Top events in Philippines

November
19

A film-buffs favourite, this is a yearly international film festival, with screenings of the best contemporary and classic films from all over the...

January
09

The streets of old Manila (from Quiapo Church) are flooded by ecstatic crowds who try to touch a revered religious statue of the famous Black...

February
01

Welcoming the Chinese lunar year with feasting, processions and fireworks in Manila's Chinatown.

Manila Bay, Philippines
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Manila Bay, Philippines

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Philippines Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

300,000 sq km (115,831 sq miles).

Population

103,339,458 (UN estimate 2017).

Population density

348 per sq km.

Capital

Manila.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Rodrigo Duterte since 2016.

Head of government

President Rodrigo Duterte since 2016.

Electricity

220 volts AC (110 volts in Baguio), 60Hz. 110 volts is available in most hotels. Plugs with two flat pins (with or without grounding pin) or two round pins are used.

The other Southeast Asia, the Philippines is where Asia and Europe collide, over a sprawl of sand-circled tropical islands. Here, Catholic traditions meld with animist rituals and Islamic customs, creating a surreal melting pot that is unlike anywhere else in Southeast Asia.

You can thank the Spanish for the European influence, tangible in everything from the names of towns and barrios (neighbourhoods) to restaurant menus, where roast pork and paella are as common as noodles and seafood. Later, the Americans imposed their own vision and values – you can thank the US for the fastfood chains, the love of pop music, and the rainbow-coloured jeepneys that serve as local buses, evolved from military jeeps left behind from WWII.

With 7,107 islands, it’s hardly surprising that many of the Philippines’ most stunning attractions can be found in or around the sea. Boracay and other islands are ringed by some of the world’s most immaculate beaches and the waters offshore are a diver’s paradise, with pristine reefs, astounding tropical fish, migrating whale sharks and wrecks from WWII.

There’s much more, though. Away from the beaches are jungles, mountains, volcanoes and hidden caverns ripe for exploration. The volcanic nature of the islands is highly obvious – natural hot springs bubble up across the Philippines and the pyramid peaks of live volcanoes such as Mount Mayon call out to trekkers who don’t mind living dangerously.

It can’t been denied that the Philippines has a seedy side – the sex industry grew up to service American GIs during the Vietnam War – but it’s easy to avoid this gloomy scene and find more wholesome nightlife, where live bands perform note-perfect covers of any song you could name and even the smallest, palm-thatched village has a karaoke bar.

This isn’t a country that stages dozens of phony cultural shows for tourists, and the islands’ vividly colourful festivals (of which there are many) are predominantly aimed at locals. So it’s down to individual visitors to strike up conversations and discover a country where East meets West and traditional culture meets the modern world in a crash of colour and confetti.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Philippines on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights are operating to and from the Philippines. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in the Philippines.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities. Access to this link is currently only available inside the Philippines. If you are based outside the Philippines then you can contact the Philippine Department of Health directly as follows +63 (0)2 8651 7800 local 5003-5004 or +63 (0)91 9160 1418 or via email to callcenter@doh.gov.ph.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in the Philippines

Measures have been introduced by the Philippine government to prevent the spread of coronavirus; these differ across the country.

Community quarantine restrictions remain in place in many locations. You should check with the Inter-Agency Task force and your Local Government Unit for the latest information on the restrictions where you are.

The wearing of face shields while on public and private transport is now mandatory. This includes but is not limited to trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, boats and ships. The order also includes aeroplanes. You should check with your airline in advance whether they will provide a shield or whether you need to bring your own.

You should closely monitor announcements from local authorities to understand the latest restrictions and regulations where you’re situated, and their impact on your ability to travel and access essential services. Check the requirements of your local authority such as barangay clearance, health certificate or travel authority for any travel outside of your residence, including to the airport. For further information on rules and restrictions relating to quarantine classifications, visit the Department for Health website.

Travel to the airport

Since November 2020, some airports including Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have required passengers to download the ‘Traze Contact Tracing’ app prior to entry. You can find further information on the NAIA facebook page.

If you plan to take a commercial flight but are experiencing difficulty travelling to the airport due to community quarantine restrictions, the British Embassy can provide a letter to facilitate your passage through checkpoints. You can submit your request to our Consular team via the web contact form. You can also seek assistance from your local Department of Tourism office, which may be able to offer advice on transport options or hotels.

The Philippine government has confirmed that foreign nationals will be able to leave the Philippines at any time during the period of enhanced quarantine. See Entry requirements.

There is disruption to travel routes both domestically and across the region. Check with your travel provider for updates.

Healthcare in the Philippines

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

If you suspect you have COVID-19 symptoms or are infected, and require advice and assistance, you should call the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 Hotline on 1555 or +63 (02) 8942 6843 (COVID).

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

If you need some emotional support during this period, you can call one of these numbers:

View Health for further details on healthcare in the Philippines.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in the Philippines

We will update this page when the Government of the Philippines announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Philippines national vaccination programme started in March 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sinovac and Sputnik V vaccines. The Government of the Philippines has stated that British nationals resident in the Philippines are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme, on the same priority basis as Filipino nationals. Registration for vaccines will take place at a local level and you should contact your Local Government Unit for further information. The Philippines Department of Health has published Frequently Asked Questions about COVID vaccines in the Philippines.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in the Philippines, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Crime

There are high levels of street crime and robbery sometimes involving weapons and firearms. You should take sensible precautions.

Arrange to be met at the airport, or use a hotel transfer service or an official airport taxi where they exist.

Only use taxis from a reputable company. Some taxi drivers and their accomplices have robbed and harmed passengers. Avoid displaying cash or jewellery.

Beware of strangers offering drinks or confectionery. They may be spiked.

Be particularly vigilant when travelling on public transport. Armed hold-ups have occurred on ‘jeepneys’ and buses, mainly in larger cities like metro Manila and Cebu. In some cases these have resulted in fatalities.

Local travel

If you’re planning to travel within the Philippines, seek advice from the local authorities on relevant travel requirements as part of your preparation. See Department of Interior and Local Government website for contact details of your local officials. You can also contact your nearest Department of Tourism office (DOT) through the DOT Official Facebook page or DOT hotline at 1-386 for advice. See link for safety protocols and series of precautionary measures prepared by the DOT.

Always leave travel plans, passport and credit cards with friends, colleagues or relatives and make sure the next of kin details in your passport are up to date.

A ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence’ remains in place across the country. Expect random checkpoints, security patrols and a more visible routine security presence. You should co-operate with the Philippine authorities and allow extra time to pass through security checks. Make sure you carry a form of identification with you.

Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago

The FCDO advises against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) due to the threat of terrorism. See Terrorism

It’s likely that terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals, both on land and at sea. This is particularly acute in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. See Kidnapping

Martial law was lifted across Mindanao on 1 January 2020. Monitor media reporting and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Road travel

You can drive in the Philippines on a valid UK driving licence for up to 90 days. If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel. If you’re staying longer than 90 days, you should apply for a local licence. You can find more information on the application process on the Land Transportation Office website.

Accidents can happen, mainly due to poor road conditions, dangerous driving and non-enforcement of traffic laws. Observe the speed limit, be cautious around motorbikes and scooters, and if possible avoid driving at night or during adverse weather conditions. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

Safety standards on taxis and buses can be low.

Philippine law prohibits children aged 12 or below from using the front seat of a vehicle. A child may be exempted provided they are at least 150cm tall (4’11’’) provided they can be properly secured using a regular seatbelt. Otherwise, children must sit in the back of the vehicle and use a child restraint system or car seat. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a penalty.

Air travel

The FCDO can not offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety Network.

Sea travel

There is a high level of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around the Sulu and Celebes seas. Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are also possible targets. See Kidnapping.

The Philippines’ ferry and passenger boat network has a poor record of maritime safety. Boats sometimes lack necessary lifesaving equipment and maritime rescue services may be limited. You should exercise caution when considering travel by inter-island ferries and avoid overcrowded boats. Accidents are more frequent during the rainy season between June and December when storms can develop quickly.

On 3 August 2019 three passenger boats capsized in the Iloilo-Guimaras straits, with more than 30 people killed.

Political situation

Keep up to date with local and international developments, and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration has specifically warned foreign nationals against participating in public protests and political rallies. Foreign nationals who participate in these activities may be detained and deported for violating Philippine immigration laws.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Terrorist groups have the intent and capability to carry out attacks anywhere in the country including in the capital Manila and in places visited by foreigners, such as shopping malls, entertainment establishments, public transport (including airports and the metro system) and places of worship. Attacks have been carried out using small arms and improvised explosive devices, including both vehicle and personnel borne.

Terrorist activity continues to pose a threat from groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), New People’s Army (NPA and other associated groups. Some groups have pledged allegiance to Daesh (formally referred to as ISIL) and are likely to regard westerners as legitimate targets.

Recent notable incidents include:

  • on 24 August 2020, dual explosions in Jolo, Sulu resulting in a number of deaths and injuries
  • on 28 June 2019, a dual suicide attack on a military base in Indanan in Sulu Province killed 3 civilians and 3 military personnel as well as the 2 attackers. A further 22 people were injured
  • on 27 January 2019, 27 people were killed and many more injured as a result of bomb attacks at a Roman Catholic cathedral on Jolo Island in Sulu Province
  • on 31 December 2018, an IED exploded at the entrance to the South Seas shopping mall in Cotabato City killing 2 people and injuring many more

Armed clashes between security forces and militant groups can occur at any time without warning in rural areas. Incidents in July 2019 resulted in at least 15 deaths in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. Previous clashes have resulted in bystanders being injured. Before travelling to rural areas, you should research the area thoroughly.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Kidnapping

There is a high threat of kidnap in the Philippines. Foreign nationals have been targeted by both criminal and terrorist groups.

This threat extends throughout the Philippines, and foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas, on private boats, marinas and resorts. The threat of kidnapping isn’t confined to terrorist strongholds and kidnaps may be opportunistic. Kidnap groups have sought to expand their reach including by working with affiliates to abduct foreign nationals from one area of the Philippines before transporting the victims to another.

The threat is particularly acute in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and offshore areas in the nearby waters of the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea. A British national and a dual Filipino-British national were kidnapped on 4 October 2019 from a resort in Zamboanga, Western Mindanao. They were successfully rescued on 25 November 2019 by the Philippines Armed Forces. However, some hostages, including foreign nationals, have been murdered. A Dutch national was killed on 31 May 2019 after being held for 7 years. It’s likely that terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals.

British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Commercial shipping companies have been advised to adopt heightened vigilance when navigating the Sulu and Celebes Seas. The Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) advise all ships to re-route from the area where possible. Most maritime incidents occur in the Sulu Sea in the area between Mindanao, the Sulu archipelago, Palawan and Sabah (Malaysia). Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets, and terrorist groups have threatened to attack passenger ferries and other vessels, particularly those operating from Mindanao.

You must be able to show some identification if requested by the police. A photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport should suffice.

Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for importing and using illegal drugs are particularly severe. Possession of even small amounts of any illicit drug in the Philippines attracts mandatory jail sentences. Police and other authorities have been publicly encouraged to kill suspected drug traffickers who resist arrest.

Violating local laws may result in a jail sentence, served in a local prison. Sentences are severe. The judicial system can result in long-term detention until a court hearing takes place. Foreign nationals have been known to spend several years in prison on remand while their cases are processed. Detention facilities are far below UK standards. You can find more information on the British Embassy website.

Philippine law on paedophilia is severe, and strictly enforced. Severe penalties can be passed in child abuse or rape cases. A child is defined in Philippine law as a person under the age of 18. Entrapment may also occur where strangers with children have befriended single male tourists. Allegations of abuse are then made in an attempt to extort money.

The Philippines is generally a tolerant and progressive place for LGBT travellers, although some stigma exists outside urban centres. Current legislation does not recognise same-sex unions. Same-sex relationships are not criminalised by law in the Philippines, but overt public displays of affection may be considered a ‘grave scandal’ under the Revised Penal Code, and can result in imprisonment for up to 6 months. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Any foreign national planning to recruit Filipinos for employment overseas must carry out due diligence, comply with local legislation and be licensed. The laws relating to illegal recruitment are strict.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Philippines on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in the Philippines.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate
of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health risks

UK health authorities have classified the Philippines as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya virus occur all year round.

There’s a heightened risk of dengue fever during the rainy season (June to October). The Philippines Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic on 6 August 2019. You should take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Not all UK prescribed medication is available in the Philippines. If you need to get prescribed medication at a local pharmacy, you should present your original prescription or a letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition, the prescribed medicine and recommended dosage. You should consult with your GP or seek medical advice if you’re running low on supplies.

The availability of medical care varies across the Philippines, and may not meet the standards of care in the UK. Although adequate in major cities, medical care is limited in more remote areas. Even some of the more popular tourist destinations have limited and basic medical provisions. Many places do not have hospitals nearby or easy access to emergency medical care, which may result in a delay when seeking urgent medical attention in an emergency.

Private hospital treatment and medical transport can be too expensive for many people, eg the daily cost in intensive care units can be more than £1,000. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, medical transport and repatriation.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Philippines set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to the Philippines

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration maintains a traffic light system which determines entry rules: red list countries are considered high risk and currently only Filipino nationals returning pursuant to government-initiated programmes or part of non-government repatriation programmes and special commercial flights are permitted entry from those countries. The list can change at short notice so please consult the Bureau of Immigration website in advance of planned travel. For more information, see IATF Resolution 136.

The United Kingdom is on the “Yellow” list. See IATF Resolution 141B for the latest list.

The Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases currently advises that the following passengers are permitted entry to the Philippines:

  • Filipino citizens, including those with an Identification Certificate (IC) as proof of recognition as a Filipino citizen or as proof of retention/reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA9225;
  • Foreign nationals with valid and existing visas at time of entry;
  • Foreign nationals allowed entry under the Balikbayan Program (RA6768) provided they are nationals from non-visa required countries under EO408: a) Former Filipino citizens, together with their foreign spouses and children regardless of age, who are travelling with them; and b) Filipino citizens’ spouses and children, regardless of age, who are travelling with them
  • Foreign nationals who are holders of valid and existing Special Resident and Retirees Visa (SRRV)
  • Foreign nationals who are holders of a valid Section 9(a) visa, provided they present, upon arrival, an entry exemption document issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine Government currently advises that foreign spouses, parent(s) and/or children of Filipino citizens who hold valid 9(a) visas are permitted to enter the country without needing an entry exemption document. See IATF Resolution 128.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

The Philippines has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. You should follow the entry and quarantine rules for unvaccinated people if you were vaccinated in the UK. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

For travellers fully vaccinated in the Philippines, either your VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate or Bureau of Quarantine issued International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) is acceptable as proof of vaccination.

Quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from Yellow list countries must pre-book accommodation in an accredited quarantine hotel for at least 6 days. You will need to undergo an RT-PCR test on the 5th day of quarantine; if the test is negative you will be allowed to undergo home quarantine until the 10th day after your arrival.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from Green list countries must provide a negative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within seventy-two hours (72 hrs) prior to departure from the country of origin. You do not have to pre book a facility-based quarantine but must self-monitor for any symptoms until the fourteenth (14th) day with the first day being the date of arrival.

Quarantine requirements for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated travellers

Travellers arriving from yellow list countries who are not fully vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be verified, must pre-book accommodation in an accredited quarantine hotel for at least 8 days. You will need to undergo an RT-PCR test on the 7th day of quarantine; if the test is negative you will be allowed to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day after your arrival. You are considered fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose series, or two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine. The pre-booked accommodation in a quarantine hotel accredited by the Department of Tourism shall be presented for initial check at the immigration counters. Those who fail to present proof of pre-booked accommodation shall be denied entry and risk being boarded immediately on the next return flight.

Those arriving from Green list countries and are not fully vaccinated, those whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, and those vaccinated but fail to comply with the above test-before-travel requirements must pre-book accommodation in an accredited quarantine hotel for at least 6 days. You will need to undergo an RT-PCR test on the 5th day of quarantine; if the test is negative you will be allowed to self-monitor until the fourteenth (14th) day of arrival with the date of arrival being the first day.

Travelling with Children (from a Green list country)

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minor children traveling with their fully vaccinated parent/s or guardian/s shall be required to observe the quarantine protocols corresponding to their vaccination status. A parent/guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the full term of the latter’s facility-based quarantine period.

Travelling with Children (from a Yellow list country)

To note, children travelling from a Yellow list country have to follow the same rules as adults coming from a Yellow list country.

Foreign nationals who were cleared for entry but subsequently found to have presented counterfeit or fraudulent pre-booked accommodation upon validation by the Department of Tourism, or those who violate the testing and quarantine protocols of the Department of Health, are subject to deportation.

Visas

As long as you have a valid visa you will be allowed to remain in the country, but will need to observe the local government rules if your present location is under quarantine.

If your tourist visa expired during the ECQ period

You can apply for an extension, without penalty, up to 30 days after the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). If you have overstayed and are trying to leave the country, you can arrange a visa extension at international airports. There may be a standard fee in order to extend the visa but no penalty fee will be applied.

If your visa expired before the ECQ and you have been in the Philippines for more than 12 months

Any fines and penalties will need to be settled in a Bureau of Immigration (BI) sub-port office. The list of BI sub-port offices may be found at the Bureau of Immigration website.

If your visa expired before the ECQ and you have been in the Philippines for less than 12 months

Any fines and penalties may be settled at the airport before your departure.

Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC)

Holders of Temporary Visitor Visa who have stayed in the Philippines for six months or more or holders of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visas with valid ACR I-Cards who are leaving the country temporarily must secure an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) at least 72 hours before leaving the country to avoid being denied departure. You should refer to the Bureau of Immigration website for instructions, and call +63 (02) 8465 2400 for advice if you can settle this at the airport before your departure.

All ACR I cardholders generally need to pay for the ECC upon departure. Those with approved visas but who are yet to receive their ACR I cards can show their receipt at the airport. Foreigners with approved visa applications which have not yet been issued can present their valid passport, DOJ endorsement or Certification from the approving office and receipt.

Travel Pass

From 1 March 2021, anyone holding a visa issued by the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Board of Investments (BoI), the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) must obtain a travel pass from the Department that issued their visa in order to leave the Philippines. Anyone holding an ECC issued by the Bureau of Immigration is exempt from this requirement.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

You can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay.

You can apply to extend your stay at the offices of the Bureau of Immigration. Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter and can lead to detention pending payment of outstanding fees and fines and voluntary deportation at your own expense. The British Embassy is aware of cases where visitors trying to extend their stay in the Philippines by regular renewals of tourist visas have been challenged on arrival by Philippine immigration officials. If you wish to stay long-term in the Philippines, make sure you do so in full accordance with Philippine immigration regulations.

Annual Returns for registered foreign nationals

All registered foreign nationals are required to report in person to the Bureau of Immigration and its office within the first sixty (60) days of every calendar year. Please visit the Bureau of Immigration for more details.

Evidence of onward travel

Entry to the Philippines may be refused if you’re unable to produce evidence of return or onward travel - for example an onward or return air ticket.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is needed.

Departure tax

If you’re leaving the country from Cebu Mactan airport you must pay a departure tax of 850 pesos in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. There’s no longer a departure tax at Manila airport. This information is subject to change and you should check with local authorities before you travel.

Visiting Boracay Island

If you’re planning to visit Boracay Island, you will need to have evidence of a confirmed booking with an accredited hotel. You should take local advice on documentation and port of entry to the island before you travel.

Living, working or studying in the Philippines

If you intend to live, work, or study in the Philippines you’ll need to have certain UK documents (eg birth certificates, marriage certificates, UK police certificates, school documents) legalised by the FCDO Legalisation Office. These documents do not need to be legalised or authenticated by the Philippine Embassy in London. Alternatively, the requesting local authority may wish to verify the Apostille certificate issued by the Legalisation Office at https://www.gov.uk/verify-apostille.

Children travelling to the Philippines without their parents

Non-Filipino children under the age of 15, who are not travelling with a parent or joining a parent in the Philippines, must apply for a Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG) for entry into the Philippines. You can do this at the Philippine Embassy in London or on arrival through the Bureau of Immigration. For either application, you will need to submit the right documentation and pay a fee. For more information and details of payment, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website

If a minor under the age of 15 is travelling to visit a parent they should carry a copy of their parents’ resident visa.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry, airside transit and exit from the Philippines. If you plan to use an ETD to enter Philippines, the ETD should be valid for 6 months from the date of arrival and have a valid Philippine visa. Check entry requirements with the nearest Philippine Embassy before you travel.

If you apply for an ETD from the British Embassy in Manila, you should get the necessary stamps from the Bureau of Immigration and confirm your Philippine visa is up to date before attempting to leave the Philippines otherwise you’re likely to face problems at the point of departure.

Typhoons

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Most typhoons occur from June to November. There may be flooding and landslides. You should follow the advice of local authorities, and monitor the progress of storms on the websites of the Philippines state weather agency, the Philippines state weather agency, the Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and typhoon.com, or follow @Typhoon2k on Twitter.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.

Earthquakes

The Philippines is in an earthquake zone.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can find more information about earthquakes on the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website.

Volcanoes

There are numerous volcanoes in the Philippines, any of which can erupt without warning. Sudden steam and ash explosions may occur at any time. . Check news reports and follow local advice before travelling to volcanic areas. Avoid volcanic areas during and immediately after heavy rainfall when there’s increased risk of lava flows. You can find more information about volcanoes on the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website.

On 1 July, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert status of Taal volcano from Alert Level 2 to alert Level 3 following a phreatomagmatic eruption. In light of this change, PHIVOLCS has recommended that Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel be evacuated. You should follow updates on the PhiVolcs official website.

The eruptive activity of the Mayon volcano in Albay Province (Bicol region) has reduced since 2018, although it remains at a moderate level of unrest with a risk of sudden eruptions, lava collapses and ash fall. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has lowered the alert to level 2 but an exclusion zone remains in place. If you’re in Albay Province, you should follow the advice of the local authorities, including the advice not to enter the designated danger zone. You should remain vigilant and follow developments on the PHIVOLCS website.

Ash plumes can affect air quality and have an impact on health. A properly fitted face mask may provide some protection. If you have any pre-existing respiratory conditions, you might be at increased risk of triggering or worsening your symptoms. Additional advice on the potential health hazards can found on the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network website .

The capacity of the Philippine emergency and rescue services to deal with large natural disasters is limited.

The currency of the Philippines is the Philippine peso (PHP).

Some ATMs accept international credit and debit cards. Shops in towns and cities usually accept international credit cards. If you’re travelling outside major cities, take sufficient funds in local currency with you. There may not be ATMs or currency exchange facilities at your destination.

Cash in pounds sterling, euros or US dollars can be exchanged for Philippine pesos at the airport, in banks, hotels and some shops. Scottish and Northern Ireland bank notes aren’t generally accepted. Banks and foreign exchange outlets rarely accept travellers’ cheques. Buying foreign currency in the Philippines can be difficult.

You can bring up to PHP50,000 in cash into the Philippines without prior authorisation. If you plan to bring more than PHP50,000 into the country, you’ll need to get written authorisation from the Philippines Central Bank.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.