What we really needed to go to the Philippines

In this report, I share what we really needed to go to the Philippines.  

Qiang and I are both citizens of countries that allow us to visit the Philippines visa-free. That means we do not need to apply for a visa in advance, nor are we required to apply for a visa upon arrival. We are given 30 days visa-free upon arrival. Here is the list of countries that can enter the Philippines visa-free for 30 days.

Upon arrival, we just provided whatever documents they require when landing in the Philippines and they will stamp our passports with 30 days visa-free tourists. Plus, we can stay for up to 36 months by extending at immigration once we are inside the Philippines.

Of course, the requirements are changing rapidly so make sure to check the official requirements for citizens of your country traveling on the airline you select on the day you intend to fly.  

What they told us we needed

  1. Onward/Return Flight Ticket: Must be scheduled to leave the Philippines anytime during the first 30 days. If you plan on extending your stay in the Philippines, they still want this. You have to have it. You can save money renting a return or onward flight for $12 so you don’t throw the cost of a full ticket out the window. Here is one of the companies that offer that service.
  2. At least 6 Months Before Your Passport Expires.
  3. Negative PCR Test or Antigen Test: You can use either. The antigen test must have been based upon the testing results of a mucous swab taken no more than 24 hours before the time of your departure flight to the Philippines. The PSR test must have been based upon the testing results of a mucous swab taken no more than 48 hours before the time of your departure flight to the Philippines. These must be professionally administered tests.
  4. $35,000 USD COVID Medical Insurance: Mine cost about $100 and Qiang’s cost about $35 USD. Here is where we bought our Insurance: https://www.insubuy.com/.   We do not get a commission if you buy this. That includes the documents you need to gain entry into the Philippines.
  5. Vaccine Certification (Digital Certificate or Paper Card): Your digital certification or card must be in a format approved by the Philippines or from a country that is approved by the Philippines. Here is the most recent list of countries approved by the Philippines that I could find. I could not find an officials source of approved countries on any Philippines official webpage.
  6. One Health Pass and resulting QR Code: You fill out all the data fields on the online form and upload all of the required documents requested as you complete the online form, and in the end, you will be issued a QR Code you need. Either print out the QR code or save the screenshot of the QR code or both. You will need it. Here is where you get your one health pass.  Wait until you have your negative test and all of the other above required documents before trying to complete the One Health Pass data fields.  
  7. First Night’s Accommodations: Print out and bring with you. We will cover domestic travel in a later report.  I assume this means at the last destination in the Philippines assuming you have a connecting flight when you land.  

That is everything they said we needed before flying to the Philippines. Now we shall share what they wanted for check-in at the airport.

What they wanted at airport check-in:

  1. Passport
  2. Onward/Return Flight
  3. One Health Pass QR Code
  4. $35k COVID Insurance

What they wanted upon arrival:

Check Point 1: QR Code Verification

  1. Arrival Card: Easy short card handed out by flight staff during the flight on the last leg of your trip landing in the Philippines.
  2. Verify Passport Matches QR Code.
  3. One Health Pass QR Code Scanned.
  4. Boarding Pass: They stamp boarding pass (from arrival flight) as “received.”

Check Point 2: Immigration

  1. Passport
  2. Accommodations
  3. Return/Onward Flight

They stamped us for 30 days. We needed everything we were told we would need.

Our First 30 Day Extension

  1. Philippines Bureau of Immigration–Makati Extension Office: We were out of there in less than 20 minutes with our first 30-day extension.   It costs us 2000 ($40 USD) pesos for 30-day extension per person. We ordered express so we could leave Manila right away. Express cost us 1000 pesos more ($20 USD) per person.
  2. We wanted to have an additional 30 days so we could travel around the Philippines for 60 days before we have to worry about our next extension.
  3. The below video explains why we don’t bother with the Philippines retirement visa.  It is easier to just extend for up to 36 months before you have to do a visa run.  Until they change the laws, I feel that is the best choice.  

Okay, now you know What we really needed to go to the Philippines. 

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