extension series starts by showing up at the Immigration Office every 2 month, just maybe a couple of days before your stamp expires.
If you have to go to the Immigration Office, make sure to wear long pants, a nice shirt and shoes. Otherwise you might not be serviced, some Immigration offices (Cebu) might not even let you in.
Update: January 2014
Or, come now - pay later!
Update: March 2014
For all visa extensions you now need to bring each time a 2 x 2 photo. And you now need 2 (two) reference persons living in the Philippines.After 30 Days “Visa Waiver” for another 29 Days:
Update May 19,2016: You may now get extensions of 6 months in many BI field offices. The 6 months extension costs PHP 9,0000. (The very small Butuan BI field office delivers 6 months extensions. Thanks Frank for the information).
After this 59 days you’ll get a Visa Extension for another 2 months:Visa extension fee : PHP 1,000.00
*) Since 2010 there has been a change with the ACR! The Philippines now produce a so called ACR-I Card with an electronic chip containing you biometric data, such as address and finger prints. This card is supposed to replace the old paper based ACR and costs additional 50 U$ or about 2100 Peso. Read more information about the ACR Card.
Next extension for two month:The extension fee : PHP 1,000.00
By now you are already 6 month in the Philippines and you have spent PHP 14,300.00 for visa fees, and it goes on:
Extension after 6 months for another two monthsThe extension fee : PHP 1,000.00
Next extension for another two months:Visa Extension Fee : PHP 1,000.00
Last extension for 2 months, to a total of 12 months:Visa extension fee : PHP 1,000.00
The total amount for one year’s extensions is PHP 26,450.00 only!
This is why expatriates often call the Philippines: Feelippines!
Consider two 6 months extensions if you stay for a year. This would cut your expenses.
Since August 2007 you can extend your Visa another two times, for up to 16 month in total. After 16 month however you should finally make a Visa Run or try to get another extension for up to 24 month from the "Chef of the Immigration Bureau for Regulations". This might become too complicated, so it might be easier to make a Visa Run or to try to get a permanent residenct visa.
Dresscode of the Bureau of Immigration
The Head Office of the Bureau of Immigration
Many expatriates who live in the Philippines with either an extended visa-waiver or a 9a tourist visa prefer to travel abroad for a day or two instead of paying a lot of money just for a stamp in the passport.
A good moment for a trip abroad is before the end of the 6th month and before the end of the first year.
As you know exactly when these expiry dates will be, you may book a promo flight already months before. Preferred "Visa Run" destinations are Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok and Hongkong.
The ACR-I cards are only available in some offices of the Bureau of Immigration. Please inquire here!
Processing time is about 2 weeks! You will have to get your card at the BI.
The advantage of this ACR-I card is that you can open a bank account, register a car or a motorbike or even get a driver license without being a permanent resident.
The ACR I-Card is needed to get and the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), and serves as Re-entry Permit (RP) and Special Return Certificate (SRC) of the holder upon payment of the required fees.
Since July 16, 2015 new ACR-I cards in different colors are issued. Long stay tourists (more than 59 days) get a white ACR-I card.
The easiest and the cheapest way to get a long term visa for the Philippines, is the Balik Bayan Stamp in your Passport. This stamp is good for 1 year and can be extended at least once for another 6 month.
To get a Balik Bayan Stamp in your Passport on arrival, you must be married to a Filipina/Filipino. You must present an English translation of your marriage certificate and your Filipina wife or Filipino husband must be together with you at the point of immigration.
Most important: You have to ask the Immigration officer for it, they won’t give it to you automatically.
The immigration officer is not obliged to issue a Balik Bayan Stamp even if you meet all the requirements. Nevertheless, it is rarely denied. The best of it: It’s totally free of charge
The Balik Bayan Stamp is available for direct relatives of Filipino citizens and former Filipinos who have changed their citizenship to another country. If your Filipino husband or wife still has a valid Filipino Passport, he or she doesn’t need a Visa or stamp in their Passports of course.
If you are legally married with a Filipino citizen, you may apply for the permanent Resident Visa (13A) as stated of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, Section 13. You must meet the following requirements:
After the application is submitted, it may take several weeks or even month before you will finally receive your Resident Visa. After the first application, your Resident Visa will be granted for only one year.
After one year you’ll have to submit another application but in a more simple way and the Visa then will be good for 10 years, before it needs to be extended again.
You can apply for the Resident Visa (13A) at the Immigration Offices in Manila, Cebu and Davao City. You may also ask for advice and help at any other Immigration Office in smaller cities in the Philippines.
Another way to get a permanent residence visa for the Philippines, is the Special Resident Retiree's Visa or SRRV . This Visa does not depend on whether you are married to a Filipino citizen or not, like the 13A Visa but it is based on a money deposit in a accredited bank in the Philippines.
The Philippines advertise this kind of visa with some advantages such as: Exemption from Customs Duties & Taxes for the importation of personal effects of up to USD 7,000.00, Exemption from Travel Tax, Exemption from the Exit Clearance and Re-Entry Permits, Exemption from the Immigration ACR-I Card, and from annual reporting. The holder of an SRRV has also the privilege to pass through the diplomatic channel at the immigration at the airport.
If you are interrested in an SRRV, then we recommend to carefully read the website of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).
Every foreigner who has been for more than 6 months in the Philippines, will need to get an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) before leaving. This clearance can only be obtained in the BI offices in Manila, Cebu and Davao. A fee of about PHP 1,210 shall be collected for the ECC.
Those who have an SRRV are exempt of this certificate!
To get your Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), you have to bring:
The procedure (In Cebu-City you need 40 minutes):
In the Manila Head Office it may take you one and a half day to get the ECC. And then it's really frustrating when nobody at the airport asks for this paper. Keep smiling!
Waiting a very long time in the BI Head Office in Manila's Intramuros