VISA'S FOR THE PHILIPPINES - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
There are a million billion articles online about this visa situation so we thought we’d simplify the mindfuck.
Right, these are the things to know.
- If you’re going to The Philippines on holiday for less than 30 days and you’re from one of the stipulated countries, you will be eligible for a 30 day visa-free stay. No need to apply for anything beforehand. Read this for official info - scroll to the bit where it actually says “30 day visa free stay” www.philippineconsulate.com.au/visa/the-philippine-visa
- If you are planning to travel (for tourism purposes) for up to 59 days, apply for a visa BEFORE YOU LEAVE! This will make your life a hell of a lot easier. Yes, you will have to fill out a form, get pictures taken, go to the embassy, spend money etc but it will be 100% the best planning you ever did. All the info is here: www.philippineconsulate.com.au/visa/temporary-visitors-visa-for-pleasure-or-tourism We went to the embassy in London so if you need info about that embassy specifically mail us and we’ll give you more details.
- If you have spent 59 days here and can't bear the thought of leaving (like us) you can extend your visa for up to 6 months but you will need to find your closest Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines. Our preferred BI is in Cebu City (tucked away on the top floor of the J Centre Mall) but there are numerous BI’s. Do your research to find your closest one. This is what you need to know about this process:
- It will take a full day of waiting but if you arrive early in the morning completely prepared, at the end of the day you’ll probably walk away with your visa. It’s best to leave a day or two on either side just in case shit happens but it took us one extremely boring day and we were done.
- It’s expensive and they will expect payment in cash. There are a few ATMs on the ground floor of J Centre mall but they tend to run out of cash (especially if you’re withdrawing upwards of PHP20,000) so come prepared with cash.
- There are a lot of warnings online about the BI dress code. The rules are supposedly legs and shoulders covered and closed shoes. A non-issue in “normal life” but if you’ve been island hopping for 2 months it’s a fucking crisis. We had read so many stories about not being admitted to the BI due to shorts and flip flops that we went to The Ayala Centre for emergency (aka cheap) clothes only to find at least 80% of the people in there wearing shorts and flip flops. Argh. Seems like they’ve eased up a bit but it’s worth being prepared incase the wardrobe police get back on their game.
- We’re sure we don't need to tell you this again but come prepared with your pics, passport, cash AND forms already filled in. If you don’t you will make this already tedious process a fucking ball-ache and we know you don't need that in your life.
Ifyou are going to the BI in the J Centre Mall in Cebu City and you want to know exactly what to do (ie. what happens when you arrive, where do you sign in, who do you give your papers to etc) mail us and we’d be happy to share all the details.
For more info and online forms read here: www.immigration.gov.ph/visa-requirements/non-immigrant-visa/temporary-visitor-visa/long-stay-visitor-visa-extension-lsvve
As we mentioned, give us a shout if you need any further details and we’d be happy to tell you everything we know.