Can a Filipino Apply For a Tourist Visas While Traveling Out of the Philippines? 8 Tips On How To Apply For A Tourist Visa While Traveling Abroad!
“Can I apply for a Tourist Visa while I’m already traveling abroad?” This is one of the questions frequently asked by some of our Filipino readers who are in the middle of planning their backpacking route or those who are already in the middle of their backpacking journey.
I have traveled across more than 130 countries using ONLY my Philippines passport and I can definitely attest to how visa applications for Philippines Passport Holders can be a pain in the ass. Throughout our backpacking journey, there are times that planning for visa applications would take more time than planning for the trip itself especially when the country that we’re visiting is a lot less frequented by Filipino Tourists.
Worry not for your trip, I’ve been there, done that, and I’ve made so many mistakes too! Here are some Visa Application Tips that I have gathered throughout our nomadic traveling lifestyle since 2013! :)
1) PLAN YOUR TRIP
I know how spontaneous trips could sometimes be exciting but this is not the case when you’re traveling abroad and you haven’t planned anything at all. The fun ceases when you get ripped off by the taxi driver in China, when you paid for $100 day trip somewhere in Japan when you could have gotten it for $50 only if you did your research, or when you paid for a motorcycle rental in Bali that’s twice the price than the rest.
Whether you’re traveling around Southeast Asia or as far as Israel, you have to plan just the same. Aside from hotels, flights, route, and itinerary, you should also plan for your visa applications! Once you’ve finalized your route, it will now be easy to pinpoint which countries you’ll be needing a visa for, where to get the visa, and when to get that visa.
2) APPLY FOR ALL THE NECESSARY VISAS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Embassies in every country have a different set of rules-- the hardest part is when you’re already traveling abroad and the Embassy in the country where you’re at requires you to be a RESIDENT of that country to be able to apply for a visa. This is the case when you try to apply for a Kazakhstan Visa in the Kazakhstan Embassy in Japan. To save you from the hassle or any surprises that you’ll get with any additional requirements abroad, I suggest you try to apply for the required visas in the Philippines or anywhere in the world you are residing.
A perfect example of this is the Schengen Visa. This visa can only be applied in the country where you reside as opposed to a US Visa where you can apply at any US Embassy in the world.
3) LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES
If you’re traveling for the first time, you might want to consider traveling to some countries where a visa is not required for Filipinos. Note that some of these countries still require a Visa On Arrival or E-Visa for Filipinos but this is a lot easier than the traditional paper application. Times are changing now, even Embassies are going crazy techie about visa applications and some are now accepting Online Visa Applications.
One of the latest countries who has changed their traditional paper application is Kazakhstan who just launched their Kazakhstan Online Visa Application Portal the first of January this year :)
To give you an idea, here are 9 Easiest And Visa-Free ASEAN Countries To Visit! If you have a valid USA Visa, then you might also want to check Countries That You Can Easily Visit With Your Valid USA Visa In Your Philippines Passport.
4) CONSIDER THE LENGTH OF THE PROCESSING TIMES
This is a very important thing to consider. In case you’re applying for a visa in another country, you have to know how long it will take for such to be processed. This is because you will need to have a valid visa in that country throughout the duration of the visa processing.
Depending on the Embassy, this could take about 6 weeks so it is important for you to do this as soon as you arrive in a foreign country where you intend to apply for the visa. Some Embassies take your passport throughout the entire process so it is important to stay in that country if this is the case.
5) ALWAYS HAVE A COPY OF YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Most of the Embassies require a common set of documents so it will be very helpful to carry those: A Copy of Your Passport, Travel Insurance, Birth Certificate, Bank Statement/Bank Certificate, Passport Photos, Employment Certificate (if any), and Paypal Transactions (if you’re a Digital Nomad). They could also require more documents so it will be good to have copy of your other documents like Land/Condominium Title/s, Copy of Valid IDs, Car Registration, etc. as well.
Keep these papers in one file and have a soft copy of it in one folder in your laptop or USB. This will make your visa application a lot easier!
6) ALWAYS CALL/ GET IN TOUCH WITH THE EMBASSIES BEFOREHAND
I know everything can now be found on the internet but if there’s anything you’d need to clarify, it wouldn’t hurt to drop a call or send an email. All Embassies now have this “Contact Us” section on their websites so don’t hesitate to do it. If you’re already in the middle of traveling, simply ask your hotel/hostel if you can make an outside call. I’m sure you can! This will save you a lot of time, money, and energy rather than going there yourself only to find out that for some reasons, you couldn’t apply for the visa.
7) CROSS THE BORDER!
As of now, there are 63 Visa-Free Countries for Filipinos but just because it’s visa-free does it mean that you can stay there indefinitely. These countries have Immigration Laws that everyone has to respect and abide by.
For example, Singapore and Malaysia allow Filipinos to stay at their country visa-free for 30 days each. Let’s say you had so much fun in Malaysia but your 30-day visa-free stay is about to end. In this case, I suggest that rather than getting a visa for it, cross the border to Singapore and explore a new country and then come back when you feel like it!
8) ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B
Not everything will go as planned and not everything will go your way-- that’s the truth about backpacking and life in general. Embrace the challenges, move on, and find another way. If you made a mistake and it turns out that the Embassy in the country you’re in requires a residency card for visa applications, don’t be too hard on yourself. There are so many countries to visit in this planet and it’s not the end of the world if you miss the chance to visit one country you’ve been dying to see. There’s always a next time and remember, everything happens for a reason!
As a final tip, don’t let the tedious visa applications get in your way! There will be times that it could be overwhelming and stressful but that’s just life as it is. Imagine if I gave up on my dreams so easily. I probably wouldn’t be here writing this guide for you! Remember, dreams do come true!