The Philippines is made up of some 7,000 islands and draws visitors with its idyllic beaches, vibrant cities, and friendly people. There are large expat...
Planning a trip to the Philippines? Whether it’s a two-week vacation or a year-long work trip, you’ll need to check out the visa situation.
In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on Philippines visas. In particular, how to get the tourist visa to the Philippines from the USA.
And to cover your spending in the Philippines, we’ll take a quick look at the Wise card too.
Actually, no. You can visit the Philippines for up to 30 days without needing to apply for a visa.¹
You just need your US passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining (and enough space for an entry visa stamp). You must also have a return ticket, or a travel ticket for your onward destination.
However, if you want to stay longer than 30 days or work in the Philippines, you’ll need to get a visa.
Want to work, study or move to the Philippines? You’ll need a long-stay or immigrant visa, and there are a number of different types.
These are broken up into two categories - type 9 non-immigrant visas, and type 13 immigrant visas.
Type 9 non-immigrant visas include the following:²
- Temporary visitors visa - this is essentially the tourist visa, for people coming to the Philippines for business, pleasure, medical treatment, training or to attend conferences/meetings/workshops.
- Transient visa - for people passing through the country on the way to somewhere else
- Student visa - for people aged 18+ who intend to study in the Philippines
- Pre-arranged employees visa - this is the work visa, designed for people who plan to take up employment in the Philippines.
If you’re planning to move to the Philippines permanently, you’ll need a type 13 immigrant visa. There are a few different types, such as a visa for a spouse of a Philippines citizen and one for returning natural-born Filipinos who have been naturalized as citizens of other countries.²
If you’d like to stay in the Philippines for more than 30 days, the Type 9a Temporary Visitors Visa is the one to apply for.
Bear in mind though that you can’t work or study on this visa. It’s designed for people visiting family, taking longer vacations to sightseeing trips, or taking part in training, research or business activities. You might want to use it to scope out potential to start a business in the Philippines.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting the tourist visa to the Philippines from the USA.
Yes, following the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Philippines borders have reopened to international visitors.
The country is currently accepting applications for the tourist visa.
It all depends on what visa you have, but the tourist visa is generally granted for a period of 90 days from the day of issuance.³
Despite this though, you are only permitted to stay in the country for a maximum of 59 days at a time. If you get a multiple entry visa with validity up to a year, you’ll still need to leave the Philippines and re-enter every 59 days.
It may also be possible to extend your visa.
When applying for a visa for any country, you’ll always need to provide some supporting documentation.
While requirements for other visa types may vary, here’s what you’ll need to apply for the Philippines tourist visa:⁴
- A US passport with at least 6 months validity remaining beyond the intended period of stay in the Philippines
- A photocopy of your passport
- A completed visa application form
- Proof of permanent residency in the US
- Proof of your financial capacity - such as a recent bank statement or evidence of business income
- An itinerary for your trip, including proof of hotel or other accommodation
- Return flight tickets.
There are a couple of ways you can apply for the Philippines tourist visa.
You can apply by mail, first contacting your nearest Philippines Embassy or Consulate in the US to request an application form.
But the recommended way to apply is online, as it’s generally quicker and easier. Here’s what you need to do, step-by-step:
- Go to the Philippines Visa Online Portal - this is a website specially designed for submitting initial applications for the Philippines tourist visa.
- Check the required documents list for your chosen visa type, and make sure you have everything ready.
- Click the ‘Apply for individual visa’ button at the bottom of the page
- Follow the on-screen steps to submit your application, providing personal details and uploading documents as requested.
- Print, sign and upload your completed application form
- You’ll be prompted to contact your local Philippines Embassy or Consulate to complete the process. They will give you instructions on what to do next.
The time it takes to process visa applications can vary based on the applicant’s circumstances. And it can take longer if you miss out any information or forget to upload a document.
But generally, you can expect to get your visa within around 7-14 working days.⁵
Need your visa faster? There is an option to have your application expedited, for a small extra fee. This means your visa should be with you around 3-5 working days after submitting your application.⁵
Now we come to that all-important question - how much will you pay for your Philippines visa?
Here’s the list of the Philippines visa fees for a few different types of tourist visa:⁵
|Visa type||Application fee|
|Single entry tourist visa - 3 months validity||$30 USD for regular processing |
$40 USD for expedited processing
|Multiple entry tourist visa - 6 months validity||$60 USD|
|Multiple entry tourist visa - 1 year validity||$90 USD|
While you’re sorting out your visa, it’s also a good idea to think about how you’ll spend while in the Philippines.
The Wise card is a great choice to cover your expenses when traveling to the Philippines. It’s contactless and works in 150+ countries.
Wise is a money service business, offering a multi-currency account, international money transfer services and a debit card.
Order your Wise card for a one-time fee of $9 and you’ll get:
- Your dollars automatically converted to Philippine peso at the mid-market exchange rate whenever you spend. There’s just a small conversion fee, or there’s no charge if you already have the currency in your Wise account.
- Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to $100 a month (ATM operators may charge their own fee).
- A Wise Account which lets you send money to the Philippines for low, transparent fees.
And that’s it - your full rundown of Philippines visas for American citizens, including options for long-stay vacations, visiting family, work and study.
We’ve covered everything from processing times to fees, plus information on how to apply.
Getting a visa isn’t always a smooth or complication-free process, and it’s not usually quick either. You’ll need to be right on it with the paperwork, making sure you have everything ready to avoid any delays.
If you need help, it’s a good idea to contact your nearest Philippines Embassy or Consulate. They should be a reliable source of information and guidance.
Otherwise, you can start looking forward to your Philippines adventure! Just make sure you pop the Wise card in your travel wallet, and you’ll have a low-cost way to spend in Philippines pesos from the moment you land.
|💡 For more help planning your trip, read our guides to ATMs and money and banks in the Philippines..|
As is the case in many countries, there are several steps involved in getting a tourist visa for the USA. You’ll need to complete an application form, provide supporting documentation and attend an interview at your local US Embassy in the Philippines.
You’ll find all the information you need on the US Department of State (Consular Affairs) website.
It can take a while to get a tourist visa for the US. Unfortunately, the wait time for an appointment at the US Embassy in Manila for a tourist visa interview is currently 181 days.⁶
Sources used for this article:
- Philippines Consulate Los Angeles - Do you need a visa to travel to the Philippines?
- Philippine Visa Online Portal
- VisaGuide.world - Philippines visa
- Philippines Consulate Los Angeles - Visa
- Philippine Consulate General - New York, USA - Visa
- US Department of State (Consular Affairs) - Visitor Visa
Sources checked on 17-Aug-2023.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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