Visa to the Philippines

Organizing visas can be such a paperwork nightmare and therefore if you’re travelling to the Philippines, there is a good chance you’ll be relieved after reading this next paragraph.

Visa exemptions for less-than-30-days stays

Fortunately, if you’re wanting to visit the Philippines for anything less than 30 days and you’re not from Hong Kong or Macau, you do not need a visa of any kind to enter the country.

However, citizens of Hong Kong and Macau, fear not, if you’ve got Special Administrative passports (SAR) you’re still given 14 days of visa-free travel in the Philippines.

And even if you’ve got Macau-Portuguese or Hong Kong British passports, you’ve got seven free days of sunshine and talcum-fine sand before you need to apply for a visa.

If you’re lucky enough to be from Brazil or Israel, you’re allowed to roam the beaches and explore the natural wonders of the Philippines for up to 59 days free from the headache of any visa administration.

So, is it that simple? It really is! Provided that your passport doesn’t expire within the next six months and provided that you have a departure flight ticket booked out of paradise; consider yourself eligible. There are no differences in the process or entry requirements for minors.

Visas required for longer stays

What if you want to stay longer though? If you feel that thirty days is just not going to do it for you, then you’ll need to apply for a Tourist Visa/Temporary Visitor’s Visa.

The process is fairly simple as is not unlike most other visa application process. As per normal, you have to do this from your home country prior to leaving for your trip.

The documents that one will need to prepare for the visa application are as follows: your correctly filled-in visa application form, a valid passport, two colour photographs (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm), your arrival and departure itinerary, departure and return tickets to and from the Philippines, and proof of sufficient funds (3 months of certified bank statements should suffice).

You can do part of the application online, but you will still need to mail a package to the Philippines Embassy with all the standard documents inside should the embassy not reside in your city of residence.

A single entry visa granting three months of travel within the Philippines costs USD67.50 if you do it direct with the Philippine embassy. However, if you’re in a rush or simply forgot, you can get the same visa in four working days through private visa service sites. This will cost around USD130.

Should you require a multiple-entry visa, which is valid for 6 months of repeated entry into the Philippines, you’ll be paying an additional USD30 adding up to just less than USD100.

Extending your stay in the Philippines

If your stay in the Philippines should exceed your authorized period of stay, you can head over to the Bureau of Immigration at any point during your travels and secure an extension of stay and pay the corresponding immigration fees.

This is a great option for the indeterminate and wandering traveller or for anyone who simply cannot bear to leave paradise just yet.

Fortunately, beside the odd grizzly face of a border control officer, the visa and arrival procedures in the Philippines are generally straightforward and largely stress-free.

However, the embassy has recently insisted on a more modern run of affairs. Something to take note of, from January this year (2017), the Philippines require all travellers entering and leaving the country, to have machine readable passports.