Foreign travel advice

Philippines

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Summary

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In addition to the global advisory against non-essential international travel, the following advice within the Philippines remains in place:

The FCDO advise against all travel to:

  • western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) due to the threat of terrorism. See Local travel and Terrorism.

Travel to the Philippines is subject to entry restrictions

  • Entry to the Philippines is currently prohibited except for Philippine nationals and foreign nationals holding valid residency permits. The Philippines authorities have announced that foreign nationals with long-term visas will be allowed to enter the Philippines from 1 August subject to certain conditions.
  • Some airlines require passengers from the Philippines to present a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative-test certification issued by an accredited testing facility before being permitted. Check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Return travel to the UK is subject to self-isolation requirements

If you’re returning to the UK, you will need to:

  • provide your journey and contact details
  • self-isolate for 14 days

Check the guidance on entering or returning to the UK.

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

If you’re planning travel to the Philippines, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

It is estimated that over 200,000 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2018. Most visits are trouble-free.

The lake Taal volcano 60km south of Manila has been experiencing increased volcanic activity since 12 January 2020. See Natural disasters

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist groups have the intent and capability to carry out attacks anywhere in the country, including in the capital Manila and in places visited by foreigners, such as airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities. See Terrorism

It’s likely that terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals in the Philippines, both on land and at sea. Risks are particularly acute in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. See Kidnapping

Martial law was lifted across Mindanao on 1 January 2020. Monitor media reporting and follow the instructions of local authorities. A ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence’ remains in place across the rest of the country.

The Philippines is in an active earthquake zone and has numerous volcanoes. The country is also affected by around 20 typhoons each year, most of which occur between June and December. See Natural disasters

Normally you can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay. However, restrictions are currently in place as part of the Philippines response to the coronavirus outbreak. See Visas and Coronavirus

There’s a high incidence of street crime and robbery throughout the Philippines. You should take sensible precautions. See Crime

Prison sentences in the Philippines are severe. The judicial system can result in long-term detention until a court hearing takes place. Detention facilities are far below UK standards. Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for importing and using illegal drugs are particularly severe. See Local laws and customs

The Philippines’ ferry and passenger boat network has a poor record of maritime safety. You should exercise caution when considering travel by inter-island ferries and avoid overcrowded boats. Accidents are more frequent during the rainy season between June and December when storms can develop quickly. See Sea travel

There’s a heightened risk of dengue fever during the rainy season (June to October). See Health

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is severely limited in parts of the Philippines where the FCDO advise against travel, and limited in the areas where the FCDO advise against all but essential travel. Full consular support is available in all other areas.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.