The law has been in place for years. As a tourist, when you enter the Philippines, you are required to have an on-going ticket, showing that you intend to leave the country.
A lot of people think that you need a “return ticket” or a “round trip” ticket. This is incorrect. You are not required to have a ticket going back to where you came from. You are supposed to have any ticket that takes you out of the Philippines, though. You can have a ticket to Thailand, Malaysia, wherever, but you are supposed to have some ticket taking you out of the Philippines.
As I said, this law has been on the books for many years, but it has been only loosely enforced. In fact, in my experience, it has been enforced only from time to time. Usually, they don’t ask anything about an ongoing ticket upon your entry to the country, and it really is not an issue. That said, in most cases, you really needed to have a ticket, in case they enforced it.
For quite a while now, much of the enforcement on this policy has not been directly on the passenger, but rather on the airline. Let’s say that you are flying in on Cathay Pacific Airlines. When you checked in for your flight in Los Angeles, going to Manila. When you checked in at Los Angeles, Cathay Pacific is supposed to ask you if you have an ongoing ticket from the Philippines. If they forget to ask, and you don’t have any ongoing ticket, then Philippine Immigration will (if they are enforcing the law) not allow you to enter the country upon your arrival in Manila. At this point, Cathay Pacific would be fined by the Bureau of Immigration for not following the law, and Cathy Pacific would be liable to bring you home, at their own cost. So, two people are penalized in this example:
- You – by being denied entry
- The airline – for allowing you to board your original flight without an on-going ticket
As I said, though, this law has been very loosely enforced. Most of the time it is totally overlooked by the airlines and by the Bureau of Immigration officials.
Recently, GMA Network had a news story on the Internet saying that the BI is going to start fining the airlines when they bring tourists in who have no ongoing ticket. This is what they were supposed to be doing for a long time now, but have not done so consistently. So, are they getting ready to crack down on this requirement? It would seem so.
So, what can you do to avoid any hassles or problems under the policy? It’s pretty simple, really. All you need to do is have a round trip, or ongoing ticket when you come here. It need not be overly expensive to do that.
What is a “throw away” ticket?
One thing that is often done by foreigners staying in the Philippines on a tourist visa is that when they go on a Visa Run, they purchase a “throw away ticket.” A throw away ticket is any cheap ticket going out of the Philippines. They might purchase a ticket to Thailand, HK, Malaysia, or some other nearby country, this ticket is just to show authorities upon entry, then after the ticket has been shown, the ticket is just thrown away. You can find cheap tickets to use as a throw away for very low prices if you shop around, sometimes under $50. Check the budget carriers, most of whom fly out of Clark.
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.