International Travel

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Country Information

Philippines

Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.    

Do not travel to:

  • The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.
  • Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines.  Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.  The Philippine government has declared a “State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao.”

There is an outbreak of measles in the Philippines.  Philippine authorities have reported deaths in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Davao.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional information on the outbreak at:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-philippines.    

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the Philippines:

The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea

Terrorist and armed groups kidnap U.S. citizens on land and at sea for ransom.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to those areas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Marawi City in Mindanao

The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region.  Civilians are at risk of death or injury due to conflict between remnants of terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Mindanao

The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region.  The Philippine government also maintains a state of emergency and greater police presence in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Terrorist and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting U.S. citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions, and security forces.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


Sufficient space for an entry visa stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays under 30 days

VACCINATIONS:


Required for travelers from countries with yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


50,000 pesos/$10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


50,000 pesos/$10,000

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Manila

1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
Telephone:
+(63)(2) 301-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax: (63) (2) 301-2017
Email: 

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agency - Cebu City
Ground Level, Waterfront Hotel
Salinas Drive
Lahug, Cebu City
Philippines 6000
Telephone:
(63)(32) 231-1261
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila: +(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax: +(63) (32) 231-0174
Email: ACSInfoCebu@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the Philippines for information on U.S.-Philippine relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens may enter the Philippines for purposes of tourism without a visa if they present:

  • a valid U.S. passport and
  • a return ticket to the United States or an onward ticket to another country.

Upon your arrival, immigration authorities will stamp an entry visa valid for 30 days on your passport. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, you must apply for an extension at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI).

If you overstay your visa, you are subject to fines and detention by Philippine immigration authorities.

You may obtain a multiple-entry transit 9(b) visa to permit travel from one country to another via the Philippines. Travelers must receive a transit visa from a Philippine embassy or consulate prior to traveling to the Philippines.

Visit the Embassy of the Philippines website for information on other types of visas and the most current visa information.

Special requirements exist for the entry of minors who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and who do not possess a valid visa.

Certain foreigners must apply for an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) from BI before they may depart the Philippines.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Philippines. 

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should review the Travel Advisory.  

  • In September 2016, a bombing at a Davao, Mindanao night market killed 15 and injured at least 70. 
  • In November 2016, a terrorist group planted an improvised explosive device near the U.S. Embassy in Manila. 
  • In May 2017, conflict between terrorist groups and Philippines security forces in Marawi City, Mindanao resulted in hundreds of dead and injured. 
  • In April and May 2017, bombings in Quiapo, Manila killed two and injured twenty. 
  • Kidnapping threats occurred in 2017 in the Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol provinces. 
  • For further information, see the U.S. Department of State's Worldwide Caution

Occasionally, planned and/or spontaneous demonstrations target the U.S. Embassy or take place in the surrounding area, causing traffic and crowds to increase significantly. Embassy security authorities may take appropriate measures to safeguard personnel and visitors, including restricting access to the compound. This may affect consular services.  

Monitor local news broadcasts and consider your security when visiting public places, especially hotels, restaurants, beaches, entertainment venues, and recreation sites.

Crime: Confidence games (con games), pick-pocketing, Internet scams, and credit/ATM card fraud are common. Be wary of unknown individuals who attempt to befriend you, especially just after your arrival in country. Do not accept food, drinks, or rides in private vehicles from strangers, even if they appear to be legitimate. Solo travelers have been drugged and robbed by strangers after accepting an invitation to visit a tourist destination.

Kidnappings, physical assaults, murder-for-hire, and other violent crimes occur in the Philippines. Philippine government law enforcement agencies are engaged in a nationwide counter-narcotics campaign that has resulted in a sharp increase in violence between police and individuals suspected of involvement in the drug trade. As part of this campaign, law enforcement is engaged in aggressive search and buy-bust operations that could affect foreigners.

Taxis or ride-sharing applications are the recommended form of public transportation. However, taxi drivers and/or individuals using stolen taxi cabs have committed robberies. Ask the hotel, restaurant, and/or business establishment to call a reliable taxi cab service for you.

  • Do not enter a taxi if it has already accepted another passenger.
  • Request that the taxi driver use the meter to record your fare.
  • Wait for another cab if the driver is unwilling to comply with these requests.
  • Make a mental note of the license plate number of the cab, or text it to someone, should there be a problem.
  • When driving in the city, make certain that vehicle doors are locked and windows are rolled up.

Travelers have been stopped and robbed shortly after leaving Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport in a taxi or private vehicle. 

One common form of credit/ATM card fraud involves an illicit electronic device attached to ATM card readers that retrieves and records information, including the PIN, from a card's magnetic strip. Refer to the Overseas Security Advisory Council for more information.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. 

Report crimes to the local police at the 911 hotline and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(63)(2) 301-2000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care.
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police.
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent.
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms.
  • provide a list of local attorneys.
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • provide information on victim’s compensation program in the Philippines.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution.
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home.
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For Further Information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The judicial process in the Philippines can be lengthy, and persons charged with a crime can be held in indefinite pre-trial detention as their case makes its way through the judicial system. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Philippines are severe:

  • Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • If a traveler is found to have any amount of drugs on his or her person, or nearby, when arriving at or departing from the Philippines, he or she will be charged with trafficking.
  • Trafficking is non-bailable, and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
  • If you intend to enter the Philippines with a prescribed controlled substance (e.g., medical marijuana), obtain clearance from the Philippine government first. 

Since June 2016, Philippine authorities have conducted a public campaign against illegal drugs. This has resulted in armed confrontations between authorities and suspected drug dealers and users.

Carry a copy of your passport at all times in the event that you are asked about your citizenship. You may be questioned by authorities if you take pictures of certain buildings, especially government buildings or military installations. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could land you immediately in jail.

The Bureau of Immigration may consider the participation of foreigners in demonstrations or political rallies in the Philippines to be a violation of the terms of admission. Foreign nationals who participate in demonstrations, political rallies, or other activity deemed anti-government in nature may be detained and deported for violating Philippine immigration laws.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There is no prohibition on entry into the Philippines by LGBTI individuals. Transgender travelers should be aware that immigration officials may require supporting documents if the gender in the traveler’s passport does not reflect the gender expressions of a transgender person. According to Philippine law, an individual’s sex must match that assigned at birth as reflected on the official birth certificate, even in cases of post-operative sex reassignment.

Same-sex relationships are not illegal in the Philippines, but they lack legal recognition. No federal law prohibits discrimination against LGBTI individuals. Several cities, however, have passed local ordinances protecting LGBTI rights. Despite these legislative efforts, LGBTI individuals continue to face discrimination and harassment. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Streets, buildings, and public transportation may lack facilities for persons with disabilities. Government efforts to improve access to transportation for persons with disabilities are limited due to weak implementing regulations.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Adequate medical care is available in major cities in the Philippines, but even the best hospitals may not meet the standards of medical care, sanitation, and facilities provided in the United States. Medical care is limited in rural and remote areas. In addition, traffic patterns in Manila may prevent first responders from reaching persons in need.

Hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Most hospitals will require a down payment of estimated fees in cash at the time of admission. In some cases, public and private hospitals have withheld lifesaving medicines and treatments for non-payment of bills. Hospitals also frequently refuse to discharge patients or release important medical documents until a bill has been paid in full. A list of doctors and medical facilities in the Philippines is available from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of the Philippines to ensure the medication is legal in the Philippines and to obtain clearance to enter the country with it. Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Measles
  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue
  • Zika
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Diarrheal illness

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Vehicle traffic is dense and unpredictable. The road system is frequently congested, and drivers are often undisciplined. Consider the risks of driving your own vehicle if you are not used to Philippine road conditions. Avoid driving off the national highways and other paved roads, especially at night. Be extra vigilant when crossing the street. Do not expect vehicles to stop.

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in an accident, contact the local police and attempt to stay inside your car until the police arrive before engaging with the other driver. Do not attempt to negotiate with drivers until police arrive. Drivers often ignore or do not yield to emergency vehicles, which may delay their arrival to the scene of an accident.

Always have a valid driver’s license and relevant documents with you when driving. Please review the following notices circulated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to avoid scams and requests for bribes from apprehending officers: List of Traffic Violations and Penalties, No Contact Traffic Apprehension Policy,  Procedure in Settling Traffic Violations, and Tips for Drivers. The MMDA also publishes guidelines on What to do during vehicular accident.

Public Transportation: Exercise caution while traveling by inter-island ferryboats or other public transportation. Avoid overcrowded or unsafe transport. There have been nineteen major inter-island ferryboat accidents since 2012, two with significant loss of life. U.S. government employees are advised not to use inter-island ferry boat services unless they are the only means of transportation available. There has also been a series of bus accidents due to poor bus maintenance or driver error. While taxis are the recommended form of public transportation, there have been safety issues using taxis. Please refer to our Safety and Security section for more information.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the Philippine Department of Tourism website, the national authority responsible for road safety.  

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of the Philippine’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Philippines’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the Philippines should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Philippines. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 31, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
Telephone
+(63)(2) 301-2000
Emergency
+(63)(2) 301-2000 x0
Fax
+(63)(2) 301-2017

Philippines Map