After making up your mind that you want to visit the Philippines, you will need to decide how long you intend to stay. As mentioned in the previous article, a US citizen does not need to obtain a visa if they plan on staying for less than 30 days. If you plan to stay for more than 30 days, you can apply for a temporary visitor’s visa. Visas are issued in 3,6 and 12 month durations.
In order to apply for a temporary visitor’s visa, you will need to make sure you have the required items before submitting your application. First and foremost, you need to double check that your passport expiration date is at least 6 months valid from the return date. For example, if you are planning to travel to the Philippines from March 1st to April 30th (which is a 2 month stay), your passport expiration date should be no sooner than October 31st.
Once you’ve figured out your travel dates and have your itinerary, make sure to keep a copy to submit with your application. You can download and complete the ‘Non-Immigrant Visa’ application form from the Philippines Embassy website. This form must be filled out, written or typed in either black or blue ink. Please note that the form must be notarized if you are submitting your application by mail.
Along with the application, you will also need to provide a 2”x 2” photo taken within 6 months. Similar to a passport photo, the photo needs to be a clear front view of the person applying with a white background. The photo also can’t be taken with sleeveless attire, blurry or low quality. You can usually have this done at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Depending on your purpose, business or leisure, you will need to submit one of the following; either a proof of financial capacity or a letter from your employer or sponsor of the trip. If you are going for leisure, you will need to provide financial support for your trip to the Philippines which can be a bank statement or an affidavit of support. If you are going for business, you will need to provide a letter from your employer stating the specific purpose and length of the trip. Please note that if the application is for a minor (under 18), an affidavit of support and bank statement from either parent is required as well.
When you have all the required items, you are ready to submit your application along with the required items to the Philippine Embassy either by mail or by visiting the Consular Services. If you are sending by mail, you will need to include your passport, application, 2 x 2 photo, financial support or letter from employer, self-addressed and pre-paid return envelope, and visa fee.
At the time of this article, the cost of visas are as follows: $30.00 for a single entry visa valid for 3 months, $60.00 for a multiple entry visa valid for 6 months, and $90.00 for a multiple entry visa valid for 12 months. The fee must be paid in cash or money order made payable to “Embassy of Philippines”. Please note that personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.
If you decide to go to the embassy in person, the physical address in the D.C. area is 1600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 of in New York – 556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10036 (between 45th and 46th streets). Once your documents have been received and verified, make sure to keep your receipt. You will need to present your receipt if you plan to pick up your passport. Expected processing for visas is between 30-60 days.
For further information or assistance, including other consulate locations and assistance, please visit the Philippines Embassy’s website: http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/