Departure to Manila

Passport, Visa & Permits to Manila

Home > Expat Guides > Asia > Philippines > Manila

This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation.


You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. Minors are allowed to travel on their parents' passports up until aged 15 years.


A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials on a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country. This permission is called "entry clearance".

Where to Apply for a Philippine Visa

Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in the Philippines. Visa application must be done in person and applicants must apply at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate having jurisdiction over their place of residence.

Basic Requirements

The minimum requirements for a visa application include:

  • Valid passport
  • Accomplished visa application form
  • 2 pieces passport-sized photos
  • Payment of visa fee
  • Supporting documents (such as letter of acceptance from an accredited school; employment contract with Philippine employer; evidence of financial viability)

Visitor Visa

If you are traveling to the Philippines for holiday, business or health purposes, you may be required to obtain a Temporary Visitor's visa. Some foreign nationals do not require a visa as long as they intend to stay in the Philippines for 30 days or less and they hold valid return tickets to their port of origin or next port of destination.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines provides guidelines here: Visa Guidelines/Requirements and Guidelines on the Entry of Temporary Visitors to the Philippines.

You can also refer to points 9 to 12 of the Travel Requirements FAQ provided by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.

Student Visa

If you intend to take up a course higher than high school in the Philippines, you will need to get a student visa. You must be aged 18 or over and you must have sufficient means of support for education in the Philippines. You must also be accepted to a school accredited by the Bureau of Immigration.

The list of schools accredited by the Bureau of Immigration can be found here: Bureau of Immigration List of Accredited Schools.

For more information on student visas, visit this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Applying for a Student Visa.

Special Study Permit

If you are below the age of 18 and/or intend on taking non-degree courses in the Philippines, you must secure a Special Study Permit. This will be issued under your Temporary Visitor's Visa.

For more information on special study permits, visit this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Applying for a Special Study Permit.

Work Visa

If you want to work in the Philippines, you must secure a Pre-arranged Employee Visa. This is a working visa that allows employers in the Philippines to employ foreign nationals with skills, qualifications and experience which may be in short supply in the Philippines.

You must ensure that you are hired by a Philippine-based company. Your hiring company will apply for your pre-arranged employee visa as your petitioner. Your pre-arranged employee visa will have an initial validity period of one, two or three years and may be extended depending on your contract with your employer. Processing of your pre-arranged employee visa may take 40 days provided you submit all documentary requirements and depending on the volume of applications.

For more information on work visas, visit the following pages on the Bureau of Immigration website:

Including Dependents in Your Work Visa

You may bring your family with you as dependents under your pre-arranged employee visa. They will be granted the same validity period as your visa and will also have the option of extending their visa.

For more information on including dependents on your pre-arranged employee visa, visit this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Inclusion of Dependents in the Pre-arranged Employee Visa.

Permanent Residence

Foreign nationals are eligible for permanent residency in the Philippines on the basis of their valid marriage to a Philippine citizen and if they are citizens of a country which grants permanent residence and immigration privileges to Philippine citizens. For further information, refer to:

Filipino veterans who are American citizens and residing in foreign lands can avail of permanent residency in the Philippines. Further details can be found in this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Permanent Resident Visa for Filipino Veterans.


There are rigid requirements that must be satisfied to acquire citizenship. It is in your best interest to take professional advice from the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines. You can find their contact details here.

For more information on acquiring Philippine citizenship, you can refer to: Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000.

Dual Citizenship

Foreign nationals who were born outside of the Philippines to a Filipino parent (the parent/s must be Philippine citizens at the time of the applicant's birth) may apply for recognition as a Filipino citizen without losing the current citizenship of the applicant. For more information, visit this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Recognition as Filipino Citizen.

Former natural-born Filipinos who have been naturalized in another country and wish to retain or re-acquire their Philippine citizenship may apply for retention/re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship.

For more information, visit this page on the Bureau of Immigration website: Application for Retention/Re-acquisition of Philippine Citizenship.

Update 9/06/2016


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

International Movers

When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.

Our network of international removal companies can move your furniture & possessions to Philippines and anywhere overseas.

Filling in the form at the bottom will allow you to request up to 5 quotes from various moving companies. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about passport, visa & permits to Manila, departure.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).