Philippines reopening to tourism 10 Feb 2022.

Philippines reopening to tourism.

On 28 January 2022, the Philippine government confirmed that visitors will be permitted to enter the Philippines again from the 10th February 2022.

Philippine Quarantine requirement changes:

Foreign tourists from the countries that have visa-free entry to the Philippines, and who are vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19, will not need to quarantine from 10th February 2022.

Returning Filipinos, that are vaccinated and who test negative for Covid-19, will not need to quarantine from 1st February 2022.

Visa Free Nationalities:
List of countries allowed a 30 day visa free entry:

Cost of the 13a Marriage Visa

13a Visa For Foreigners Married to A Filipino Citizen.

Current cost for the “Probationary 13a” and the “13a Amended to Permanent” visas are:

Php 8,620.00 Principal
Php 8,620.00 Dep-Spouse
Php 8,370.00 Dep-B16
Php 7,870.00 Dep-B14
plus $50 for the ACR-I card for each visa.

I have read that there may be other fees and ancillary expenses which might come to around 22,000PHP.

So, including those other costs, for a single applicant this might total about 30,000PHP +US$50. (US$650 or A$900 or GBP490).

I assume that these fees apply individually to both the “Probationary 13a” and the “13a Amended to Permanent visa” applications.

The cost shown at the Philippine consulate in Australia is currently shown as A$270 for the 13a.

The cost shown at the Philippine consulate in Norway is currently shown as NOK 1,350 (US$151, A$210, GBP114).

The cost shown at the Philippine consulate in New York, USA is currently shown as $150 for the 13a.

No Visa Free Entry during COVID

No Visa Free Entry in Philippines.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente has stressed that those who are eligible to enter the Philippines are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine Embassies or Consulates, prior to their arrival.

This includes foreign spouses of a Philippine citizen, who previously enjoyed visa free entry.

Nationals from 157 countries, who previously enjoyed visa free entry, have been required to obtain a visa in advance since March.

However, some people are still arriving without a visa. The law requires that these people are refused entry, even if they are a spouse of a Philippine citizen.

Foreigners Leaving Philippines. Press Release 30 August 2020

PRESS RELEASE – Bureau of Immigration

30 August 2020

BI eases requirements for departing aliens to prevent crowding in immigration offices

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced it is again, easing its rules and requirements, for departing foreign nationals due to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a directive allowing foreigners with visas approved by the BI to leave the country before they could be issued their alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card).

According to Morente, the Bureau will also no longer require departing aliens with approved and implemented visas to secure an ACR I-Card waiver order.

He disclosed that the policy would be implemented until end of this year and that its effectivity may be extended or revoked earlier depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“By allowing these aliens to leave pending release of their I-Cards, the number of people going to our offices will be lessened and physical distancing will be achieved, thus preventing the further spread of the virus among our frontline personnel and clients,” Morente said.

BI Port Operations Acting Chief Grifton Medina disclosed that in compliance with the BI Chief’s directive, immigration officers at the airports will no longer require departing aliens with BI-approved visas but who do not have their I-Cards yet, to present an I-Card waiver order from the Bureau.

Medina said that in lieu of the I-Card waiver order, the passengers will be asked to present their passport with visa implementation stamp and official receipts of payment for their ACR I-Card waiver application fee, Emigration Clearance Certificate/Reentry Permit (ECC/RP) or Special Return Certificate (SRC).

“The passenger will also be advised to safekeep the copies of his official receipts as the same should be presented to our immigration officer upon his return to the Philippines,” Medina added.

It will be recalled that the BI previously allowed aliens with BI-approved visas to leave without I-Cards last March when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ which prompted the Bureau to suspend services or scale down operations in most of its offices.

The BI resumed issuing ACR I-Cards and I-Card waiver orders in June after the Bureau launched its online appointment system for clients after Metro Manila was placed under less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).

However, the BI recently bared that despite the implementation of stricter health protocols, more than 70 of its employees have been infected with the virus.

Cost of Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC)

Cost of an ECC Emigration Clearance Certificate or Exit Clearance Certificate

The cost for an ECC-A, checked at on 29 May 2020, is either 710 or 1,210 pesos depending on age.

Under 14 years of age:
ECC 200.00
LRF 10.00
Express Lane Fee 500.00
TOTAL Php 710.00

ECC 700.00
LRF 10.00
Express Lane Fee 500.00
TOTAL Php 1,210.00

Philippines visa Extensions during COVID-19

Philippine Visas may not need renewing until after the COVID-19 emergency is over.

Philippine Immigration Advisory to the Public

All aliens whose visa will expire during the duration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine shall be allowed to file their application within thirty (30) days from the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Philippines Visa Extensions during COVID-19

Philippines Suspends all Visa Issuing

Philippines are suspending Visa Issuance to all Foreign Nationals.

March 19, 2020: The Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary stated: “Starting today, all our Embassies and Consulates will temporarily suspend visa issuance to all foreign nationals as well as the visa-free privileges of all foreign nationals.”

This does NOT mention visa renewals at the Bureau of Immigration offices in the Philippines.

The rule is in place to stop any Foreign National from entering the country, and try to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

All previously issued Philippine visas to foreign nationals are now deemed cancelled.  (I assume this relates to unused visas, where the holder has not entered the Philippines)

Visas already issued to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals remain valid.

UpdateVisa Renewals.  See more at: Philippines visa Extensions during COVID-19

No Foreign Nationals to be Permitted Entry

But there are some exemptions. (Foreign Spouse and children will be allowed entry when travelling with a Filipino spouse.)

Philippines Immigration Press Release:

The text of the above Press Release is shown below:

2020 March 20
BI to implement DFA circular on suspension of arrivals

MANILA, Philippines—Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that they will be implementing the restricted entry of foreign nationals in the country starting March  22.

Said move follows the issuance of a Foreign Service Circular by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) suspending visa issuance and visa-free privileges for foreign nationals arriving in the Philippines due to the declaration of a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines because of the Covid-2019, and the declaration of a public health emergency throughout the Philippines.

According to Morente, all issuance for entry visas for visa-required foreign nationals were suspended by the DFA, while all previously-issued visas are deemed cancelled.

The DFA circular adds that visa-free privileges of foreign nationals are likewise temporarily suspended.

Currently, nationals of 157 countries enjoy visa free privileges. These countries include the South Korea, United States of America, Canada, Japan, and Singapore.
South Korea remains the top arrival in the country with more than 2.1M arrivals in 2019.

Exempted from this suspension are foreign spouses and children who are traveling with the Filipino national, foreign crew members, as well as foreign government and International Organization officials accredited to the Philippines.

“We will be implementing it in 48 hours, or 12mn of March 22, 2020 to give ample time to the DFA to inform foreign posts and embassies,” said Morente.

The suspension of visa issuance and visa-free privileges is tantamount to a total suspension of the entry of foreign nationals.

“Following the direction of the DFA who decides on our foreign policy, we will likewise be temporarily restricting the entry of foreign nationals who have converted to both immigrant and non-immigrant visas, those under visa waiver agreements, as well as special visa holders,” said Morente. “Only Filipinos, their spouse and children, foreign diplomats, and foreign crew members will be allowed entry,” he clarified.


Jail for Overstaying a Visa

Can you be Jailed for Overstaying a Visa?

Many visitors to the Philippines appear to be NOT too worried about maintaining a valid visa during their stay, after all, it isn’t that important is it? What can happen? You get a short ban from coming back?  That is normal in many countries.

But, this is the Philippines, and there are fines involved too.

Some of these people say the fine is miniscule, and are not concerned about paying it.

But.. (yes, another BUT), some people actually do get jailed.

Most people say that only happens to criminals.  I wonder how true that it…

This news report in December 2019, shows how it can be more of a problem than they think…

Australian in jail (possibly) because he overstayed his visa by seven months

In this story, an Australian overstayed his visa by 7 months, with no valid reason, and ended up being detained at Zamboanga Airport, and jailed in the Philippines.

As at December 1st, he had been in jail for 5 weeks, and it is not a comfortable jail either.  No recreation time and no food, unless you buy it yourself.  He says that the prison conditions are horrific, with cells full of trash and no running showers.

  • He does say “I am detained for standing for truth and resisting extortion. I just want to go home.

Philippines officials have not confirmed to the Media what charges the Australian man is facing.

Is it ONLY for overstaying a visa, or was something else involved?

The advice from the Australian government is to keep your visa up to date or risk being detained.

This advice should be considered by ALL visitors to the Philippines.

Overstaying will cost you:

  • All Unpaid Visa fees.
  • Extra Penalty for each month overstayed.
  • Possible Jail time.

Jail time may be more common with people who cannot pay the outstanding visa fees and penalties.  It may also be related to other aspects of time in the Philippines, found when checks are done on applying for an ECC.

An ECC needs to be applied for after 6 months in the Philippines.

Cost to Remove Name from Immigration Blacklist

How Much does it cost to be removed from Immigration Blacklist?

There are fees that you have to pay to the Bureau of Immigration when you file your Request or Petition. Of course, you have to pay the minimal filing fees.

If your request is granted, you will also pay a lifting penalty of Php55,000. You can see this in the Lifting Order issued by the Bureau of Immigration.

You also have to pay the unpaid overstaying fees, if any, plus penalties when you have been blacklisted for overstaying.

You have to settle all these fees as soon as possible, otherwise, the Lifting Order will not be implemented and your Blacklist Order will remain in the immigration database.

The above information is sourced from a Philippines Immigration Lawyer that has been recommended on this site.

Source: Guzman Acain -Philippine Law Firm > How to lift your name in the Philippine immigration blacklist?

From what I have seen, some people have difficulties in clearing their names from a blacklist, as they often do not know the procedures.
A Philippines Immigration Lawyer should have the experience required to get this dealt with faster, whenever possible.

2,351 Foreigners Refused Entry to Philippines Jan – Jun 2019

2,351 Foreigners were Refused Entry to the Philippines in the First Half of 2019

A Philippines Immigration Press Release dated 29th July 2019, has stated that a total of 2,351 aliens, of various nationalities, were refused entry into the Philippines during January to June 2019.

1,920 (82%) were turned away at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport while the rest were stopped at the airports in Mactan, Clark, Kalibo, Aklan and Davao.

According to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) port operations division chief, Grifton Medina; “They were turned back after undergoing primary and secondary inspection by our immigration officers and were declared unfit for admission into our country for a variety of reasons. They were issued exclusion orders and booked on the first available flight to their ports of origin.”

As the Philippines requires airlines to ensure that passengers enter with a return ticket, at least the cost of returning them is not born by the Philippines.

1,129 Chinese nationals topped the list of exclusions, followed by
106 Indians
87 Americans
52 Taiwanese and
67 Koreans.

The list included registered sex offenders, wanted fugitives, suspected international terrorists, and blacklisted and previously deported aliens.

Most were excluded for being public charges or persons without visible means to support themselves, and whose purpose of coming here are doubtful.
Some were turned back for being rude and disrespectful towards immigration officers, and for having incomplete travel documents.


Is it Cheaper to Overstay a Philippine Visa or Pay for a Visa Extension?

Is it cheaper to overstay a visa rather than pay for the visa extension?

I was asked this question recently, as it appears that many people seem to think that the overstay fines are cheaper than paying for a Visa renewal.

Having heard this a few times, I am beginning to think that this might be the reason why so many foreign visitors to the Philippines end up not renewing a visa, and overstaying for so long.

At least some of them think the fine is cheaper than a visa, and don’t bother renewing their entry visa, expecting to just pay the fine when they leave.

Unfortunately for them, they eventually find out that while the fine is cheaper than a Visa, it is not as simple as that.

  • A Two Month Visitor visa will cost about 6,650 pesos. Consisting of 3,650 php + about another 3,000 (depending on USD-PHP FX rate) pesos for the ACR-I card (according to
  • The Fine for overstaying for just under two months is 1,500 pesos. (Consisting of 1,000 pesos [Fine for Overstaying 2 months] + 500 pesos [Motion for Reconsideration for Overstaying]).

For some people, they see those two figures and think that it is best to pay the 1,500 pesos.

But the reality is VERY DIFFERENT to that:

What you actually pay is:

  • The Fine PLUS outstanding unpaid visa fees; ie: 1,500 plus 6,650 in the above example, a total of 8,150 pesos.
  • PLUS, depending on how long you overstayed, you may be banned from re-entry.

It is often best to know the full facts.

Some people, who have overstayed, and expect to pay the fine at the airport, and then leave, actually end up paying an even higher price…

  • You don’t pay the fine at the airport, you are normally refused boarding, and told to go to an immigration office, normally in the nearest city, and sort out your visa issues there, and come back later, often the next day, or later.

This comes with TWO costs.

  1. Inconvenience to you, and the cost of an extra night or two at a hotel, while they sort out the visa issues, and arrange an exit certificate if applicable.
  2. The cost of new flights, unless your ticket was fully convertible to a new flight. Most are not.

I was told that the hotel costs are not always involved, as a stay at the Bureau of Immigration Bicutan Detention Centre can be an option, for Immigration to decide.  I personally do not know anyone who was jailed, but I have heard people talking about other people who were.  I have also read about some who were, although not 100% sure on the full story of each case.

and more….

Philippine Star News Article on November 27, 2016…/bi-eyes-building-more-jail-cells-overstaying-foreigners

MANILA, Philippines – Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente wants to construct another building for its jail at Camp Bagong Diwa (Bicutan Detention Centre) prior to cracking down on around 500,000 foreigners illegally staying in the country.

“We want to conduct nationwide operations but the problem is we do not have (enough cells) to house those who would be arrested for overstaying,” he said in a recent interview.

Morente said the bureau’s jail, a “squatter” in the National Capital Region Police Office compound at the camp, has two two-story buildings.  Morente wants to construct a third two-story building.

My view is that detention for a small overstay is very unlikely, although it is legally possible, if they don’t like you for some reason.

Another story:

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday (March 30, 2019) reported the arrest of an overstaying Vietnamese couple for attempting to leave the country with fake immigration stamps on their passports. The couple had been in the country since June 5, 2018 (10 months).

Instead of applying for the extension of their stay and pay the required fees, they chose to deal with fixers who make a living by selling these fake stamps to overstaying foreign tourists,” he said.

The BI official noted that the fraudulent scheme was discovered after their personnel noticed that the passports did not have departure stamps from the foreign nationals supposed previous arrival.

They are currently detained at the BI detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City pending their prosecution for violating the Philippine Immigration Act. (

Story Link:

How much are the Penalties for Overstaying as a Tourist in the Philippines?

Special Security Registration Number (SSRN)

Special Security Registration Number

The Special Security Registration Number (SSRN) is a unique number assigned to every registered foreign national.

Anyone staying over 59 days needs to register with Photo and Fingerprints, and about 700 pesos, at almost any Immigration Office in the country.

This is normally done, for those on Visitor visas, when renewing your visitor visa.  It is worth checking that it is done, when renewing at near the 59 day mark.

An SSRN number is required for the Issue of an ECC, when leaving the Philippines after a stay of 6 months.

You must also have a mailing address for the sending of the SSRN certificate.

That address part might prove difficult for a tourist staying at different hotels for a total of just over 2 months, as one example.

Registration for Visitors to Philippines after 59 days


Driving in the Philippines on a Foreign Licence

Driving in the Philippines

Driving on a Foreign Licence in the Philippines

Tourists who hold a driver licence issued by the road authority of their home country are allowed to use that licence to drive in the Philippines for a period of until 90 days after their arrival in the Philippines. If their driver license is not written in English, it should always be accompanied by an official English translation issued by their country’s embassy in the Philippines.

Chapter III, Sec. 21 of the Republic Act (RA) 4136, otherwise known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code” states that:. “Bonafide tourists and similar transients who are duly licensed to operate motor vehicles in their respective countries may be allowed to operate during but not after (90) days of their sojourn in the Philippines.”

If your foreign driver’s license is NOT printed in English (ie: Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic etc), an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in the Philippines.

An International Driving Permit (often referred to as an International Driver’s License) does not replace the requirement for a regular driver’s license.

You must carry your current overseas driver’s license, AND the IDP or translation with you all the time when driving in the Philippines.

Land Transportation Office – Philippines

Q: I have a valid foreign driver’s license. Can I use it in the Philippines?

A: Yes. For 90 days from date of arrival.

Can I convert my foreign driver’s license into Philippine driver’s license?

Yes, if it is a valid licence, it can be converted to a Philippine licence with no exams. If it has expired then a licence will be issued subject to passing the written / practical exams.

To convert a foreign licence to a Philippine licence, the applicant must have been in the Philippines for at least one (1) month with proof that he/she will stay in the country for at least one (1) year from date of application.

How to convert a foreign license to a Philippine license


  • Original and one photocopy of valid foreign license. If the foreign driver’s license is not in English, the applicant should submit an official English translation from the local embassy of the issuing country.
  • Original copy of valid passport showing the latest date of arrival in the Philippines of the foreign applicant.
  • Original and machine copy of valid visa or alien certificate of registration (ACR) if the foreign applicant temporarily resides in the Philippines.
  • Original copy of medical certificate with official receipt issued by an LTO accredited or government Physician.
  • Negative drug test result issued by DOH accredited drug testing center or government hospitals
  • Duly accomplished application for driver’s license (ADL). [Download form is available]
  • Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN), if employed, (In compliance to Executive Order 98 & MC ACL-2009-1251)
  • Note: If Foreign License is expired, applicant shall undergo written and practical examinations.


No-Visa Entry for 30 Day Stay Privilege under EO 408

30 Day Visa Free Stay under EO 408

Under Executive Order 408 dated 9 November 2014, as amended, nationals of the following countries may enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding thirty (30) days provided that they are holders of a passport valid at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and possess return or outward bound tickets to their country of origin or next country of destination.

Last Updated: 14 February 2017

1. Andorra
2. Angola
3. Antigua and Barbuda
4. Argentina
5. Australia
6. Austria
7. Bahamas
8. Bahrain
9. Barbados
10. Belgium
11. Belize
12. Benin
13. Bhutan
14. Bolivia
15. Botswana
16. Brazil*
17. Brunei
18. Bulgaria
19. Burkina Faso
20. Burundi
21. Cambodia
22. Cameroon
23. Canada
24. Cape Verde
25. Central African Republic
26. Chad
27. Chile
28. Colombia
29. Comoros
30. Congo
31. Congo, Democratic Republic
32. Costa Rica
33. Cote d’ Ivoire
34. Croatia
35. Cyprus
36. Czech Republic
37. Denmark
38. Djibouti
39. Dominica
40. Dominican Republic
41. Ecuador
42. El Salvador
41. Equatorial Guinea
44. Eritrea
45. Estonia
46. Ethiopia
47. Fiji
48. Finland
49. France
50. Gabon
51. Gambia
52. Germany
53. Ghana
54. Greece
55. Grenada
56. Guatemala
57. Guinea
58. Guinea·Bissau
59. Guyana
60. Haiti
61. Honduras
62. Hungary
63. Iceland
64. Indonesia
65. Ireland
66. Israel*
67. Italy
68. Jamaica
69. Japan
70. Kazakhstan
71. Kenya .
72. Kiribati
73. Korea (ROK)
74. Kuwait
75. Kyrgyzstan
76. Laos
77. Latvia
78. Lesotho
79. Liberia
80. Liechtenstein
81. Lithuania
82. Luxembourg
83. Madagascar
84. Malawi
85. Malaysia
86. Maldives
87. Mali
88. Malta
85. Marshall Islands
90. Mauritania
91. Mauritius
92. Mexico
93. Micronesia
94. Monaco
95. Mongolia
96. Morocco
97. Mozambique
98. Myanmar
99. Namibia
100. Nepal
101. Netherlands
102. New Zealand
103. Nicaragua
104. Niger
105. Norway
106. Oman
107. Palau
108. Panama
109. Papua New Guinea
110. Paraguay
111. Peru
112. Poland
113. Portugal
114. Qatar
115. Romania
116. Russia
117. Rwanda
118. St. Kitts and Nevis
119. Saint Lucia
120. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
121. Samoa
122. San Marino
123. Sao Tome and Principe
124. Saudi Arabia
125. Senegal
126. Seychelles
127. Singapore
128. Slovak Republic
129. Slovenia
130. Solomon Islands
131.South Africa
132. Spain
133. Suriname
134. Swaziland
135. Sweden
136. Switzerland
137. Tajikistan
138. Tanzania
139. Thailand
140. Togo
141. Trinidad and Tobago
142. Tunisia
143. Turkey
144. Turkmenistan
145. Tuvalu
146 .Uganda
147. United Arab Emirates
148. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
149. United States of America
150. Uruguay
151. Uzbekistan
152. Vanuatu
153. Vatican
154. Venezuela
155. Vietnam
156. Zambia
157. Zimbabwe*Brazil and Israel remain eligible for 59-day visa-free entry as elaborated under Section D of FSC-21·10.

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding fifty-nine (59) days:

  1. Holders of Brazil passports; and
  2. Holders of Israel passports

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding fourteen (14) days

  1. Holders of Macau SAR passports
  2. Holders of Hongkong SAR passports
  3. Indian nationals coming for tourism or business with valid Australian, Japanese, American, Canadian, Schengen, Singaporean and UK visas or permanent residence permit (admission is implemented only at NAIA I, II, III and IV)

The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding seven (7) days

  1. Holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports
  2. Holders of Macau-Portuguese and Hongkong British passports
  3. Chinese nationals from mainland China coming for tourism purposes with valid Australian, Japanese, Canadian, Schengen or US visa

Important Note:
Nationals who are subjects of deportation/blacklist orders of the Department and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) shall not be admitted to the Philippines.


Emigration Clearance Certificate ECC for Residents Leaving for Good

Emigration Clearance Certificate for Residents Leaving for Good

Departing holders of immigrant, and non-immigrant, visas who are leaving for good, need to apply for an Emigration Clearance Certificate, also known as the Exit Clearance Certificate.

The price shown for this ECC version is Php 1,210, including the Express Lane Fee, which is supposed to have been removed from Visa fees.

However, the screenshot below, taken on 12th March 2018, shows the price last updated at 6 March 2014. The base cost may be the same but the final cost may be Php 710, being the cost shown less the Express Lane Fee.

I am aware of one person who paid Php710 for an ECC in November 2017, although he did not say which ECC version he got.  I think it may have been this particular one.

The related Bureau of Immigration (BI) page states this ECC must be obtained at a BI office, and the procedure is:

  • Secure and fill out application form.
  • Submit duly accomplished form and attach the other supporting documents.
  • Wait for the issuance of Order of Payment Slip (OPS).
  • Pay the corresponding fees.
  • Submit the accomplished application form with the required attachments and attach original Official Receipts.
  • Present claim stub on the appointed date and time of return for releasing of Original Certification and  Receipts.
  • Acknowledge receipt by signing the duplicate copy of the Certification before releasing the original Certification and Official Receipt.

Source: (at the bottom of the page)

More ECC Information at: Requirements for an ECC – Exit Clearance Certificate

Philippine Immigration Express Lane Fees from January, 2018.

Immigration Express Lane Fees Restored in January, 2018

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) restored the express transactions fees effective January 3, 2018.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced today (January 3, 2018) that it is reverting to its old 7 am to 5:30 pm work schedule as a result of President Duterte’s directive to create a trust fund from which the overtime pay of the agency’s workers will be sourced.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime H. Morente also said that the Bureau will resume charging express lane fees to the transacting public. The proceeds of which will be used for overtime pay and salaries of BI employees.


The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) stopped collecting the express lane fees (ELFs) from 1st May 2017.

In 2016 the Immigration bureau was able to collect P1.4 billion in express lane fees.

Taking Currency In or Out of The Philippines

Taking Currency In or Out of The Philippines

Laws on bringing money into the Philippines, and taking it out, need to be looked at from both Philippine Currency and Foreign Currency separately.

No permit is required from the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas to bring in to or to take out from the Philippines of foreign currencies, but money in excess of the limit must be declared, or forfeited.

Authorization by the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (Bsp), is required for the taking in and bringing out of the Philippines, of Philippine currency in excess of php 50,000.

The anti-money laundering act of 2001 requires all money transactions involving amounts in excess of php 400,000 to be reported to the anti-money laundering council (even if the transaction is done through the banks).

Some people who are caught breaking this law have had the excess money confiscated.

Bringing Foreign Currency into the Philippines

Arriving in the Philippines with Foreign Currency In Excess Of US$10,000

Travelers arriving in the Philippines must submit to the bureau of customs desk in the airport arrival area a declaration form stating the amount (foreign currency in excess of $10,000.00) being brought in. The source of the money (E.G., personal income) must be stated.

If a person wishes to bring more that the equivalent of USD 10,000, a written declaration must be made in the form of the BSP’s “Foreign Currency and Other FX-Denominated Bearer Monetary Instruments Declaration Form”.

Some websites say that there is no limit, but omit to mention the requirement to declare. eg:

The official rules state:

Rules on Foreign Currency…/faqfxreg.pdf (16 page PDF File. Section 10 and 11 on page 4 are relevant.)

Taking Foreign Currency out of the Philippines

Leaving the Philippines with Foreign Currency In Excess Of US$10,000

Travelers departing the Philippines must submit to the bureau of customs desk in the airport departure area a declaration form stating the amount (foreign currency in excess of $10,000.00) to be brought in or taken out of the philippines. The source of the money (e.G., personal income) must be stated.

Bringing Philippine Currency into the Philippines

Arriving in the Philippines with Philippine Currency In Excess Of Php 50,000

The taking in and bringing out of philippines of philippine currency in excess of php 50,000 is strictly prohibited, and any need to carry any currency in excess of the said amount must be given authorization by the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (Bsp) Cash Division.

Taking Philippine Currency out of the Philippines

Leaving the Philippines with Philippine Currency In Excess Of Php 50,000

The taking in and bringing out of philippines of philippine currency in excess of php 50,000 is strictly prohibited, and any need to carry any currency in excess of the said amount must be given authorization by the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (Bsp) Cash Division.


PhilHealth Expands Coverage to Foreign Nationals

Philippines National Health Service Insurance for Foreigners

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), [the Philippines National Health Service] now allows foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens who have chosen to retire in the Philippines to avail themselves of social health insurance benefits.

Philippines National Health Service Insurance for Foreigners

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), [the Philippines National Health Service] now allows foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens who have chosen to retire in the Philippines to avail themselves of social health insurance benefits.

Citizens of other countries residing or working in the Philippines with a valid Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) issued by the Bureau of Immigration may submit their ‘PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) for Foreign Nationals‘ to the nearest Local Health Insurance Office (LHIO).

Premiums for PhilHealth vover for Foreigners

The annual premium contribution rate for PRA foreign retirees is P15,000, while that of other foreign citizens is P17,000.
They may pay for their premium contributions either quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Eligibility Requirement

Premium contribution has been paid for at least three (3) months within the six (6) months prior to the first day of confinement and with sufficient regularity of premium contributions.

Sources: PDF File.

How Much Money Can You Take into or Out of the Philippines

How much in Philippine currency can you take in or out of the Philippines? The figure has recently increased from Php 10,000.00 to Php 50,000.00 in local currency.

How much Currency can you take in or out of the Philippines

Most people know that there is a limit of US$10,000 or equivalent for money to be carried in or out of the Philippines.  It is a similar figure in most countries.

However, what about Travellers Cheques or Philippine Pesos?

How much in Philippine currency can you take in or out of the Philippines

Circular No. 922 Series of 2016 23rd November 2016 Increase from Php 10,000 to Php 50,000

The DFA wishes to inform the public that the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has approved the issuance of Circular No. 922 Series of 2016 increasing from Php 10,000.00 to Php 50,000.00 the amount of legal tender Philippine currency that may be imported/brought in and/or exported/brought out of the country physically or electronically without prior authorization from the BSP.
This is part of the continuing efforts to ensure that regulations are attuned to the need of providing greater flexibility to travelers to and from the Philippines. The new policy became effective on 15 September 2016.

Prior to 2016 the figure was just 10,000 pesos, enough to last you a day or two when you arrive.

How much in Travellors Cheques can you take in or out of the Philippines

The answer to this appears to vary, depending on what part of the Philippine Government you listen to…. Or more appropriately as to whether you have got on the plane yet.

If you read a Philippine Consulate website you see this:

Residents and Non-residents: local currency (Philippine Peso-PHP): up to PHP 10,000.-. Exceeding amounts require an authorisation from the Central Bank of the Philippines. foreign currencies : up to USD 10,000.-, or its equivalent. Amounts exceeding USD 10,000.-, or its equivalent must be declared.
Note: Only banknotes and coins, which are legal tender must be declared (travelers checks, credit cards etc. are exempt from declaration requirement).

So you think… Hmm travelers checks are exempt. That’s good.

But, then you are on the plane and you get the “Customs Declaration Form” which says:

3: Are you carrying foreign currency or other foreign exchange denominated bearer negotiable monetary instruments (including travelers checks in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent?

So, which is right ? Well it is too late now. You have to fill in the “Customs Declaration Form”, or argue with Philippine Customs..

Play it safe is often best.

From the Philippines Consulate in Canada

Philippines Customs declaration rules

then the form to fill in on the Plane:

From the Philippines Department of Finance: Bureau of Customs, 2015

Philippines Customs declaration form