Skip to content

US travelers join 20 other nations on the Philippines' travel ban list

Jan. 05, 2021
5 min read
US travelers join 20 other nations on the Philippines' travel ban list
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. travelers are no longer allowed to enter the Philippines as of Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

For more credit card news and advice, make sure to sign up for the TPG daily newsletter.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration issued the advisory on the second day of the new year, one day before the ban went into effect. "Foreigners from the U.S. have been added to the list of [restricted travelers]," said immigration commissioner Jaime Morente.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide

The ban includes travelers from all U.S. territories including Puerto Rico and Guam, and will be in place through Jan. 15 with the possibility of an extension. The ban also includes travelers of any nationality who originated from or entered the U.S. within 14 days of arrival in the Philippines, according to a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte.

U.S. travelers who arrived in the country before Jan. 3 had been allowed to enter, but with a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility before joining the public, or traveling elsewhere within the Philippines.

The United States has had the most COVID-19 cases of any country worldwide, with a recent tally of more than 20 million total cases.

The current restriction is in response to the new, highly-infectious strain of COVID-19 that recently emerged in the United Kingdom and has spread to the U.S. As of Jan. 3, the Philippines had not detected any cases of the new variant strain within country borders, according to the local Department of Health.

The U.S. joins 20 other countries on the restricted list for entering the Philippines:

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Can I enter Europe right now as a U.S. traveler?

Filipino nationals returning from these countries can enter the country, but must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival, even if their initial COVID tests are negative for the coronavirus.

Related: Following NYC's COVID-19 quarantine rules? Expect to hear from the sheriff

Travelers entering the Philippines from other countries not on the restricted list, but who transit through a restricted country on the way, will be allowed to enter the Philippines — with a huge caveat. If they left the airport or entered any of the restricted countries en route, they will be denied entry.

Additionally, anyone who transits through a restricted country within 14 days of arrival in the Philippines will also be turned away. More information can be found at the U.S. embassy website. Note that the order also applies to U.S. territories like Guam.

Eligible travelers entering the Philippines must follow the health safety guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Related: How I earned 491,257 points — mostly during quarantine

Despite the strict entry regulations, the Philippines has suffered severe economic impact from the loss of international travelers.

“International travel... dropped 79 percent in 2020," said Bureau of Immigration Port Operations Division Chief Cindy Tan. "You could really feel the effects, especially during this holiday season. What used to be a bustling airport during Christmas and New Year is now silent and somber."

“While we are hoping for the revival of confidence in international travel, we are constrained to take these measures for everyone’s safety,” Tan said.

As with many other countries around the world, the Philippines' travel restrictions are temporary, but will remain in effect either until the pandemic subsides, or government regulations are updated again.

Related: Can I go to Asia right now? A country-by-country guide to reopening

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country comprised of more than 106 million people scattered across 7,000 islands. The popular tourist destination is popular with adventure travelers, both for its bustling cities like Manila, as well as its breathtaking beaches and nature in far-flung places like Boracay and El Nido.

Unfortunately, the densely populated island nation has struggled to manage coronavirus outbreaks since the disease was first identified in Asia over a year ago. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 advisory for the Philippines, which has seen nearly 500,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic — the second-highest rate in the Southeast Asia region, after Indonesia.

The country repatriated more than 327,000 overseas nationals in 2020. Many had been working abroad in other countries; others were impacted by the massive cancellations throughout the cruise industry.

Related: When will cruises resume? A line-by-line guide

Given that U.S. travelers are barred entry without exceptions, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines has not updated its guidelines for entry since Dec. 29, 2020. However, a negative PCR test prior to travel was not required for entry prior to the ban date of Jan. 3, 2021, according to the embassy website. Instead, travelers would be met with health screening protocols upon arrival, followed by mandatory 14-day quarantine and strict instructions to follow curfew requirements upon successful quarantine exit.

Photo of the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park in the Philippines. (Photo by imageBroker/Norbert Probst/Getty Images)

Featured image by Getty Images/imageBROKER RF
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023