Philippines Travel Restrictions

philippines travel restrictions

The Philippines has a generous visa-free policy. Citizens of over 100 nations are able to spend from 14 to 59 days in the country visa-free. To take advantage of this scheme, travelers must present:

  • An eligible passport valid for the duration of the stay
  • Evidence of onward travel such as a flight reservation or return ticket

Anyone without a valid passport and transport arrangements for departing the Philippines will be denied entry. Moreover, please also note that due to the coronavirus pandemic, visa issuance and entry permission are temporarily suspended for the majority of foreign nationals. With few exceptions, it is not possible to travel to the Philippines for foreign citizens at the moment.

Foreigners from visa-exempt countries who wish to stay for longer than the time specified must apply for a Philippines visit visa, meeting all the requirements laid out by the government based on the purpose of the trip and nationality.

The Taiwanese are required to apply online for the Philippines eTA visa waiver in order to enter the country.

Access to Boracay Island has been limited to those with a confirmed hotel booking at an accredited hotel. The island was closed for part of 2018 to allow for environmental improvements to take place. Admission to the island has been restricted to help preserve its natural beauty and clean beaches.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in the Philippines

In line with actions taken by governments across the globe, restrictions on movement have been imposed in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, became a pandemic in 2020 and now affects most countries. There is a worldwide effort to contain the disease.

Temporary measures, such as travel bans, are considered to be an effective means of control, preventing the movement of people and therefore the diffusion of the virus. The Philippines visa policy has been adapted to prevent further cases.

Who Is Affected by the Philippines Visa Suspension?

All visas for foreigners are now suspended: no new visas will be issued and those previously granted are canceled. Only visas issued to non-Filipino spouses and children of natives continue to be valid.

The Philippine’s visa-free policy has also been stopped. Passport holders from over 100 countries can, under normal circumstances, enjoy visa-free access to the country but will be prevented from doing so until the situation improves, blocking almost all overseas travel to the Philippines.

From early in the outbreak, the Philippines placed restrictions on visitors arriving from China, Hong Kong and the Gyeongsang province of South Korea, as the areas most severely affected. The visa on arrival scheme usually available to Chinese nationals was suspended until further notice.

As the pandemic spread across the globe, the visa suspension was extended to all foreign nationals, with very few exceptions.

All these measures are temporary, the normal visa policy will resume once COVID-19 has been brought under control.

Are Travelers Already in the Philippines Affected?

The good news for foreigners currently in the Philippines is that they will not be made to leave immediately. International visitors in the country are able to stay until their departure date.

Upon entering the Philippines these arrivals would be subject to the Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine measures.

COVID-19 Travel Ban in the Philippines

Foreign nationals are currently prohibited from entering the Philippines. This applies to the majority of foreigners outside the Philippines including those with most types of visas.

Can I travel to the Philippines during coronavirus?

Very few foreign nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines while the travel ban is in place. Tourists are unlikely to be granted entry.

Exceptions to the travel ban include:

  • Accredited Foreign Government and International Organization officials and their dependents
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals
  • Foreign parents of a minor who is a Filipino citizen
  • Nationals of India who have a Temporary Resident Visa for the Philippines
  • Nationals of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with a Permanent Resident Visa
  • Passengers with the following types of Philippines visas: 3(a), 13(b), 13(c), 13(d), 13(e), 13(g), RA 7919, EO324 or Native-born visa
  • Foreign nationals who have been issued a visa by Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
  • Merchant seamen with a 9(c) visa issued by the Philippines
  • Foreign airline crew

The above individuals are also exempt from the visa suspension.

COVID-19 Entry Requirements for the Philippines

All international travelers who are permitted to enter the Philippines (including Filipino nationals and the foreign travelers listed above) must meet certain requirements to do so.

Passengers arriving at Davao International Airport (DVO) must have a health certificate proving that they tested negative for COVID-19. The test must have been taken within 72 hours prior to boarding the flight.

All passengers must show a reservation confirmation of a hotel approved by Tourism and Health Agencies.

Filipino citizens are allowed to travel abroad, provided that they comply with the following conditions:

  • Be in possession of a roundtrip ticket
  • Purchase travel and health insurance coverage that covers potential costs (such as hospitalization, rebookings, and accommodation) incurred if stranded
  • Abide by the visa and immigration regulations of the receiving country
  • Complete a Declaration Form acknowledging the risks associated with traveling
  • Follow the Guidelines of Returning Overseas Filipinos issued by the National Task Force (NITF)

Do I have to quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines?

All travelers arriving in the Philippines will be tested for coronavirus and quarantined at their own expense. It is also necessary to complete a Case Investigation Form.

All these measures are temporary, the normal visa policy will resume once COVID-19 has been brought under control.

Advice for foreigners in the Philippines during coronavirus

Foreigners currently in the Philippines should follow the standard health recommendations being issued by governments worldwide:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • No contact with anyone displaying symptoms
  • Avoid touching the face
  • Practice social distancing, a least 1 meter between people

People in the Philippines who display any of the symptoms (dry cough, difficulty breathing, fever) can call one of the recently launched coronavirus helplines: 02-894-COVID (02-894-26843) and 1555.

Many countries have diplomatic missions in the Philippines which can be contacted for advice and assistance in case of an emergency.