Here’s a recent comment that came in which points up a need I am being lax on in my mission to help you get “Ph9ilippine ready”. Might as well correct that shortfall now.
i am a Filipina married with an Austrian citizen man.. my husband is now living here in Philippines for good.. he have a balikbayan visa.. and we are planning to get a residence visa.. my concern is.. next month we are going to Bangkok and i just like to ask if my husband need a return ticket( return ticket to Austria).. or we can go to Bangkok and comeback in the Philippines without Austria ticket?.. only Philippines to Bangkok and Bangkok to Philippines ticket… do you we have no problem to the airline company and to Immigration staff?.. i appreciate for any advise.. thanks a lot.
Ah yes, the age old question surfaces yet again. The short answer to this lady and the others reading this with the same sort of question is, no you do not need another ticket for your foreigner spouse. Why?
Hi Folks, I am getting lots of questions and comments that indicate many are not reading this article I referenced here. Please go there and read the issues on flying in to the Philippines for a BB Privilege Stamp (BB Visa) before getting scared, asking questions, etc. I know, I know, people don’t like to read, but this is too complicated for “wordy” me to explain in just one article. I’m over 1500 words here already and the article referenced here covers the Balik Bayan questions in much more detail. Thanks.
Read the rest of the story and also refer to my post regarding travel to a nearby country to renew my balikbayan privilege here.
For years the law of the Philippines has been that a foreigner traveling to the Philippines must have proof of “onward travel” in their possession in order to board a flight to the Philippines.
Recently this has come up in the news here in the Philippines … some airlines have been fined for allowing travelers to board flights without an onward travel ticket. The reports I heard all seemed to give the idea this was anew requirement, but it has been on the books for at least 10 years that I know of.
No matter if it is new or old though, it is an issue visors must deal with, so let’s demystify some of the rules.
- 1 Onward Travel:
- 2 Any way Around This Rule?
- 3 I Don’t Fit those categories, So What Do I Do?
- 4 Dave, this is insane, you mean I buy a ticket and then throw it away?
- 5 This could certainly ruin your travel plans.
- 6 That’s Not Insane in my Book, It’s Smart … or as we say in Scotland, Canny
- 7 Related Posts
- 8 Share this Article:
The requirement is that you have a ticket to some other country other than the Philippines, and that ticket must be within your time of authorized stay … 21 days for those who choose to travel without a visa and 59 days for those with a 2 month tourist visa from the Philippine embassy.
In other words, if you are say coming from the US and planning to stay in the Philippines long-term, you do not have to buy a round trip ticket. You can buy a much cheaper one way ticket to, say, Hong Kong or Macau that is valid during the time required and your airline should allow you to board for the Philippines.
This is exactly what I did two months ago when I visited my son back in the USA. I had a ticket on United airlines from Denver to Manila and when I went to check in in Denver the automated check-in kiosk wouldn’t print me out a boarding pass. An airline supervisor came to help, I showed here the receipt for the online ticket I had taken the precaution of n=buy earlier than week from Cebu Pacific airlines, Clark to Macau, and the United supervisor tickled some keys on the machine, my boarding passes spit out the printer and I was on my way.
Before those reading this who flew without any onward travel jump on their keyboard to tell me, “Hey it didn’t work that way for me” don’t bother to start typing, save the digital ink. I know you probably flew without an an onward travel ticket. I also have myself, several times.
But that’s like saying you were in the casino and bet three times on the number 23 at the roulette table and it paid off all three times for you. Great to hear, but that is no assurance that the next time you bet 23 you won’t lose your stack of chips. Either be prepared with an onward travel ticket, or be prepared to be denied boarding. It’s that simple, and I don’t want to debate the subject.
Also, as an aside, if you pay for a ticket and then can not board the flight because you do not meet the requirements for travel documents (which would be the case if the airline refused you boarding), then the airline will NOT refund your money … legally they don’t have to, read their terms of carriage. So running ‘barefoot without an onward travel ticket can really be like playing roulette … you could lose a LOT more than the very minor cost of an onward travel fare.
Any way Around This Rule?
Yes, several ways actually:
- Be a Filipino. This sounds obvious, but a former Filipino is still a Filipino for our purposes here. If you have a Philippine passport (even an expired one) and/or your current county’s passport shows you were originally a Philippine citizen, then you are eligible to enter the Philippines as a Balikbayan, no onward ticket required, and your accomp0anying spouse and minor children are eligible too.
- If you are a “reacquired Philippine Citizen (dual)” then you present country’s passport and your certification of Philippine reacquisition will also do the job. (always carry a copy of your NSO approved marriage certificate as well)
- If you are a permanent resident of the Philippines (13 series visa)
- If you hold an SRRV or SVEG permanent visa
I Don’t Fit those categories, So What Do I Do?
Well you’ll need an onward travel ticket. Here’s what I always do … just my personal preference, but it has always worked for me every time.
Go to Cebu Pacific’s website, and search for an international flight leaving the Philippines during the time your Philippine stay will be legal (21 or 59 days depending on how you are going to enter the Philippines). Pay for the cheapest flight you can find (note, leaving from Clark is typically much cheaper than leaving from manila … the departure and destination airports don’t mean much, because you won’t be using this ticket anyway, it’s a “throw away” or “show” ticket.
Then, when you go to board your one way flight from the US to the Philippines and they ask about your onward travel, you simply “show” them your confirmed onward flight and, as they say in Australia, “Bob’s Your Uncle”.
Dave, this is insane, you mean I buy a ticket and then throw it away?
Yep, that’s what I advise. But insane? Hardly. I’m a canny Scotsman. This is a money saving technique that can pay off big.
Remember how I said if you get denied boarding at your departure airport
you can lose 100% of the cost of the US airline fare you already paid?
Or if you somehow arrive at the Philippine port of entry and the Philippine Immigration officer asks you to produce an onward travel ticket and you have none, the officer has the right to deny you entry, hold you at the airport until the next flight back to the US and force you on a returning plane AT YOUR EXPSNSE, at the current ‘same day’ airfare. (Ever buy international airfare on the same day of travel? Hint, you don’t want to. A coach ticket can cost thousands of dollars, and you have no choice and no bargaining power)..
This could certainly ruin your travel plans.
It’s simple economics. I just looked up the difference between the cheapest flight on United Airlines, round trip, Denver-Manila-Denver, on November 18th, 2012, returning 21 days later. If I were to book that today it would cost $997.
On the same day I can book a one way fare, Denver to Manila for $607 … same flights.
That means I can save $390USD by buying a one way ticket. My option?
- I can roll the dice and see if I can get on the flight without onward travel, risking a thousand bucks if anything goes wrong.
- I can pay $390 extra for a round trip portion of the ticket I will likely never use.
- Or I can “invest’ about $50 USD in an “insurance” ticket on Cebu Pacific, throw it away after I no longer need it. (I will never need it again once you get to the Philippines and get in through Immigration the first time, you DO NOT need a ticket to extend your visa, over and over again), and put a sure ~$340 USD in my pocket.
That’s Not Insane in my Book, It’s Smart … or as we say in Scotland, Canny
So pay your money and take your choice. But ‘show’ tickets can be very cheap insurance, trust me on that.
This is something I find continuously when I counsel folks on travel to, living in and Philippine retirement.
For some reason many folks seem to jump at the first, cheapest sounding option without figuring the true cost of all their options.
Spending $50 to save $340 bucks is a no-brainer, unless you refuse to use your brain to start out with.