Citizens of most countries do not need a visa for the Philippines for visits of less than 21 days.

Travellers must simply ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months and that they have proof of tickets for their journey out of the country.

Nationals of countries with which the Philippines has agreements on the waiver of visas may enter the Philippines and stay for a period of 59 days, provided they obtain a 9(A) visa from the Philippines consulate at their port of departure. A tourist’s stay can be extended by written application and payment of a fee.

Work permits for the Philippines

Any foreign national wishing to work in the Philippines must obtain a valid work visa, called the 9(G) visa. This should be arranged before starting employment in the country.

A 9(G) visa allows foreigners to enter the Philippines to engage in a lawful occupation. In general, it must be shown that the services of the foreigner are indispensable to the management, operation, administration or control of local or locally based firms. Companies must petition for their employees to obtain this visa. 

If the duration of the assignment is less than six months, a Special Work Permit application may be submitted to the authorities. If the assignment is for more than six months, the assignee may apply either in the Philippines or via a Philippines consulate. An application for a separate Philippines Alien Employment Permit (ACR) is required in addition to the principal work visa application. This is not a travel document; it is issued by the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment.

Alien Employment Permit (AEP) 

An Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is a document issued by the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment that allows a foreign national to work in the Philippines. This is normally applied for in tandem with a 9(G) employment visa.

An employee must be petitioned by his/her company and it must be shown that no person in the Philippines is willing or competent to perform the service for which the foreign national is hired.

AEPs are valid for one year, unless the employment contract, consultancy services or other modes of engagement or term of office for elective officers provides for a longer period. Permits of resident foreign nationals are valid for multiple employers, provided they report changes in their employment status and the identity of their employers to the DOLE Regional Office that issued the permit.

Provisional Permit to Work

In addition to the Alien Employment Permit, foreign nationals must obtain a provisional permit to work, pending the approval of the 9(G) visa. This permit is issued by the Bureau of Immigration and is normally valid for three months from the date of issue. The Bureau of Immigration will not issue a 9(G) working visa unless and until the AEP from the DOLE is obtained.

Alien Registration Programme

A programme is being developed that requires foreigners working in the Philippines to register their biometric data and receive an identity card with a unique security number. While the programme is currently voluntary, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration has announced plans for it to become mandatory. 


*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to consult with their respective embassy or consulate for the latest requirements.

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