Getting a Philippine Visa
What Do You Need to Visit the Philippines?
For foreigners who wish to visit the Republic of the Philippines, the processes involved are not really as complicated as those of other countries’. Almost all the time, only a passport is required and one is ready to go as long as he or she doesn’t forget his or her plane ticket and cash for the expenses.
However, in certain conditions that make it necessary to extend a traveler’s stay after the 21 days given to foreign visitors expires, then application for a visa, particularly a temporary visitor’s visa, is the best course of action.
Visa, according to the definition provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is an endorsement made on a travel document by a consular officer at a Philippine Embassy or Consulate abroad denoting that the visa application has been properly examined and that the bearer is permitted to proceed to the Philippines and request permission from the Philippine Immigration authorities at the ports of entries to enter the country. The visa, however, is not a guarantee that the holder will be automatically admitted into the country, because the admission of foreign nationals into the Philippines is a function of the immigration authorities at the port of entry.
There are corresponding standard procedures and requirements needed when applying for one.
The first requirement stated in the list found in the DFA website is that the application for a temporary visitor’s visa must be made in person. In cases where minors aged below 18 years old are concerned, the application can be appealed by someone responsible for his/her welfare under the discretion of the consular officer in charge of the transaction. The minor’s presence would still be required for interview by the Consulate, while accompanied by the person who conducted the application for him/her.
Applicants can normally apply for their temporary visitor’s visa at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate, which holds jurisdiction over their current respective countries/places of legal residence. There may be certain policies, though, that may vary from country to country.
The minimum requirements to be accomplished during application are as follows:
A passport/travel document valid for at least six (6) months beyond the intended period of stay in the Philippines, duly accomplished Visa application forms, at least two copies of passport photos (this should follow the background and photo size requirements), proof of bona fide status as businessman or tourist, confirmed tickets for return or onward journey to the next port of destination and the corresponding payment charged for Visa fees.
Are there restrictions for foreign visitors in terms of places to go or visit?
As most travel guide websites would inform their readers, there aren’t many strict restrictions regarding the places within the territory that visiting foreigners may opt to go to. The only restrictions that they may be sanctioned to are the areas that are currently of great security concern. Various regions of the Philippines have “security situations that change quite rapidly”, to quote a certain website that focuses on travel guidelines for tourists. A consultation with the DFA and local offices of Department of Tourism in the Philippines for information regarding local security matters is highly advised.
Another possible restriction in the part of visiting foreigners is that nationals who are subjects of deportation/blacklist orders of the Department and the Bureau of Immigration are not allowed entry to the Philippines.
How long can a foreign visitor stay in the Philippines (as a tourist, not a resident)?
As mentioned above, nationals from most outside countries traveling to the Philippines for whatever purpose, be it business or tourism, are allowed to enter and enjoy the hospitality of the country for a maximum of 21 days. This amount of granted days of stay may not be exceeded without the presence of a visa. These nationals are also expected to have their valid tickets ready for their return journey to the port of origin or next port of destination. Their passports should be valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay.
It is also important to note that Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise their discretion to admit holders of passports despite the sixty (60) days validity beyond the intended period of stay.
Brazil passport holders and those with Israel passports are allowed to enter the Philippines without visa for a stay not exceeding 59 days, according to the DFA website; while holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports, Portuguese Passports issued in Macao, Hong Kong Special Administrative (SAR) passports and those with Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports are allowed to stay in the country without visa if their visit does not exceed seven days or one week.
For additional information regarding fees and other restrictions/exemptions, check out the Department of Foreign Affairs website.