Whether you need a visa or not to enter the Philippines depends on your intent of your stay and how long you plan to stay there. Since the Philippines continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the US, US citizens may avail themselves of visa-free entry into the Philippines, provided their stay does not exceed 30 days. There are also other factors that plays a part in what type of visa you can apply for, such as marital status. Being married to a Filipino citizen allows you access to other types of visas not offered to others.
Less than a Month
For those US Citizens who plan to travel to the Philippines for less than 30 days, you will not need a visa to enter. Upon entry, you will receive an entry stamp when you arrive at the airport which will also contain the date you must exit the Philippines (30 days from the date of entry). For you to receive a 30-day entry stamp, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. In addition, you must also provide a return ticket to the United States or an onward ticket to another country.
Visits over 30 Days
For US Citizens who plan to stay longer in the Philippines for longer than 30 days, a visa must be obtained prior to your arrival. To obtain a tourist visa, you will need to present a copy of your itinerary, hotel reservations, proof of financial capacity (photocopy of latest bank statement and an employment certificate from the employer indicating position and salary, or affidavit of support), and an invitation letter from friends or family members living in the Philippines. If you’re applying for a business visa, you will need a letter from your employer or sponsor. There is a fee to secure your temporary visa – single entry valid for (3) months – $30.00 USD, multiple entry valid for (6) months – $60.00 USD, and multiple entry valid for (12) months – $90 USD.
Immigrant visas are reserved for a foreign national based on their valid marriage to a Philippine citizen and their children under the age of 21. To apply for an Immigrant visa, applicants must submit a medical examination which also include chest x-rays, police record and an in-person interview. In addition, you must also provide documentary evidence of spouse’s Philippine citizenship in form of NSO birth certificate or passport, evidence of financial status such as bank statements, real state or a notarized Affidavit of Support from a relative in the Philippines, with attached documents to substantiate declaration or claim. The current fee for an Immigrant visa is $150 USD which must be paid in cash or money order. Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.
The Balikbayan Program as instituted by Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174) was launched by the Philippine Government to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate. The program allows visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year for foreign passport holders, with the exception of visa-required nationals.
Under the “Balikbayan Program” of the Philippines, the following persons are considered Balikbayans:
- a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one year from the date of last departure;
- a Filipino Overseas Worker; and
- a former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in a foreign country and holds a foreign passport (original proof of former Philippine citizenship, such as old Philippine passport, birth certificate, or foreign naturalization papers showing Filipino nationality will be required).
Balikbayans are entitled to the following benefits:
- travel tax exemption
- visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one year from the date of arrival in the Philippines
- duty-free shopping privileges up to US$1,500.00
Family members (spouse and children) of a Balikbayan who are holding foreign passports are also entitled to Balikbayan privileges, on the condition that they:
- travel with the Balikbayan;
- pay any applicable immigration fees; and
- observe and comply with immigration rules and regulations.
Balikbayans traveling to the Philippines are advised to declare before the Philippine Immigration Officer at the port of entry that he/she is availing of the privilege and has to present either their old Philippine passport or copy of Philippine birth certificate as proof of their former Philippine citizenship.
Accompanying family members of the balikbayan should bring appropriate supporting documents:
• For the spouse: copy of marriage certificate
• For each child: copy of birth certificate
• For adopted children: copy of adoption papers
If you do not fall within the following categories or you have any questions in regards to your status, visit http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/ for more information.