How to Get a Tourist Visa for the Philippines

How to Get a Tourist Visa for the Philippines
Obtaining a tourist visa for the Philippines can seem like a complicated process, however it is actually quite simple if approached in a systematic fashion. A visa is not required for visits of 21 days or less to the Philippines. Under these circumstances, all that is required is a passport that is valid for six months after the scheduled return date, and a return ticket home. A tourist visa for a child younger than the age of 15 is not required if traveling with a legal guardian. If the stay in the Philippines will be longer than 21 days, a standard tourist visa is required. The standard visa is good for up to 59 days.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Valid U.S. passport that doesn't expire within 6 months (or passport from country origin)
  • Application fee for standard visa (for stays longer than 59 days)
  • 1 passport-sized color photo (1 x 1 inches) signed by applicant on back
Step 1
Obtain a valid U.S. passport, or passport from the country of the traveler's origin. The passport can take up to 60 days to receive, so the traveler should complete the application process as soon as possible. See link in Resources for U.S. passport application information. People who already have a passport need to ensure that it is good for at least six months after their planned return date from the Philippines. The rationale is to allow time for renewal if necessary.
Step 2
Determine the type of Philippines visa needed. There are three kinds of tourist visa available for the Philippines. The "pleasure" visa is good for those just visiting the Philippines. It will not allow enrollment in educational classes, the making of business arrangements or the gaining of employment. The "business" visa allows for looking for investment opportunities but will not allow gaining of employment. The third visa is a "health" visa that allows entry for recovery from non-contagious illness and injury.
Step 3
Apply for a visa. In the U.S., apply for a visa at a Philippine consulate (See Resources). In the Philippines, apply for the visa through the Bureau of Immigration.

The following items are necessary to apply for a visa. The traveler will need to provide their passport; a completed application form, which is available at the consulate or Bureau of Immigration; one passport-sized photo signed on the back by the applicant; a copy of airline ticket or confirmed itinerary, and the visa application, for which there is a fee. Business tourist visa applicants also need to provide three additional signed passport photos, and a letter of company sponsorship.
Step 4
Determine if the traveler will need a visa extension. Those that need a visa for longer than 59 days, or who have already been in the Philippines and have decided to stay longer than the 21 days allowed without a visa, will need to go to the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines to apply for an extension.
Step 5
Wait for receipt of the travel visa. This may take up to a few weeks. Be sure to keep all receipts provided by the consulate.
Step 6
Check with the Philippine consulate in the U.S. before leaving to receive the most updated travel information. Be sure to take all travel documentation on the trip, carry a list of U.S. Embassy addresses in the Philippines in case assistance is needed while traveling.

Tips & Warnings

Begin to prepare for the trip as soon as possible by filing for visa applications and passports without delay. The processing times for these documents can vary, so be sure to start the process immediately upon the decision to travel.

Article Written By Cheri Pearson

Cheri Pearson is a professional writer/marketing professional, with experience in copywriting, technical and marketing communications, articles, and ghostwriting for private and corporate clients since 1994. She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois, and a background in medical device marketing/product management in the renal industry.

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