A Covid-related restriction on travel from the UAE, Oman, India, Sri Lanka and six other countries to the Philippines will be lifted on Monday.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced the lifting of the ban, with the condition that travellers arriving in the Philippines from these destinations must spend two weeks in managed quarantine.
The travel ban to the Philippines was first introduced in April in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The UAE has been on the list since May 15.
From Monday, the Philippines will also adopt a new traffic light system set to replace the blanket travel ban on some destinations.
If you're thinking of travelling to the Philippines soon, here's a handy guide with the key information you’ll need to know before you go.
Who can travel?
Currently, only some travellers can fly to the Philippines according to the country's Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
People allowed to enter the country include Filipino citizens, foreign spouses, and parents or children of Filipino citizens with valid visas.
Foreign nationals with valid and existing visas, or with entry exemption documents, and diplomats are also allowed to travel to the Philippines.
Is the Philippines open for tourists?
No, the Philippines is not yet open for tourism and entry for foreign tourists remains suspended. No visa on arrival services are operational at this time.
What do I need to do before travelling to the Philippines?
International travellers and returning Filipinos who wish to enter the Philippines are required to register their details via the One Health Pass portal. After registration, a QR code will be issued to travellers and must be presented upon arrival in the country. A form is needed for each individual travelling, including children.
Before arriving in the country, travellers should also download the Traze app and there is a mandatory face shield policy in place for those on flights to or from the country, so passengers must ensure they wear this at all times during their journey.
What PCR tests do I need to take?
Before flying to the Philippines, travellers need to submit a negative PCR test result that should be taken no more than 48 hours before departure.
Upon arrival, there will be further testing so travellers should expect delays at terminals. Filipino passengers will undergo a PCR test free of charge on arrival. All permitted foreign travellers must cover the cost of their on-arrival PCR test.
Do I need to quarantine?
Yes, all arriving passengers flying to the Philippines must quarantine on arrival. This applies to Filipino citizens and foreigners and is not dependent on Covid-19 vaccination status.
How long do I have to quarantine in the Philippines?
The length of time you’ll need to quarantine in the Philippines depends on the country you depart from and whether it is classified by authorities as a red, green or yellow destination. If you've been in any other country 14 days before travelling to the Philippines, you will need to take that into consideration and your Covid-19 vaccination status may also impact quarantine duration.
All travellers arriving from red list destinations will have to complete 14 days of quarantine, at least 10 of which will be in a government-approved hotel. Foreigners are not allowed to travel to the Philippines from red list destinations.
For anyone coming from a yellow country, there’s a 14-day quarantine period, the first 10 days of which must be at a government-approved hotel. If travellers receive a negative Covid-19 test result after the 10th day, they can continue the remainder of their isolation period at home.
These travellers will have a PCR test on day seven, and if they get a negative test result on day 10, can complete the remaining four days of isolation at home. This is the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
Travellers flying from green list destinations who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 need only complete seven days of hotel quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers flying from green countries must follow the rules in place for travellers from yellow countries.
What is the new traffic light system for travel?
Alongside lifting a Covid-19 travel ban on passengers from 10 destinations, a traffic light system has been rolled out for travel to the Philippines.
Previously, the country only had a green list of countries from where fully vaccinated travellers were allowed a shorter quarantine time. The Inter-Agency Task Force has now approved yellow and red classifications for destinations, with allocations based on countries’ Covid-19 incidence rates.
Yellow list countries have a moderate risk of Covid-19 transmission. Red countries are high risk.
It’s unclear which classification the previously banned countries are going to come under and, at the time of writing, the red and yellow lists had not been released.
The green list for travel to the Philippines
Travellers flying to the Philippines from green list destinations who are fully vaccinated will only have to quarantine in a government hotel for seven days.
They will take a PCR test on day five and, if the test result is negative, be released from the facility on the eighth day. Unvaccinated travellers arriving from green list countries must follow the rules for those arriving from yellow destinations.
There are currently 33 destinations on the green list including:
- American Samoa
- Burkina Faso
- Cayman Islands
- Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Hong Kong
- Federated States of Micronesia
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Sierra Leone
- Sint Eustatius
Which airlines are flying to the Philippines?
Philippine Airlines is operating to and from Manila and Cebu to several destinations around the world. The airline flies regularly from the Filipino capital to Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam and Doha.
Despite filing for bankruptcy in the US on Saturday, the airline continues regular flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Hawaii.
Cebu Pacific, the largest airline in the Philippines, is also flying to Dubai. The airline has eight scheduled flights from Dubai to Manila in September.
Emirates flies daily to Manila from Dubai and Etihad, the national airline of the UAE, is also operating flights to and from the Filipino capital and Abu Dhabi.
Which vaccinations are accepted in the Philippines?
Travellers that have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travel with an approved vaccination and who are arriving from a green list country, will have a shorter quarantine period.
Accepted vaccines include:
What’s the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines?
In recent weeks, the Philippines has been facing its worst Covid-19 surge with record-high case numbers in some areas.
Only around 13 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Some people have criticised authorities for the plans to lift travel restrictions at a time when Covid-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals in the country struggle to cope.