From 2017 to 2018, the Philippines saw a nearly 15% increase in the amount of tourism they received from France. Each month, thousands of French passport holders flocked to the warm beaches and lively cities that the Philippines has to offer, taking in the vast array of fantastic local culinary options as well as spending time at the world-class dive sites and natural reserves that are spread among the over 7,000 islands.
As the tourism industry contributes to over 13% of the country’s revenue stream, the government is doing all it can to improve its visa policy and facilitate the entry process for visitors as best as they can. To that effect, Filipino tourism officials will soon be launching an entirely new visa waiver system to ensure that every French traveler can acquire the proper authorization for their trip to the Philippines.
The visa waiver will be called the electronic travel authorization (eTA) and will be received through a process that is done entirely online, eliminating any strenuous trips to a local consulate or embassy in France. The application will consist of answering a few personal questions and providing some other specific details. Read on to learn more.
Is a Philippines eTA Required for French Citizens?
Although citizens of France currently do not require to hold a visa for stays of up to 30 days, once the eTA is launched, French travelers will most probably need to apply for this new type of electronic travel authorization. In this regard, it is important to remember that the duration of your trip to the Philippines is what will be the determining factor.
If travelers from France are planning a short trip of 30 days or fewer, then they will not be required to have a tourist visa or visa waiver at all. However, if their trip is going to exceed 30 days, then it will be required to apply for and receive an eTA before traveling.
Philippines eTA Documents Needed for France Nationals
The same requirements would anticipate fulfilling while applying for a visa in person are necessary to have in order to apply to the online eTA. Each and every applicant will need to provide the following pieces of information and documents, even if they are traveling in a group:
- A French passport with a minimum of six months of validity remaining on the passport before it expires from the date the traveler leaves the Philippines
- A comprehensive itinerary, which includes hotel bookings and proof of onward travel either to another country or back to France
- Two passport-style photographs
- Proof of sufficient funds, either with cash or with a recent bank statement proving that they are financially capable of supporting themselves through the duration of their trip
Philippines eTA Visa Application Process from France
In conjunction with the requirements listed above, each applicant must submit a completed eTA application for French passport holders. The application is meant to be simple to fill out, but it is important that each section is double-checked before pressing submit. Any incorrect information can result in the rejection or delay of your application.
Each application is assigned a Unique Identification Number (UID), which must be referenced should they have any inquiries regarding their application. The typical response time is 72 hours so citizens of France must be sure to check their spam folder if they have not received any correspondence after three days.
The application carries a non-refundable application fee, which must be paid via debit or credit card. Even in the event that applicants are denied their application or they wish to withdrawal it for whatever reason, they will not be refunded the money, so it is advised to be careful to ensure that travelers have filled in all the correct information so avoid having to apply and pay again.
Note: French nationals traveling to the Philippines with children must ensure they have taken all the necessary precautions and made the required paperwork on their behalf.
Once the Filipino travel authorities have issued the eTA, travelers must print out a hard copy of the email and carry it with them to their port of entry. Border officials will ask to see the printed out confirmation email in an extra layer of fraud prevention.
Travel to the Philippines from France
It is of the utmost importance that travelers remember that the Philippines has different rules and customs from France. Even if they are issued an eTA or another visa, they still may be refused entry to the Philippines if they attempt to bring in any of the following:
- Pornographic material of any kind
- Weapons, especially firearms
- All cash above $10,000 or P10,000 must be declared on the customs form