“What documents shall I bring when I travel abroad? A lot of our fellow Pinoy travelers/ Philippines Passport holders are asking me this! They worry about documents to bring just in case the Philippines immigration or the visa-free countries immigration would ask them.
Visa-free travel means the ability of going or traveling to another country without having to go through tedious visa processes and where you can stay for a limited period of time. Some Visa-Free Countries for Filipinos include Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Brazil, etc. Visa-free could also mean Visa on Arrival and E-Visa, sobrang dali ng process kaya halos hindi na sya considered as Visa Required.
Some people think that just because a country is visa-free, passport lang sapat na! That’s not the case at all times. Remember, some require E-Visa or Visa on Arrival. Let me remind you na hindi porket naka lampas ka sa Immigration Officers natin eh okay ka na. Remember, you have to face the Immigration Officers of the country you’re visiting and they can either allow you to get in or if they can refuse you entry and send you back to the Philippines. Yes nangyayari po ito sa totoong buhay and I’m not making these things up!
The worst thing about this is they could detain you for a long time, question you, and then send you home where you will be asked to pay for the last-minute flight. Sometimes they even take your phone. Seryoso to ha. Sobrang hassle at gastos neto. Yung pocket money mo sana mauubos lang for your return ticket.
Let me tell you that this doesn’t have to happen and you can prevent this from happening if you bring with you the proper documents. I’m here to tell you more about it.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS YOU HAVE TO TAKE WITH YOU WHEN GOING TO VISA-FREE COUNTRIES
One of the Immigration Officers’ duties is to refuse entry to any foreigner whom he/she thinks has the tendency to overstay and deplete the country’s resources. This is a personal prerogative and they are trained to do this. The best proof to debunk this is to have a Return or Onward Flight Ticket. When you have this, ewan ko na lang kung may say pa sila!
An onward ticket is a confirmed booking of any flight/train/bus originating from the country about to be entered into another country (Eg. Bus ticket from Vietnam to Cambodia, or Flight from Manila to Bangkok and then Bangkok to Dubai).
Round trip ticket is a confirmed booking of any flight/train/bus from the country about to be entered back to the country of origin (Eg. Manila-Paris-Manila).
2) Cash and Credit/Debit Card
You may be asked how you’ll finance your trip. Tell them that you have cash and cards. Don’t show them until they specifically ask for it. In some countries, corruption are really rampant so don’t show them what you have at least as possible. How much show money do you need? Read this article.
3) Company ID
This is very important. Some Immigration Officers deny entry to some people thinking that the are there to look for a job. Again, a good proof to prove them wrong is by having your Company ID if ever you are employed.
4) Approved Vacation Leave
May ibang IO na talagang sigurista at hindi sila kuntento sa first three documents that I’ve mentioned. Hihingan at hihingan kapa nyan ng proof. Another good document to bring is the Approved Vacation Leave.
5) BIR Form
Meron talaga super makulit nako kaya kung meron naman kayong copy neto, dalhin nyo na din para siguradong sigurado! Ewan ko na lang talaga pag di pa sila maligayahan dito. Kung wala naman kayong copy at nakapag out of the country naman na kayo, okay na din siguro.
6) Proof of Accommodation
I think this is one of the first things IO’s ask-- the name of your hotel or wherever you are staying and the address. Sometimes it’s not enough that you tell them the name, they ask for the Hotel Booking/Reservation so make sure to have this with you.
7) Letter of Invitation/Proof of Relationship
In case you’re staying at a friend’s house, then bring a copy of his/her ID as well as a Letter of Invitation. Pag naman you’re staying with your immediate family member like your mom/dad, bring your birth certificate.
If you’re going to visit your boyfriend/ girlfriend then make sure to have supporting documents to prove your relationship - passport, photos together, entry / exit stamp to the Philippines etc.
8) VALID Visa for e-visa
Some countries like Turkey allow Filipinos to get an E-Visa only if you have a valid USA, Schengen, Ireland, or UK. Now once you get this E-Visa, you still have to show the Visa you used to get that E-Visa.
Gets nyo ba? Kunwari kumuha ka ng E-Visa dahil may valid US Visa ka, then dapat pati yun dalhin mo.
9) Yellow Fever Vaccine
This is required in most African Countries so dapat bitbit mo to kung ayaw mo maging biktima ng corruption. Some countries there have a booth for yellow fever vaccine where you’ll have to pay an amount to get a paper para papasukin ka nila sa border. Dapat bago ka umalis ng Pilipinas magpaturok ka na neto. This is for your safety as well!
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENT WHICH IS NECESSARY
This is VERY VERY IMPORTANT-- Your Travel Insurance. This will not be asked by the IO but I suggest you to always have this every time you travel. Most people think that this is a liability or dagdag gastos but let me tell you that this is an investment. Would you rather pay 20,000 SGD to pay for your hospitalization in Singapore kapag naaksidente ka or would you rather pay 50 SGD/day for the insurance to cover this? Come on, let’s be practical yet realistic. Hindi pwedeng puro practicality ang papairalin natin with matching knock on wood na lang wishing walang mangyari sa atin.
Let’s not test fate. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone so we better be prepared in case di tayo palarin.
1) I am just a student and I’m traveling alone. Is that okay?
If you’re traveling for the first time, I suggest you bring a letter from your parents stating that they will be financing your trip. Affidavit of Support tawag dito and pa notaryo mo na din para sure!
2) What tips can you give when talking to Immigration Officers?
I wrote 32 Important Things and Tips When Dealing with Philippines Immigration and these tips could be applicable to IO’s abroad too.
3) What if I’m a Government Employee? What document do I need to present instead of the Approved Vacation Leave?
It’s the Travel Authority. Under the law, no local government official shall leave for abroad without the appropriate travel authorization and duly accomplished leave application approved by competent authorities.
4) How can I get this Travel Authority?
Apparently, you can now get this online. According to this post by PhilNewsPh.com, all you have to do is:
File your application thru the FTA Online System at www.blgs-pcmd.com.
Download the User’s Manual and FTA Checklist (www.blgs-pcmd.com) before filling out the application form and attaching all the necessary requirements for submission.
After submission, the system will generate an ‘Application Number’ necessary to check on the status of the application and generation of approved FTA.
5) I’m a Digital Nomad and I don’t have a tax return. What should I do?
Get a copy of your Paypal Transaction, Proof of your work and maybe screenshot ng account mo sa Upwork etc.. This is sufficient to prove your source of income for now. Let me remind you that you have to register yourself with the BIR if your clients are based in the Philippines.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIPS FOR FELLOW TRAVELERS, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, ASK IN THE COMMENT!