what you need to know as country lifts Covid-19 travel ban
A Covid-related restriction on travel from the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Sri Lanka and six other countries to the Philippines will be lifted on Monday.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the lifting of the ban, on the condition that travelers arriving in the Philippines from these destinations spend two weeks in managed quarantine.
The travel ban to the Philippines was first introduced in April in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The United Arab Emirates have been on the list since May 15.
Starting Monday, the Philippines will also adopt a new traffic light system to replace the blanket travel ban on certain destinations.
If you are planning to travel to the Philippines soon, here is a handy guide with key information you will need to know before you go.
Who can travel?
Currently, only certain travelers can travel to the Philippines, according to the country’s interagency working group on the management of emerging infectious diseases.
Persons permitted 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.
Are the Philippines open to tourists?
No, the Philippines is not yet open to tourism and the entry of foreign tourists remains suspended. No visa on arrival service is operational at this time.
What should I do before traveling to the Philippines?
International travelers and returning Filipinos wishing to enter the Philippines must register their details through the One Health Pass portal. After check-in, a QR code will be issued to travelers and must be presented upon arrival in the country. A form is required for each person traveling, including children.
Before arriving in the country, travelers must also download the Traze app and a mandatory face shield policy is in place for flights to or from the country. Passengers should therefore make sure to wear it at all times during their journey.
What PCR tests should I take?
Before flying to the Philippines, travelers must submit a negative PCR test result which should not be done more than 48 hours before departure.
Upon arrival, further tests will be carried out, so travelers should expect delays at the terminals. Filipino passengers will undergo a free PCR test upon arrival. All authorized foreign travelers must cover the cost of their PCR test upon arrival.
Should I quarantine?
Yes, all passengers arriving in the Philippines must self-quarantine upon 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 the quarantine in the Philippines depends on the country of departure and its classification by the authorities as a red, green or yellow destination. If you were in another country 14 days before traveling to the Philippines, you will need to take this into account and your Covid-19 vaccination status may also affect the length of the quarantine.
All travelers arriving from Red List destinations will be required to complete 14 days of quarantine, including at least 10 days 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 is a 14-day quarantine period, of which the first 10 days must be spent in a government-approved hotel. If travelers receive a negative Covid-19 test result after day 10, they can continue the remainder of their isolation period at home.
These travelers will undergo a PCR test on the seventh day, and if they test negative on the 10th day, they will be able to complete the remaining four days of isolation at home. The same goes for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Travelers from Green List destinations who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 only need seven days of hotel quarantine. Unvaccinated travelers from green countries must follow the rules for travelers from yellow countries.
What is the new traffic light system for travel?
Along with the lifting of a Covid-19 travel ban for passengers at 10 destinations, a traffic light system has been put in place for travel to the Philippines.
Previously, the country only had a green list of countries from which fully vaccinated travelers were allowed a shorter quarantine period. The interagency working group has now approved yellow and red classifications for destinations, with allocations based on countries’ Covid-19 incidence rates.
Countries on the yellow list have a moderate risk of transmission of Covid-19. Red countries are at high risk.
It is not known what classification the previously banned countries will fall into and, at the time of writing, the Red and Yellow Lists had not been released.
The green list for traveling to the Philippines
Travelers to the Philippines from Green List destinations who are fully vaccinated will only need to self-quarantine at a government hotel for seven days.
They will have a PCR test on the fifth day and, if the test result is negative, will be discharged from the facility on the eighth day. Unvaccinated travelers 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 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
Which Airlines Fly To The Philippines?
Philippine Airlines operates from and to Manila and Cebu to several destinations around the world. The airline flies regularly from the Philippine capital to Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam and Doha.
Despite filing for bankruptcy in the United States on Saturday, the airline continues its scheduled flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Hawaii.
Cebu Pacific, the largest airline in the Philippines, also flies 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 United Arab Emirates, also operates flights to and from the Philippine capital and Abu Dhabi.
What vaccines are accepted in the Philippines?
Travelers who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travel with an approved vaccination, and who arrive from a Green List country, will have a shorter quarantine period.
Accepted vaccines include:
What is the situation of Covid-19 in the Philippines?
In recent weeks, the Philippines has faced its worst wave of Covid-19 with a record number of cases in some areas.
Only about 13% of the population have been fully immunized, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Some people have criticized authorities for their intention to lift travel restrictions at a time when Covid-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals across the country are struggling to cope.
Update: September 6, 2021, 6:48 a.m.