Filipino Travel Abroad: What's The Latest?

can filipino travel abroad now

As of 21 October 2020, Filipinos are allowed to travel abroad for non-essential purposes. However, they must comply with certain requirements, such as providing a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 24 hours before departure and a signed immigration declaration form acknowledging the risks of travel. Upon their return, travellers must follow existing protocols for returning overseas Filipinos, including undergoing a swab test and a mandatory 14-day quarantine. It is important to note that travel policies are subject to change, and individuals should contact the appropriate authorities for the latest information.

Characteristics Values
Date of ban lift 21 October 2020
Who can travel? Filipino nationals
Requirements Confirmed round-trip tickets, travel and health insurance for those travelling using tourist visas, negative antigen test result taken within 24 hours before departure, signed immigration declaration form acknowledging the risks involved in travelling
Returning protocols Follow the Guidelines of the National Task Force (NTF) for returning overseas Filipinos, including mandatory 10-day facility-based quarantine and 7th-day swabbing

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Requirements for travel: Negative COVID-19 test, confirmed return ticket, travel insurance, and immigration declaration form

As of 2024, Filipinos are allowed to travel abroad for non-essential purposes. However, there are several requirements that must be met before departure, including:

Negative COVID-19 Test

Those travelling abroad must present a negative COVID-19 antigen test result, taken within 24 hours before departure. The type of test may depend on the destination country.

Confirmed Return Ticket

All travellers must have a confirmed return or round-trip ticket. This is to ensure that travellers will be returning to the Philippines within the allowed length of travel.

Travel Insurance

Travel and health insurance is mandatory for those travelling on a tourist visa. It is recommended that travellers have insurance coverage in case of medical emergencies, including COVID-19 infection, as treatment abroad can be very expensive.

Immigration Declaration Form

All travellers must sign an immigration declaration form acknowledging the risks involved in travelling. This form can be downloaded online.

In addition to the above, all travellers must possess a passport valid for at least six months from the date of departure, and an appropriate visa, if required by the destination country.

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Scams and crime: Common in the Philippines, especially Manila and Mindanao

Scams and crime are common in the Philippines, especially in Manila and Mindanao. The country has high levels of robbery, gang participation, and terrorism. Tourists should be aware of the dangers of drink spiking, ATM card skimming, illicit drugs, and piracy.

Manila, a city of over 15 million people, has a significant problem with gun crime and armed robbery, although most of the violence is concentrated in the city's slums rather than tourist areas. However, tourists are still advised to take precautions and avoid displaying valuables in public. The city also has a problem with corruption and bribery, and visitors should be cautious when dealing with the police.

Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, has been plagued by violent Islamic terrorists, including the Abu Sayyaf Group, which is notorious for kidnappings and ransom demands. Terrorist groups in the region have carried out bombings and suicide attacks in public places, and tourists are warned to avoid crowded areas that could be potential targets, such as shopping centres, nightlife districts, and busy markets.

Scams are also prevalent in the Philippines, with local con artists targeting tourists in busy areas. Common scams include money-changing scams, where tourists are tricked into accepting less money than they should; horse-drawn carriage scams, where tourists are quoted a low price and then demanded to pay a much higher fare; and taxi scams, where drivers overcharge foreigners or refuse to use the meter. Tourists should also be wary of strangers who approach them and try to engage in conversation, as they could be pickpockets or scammers.

In addition to these crimes, the Philippines has also been a hub for online scam centres, where young people are lured into running illegal operations such as money laundering, crypto fraud, and "pig butchering" romance scams. These scam centres often entrap their victims through human trafficking and force them to participate in criminal activities.

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Quarantine rules: On return, travellers must follow protocols, including swab tests and mandatory quarantine

The Philippines has implemented stringent travel protocols and restrictions for U.S. government employees under the U.S. Embassy’s security responsibility when travelling to certain areas of the country.

If you are returning to the Philippines, you must:

  • Monitor local media for breaking news and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Enrol in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier for the authorities to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Philippines.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest travel health information.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea

Do not travel to the Sulu Archipelago and the southern Sulu Sea due to the high threat of terrorism, civil unrest, crime, and kidnapping.

Marawi City in Mindanao

Do not travel to Marawi City in Mindanao due to the risk of death or injury from ongoing clashes between terrorist group remnants and Philippine security forces.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Marawi City is very limited.

Mindanao (except Davao City, Davao del Norte Province, Siargao Island, and the Dinagat Islands)

Reconsider travel to other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in large parts of Mindanao.

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Travel advisories: DFA provides advisories on travel restrictions by foreign countries

Filipinos have been allowed to travel abroad for non-essential purposes since 21 October 2020. However, they must comply with the requirements mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). These include:

  • Confirmed round-trip tickets
  • Travel and health insurance (if travelling with a tourist visa)
  • Negative COVID-19 test result taken within 24 hours before departure
  • Signed immigration declaration form acknowledging the risks of travel

On top of these, Filipinos must also comply with the travel restrictions and requirements of their destination country. These vary from state to state, so it is best to contact the appropriate agency in the country of your destination to know what other documents to bring and what other protocols to follow.

  • Afghanistan has reopened its border with Iran, which was previously closed to all air and ground travel. However, there are currently no commercial options for international travellers leaving Kabul.
  • Albania requires all persons entering from risk-epidemiological areas identified by the World Health Organization to complete a traveller's file at the border crossing points and undergo a compulsory 15-day self-quarantine from the date of entry.
  • All land borders in Algeria are closed. Air and sea travel with Europe and Africa is suspended. Non-cargo international air and maritime travel is also suspended. Domestic flights are suspended as of 22 March 2020.
  • Antigua and Barbuda has an entry ban on foreign nationals who have travelled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore in the previous 28 days.
  • Argentina will not permit the entry of any foreigner who is not a resident until 1 April 2020.
  • Aruba will restrict entry to all travellers except for legal residents from 17 March at midnight through 31 March.
  • Australia bans its citizens and permanent residents from travelling overseas. Dual nationals or foreign nationals with permanent residency status in Australia need to secure an exemption from the ABF Commissioner before leaving, even if using the passport of their other nationality.
  • Bangladesh does not permit passengers arriving from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and India to enter without undergoing a compulsory 14-day self-quarantine immediately upon arrival.
  • Belizeans are not allowed to leave the country.
  • Benin will place all air travellers in a government-designated quarantine facility for a period of 14 days in self-isolation. For non-Beninese travellers, the costs of the stay will be incurred by the traveller.
  • Bolivia will only permit the entry of Bolivian citizens, who will be subject to health protocols. All international flights are suspended from 21 March.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina does not allow passengers (except residents) who have been in China (People's Rep.) (Hubei - Wuhan Province), Iran, Italy, or Korea (Rep.) to enter.
  • Brunei Darussalam continues to implement a temporary travel restriction prohibiting the entry of foreign nationals since 24 March 2020.

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Visa requirements: For non-visa-required countries, proof of filiation and identification certificate are needed

As of 21 October 2020, Filipino citizens have been allowed to travel abroad for non-essential purposes. However, there are still some visa requirements and other conditions that must be met before travel.

For countries that do not require a visa for Filipino citizens, proof of filiation and identification certificates are still needed. A valid passport is also required, with a validity of at least six months beyond the intended stay. Additionally, travellers must hold a valid ticket for their return journey or their next destination.

For Filipino citizens who are permanent residents of the US, Canada, or the UK, there are additional visa-free privileges available when travelling to certain countries. For example, permanent residents of Canada and the US can stay in the Philippines for up to 30 days without a visa. Similarly, Filipino citizens with a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa can enter certain countries visa-free.

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