FIRST TIME ABROAD: airport suggestions & frequently Asked questions

FIRST TIME ABROAD: airport suggestions & frequently Asked questions

traveling outside the Philippines for the first time? You might be very thrilled but I bet you’re a little anxious, too! There might be a lot of questions brewing in your head best now so here’s a little something to shed light on some of the things you need to know before your trip. (These suggestions are for Filipino travelers only.)

Every country has its own immigration rules. Some require visas from Filipino visitors, others don’t. Some have stricter rules, others don’t. It is essential that you know these guidelines and requirements before your flight.

But here are some frequently asked questions that I thought I could answer. Again, I’m only depending on personal experience and some knowledge that I gained in my years of working in the airline industry. some of these might already be outdated but I’ll try my best to keep them current.

¿Qué está cubierto en esta guía?

What are the processes at the airport?
How early ought to I be at the airport?
What are the things that I ought to bring to the airport?
What are the typical questions that the immigration Officers ask?
What is offloading?
What can I do to make sure I won’t be offloaded by the Immigration?
Should I present all these files at the immigration booth?
Do I need to have a hotel reservation before my flight?
I’m invited by a relative or a friend, do I need an invitation letter?
Is there a show money? how much do I need to have for them to let me through?
Where ought to I exchange currencies? Is it best to exchange in the Philippines before the trip?
Should I bring an ID?
I’m a freelancer so I don’t have a company ID. What is a good alternative?
I’m a fresh graduate but I’m currently unemployed. ¿Que puedo hacer?
I’m unemployed and I don’t have funds. ¿Qué son los requerimientos?
I’m traveling with my foreigner sweetheart / girlfriend / friend. ¿Qué son los requerimientos?
My trip is sponsored by my foreigner sweetheart / girlfriend / friend. ¿Qué son los requerimientos?
I’m meeting my sweetheart / girlfriend abroad for the first time. ¿Qué son los requerimientos?
What is the weight limit for carry-on baggage (hand-carry)?
Where ought to I store my power bank (mobile charger)?
What ought to I wear?
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What are the processes at the airport?

The typical process is this:

Pay the travel Tax. IDEALLY, the travel tax and departure fee are already included when you book your ticket, so please check your ticket. but there are times when it isn’t the case. if not sure, check-in first. The check-in agent will tell you if you still need to work out the tax. At NAIA terminal 3, the travel tax counters ought to be on your far best when you’re facing the check-in counters. It’s P1,620 per person.

¡Registrarse! present the departure Card together with the travel tax receipt, printed ticket and passport to the check-in agent. The agent will give you your boarding pass.

Fill out a copy of immigration form (aka departure Card). You will get it at the Check-in Counter. Note that you will need to indicate your address abroad (address of the hotel or the pal you’re visiting).

Proceed to the immigration Booths. They will be asking questions like: how long will you be staying abroad? ¿Qué vas a hacer allí? ¿Cuál es su ocupación? ¿Dónde te quedarás? The essential is to convince them that you’re going there to trip and not to find work. When they’re satisfied, they will put a stamp on your passport.

Final safety and security check. Remove all gadgets and metal items (including belts and coins) from your body. remove your shoes only when instructed.

Eso es todo. It’s a long process and it involves a lot of queueing so make sure you’re at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.

How early ought to I be at the airport?

At least 2 hours before your scheduled departure.

I personally like showing up at the airport 3-4 hours earlier just in case something untoward happens. I once lost my old passport and visa at the airport on two different occasions (yeah, I was careless, haha), but good thing I had enough time to search. Also, I like staying at airports. Jeje.

Update: In top season like the weeks before and after Christmas, it’s best to arrive at least 4 hours before your flight.

What are the things that I ought to bring to the airport?

I always have a checklist of items I should NOT forget.

Here are the most essential items.

Passport – Duh.

Visa – When applicable

Return flight Ticket – Make sure you print out the tickets. When I fly domestic, I typically just show the check-in agent the tickets on my phone. They accept it. but for international flights, you will be showing your tickets too numerous times (check-in counter, travel tax counter, departure fee counter, immigration, etc) that it would be impractical and ridiculously bothersome to whip out your phone every step of the way. A printed ticket will make it a lot simpler for you and the people who will check it. Besides, a piece of paper does not need to be charged.

Company ID – immigration Officers in some cases ask for a company ID as a proof that you would return to the Philippines and would not seek employment opportunities in your destination country.

Address and contact number abroad – If you’re traveling as a tourist, get the hotel’s exact address and contact number. If you’re going to a pal or relative and you’re staying with them, get their exact address and contact number. You will need it when filling out immigration forms.

DSWD Clearance – only when traveling with a minor who is not your child and the parents are not joining the trip.

Here are other things that you can bring for good measure.

Hotel reservation – If you’re traveling as a tourist.

Invitation letter – If you’re going to a pal or relative and staying with them.

Money – Of course! Make sure you have enough. My typical budget for a 3-day or 4-day trip abroad is US$600 but I typically just spend less than USD400. having not enough cash is a common reason why travelers are denied entry even when they are already at the airport.

Credit card – Some airports require a copy of the credit report card used when the tickets are booked online. You might also need it as a safety net in case you run short of cash. Some hotels also ask for credit report card for deposit.

Photocopy of the Passport and Visa – just in case you lose your documents, it would be simpler for you to get a replacement if you have a copy. When you’re already in your destination and you’re going out, leave the photocopy in the hotel room if you’re bringing the original with you.

Travel schedule – Make a clear plan of what you want to do and write them down. In case the immigration Officers pick you for a random check, a printed schedule will help convince them that you will really go to your destination to trip and nothing else.

Address and contact number of the Philippine embassy in your destination country – just in case something happens.

A Pen – Yes, the humble pen is important. You will be accomplishing forms.

I typically carry an envelope where I put all these together (except the photocopies and money).

In addition, I have a paper where I write the hotel address, contact number, my passport number, passport expiry date, and flight number. This way, when I’m accomplishing forms, I don’t need to fish out my passport and other documents. I just have one reference page.

What are the typical questions that the immigration Officers ask?

The questions vary from officer to officer. If you’re lucky, the officer will just throw a couple of questions at you and you’re through. but often, here are the questions:

¿Adónde vas?

When will you return to the Philippines?

¿Qué harás ahí?

Whom are you traveling with?

What is your occupation here in the Philippines?

The essential is to answer confidently, consistently, and truthfully.

Sometimes, they will ask follow up questions. Sometimes, you will be subjected to a secondary inspection, which I will discuss below.

What is offloading?

Offloading is the act of pulling a passenger who is already boarded out of an aircraft.

Technically speaking, the Bureau of immigration does not have an offloading policy. They do not get a boarded passenger out of a plane on a regular basis. What they do is they screen passengers and decide if they will allow them to board the plane or not. This process happens before boarding, not after, so this is not really offloading.

However, here in the Philippines, “offloading” has been used as an umbrella term for blocking someone from leaving the country, even if the passenger has not yet boarded. If an immigration officer rejects you at the inspection, numerous Filipinos refer to it as “offloading.” Hence, for the purpose of this article, let’s just use that Filipinized definition of the term.

What can I do to make sure I won’t be offloaded by the Immigration?

The Bureau of immigration has been implementing stricter guidelines lately. According to the bureau, each day around 40 people are offloaded at NAIA terminal 1 alone. three to four in every 50 of these offloaded passengers actually have genuine reasons to go abroad. You don’t want to be one of them.

If you want to make sure you won’t be offloaded, you need to follow the guidelines released to immigration Officers by the bureau. A 2012 memorandum enumerates what the officers should require from departing passengers:


Visa (if applicable)

Filled out departure card

Roundtrip ticket

They typically also ask for your company ID. Then, if they deem necessary, you will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


Logro educativo

Financial capability to travel

What does the last item mean? Well, in a nutshell, tourists with no stable source of income in the Philippines and no benefactors who appear to have a different reason for traveling other thanporque el ocio es mucho más probable que se descarguen. Entonces, si en caso de que esté sujeto a una inspección secundaria, querrá tener lo siguiente con usted:

Si es un empleado, Certificado de Empleo (lo mejor es que indica su salario y cuánto tiempo ha estado con la empresa)

Si trabaja por cuenta propia, una copia del certificado de registro de su empresa

Si eres un profesional independiente, deberías tener un ITR. Si sus clientes lo pagan por usted, puede solicitar una copia del cliente. También puede pedirle a su cliente que produzca un archivo que certifique que lo ha contratado y los detalles del proyecto/contrato.

Si está exento de impuestos, aún debe tener un ITR. Debido a 2018, los trabajadores que ganan por debajo de P250,000 al año (P21,000 al mes) están exentos de pagar impuestos sobre la renta. Pero eso no implica que te exime de tener un ITR. Si usted es un empleado, aún puede obtener una copia de su ITR de su empleador, incluso si está exento de impuestos.

Siempre tengo una copia de mi ITR y un “certificado de empleo” de mis clientes para estar a salvo.

Para obtener mucha más información sobre esto, consulte: cómo evitar descargar

¿Debo presentar todos estos archivos en la cabina de inmigración?

No. Una vez más, muchas de las veces, el oficial solo pedirá lo siguiente:

Pasaporte (con visa, si corresponde)

Tarjeta de salida realizada

Boleto de ida y vuelta

ID de la compañía

No presente otros archivos cuando no los pidan. Todos los otros archivos se parecen mucho más a las redes de seguridad en caso de que necesite demostrar que está empleado.

Simplemente responda sus preguntas con confianza.

¿Necesito tener una reserva de hotel antes de mi vuelo?

Es mejor reservar siempre alojamiento antes de su vuelo. Deberá indicar la dirección de su hotel en su salida y tarjetas de llegada, y los oficiales de inmigración de ambos lados a veces solicitan documentos del hotel. Incluso cuando estoy de mochilero en mucho más de un país, generalmente me aseguro de haber reservado alojamiento al menos en mi primera noche en el próximo país que estoy visitando. Una vez más, podría ir allí sin reservas previas, pero si desea evitar la molestia de que se le haga demasiado preguntas y la tensión que viene con ella, mejor libro por adelantado.

Estoy invitado por un pariente o un amigo, ¿necesito una carta de invitación?

En teoría, sí, así que si pudieras producir uno, sigue adelante. Los oficiales de inmigración no siempre piden esto, por lo que numerosos viajeros invitados aún pueden hacerlo sin él. Sin embargo, podrían pedirlo si lo consideran necesario.

Lo más seguro es producir una declaración jurada de apoyo o garantía, notarializada en la Embajada de Filipinas. Cuando los oficiales solicitan “carta de invitación”, este es en realidad el archivo al que se refieren porque es formal, legal, vinculante y difícil de fingir.

De todos modos, se le pedirá que indique su “dirección en el extranjero” al completar formularios, así que asegúrese de tener eso. Para estar seguro, asegúrese de tener el número de contacto de su amigo también.

¿Hay dinero para el espectáculo? ¿Cuánto necesito tener para que me dejen pasar?

Nunca me han pedido que muestre dinero, pero conozco personas que lo han sido. Sin embargo, me han preguntado numerosas veces cuánto dinero tengo conmigo, pero nunca para mostrarlo.

Mi dinero de bolsillo depende del país de destino. Algunos son mucho más caros que otros. Por ejemplo, el costo de vida en Singapur es ciertamente más alto que en Tailandia. En países como Singapur, Hong Kong y Malasia, generalmente traigo USD400 para un viaje de 4 días, USD500 para un viaje de una semana. Pero eso es mucho más de lo que realmente gasto. En países menos caros como Camboya y Tailandia, asigno USD50 por día. De nuevo, eso tiene una gran asignación.

También traigo una tarjeta de informe de crédito, por si acaso.

¿Dónde debería cambiar las monedas? ¿Es mejor intercambiar en Filipinas antes del viaje?

Depende del país que estoy visitando. En países como Vietnam, Camboya, Taiwán, donde el peso de ph no es ampliamente aceptado en bancos/cambiadores de dinero, generalmente cambio mis pesos con dólares estadounidenses aquí en

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