The Philippines is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world, also due to its tourist-friendly visa policies.
Most nationalities do not require a visa for short visits to the country. However, a visa may be required for longer stays depending on the traveler’s nationality, the length of their trip, and the reason(s) for their visit.
The Philippine Government offers two main categories of visa for foreign nationals depending upon their reasons for visiting the country:
- Non-immigrant visas (for business, tourism, education or employment)
- Immigrant visas (for permanent stays in the country).
Travelers should go over the different visa types offered by the Philippine 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 Philippines Government has implemented an electronic travel authorization system that allows travelers from certain countries to apply for their visas and visa waivers online. This eliminates the need for these travelers to visit a Philippines embassy or consulate and makes the process relatively quick and simple. The eTA visa is aimed at making travel easier for people who intend to visit the country for tourism purposes.
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 required 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 the traveler knows beforehand that they will need to stay in the country for a longer period of time, then they will be required to obtain a visa before they travel to the country.
Philippines eTA Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens
In order to obtain an eTA visa for the Philippines from the USA, the U.S. traveler will need to check to make sure they fulfill all the requirements for obtaining entry into the country. These eTa Philippines requirements include:
- Having a passport with a validity of at least 6 months beyond their expected stay in the country
- Roundtrip flight tickets
- Hotel bookings
- Cash or debit/credit card
All travelers 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 travelers 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 the traveler fill out the online application form as accurately as possible. Any discrepancies between the information provided on the form and that shown on the travel documents can render the eTA visa invalid. The traveler can also be barred from entering the Philippines on the basis of traveling to the country on an invalid visa.
If the traveler makes a mistake while filling out the online eTA visa application, they may be required to submit a new application. In some cases, the traveler can contact the Philippine eTA visa website with their UID number to have the information updated instead.
Travel to the Philippines from the USA
Once the applicant has submitted the online eTA application documents for a Philippines tourist visa, they can expect to hear back on the status of their application within 3 business days. Sometimes, it can take longer than that depending on whether there is additional processing required on the application.
If the request is approved, the eTA permit will be sent via email at the address provided during the application. The traveler will then need to save a copy of the eTA application on their phone/handheld device and also take a printed copy with them on an A4 sheet of paper when they travel to the Philippines. If traveling as a group, each member of the group 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, foreigners may be barred from boarding a flight to the country or be required to purchase a ticket on the spot in order to continue with their travel plans.
Travelers must also note that when going through the Philippine customs checls:
- Firearms/weapons and pornography are strictly prohibited
- Travelers are allowed to bring in up to 2 liters of alcohol and up to 400 cigarettes (or two tins of tobacco) without having to pay duty fees
- Foreign currency of up to $10,000 or local currency of up to P10,000 especially in the form of cash, will have to be declared upon entry or exit of the country