Flying Out of the Philippines? Here's Your Checklist

Visiting other countries is on the table for Filipino tourists for the first time in two years, a welcome development for those looking forward to revenge travel.

Starting April 1, several countries will ease restrictions to welcome tourists after two years of closed borders. Every territory’s COVID situation is different, so requirements are subject to government guidelines.

Generally, countries will accept fully vaccinated tourists without quarantine at arrival. Some countries will require additional tests or documents for passengers who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Here is a quick overview of what you’ll need for international travel:

Medical requirements

Proof of vaccination

Apart from the vaccine cards issued by local government units, you may be required to present a QR code from VaxCertPH that details your vaccine doses. You can get the QR code online ahead of your travels.

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RT-PCR test

Some destination countries will require you to present a negative RT-PCR test result 48-72 hours before travel, depending on guidelines. Airlines have partner laboratories for such tests.

If you plan to get tested privately, be sure it’s done through a DOH-accredited lab.

Keep in mind that RT-PCR tests take at least 24 hours for results. Check out our list of hospitals and labs offering affordable RT-PCR tests.

Travel requirements

Passport

There’s just no traveling without a passport so make sure you have one before you checkout those tickets. The Department of Foreign Affairs is accepting limited walk-in passport appointments for new applications and renewals, but it’s best to get a schedule online. Passport appointments are free, so don’t fall for fixers asking for money.

Check if you qualify for a walk-in appointment at the DFA.

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Visa

Check if your destination country requires a visa from Filipino travelers. Tourists can apply for visas, but keep in mind that embassies are prioritizing overseas workers, students, or emergency cases.

Itinerary and receipts

Foreign governments may require you to present an itinerary or proof of accommodation. Not all hotspots and accommodation establishments are open to everyone just yet, so be sure you’re going to and staying at places with certificates to operate.

COVID travel insurance

Almost every country reopening to tourists requires all travelers to purchase COVID travel insurance to cover potential hospitalization or treatment costs if COVID is contracted. Each country is different, but the average cost covered by the insurance should at least be P1,000,000.

Local contact tracing

Like the Philippines, other countries have contact tracing programs and apps in place to curb the spread of the virus. You’ll have to register online before flying.

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Most of the apps require an ID, like a passport, your personal details, and a record of your vaccine doses. There could be penalties or fines if you fail to register for a country’s contact tracing app.

The apps are usually available online, on iOS, Android, and are free for download.

Airline health declaration form

To ensure the safety of passengers and staff both here and abroad, airlines will require everyone to fill out health declaration forms.

Personal information, symptoms, and vaccination status will be asked in these forms.

Where you can go

Filipino tourists are welcome in Singapore and Thailand. For a list of guidelines for Singapore, check out this story. For Thailand, check out our other article.

Vietnam is also open to Filipino tourists visa-free, but only for a maximum of 21 days. Should your stay be longer, you need to get a visa. Check out the requirements.

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Indonesia is also open to Filipino tourists, provided guidelines are followed.

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South Korea, the land of kimchi and K-Drama, is technically open to travelers, but not to tourists. This means only those on business, students, returning residents, and emergency cases may go to South Korea for official travel.

Filipino tourists will also have to wait before they can fly to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau. Southeast Asian neighbor Malaysia remains closed to tourists.

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