Assessing travel and visa obligations the Philippines

When traveling to the Philippines, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to the Philippines, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend meetings or roundtable discussions
  • Visit a current project site or factory floor for informational purposes
  • Attend conferences or seminars
  • Make site visits to internal or client facilities/plants


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for the Philippines?

Nationals of the European Union, the United States, and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa in order to enter and conduct business activities in the Philippines for a short duration. Additionally, certain nationals may be eligible for a visa waiver for business purposes if they hold a valid tourist, business or resident visa issued by select countries including Australia, Canada and the United States. Please consult with your immigration counsel prior to travel to determine your eligibility for a visa waiver.

If you are not eligible for a visa waiver, you must obtain a 9(A) Temporary Visitor Visa from a Philippine Embassy or Consulate prior to travel, or upon arrival, depending on nationality. Please consult with your immigration counsel before traveling to determine your eligibility for a 9(A) Visa on arrival.

Working in the Philippines

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Philippine law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in the Philippines, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Auditing
  • Hands-on technical work
  • Consulting


If I am traveling to the Philippines for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in the Philippines. The most common types of work authorization for the Philippines are:

  • Special Work Permit (short-term work authorization)
  • 9(G) Visa (standard long-term work authorization)
  • PEZA Visa
  • 47(A)(2) Visa (special work authorization for select groups)
  • ROHQ Visa (work authorization for executives of regional operating headquarters of multinational companies)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

There are no nationalities that are exempt from work authorization requirements for the Philippines.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.