Balikbayan Visa and Return Air-ticket Requirement

Does a Visitor to the Philippines need a Return Ticket if they are Married to a Philippine Citizen

A Balikbayan Visa holder, is a person who gets a special Passport stamp to allow them to stay in the Philippines, for one year, if they are married to a Philippine Citizen.  They get this stamp on ENTRY into the Philippines, not before.


These Adverts help to pay for this site.

Most visitors to the Philippines normally need a Return or onward air-ticket before being allowed to fly into the Philippines.  (I have read that the airline faces a $1,000 penalty if a passenger is found to be not holding an onward ticket)

Most airlines will NOT give return tickets up to a one year period.

So, does a Balikbayan Visa holder need a Return Air-ticket ? And if so, how ?

There are many questions on this, on various Internet Forums etc, going back for years, with various different answers.

A quote from the Philippine Consulate states:

Under the Balikbayan Law, a Filipino citizen’s (including dual citizens and former Filipinos) foreign spouse and children are entitled to a visa-free entry to the Philippines and visa-free stay for a period of one (1) year, provided they enter the Philippines with the said Filipino and they have a return air travel ticket.
http://www.philippineconsulate.com.au/dual-citizenship/introduction-note.html

This does appear to be the legal viewpoint.

Yes. You do appear to NEED a return/onward ticket.

5 : 813 : 2,204,817


AgodaAgoda These Adverts help to pay for this site.
© 2020 ABCDiamond
Hosted at DreamHost

3 thoughts on “Balikbayan Visa and Return Air-ticket Requirement”


  1. If you feel like sending $5 to buy me a cup of coffee, please click the donate button.

  2. It would be nice to know the date of the above quote from the Philippine Consulate, because I heard that there was a policy change regarding this issue around 2012. According to the current (1/22/19) Philippine Bureau of Immigration website, Balikbayans do not require a return ticket. See http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/travel-req

    Item number 11 on this faq reads:

    11. Who are exempt from the return ticket requirement?

    Philippine passport holders;
    Former Filipinos and their dependents (immediate family members);
    Permanent residents and holders of other special visa categories requiring temporary residents (with valid ACR I-Cards);
    Passports of recognized foreign-government officials;
    Visa under CA 613, Sec. 9, except Sec. 9(a), and 47(a)(2) where visa validity extends beyond passport expiration date, provided, an embassy or consulate is maintained in the Philippines; and
    Those admitted by the Commissioner on humanitarian grounds.

    However, I talked to an agent with Korean Airlines and while he was able to confirm that Balikbayans were not required to have a return ticket, it was their company policy to require one anyway. (Apparently the Philippine Government imposes significant fines on airlines that violate the rule which causes airlines to adopt a “better safe than sorry” attitude.)

    I then checked with Philippine Airlines and they confirmed that they did not have a return ticket requirement for Balikbayans as long as you have necessary proofs of former citizenship and familial relationships. So, my advise would be to always fly Philippine Airlines (or perhaps other Philippine based carriers that that would also be familiar with the rules) and carry with you the appropriate documents, if you wish to avoid the return ticket requirement.

    1
    1. That quote was on the website of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney in 2015.

      I now see that the page linked to is no longer active, and has been replaced with http://sydneypcg.dfa.gov.ph/dual-citizenship/intro-note

      That current page specifies:

      Under the Balikbayan Law, a Filipino citizen’s (including dual citizens and former Filipinos) foreign spouse and children are entitled to a visa-free entry to the Philippines and visa-free stay for a period of one (1) year, provided they enter the Philippines with the said Filipino and they have a return air travel ticket.
      Balikbayan Return Ticket Requirement from Australia

      It may come down to individual countries having different laws that an airline must follow, with at least Korea and Australia, being similar.

      However, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration website does NOT mention a return ticket on their page on the “Balikbayan privilege

      It is normally the ‘check in staff’ at the airline counter who make the decision about needing a return ticket or not. It happened to me once at Sydney airport, as I was flying with a just a one way ticket to Manila, but I needed to buy a return ticket on the spot, to allow me to board the flight.

      I fully agree with your comment: to always fly with a Philippine based carrier (that would be familiar with the rules) and carry with you the appropriate documents, if you wish to avoid the return ticket requirement.

      1
      1. What if the first flight from you’re country does not have a Philippines airline. But you’re you’re connecting is with with a Philippines airline?What then?Also.Can you buy an airline return ticket a year in advance ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.