The Philippines is an island nation known for its vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes. People from all over the world travel to the Philippines for different reasons but tourism seems to be the main reason that people from all over the world visit the country. Hence, the Philippine Government offers different types of visas to people depending upon their specific reasons for traveling to the country. Travelers are therefore encouraged to explore the different categories of visas offered by the Philippine Government. This will help to determine whether or not travelers need to obtain a visa prior to their visit and which, if any, visa best suits their travel needs.
There are two main categories of visa offered by the Philippine Government: immigrant and non-immigrant visas. For people looking to travel to the Philippines for touristic purposes, they will need to apply for a non-immigrant tourist visa to the country.
It is worth noting that the Philippines allows citizens of most countries, including all European Union member countries, Argentina and Canada to travel visa-free to the country for short stays of up to 30 days. For stays exceeding the 30-day limit, most travelers will need to obtain a visa in order to visit the country. Again, travelers are advised to check whether or not they will require a visa to visit the country before making any travel plans.
Do Japanese Citizens Need an eTA Visa for the Philippines?
The Philippine Government has now extended the electronic travel authorization system to Japanese citizens in order to encourage more Japanese citizens to travel to the country. This means that Japanese citizens will now be able to apply for a Philippine eTA visa online without having to visit a local embassy or consulate. The process of applying for the Philippine eTA tourist visa is relatively simple and takes a few minutes to complete. Since Japanese citizens are allowed visa-free entry into the Philippines for up to 30 days, deciding whether or not to obtain an eTA tourist visa will require the traveler(s) to assess their travel needs. If the traveler(s) know beforehand that they will need to stay in the country beyond the 30-day limit, they can either apply for an extension after they arrive in the country or they can apply for a visa before traveling. Either way, there is a cost involved with extending one’s visit and also for processing the eTA visa application.
Travel Documents and eTA Requirements for Japanese Citizens
Before the traveler begins the application for the online eTA visa, he/she must ensure that they meet the requirements set by the Philippine Government for traveling to the country. These requirements include:
- Having a passport with a validity exceeding 6 months from the expected date of departure from the country
- To and from air tickets to the Philippines
- Hotel accommodation bookings
- Cash and/or credit/debit cards
It is worth noting that these requirements need to be met prior to applying for the visa or making any travel arrangements. This is because all travelers to the Philippines have to go through immigration control at the airport/port of entry. Philippine immigration officials interview travelers by asking them certain security questions and the travelers are expected to answer them honestly and accurately. Travelers must also be prepared to present any necessary travel documents and a printed copy of their eTA visa. The outcome of the interview determines whether or not an individual traveler will be allowed to enter the Philippines.
Philippines eTA Visa from Japan
In order to begin the application process for the eTA visa, the traveler will have to access the Philippines eTA visa website. On the website, the traveler will be able to locate a link to the eTA visa application form that they can use to apply for the visa. This form will ask the traveler to list some personal and passport details, a valid email address as well as valid credit/debit card information.
It is imperative that the information provided on the online application form matches the information shown on the traveler’s passport. Otherwise, the traveler can be denied entry to the Philippines on the basis of having an invalid visa.
If the traveler makes a mistake in filling out the application, he/she may be required to fill out an entirely new eTA application online. In some cases, the traveler can contact the Philippine eTA visa website and simply ask to have the information updated in the system.
Philippines eTA Application Process from Japan
Once the online eTA visa application has been completed the traveler will be given a Unique Identification Number or UID. In case of multiple applicants traveling together as a group, the UID will be assigned to the primary applicant of the eTA visas. The traveler(s) will also be charged a processing fee for the visa(s) on their credit/debit card.
After the application is submitted, the traveler can expect to hear back on the status of their application within 3 business days. In some cases, it can take longer than that depending on if there is any additional processing required on the application.
If the traveler’s application is approved, his/her eTA visa will be sent to them over email. The traveler will then need to keep a copy of the eTA visa on their mobile phone/handheld device and also take a printed copy of the visa on an A4 sheet of paper with them to the Philippine port of entry. Please note that each traveler should have a separate sheet of paper for their eTA visa in order to pass the security check at the Philippine border/port of entry.
Before traveling to the Philippines, travelers must ensure that they have a valid ticket for onward travel from the Philippines. Most airlines will check for it before allowing people to board the departure flight to the country and in some cases, travelers might have to buy one on the spot in order to go ahead with their travel plans.
Some other things to keep in mind for individuals traveling to the Philippines:
- Travelers are prohibited from bringing in firearms/weapons or pornography into the country
- Travelers can bring up to 2 L of alcohol or 400 cigarettes (or two tins of tobacco) without paying duty fees
- Travelers bringing in $10,000 in foreign currency or P10,000 in local currency will need to declare that to customs upon entry or exit