The Philippines attracts millions of visitors also thanks to its tourist-friendly visa policies. Most nationalities (including American citizens) do not require a visa for short visits to the country.
However, a visa may be required for longer stays depending on factors such as the length of the trip, and the reason(s) for visiting.
Is a Philippines eTA Required for U.S. Citizens?
Since U.S. citizens are allowed visa-free entry into the Philippines for short stays, an eTA visa may not be needed if the travel duration is less than the 30-day limit.
If after arriving in the country on a visa-free basis a traveler then decides that they would like to stay longer, he/she can apply for an extension of their allowed stay, which usually involves a fee.
However, if an American citizen knows beforehand that they will need to stay in the Philippines for over 30 days, then they will be required to obtain a visa before they travel to the country.
The Philippine Government offers two main categories of visas for foreign nationals depending on their reasons for visiting the island nation:
- Non-immigrant visas (for business, tourism, education or employment)
- Immigrant visas (for permanent stays in the country).
Americans should go over the different visa types offered by the Government to determine if they will need to apply for a visa to the Philippines and which category best suits the purpose of their visit.
The Philippine authorities implemented an electronic travel authorization system that allows holders of certain passports to apply for their visas and visa waivers online.
This eliminates the need for eligible foreigners to visit a Philippines embassy or consulate and makes the process relatively quick and simple. The eTA visa waiver is aimed at making travel easier for people who intend to enter the country for tourism purposes.
Philippines eTA Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens
In order to obtain an eTA visa waiver for the Philippines from the USA, the American applicant will need to check to make sure they fulfill all the requirements for obtaining entry into the country.
These eTa Philippines requirements include:
- Proof of nationality. This is usually an eligible passport, which must stay valid for at least 6 months after the foreigner leaves the Philippines
- Proof of intention to leave the Philippines and not engage in paid work while in the country. This may include a return ticket and sufficient funds for the entirety of the trip
- Itinerary information, including hotel reservations
All visitors to the Philippines will have to go through immigration control where they will be asked to answer certain security questions. Be prepared to present the necessary travel documents along with a printed copy of your eTA visa waiver (if applicable).
Philippines eTA Visa Application Process from the United States
In order to apply for a Philippines eTA visa waiver, the traveler will need to access the Philippines visa portal online. The website allows foreigners to fill out the application for the eTA using an online form.
Applicants will be asked to provide personal and passport information, a valid email address, and debit/credit card information.
Once the application has been completed the applicant will be assigned a Unique Identification Number or UID. In the case of multiple travelers, the UID will be assigned to the primary applicant in the group.
Once the application is submitted, the traveler(s)’ credit/debit card will be charged a processing fee for their eTA visa application.
It is imperative that each individual fills out the online application form as accurately as possible. Any discrepancies between the information provided on the form and that shown on the identification documents can render the eTA visa invalid. Foreigners can also be barred from entering the Philippines on the basis of traveling on an invalid visa.
If an individual makes a mistake while filling out the online eTA visa application, they may be required to submit a new application. In some cases, the applicant can contact the Philippine eTA visa website with their UID number to have the information updated instead.
Travel to the Philippines from the USA
Online applications for travel permits to the Philippines are usually very quick. eTA applicants can expect to hear back on the status of their request within 3 business days. Sometimes, it can take longer than that in case of public holidays or missing/ incorrect information on the form.
If the request is approved, the eTA permit will be sent via email at the address provided during the application. eTA holders are expected to take both a digital and hard copy (on an A4 paper sheet) with them as they reach the Philippines. If traveling as a group, each member will need to have a separate sheet of paper showing their eTA visa.
Before entering the country, travelers must obtain proof of a ticket for onward travel from the Philippines to show at their point of departure. Otherwise, they may be barred from boarding their flight or be required to purchase a ticket on the spot in order to continue with their travel plans.
Visa and eTA holders must also ensure that they follow the Philippine customs regulations in order to avoid delays at the border and potential fines.