The Philippines kept its borders closed for a while now since the pandemic situation has taken a serious turn. This, plus severe restrictions inside the country turned out to be the perfect policy to manage COVID-19 and prevent the virus from spreading. The authorities managed to get everything under control by October 2021 what resulted in some of the limitations being lifted, and the borders getting opened. Read the post below to find out if it’s safe to go to the Philippines and how to protect yourself when traveling.
Traffic Light System
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration introduced 3 lists (green, yellow, and red), based on the incidence and mortality rates in different countries to decide which nationals can enter without restrictions.
There are over 40 countries on the green list (New Zealand, Poland, Greece, and many others). Such travelers don’t have to undergo quarantine upon arrival. A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours will be sufficient for entry. You can check any government’s official website for the approximate info on the green and red list territories.
Foreigners from the yellow list pose a moderate risk. They’re carefully examined at the border, with mandatory 14 days quarantine, additional tests, and strict monitoring of any symptoms.
Travelers from the red list, such as Serbians or Grenadians, are temporarily forbidden to enter. For more details, check the info on the Department of Foreign Affairs site.
Tourists must be fully vaccinated, with the vaccine approved by the WHO. Anyone showing flu resembling symptoms and/or a positive PCR test will have to quarantine for 2 weeks or more.
The following groups will have to quarantine for 2 weeks, regardless of which list they are on:
- Those who have not been vaccinated
- Those who received the last shot fewer than 14 days ago
They will have to spend the first 7 days in a special facility. After a negative PCR test result on day 7, they can continue self-isolation in their pre-booked accommodation, which must be paid for at least 8 days.
How to Get a Visa
Citizens of over 150 countries do not need a visa. This means that they can come without applying for an entry permit in advance. However, not everyone has the opportunity to travel as long as they want. For example, Brazilians and Israelis can stay for 59 days, while people from Hong Kong or Portugal for only 14. If you are not on the list or plan to travel longer, you need to apply for a visa.
Documents Needed for a Tourist Visa
- An international passport with empty pages
- A copy of the domestic passport (personal information)
- A filled-in application form (can be downloaded from the Embassy website in your country)
- Booked return tickets
- A 35×45 mm photo;
- A receipt for the payment of the consular fee
- An invitation letter (e.g., from a hotel)
Visit the Embassy
Once you’ve prepared the documents, book an interview appointment at the Embassy. You can either use the booking system on the official website or call directly; the former method is preferred by the authorities. Submit your documents and have an interview if required.
Wait until your application is finalized in about 2 weeks to receive the answer from the consulate. It can be longer due to bureaucratic delays or the coronavirus situation. What you can do to speed up the process is to make sure you have provided the consular officer with all the necessary documents that raise no question. Also, check if your photo meets the required specifications beforehand.
A Compliant Photo at Home in 3 steps
There is no need to head to offline centers to take the photo required for your visa. Do everything faster and cheaper online, with the same quality results:
- Take a shot with your phone’s camera. Pay attention to the light, it must be even all around. Make sure you are positioned directly in the center, with some space left for the frame. Look straight into the camera.
- Upload the image to the passport photo editor. Do not add any artificial changes. Choose a country and type of document (visa). Pay about $7 USD and get the result within a couple of minutes.
- Download the ready file. You will receive a separate photo and a template of four images in a digital format. Use the former if you need to submit it online. The latter is for printing. Head to the nearest post office or copy center that offers such services to print it out.
- Wear a mask
- Stay at least 1,5 meters away from people
- Use alcohol-based sanitizers to kill viruses
- Take along a first aid kit with meds
- Do not travel without full vaccination
- Purchase medical insurance that will cover all costs for treating the coronavirus and dealing with possible complications
The Philippines has created a safe environment for traveling. But do not forget to keep your guard up and follow safety instructions. Mind the news, as the situation may change any day. Always prepare for traveling beforehand and submit the documents way ahead to have a great time in the Philippines.