Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Philippines International Travel Information
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
U.S. Consular Agency - Cebu City
Ground Level, Waterfront Hotel
Lahug, Cebu City
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
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the Philippines for information on U.S.-Philippine relations.
U.S. citizens may enter the Philippines for purposes of tourism without a visa if they present:
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).
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Philippines.
U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should review the Travel Advisory.
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 will 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.
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.
Victims of Crime:
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.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further Information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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:
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.
In the Philippines, any adult in the company of a minor under 12 years old who is not related within the “fourth degree” may be subject to a severe penalty. U.S. citizens should be aware of this law both to avoid unlawful behavior and to protect themselves against potentially frivolous accusations.
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 the 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 expression 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.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Disaster Preparedness: The Philippines is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides. See the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services (ACS) website for emergency alerts and messages. The Philippine Department of Science and Technology’s Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website includes information on disaster preparedness, including hazard maps that can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device. PHIVOLCS monitors and issues warnings about volcanic activity and potential tsunamis and publishes regular updates of recorded seismic activity.
During the months of August-February, the Philippines averages one typhoon a week. During these months, there is an elevated risk of landslides and travel by ferry or plane can be disrupted. Monitor the local weather and have plans for alternate travel during typhoon season.
Adequate medical care is available in major cities in the Philippines, but some of the 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: Health officials in the Philippines have reported an ongoing outbreak of measles throughout the country. U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the Philippines should make sure they are vaccinated against measles with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Learn more about preventing measles and what to do if you think you have it on the measles page for travelers. Read the Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) webpage Measles in the Philippines.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the CDC.
Further health information:
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 accidents.
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 have 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.
Aviation Safety/Security: On December 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a formal notice regarding the aviation security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. Please read the DHS Notice for further information. Exercise increased caution when traveling to or from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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.