The latest update on travel restrictions in the Philippines

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The outbreak of the COVID-19 at the start of this year has caused many countries to self-impose lockdown at once and implement strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, even as we are nearing the end of this trying year, the world is still in the grip of the pandemic — such is the severity of this unprecedented health crisis!

However, many countries across the world have started adapting to the new normal and gradually resumed halted activities to revive the economy. They have relaxed restrictions related to travel and have revised safety guidelines time and again on the basis of the COVID situation. Almost all these countries have resumed domestic tourism to a greater extent but continue to impose travel restrictions on international travelers. The Philippines also falls under this category of countries. Here are the latest updates on the relaxation of travel restrictions in the Philippines.

Is the Philippines open for tourism?

According to the latest update on the Philippines travel restrictions for inbound travelers, the country has started welcoming back foreign nationals starting November 1. Passengers with the following visa types will be permitted to board international flights to the Philippines and arrive in the country.

  • Visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration under Executive Order (EO) 226, as amended by Republic Act 8756. This refers to foreign personnel or executives of multinational companies in the Philippines, their respective spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 (if accompanying them or joining them later)
  • Visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority; or visas granted to investors and their dependents, and workers in the freeports. Basically, these visas are for foreigners working in special economic zones.

Prior to this easing of the travel restrictions in the Philippines, the people allowed entry into the country included Filipinos, their spouse and minor children; foreign children with special needs of Filipinos; foreign parents of minor Filipinos; and foreign parents of Filipino children with special needs.

Travelers are still required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates prior to arrival and must pre-book an accredited quarantine facility for the 14-day quarantine period. They will be subjected to immigration inspection procedures, will be tested and then referred to their assigned quarantine facility.

How are the travel restrictions on outbound travelers relaxed?

As for the relaxation of travel restrictions in the Philippines on outbound travelers, the country has lifted restrictions on non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos. The pre-boarding antigen testing requirement is also scrapped. However, the test will be done if the traveler’s destination city mandates a negative Covid-19 test certificate for arriving travelers.

The other travel restrictions in place for non-essential travel out of the Philippines require travelers (who are leaving under a tourist visa) to present a round-trip ticket and sign a declaration acknowledging the risks of traveling.

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