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May 17, 2024

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

Updated to reflect changes in the country summary and information on the Sulu Archipelago, Marawi City.

Exercise increased caution to the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. 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, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
  • Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Reconsider Travel to:

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

Country Summary: Terrorists and armed groups have carried out kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting public areas like tourist sites, markets, and local government facilities in the Philippines.  Violent crimes are also common in the Philippines such as robbery, kidnappings, and physical assaults. Protests happen in the Philippines and could turn violent and/or result in traffic jams and road closures with limited capacity of the local government to respond.

There are stringent travel protocols and restrictions for U.S. government employees under the U.S. Embassy’s (Chief of Mission) security responsibility when traveling to certain areas of the country as stated below.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to the Philippines.

If you decide to travel to the Philippines:

The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Terrorist and armed groups in the Sulu Archipelago and the Sulu Sea have historically engaged in kidnappings for ransom on land and at sea, in addition to bombings and other attacks. These incidents often target foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, local government entities, and security personnel.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in this region is very limited. U.S. government employees under the U.S. Embassy’s (Chief of Mission) security responsibility are required to obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Marawi City in Mindanao – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Civilians face risk of death or injury from ongoing clashes between terrorist group remnants and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Marawi City is very limited. U.S. government employees under the U.S. Embassy’s (Chief of Mission) security responsibility are required to obtain special authorization to travel to Marawi City.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Mindanao (except Davao City, Davao del Norte Province, Siargao Island, and the Dinagat Islands) – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Terrorist and armed groups in Mindanao have historically engaged in kidnappings for ransom, in addition to bombings and other attacks. These incidents often target foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, as well as civilians, local government entities, and security forces.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in large parts of Mindanao. U.S. government employees under the U.S. Embassy’s (Chief of Mission) security responsibility are required to obtain special authorization to travel to areas outside of Davao City, Davao del Norte Province, Siargao Island, and the Dinagat Islands.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months.


Sufficient space for an entry visa stamp.


No (for tourist travel under 30 days).


Required for travelers from countries with yellow fever.


50,000 pesos/$10,000.


50,000 pesos/$10,000.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Manila

1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
+ (63) (2) 5301-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (63) (2) 5301-2000 
Fax: + (63) (2) 5301-2017


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

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the website of the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Washington, D.C., for the most current visa information.

If you remain in the Philippines beyond the “admit until” date stamped in your passport by immigration authorities, you may be subject to fines and detention by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI).

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

See the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI)'s website for information about Philippine visas, exit clearances, and Alien Certificate Registration (ACR). 

See the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)'s website for information about the Special Retiree Resident Visa (SRRV).  

U.S. citizens who intend to work in the Philippines should contact the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for information.

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

We advise all U.S. citizens against traveling with potentially prohibited items, such as firearms, on their person or in their checked baggage. While at the airport or traveling in country, possession of prohibited items such as live or spent ammunition or firearms, or anything resembling such items -- whether it be a souvenir, gift, or artifact – may subject the traveler to prosecution and stringent penalties by local authorities. Learn more about how to avoid problems when traveling abroad with firearms.

Check with your airline to determine whether a particular item is allowed for transport, as well as with the appropriate authorities in the Philippines – such as the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Immigration – as well as the appropriate authorities in any transit countries.

You can find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our website.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less-sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds more effectively. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

U.S. citizens should remain alert to the potential for explosions and bombings as part of pre-planned attacks, as well as the threat of kidnapping.

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.

For more information, please visit our website here.

Crime: Confidence games (con games), pickpocketing, Internet scams, and credit/ATM card fraud are common. Be wary of unknown individuals who attempt to befriend you, especially just after you arrive 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 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 your taxi, 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 (OSAC) website for more information.

International Financial Scams:  See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in the Philippines. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:

  • Romance/online dating
  • Money transfers
  • Lucrative sales
  • Gold purchase
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Grandparent/relative targeting
  • Free trip/luggage
  • Lotteries
  • nheritance notices
  • Work permits/job offers
  • Bank overpayments

Victims of Crime:  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Report crimes to the local police at the 911 hotline and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(63)(2) 5301-2000. 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.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • Provide a list of local attorneys.
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • 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 are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism:  Please check with the Philippine Department of Tourism before traveling. The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities such as diving, are not always met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided, and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others do not. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. If you are planning to dive, the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) provides information on diving accident management. 

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. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

The judicial process in the Philippines typically is lengthy, extending for years rather than weeks or months, and individuals 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 or departing from the Philippines, he or she will be charged with trafficking. Trafficking is a non-bailable charge, 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.

Always carry a copy of your passport 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 Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) 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.

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.

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.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

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

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There is no prohibition on entry into the Philippines by LGBTQI+ 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 LGBTQI+ individuals. Several cities, however, have passed local ordinances protecting LGBTQI+ rights. Despite these legislative efforts, LGBTQI+ individuals continue to face discrimination and harassment.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: Streets, buildings, and public transportation may lack facilities for persons with disabilities. Most public buildings are inaccessible to persons with physical disabilities or mobility impairments.  Government efforts to improve access to transportation for persons with disabilities are limited due to weak implementing regulations.

There are local stores in the Philippines for durable medical equipment (DME) and some pharmacies also carry limited medical supplies and equipment.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and .

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


For emergency services in the Philippines, dial 911.

Ambulance services are not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Not all ambulances are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.  For more information about TRICARE medical services overseas (a health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families), including possible vaccinations, please visit their Tricare-overseas website

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 overseas. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Philippine Bureau of Customs to ensure the medication is legal in the Philippines.

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

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals in the Philippines. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general:

  • Adequate health facilities are available throughout the country but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” prior to service or admission.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.
  • Hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.  
  • U.S. citizens have lodged a large number of complaints about unethical business practices, prices, and collection measures against some of the  hospitals in the Philippines. Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care.  
  • Be aware that some hotels or resorts may have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention. 
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English. 
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.
  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on medical tourism.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in the Philippines.
  • Although the Philippines has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in the Philippines, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and professionals are accredited and qualified. 


  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with few controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Water Quality:

In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Air Quality:

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in the Philippines. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

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,  and Procedure in Settling Traffic Violations 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 19 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.

See 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 Philippine’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 also 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.

For additional travel information

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 16, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Manila, Philippines 1000
+(63) 2 5301-2000
+(63) 2 5301-2000
+(63) 2 5301-2017

Philippines Map