Philippines Digital Nomad Visa Options, Tips, & Updates [2023]

A proposed “Philippines digital nomad visa” is making progress. A pending bill in the country’s Lower House aims to grant remote workers the opportunity to work in the country for up to 12 months, renewable for another 12. If approved, this visa won’t classify holders as residents for tax purposes, and income from overseas employers won’t be taxed as Philippine income. But, we have to wait.

In the meantime, your best bet as a digital nomad is to go for a visa waiver or tourist visa, officially called 9(a) Temporary Visitors Visa. Alternatively, you can opt for a transit visa for short stays while traveling across Southeast Asia, jumping next to its neighbors, Indonesia or Vietnam.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to apply for a visa waiver and a tourist visa. Through our research and discussions with fellow remote workers in the Philippines, we have found that visa waiver is the preferred choice for digital nomads. If you intend to stay in the country for more than a month, we’ll explain the process for an extension. You’ll also find below the list of eligible countries, requirements and links to the online application forms.

Quick Facts

  • Visa length: 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 60 days or more (visa waiver extension)
  • Minimum income: Proof of financial capability to travel
  • Cost of a visa: around $55 (tourist visa); visa waiver application is free
  • Timeline for visa processing: 3 days

Table of Contents

  1. Requirements for the Philippine Visa Waiver
  2. How to Apply for the Visa Waiver
  3. Requirements for a Visa Waiver Extension
  4. Steps to Apply for an Extension
  5. Requirements for a Philippine Tourist Visa
  6. How to Apply for a Philippine Tourist Visa

Philippine Visa Waiver Program

The good news is, the Philippines offers a visa waiver program for citizens of eligible countries, allowing them to enter the country without a visa. Depending on their nationality and bilateral agreements, visitors can enjoy stays of 7 days, 14 days, 30 days and even 60 days. That’ll do for now until we hear a Philippines digital nomad visa has been released.

Over 150 countries, including ASEAN nations, the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Australia, and Korea, qualify for this program. You can verify your country’s eligibility by visiting the “Philippine Visa Policy” section on the immigration website.

Requirements for the Philippine Visa Waiver

  1. A passport with a validity of at least six (6) months beyond your intended stay in the Philippines.
  2. A valid airline ticket for your return journey to your port of origin or your next destination.
  3. Proof of financial capacity to cover your travel expenses.

How to Apply for the Visa Waiver

  1. Visit the Philippines electronic visa siteeTRavel websiteand register.
  2. Before closing the eTravel portal, take a screenshot or download your personal QR code.
  3. Show this QR code to an airline representative for verification before boarding your flight.
  4. Upon arrival in the Philippines, present the QR code to the BOQ Quarantine officers for further verification.

Things to Consider about the Visa Waiver

  • Registration for the eTravel system must be completed within 3 days (or 72 hours) before your arrival in the Philippines. It is mandatory to present proof of valid eTravel registration before boarding your flight.
  • The eTravel registration process is free of charge, and there is no requirement for any online payment. Be cautious of fake or fraudulent websites and entities that may attempt to collect payment during the registration process.
  • If you want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension.

Visa Waiver Extension

If you require an extension of 30 days or more, you must apply for the extension at the main office of the country’s Bureau of Immigration (BI) or its satellite offices across the Philippines. You can find the list of satellite offices here.

digital nomads we are
Monday rush in Boracay White Beach.

Requirements for a Visa Waiver Extension

A visa waiver extension is arguably the nearest to a Philippines digital nomad visa given the length of stay it can give you. To extend your visa waiver for 60 days or more, you will need to meet the following requirements:

Steps to Apply for an Extension

  1. Get the CGAF (Comprehensive General Application Form) from the Public Information and Assistance Unit (PIAU) at the BI G/F Main Office or download it from the official BI website.
  2. Complete the application form and gather all required attachments, then submit them along with your passport to the frontline officer.
  3. If there are no derogatory records, a BI Clearance Certificate will be issued. If there are any issues, the applicant must proceed to the Verification and Certification Unit for clearance.
  4. Obtain the Order of Payment Slip and proceed to the cashier for payment.
  5. Pay the required fees and get the official receipt.
  6. Submit the receipt, application form, attachments, and passport to the receiving/assessment officer.
  7. Finally, claim your passport, which will be stamped with the requested extension of stay.

Visa Waiver Extension Fees

Be prepared for the various fees for 30 days and 60 days/beyond:

For a 30-day extension:

  • Visa waiver fee: around $9
  • Application fee: around $18
  • Certification fee: around $9
  • Legal research fee: around $55
  • Express fee: around $18

Total: around $55

For a 60-day or beyond extension, additional fees may apply:

  • Monthly extension fee: around $9 per month
  • Application fee: around $5.50
  • Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) Fee: around $9
  • Emigration Clearance Certificate Fee: around $4
  • Visa sticker fee: around $2
  • ACR I-Card for Tourist: $50

Don’t overstay without approval!

Overstaying carries consequences, including a fine of ~$9 per month, in addition to potential legal repercussions.

What if you’re not from any of the Philippine visa-waiver countries? You need to apply for a tourist visa. It’s a bit of an extra effort but nothing you cannot hurdle.

sinulog festival cebu
Photo by Jeremiah Odejerte:

Who Should Apply for a Philippine Tourist Visa?

Citizens from countries ineligible for the visa waiver program, including China, India, Pakistan, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Albania, Montenegro, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia, should apply for a Philippine tourist visa. They can start their applications online but may need to contact the nearest Philippine embassy to submit their applications officially.

Requirements for a Philippine Tourist Visa

  • Valid passport or travel document valid for at least six (6) months beyond your intended stay in the Philippines
  • Completed visa application form
  • Proof of intention as a tourist or businessman
  • Confirmed tickets for your return journey or onward travel

How to Apply for a Philippine Tourist Visa

  1. Log in to the official visa website and follow the instructions.
  2. Fill out the required details, including whether you need a single or multiple-entry visa.
  3. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email to your email address.
  4. Upon receiving the confirmation email, you need to email this confirmation to the embassy where you intend to apply.
  5. The Visa Officer will provide you with a list of requirements for an initial assessment. Submit the required documents via email. Once the documents are approved, you will receive an appointment schedule.
  6. The processing time for express processing is one working day/next-day release, while regular processing takes three working days.
  7. You can check the status of your visa application here.

Things to Consider When Applying for the Philippine Visa Online

  • The online portal is solely for the initial submission of the visa application.
  • Submitting the application form through the online portal does not indicate that your visa is already being processed.
  • Approval via the online portal will depend on your fulfillment of all visa requirements.

More Fun in the Philippines!

While we’re still waiting on that “Philippines digital nomad visa” to become a reality, you can totally take advantage of the visa waiver program if you’re from one of the eligible countries. Just breeze through the entry without worrying about a visa for a specific period (depending on where you’re from).

But if your country isn’t on the visa waiver list, don’t sweat it! You can still apply for a tourist visa online and get ready to explore this tropical paradise. Remember to follow the rules, avoid overstaying, and stay on top of any extension requirements to ensure a smooth and epic adventure in the Philippines. The Philippines is ready to welcome you with open arms. Get ready to dive into the beauty, culture, and adventure and, yes, have more fun in the Philippines!