Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines During the (COVID) Pandemic

Are you a former Filipino or dual citizen who wants to travel to the Philippines during this pandemic? Would you like to know all the COVID Pandemic-related travel requirements to the Philippines?  I have travelled recently to the Philippines during the pandemic and complied with the travel requirements imposed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

It has been five years since the last time I went back to the Philippines. I initially planned to travel to the Philippines over the Christmas season of 2019, however, due to family illness and the news of the “new contagious virus” started to make the rounds in the news. I decided to curtail the whole plan.

The horror of the pandemic started and a couple of years after, I planned to travel back to the Philippines as a Balikbayan to visit my family and attend my sister’s wedding. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

I started to do some research on how to travel to the Philippines as a Balikbayan during the COVID pandemic. So let me share with you my personal experience and the travel requirements that I need to ensure to comply with the Philippine government requirements for the Balikbayan and Dual citizens.

Just in case you are interested in becoming a Dual Citizen and re-claim your Filipino citizenship, I wrote an article on How To Apply for Dual Citizenship in the Philippine Embassy.

Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines During the (COVID) Pandemic

Travel requirements to the Philippines:

VACCINATED Filipino Balikbayan and Dual Citizens:

1. Negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours or negative rapid Antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to your departure from the country of ORIGIN.

Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My Negative COVID RT PCR Test results
Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My Negative COVID RT PCR Test results

Make sure to check if your flight departure time will cover the 24 hours if you’ve decided to use the Antigen test.

I had this problem when I was booking my Pre-departure COVID test,  my flight was around 10 PM, yet the last COVID TEST reservation was 7 PM a day prior to my flight. The 7 PM test won’t cover the required 24 hours rule, so, therefore, I opted for the same-day express RT-PCR test.   

NOTE: . COVID RT-PCR Test or Antigen test is not required for the following:

1. Filipino and foreign nationals aged 18 and above who have received primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, and at least one (1) COVID-19 booster shot administered at any time prior to departure.

2. Filipino and foreign nationals aged 12 to 17 who are “fully vaccinated”.

3. Filipino and foreign nationals aged below 12, regardless of their vaccination status, who are accompanied by their parents or guardians who fall under item (1) above.

4. Children below 3 years old.

2. Proof of COVID Vaccination certificate or ID from the country of ORIGIN or wherever you had your vaccine.  

Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines:  My Vaccine Certificate
Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My Vaccine Certificate

Here is the list of accepted COVID Vaccines:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine (nucleoside modified)
  • ChAdOx1-S[recombinant] (COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca)
  • SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated [Coronavac]
  • Sputnik V Gam-COVID-Vac/Sputnik Light COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Ad26.COV2-S (recombinant)
  • Whole Virion, Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine [Covaxin]
  • COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine (nucleoside modified) [COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna]
  • COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated [COVID-19 Vaccine Sinopharm]
  • SARS-CoV-2 rS Protein Nanoparticle Vaccine [Covovax]
  • MVC-COV1901 [Medigen Vaccine]
  • UB-612 Vaxxinity (formerly COVAXX), and DASA (United Biomedical, Inc. Asia) 

Print out a copy of your COVID vaccination certificate as well as the COVID BOOSTER shots.  If you also have small card certification, please bring that you with.

VaxCertPH is also acceptable if the Filipino citizen was vaccinated in the Philippines.

Alternatively, any National or state manual/digital vaccination certificate of the country/foreign government. Or other proofs of vaccination permitted by the IATF.

3. Register to One Health Pass

Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My One Health Pass
Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My One Health Pass

It is advisable to register two (2) days before you the departure date. However,  you would need the result of your COVID Pre-departure test before registering on the website.  You can visit and register for One Health Pass here.

4. Proof of Dual Citizenship.  Present a form of identification as a dual citizen. You can present any of the following:

My oath of allegiance certificate
Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines: My Oath of Allegiance Certificate as a Dual Citizen
  • Valid PH passport
  • Identification Certificate (IC)
  • Certification of Retention / Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship (Oath of Allegiance Certificate)

UNVACCINATED OR PARTIALLY VACCINATED Filipino Balikbayan and Dual Citizens:

  1. Negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours or negative rapid Antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to your departure from the country of ORIGIN. Not applicable to children below 3 years old.
  2. Register and provide a One Health Pass QR code. You can visit and register for One Health Pass here.
  3. Quarantine is required until the release of negative RT-PCR TEST results on the 5th day. Self-monitoring is also required at the PH home until the 14th day.  

FULLY RECOVERED FROM COVID Filipino Balikbayan and Dual Citizens:

  1. Register and provide a One Health Pass QR code. You can visit and register for One Health Pass here.
  2. If VACCINATED, Provide proof of vaccination.
  3. COVID TEST and MEDICAL CERTIFICATE REQUIRED to provide with the following terms:
  4. Positive RT- PCR taken between 10 and 30 days prior to the DATE AND TIME OF DEPARTURE from the Origin country, this is not applicable to children below 3 years old.
  5. POSITIVE RT-PCR test or Antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin OR POSITIVE ANTIGEN TEST taken within 24 hours prior to departure from the origin country.
  6.  Medical Certification from your doctor declaring that you have recovered and passed the mandatory isolation requirements and are not contagious. Fit to Travel.
  7. Quarantine is still required for UNVACCINATED travellers.  If VACCINATED, no quarantine is required. However, both UNVACCINATED and VACCINATED travellers need to self-monitor in their PH home for any Covid-related symptoms until the 14th day.

Philippines Quarantine update:

At the moment, Facility-based Quarantine e.g. Approved Quarantine hotels is only required mainly for the UNVACCINATED TRAVELLERS until the release of the RT-PCR test on the 5th day. However, if this RT-PCR test is positive, you need to extend your quarantine until you tested negative and recuperated. 

If the RT- PCR test shows negative, you are free to leave the quarantine facility and self-monitor at your PH home until the 14th day. 

Based on my personal experience, since I’m a Vaccinated traveller,  I do not require any quarantine but self-monitor for any symptoms until the 7th day of my arrival.  I took a rapid Antigen test kit with me, so I can do a self-test at our PH home. 

Unvaccinated travel to the Philippines:

If you are UNVACCINATED, you can still travel to the Philippines as long as you comply with the required documentation, COVID TEST, and are willing to quarantine in an approved Quarantine Hotel or other facilities. 

Do I need a COVID Vaccine to travel to the Philippines:

As a general rule, Vaccinated status is ideal for any travellers who want to travel to the Philippines. However, if you opted not to have the vaccine, you need to comply with the Philippine Unvaccinated requirements and quarantine procedures.

I hope that helps you to clarify and plan your upcoming Balikbayan travel to the Philippines! If you have any queries, you can contact your airlines on their flight requirements and the DOH Philippines Facebook page or the Inter-Agency Task Force Philippines Facebook Page for any further announcements.

 I’m sure it’s definitely worth all the hassle and travel.
There is no place like home in the Philippines.

Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines During the (COVID) Pandemic
Balikbayan Travel to the Philippines During the (COVID) Pandemic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

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