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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exemption from Philippine Travel Tax for BALIKBAYAN


*Check this link for Exemption of Philippine Travel Tax for DUAL CITIZENS.

I was so happy to meet another Filipina in my Korean language class at the Uijeongbu Multicultural Family Center today. She just came back from a month-long vacation in the Philippines with her husband. While chatting with her I was so SURPRISED to find out that just like me she was also forced into paying for the travel tax despite being exempted from it because we are considered BALKIBAYANS (Filipino citizens who are permanent residents abroad). Her experience  inspired me to write my untold TRAVEL TAX story.

Last year, I had a very unpleasant flight (check my post on Why I fly ASIANA for the details) back to Korea after visiting my family in Manila. Actually, that unpleasant flight did not only start with my disgust with the Cathay Pacific agent at the check-in counter.....but it even proceeded to the Philippine Tourism Authority counter at the NAIA airport. The disgusting Cathay Pacific agent demanded that I pay the travel tax even if I already declared myself a permanent resident of Korea and even if I already showed him my Alien Registration Card that showed that I possess a Permanent Resident Visa. So off I went to the Travel Tax counter at the airport and explained my part, I even reiterated that I've visited the Philippines several times without paying the travel tax because I'm supposed to be EXEMPTED.

Did you think the Philippine Tourism Authority staff listened to me? NOPE! What  made matters worst.....I didn't have a cent on me at that time because I've spent everything and the only money I had in my wallet was the money I allocated for the airport fee (NAIA airport is way too INCONVENIENT!!!!!). Anyway, I had to pay 1,620 pesos travel tax and it left me with no money to pay for my airport fee. Luckily, I was able to dig out spare dollars from my collection of foreign denominations in my wallet (I usually ask my husband for his excess 5-10$ bills from his business trips....I like collecting foreign money, and it proved to be very helpful at this time). If I didn't have my foreign money collection at that time I could have been money, no phone to call my family for help, and even my little Zach was not cooperating at all.

Anyway, after coming back to Korea I decided to research the rules that covers the Travel Tax that Filipino citizens pay at the airport. As expected, I was supposed to be EXEMPTED! I was so outraged by how I was treated by both the Cathay Pacific staff and the travel tax counter staff that I decided to send a complaint letter to the officers of the Philippine Tourism Authority. I got a quick reply from the OIC of the Privilege Administration Division, and he asked me to send their office copies of my passport and travel tax receipt. I was able to get a REFUND for the travel tax that I'm not even supposed to pay for. At least the complaints and feedback section of the Philippine Tourism Authority was EFFICIENT enough in processing my complaint and my refund.

For all of you BALIKBAYANS out there, be sure you know the rules on Philippine travel tax before you decide to give in to the pressure of the people behind the travel tax counter ....they will NOT even bother to check if you are really EXEMPTED or not. In line with this, please check the information below for more details.


What are the Travel Tax Rates?

                                          First Class Passage                 Economy Class Passage
Full rate                              PHP 2700                              PHP 1620

Standard reduced rate        PHP 1350                              PHP 810
Privileged reduced
rate for Overseas Contract Workers'
(OCWs) dependents          PHP 400                                PHP 300

Processing fee = Php 200.00
per Certificate(You need to pay for the P200 processing fee whether you're exempted or not)

Who can avail of Travel Tax exemption / reduced rate? and What are the documents required?
(Presentation of passport required in all cases.)

A. Section 2 of PD 1183, as amended, provides that the following are exempted from the payment of the travel tax:

  1. Foreign diplomatic representatives - Certification from the Office of Protocol, Department of Foreign Affairs or 
  2. Embassy/ConsulateEmployees of the United Nations (UN) Organization or its agencies - UN passport or Certification of employment from the UN office or its agency Note: Dependents are also exempted if travel is paid for and certified by the UN. For dependents of employees of other UN agencies, a certification and proof from the organization/agency is required.
  3. United States (US) Military Personnel including dependents and other US nationals with fares paid for by the US Government or on US Government-owned/chartered transport facilities. - Government Transport Request (GTR) or certification from the US Embassy.
  4. Filipino Overseas Contract Workers - If hired through POEA, Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from POEA, If directly hired abroad, a Certificate of Employment issued by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in the place of hire or an employment contract authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate
  5. International carrier crew - Certification from the Bureau of Air Transportation that crew member is joining his aircraft, indicating name of crew member, position and location of aircraft
  6. Filipino permanent residents abroad whose stay in the Philippines is less than one (1) year. - Copies of the ID pages of passport and stamp of last arrival in RP, Proof of permanent residence in foreign country (e.g. US Green Card, Canadian form 1000, etc.)
  7. Philippine Foreign Service personnel assigned abroad and their dependents - Certification from the Department of Foreign Affairs to this effect
  8. Philippine government (excluding government-owned and controlled corporations) employees on official travel - Certified true copy of travel authority or travel order from Secretary concerned to this effect (Malacañang approval of travel needed for two or more employees and for those with rank of Asst. Secretary and above)
  9. Grantees of foreign government-funded trips - Proof that travel is provided/funded by a foreign government.
  10. Students with approved scholarships by appropriate government agency - Certification from concerned Philippine government agency Note: "Student" is defined as a person attending formal classes in an educational institution for the purpose of taking up a course leading to a diploma the duration of which is not less than one year.
  11. Infants (2 years & below) - In case where original passport cannot be presented, original Birth Certificate and photocopy of ID page of passport.
  12. Personnel (and their dependents) of Philippine offices of multinational companies not engaged in business in the Philippines - Certification from the Board of Investments
  13. Those authorized by the President of the Republic of the Philippines - Written authorization from the Office of the President which explicitly entitles the passenger to an exemption

B. RA 6768 provides for the exemption of the following from payment of the travel tax:

Balikbayans whose stay in the Philippines is less than one (1) year
  • ID pages of passport and stamp of last departure from and arrival in the Philippines (duration of which is at least one year)
  • Ticket used in traveling to the Philippines
Family members of former Filipinos accompanying the latter
  • Foreign passport of former Filipino or other evidence of former Philippine Citizenship
  • Birth certificate or adoption papers of children and/or marriage contract of accompanying spouse
  • Note: Exemption under RA 6768 is available only if the individual does not fall under any of the exempted categories provided under Sec. 2 of P. D. 1183, as amended.

C. Section 2-A of PD 1183, as amended, states that the following are entitled to a standard reduced travel tax rate:

Minors from 2 to 12 years
  • In case where original passport cannot be presented, original Birth Certificate and photocopy of ID page of passport.

Filipino journalists on journalistic assignment

  • Certification from the Office of the Press Secretary and
  • Certification/Accreditation from the journalist's editor or station manager

Those authorized by the President of the Republic of the Philippines

  • Written authority from the Office of the President which explicitly entitles the passenger to a reduced rate

D. Section 2-B of PD 1183, as amended, states that the following are entitled to a privileged reduced travel tax rate:

Legitimate spouse of overseas contract worker (OCW)
  • Passport
  • POEA Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) / balikmanggagawa form
  • Marriage contract

Legitimate unmarried children of OCW below 21 years old

  • Passport
  • OEC / balikmanggagawa form
  • Birth certificate

How do you avail of a Travel Tax exemption / reduced rate

A. If ticket was issued outside the Philippines:

  • Secure original documents specified for either exemption or reduced rate
  • Make one copy of each
  • Proceed to the nearest PTA Travel Tax Office, and:
  • Show original documents for authentication of photocopies Note: Original of some documents have to be submitted.
  • Submit copies;
  • Pay tax and/or processing fee; and
  • Wait for release of certificate and official receipt (O.R.)
  • Present the certificate of Travel Tax Exemption/official receipt to the PTA personnel at the airport upon demand

B. If ticket will be issued in the Philippines:

  • Secure original documents specified for either exemption or reduced rate
  •  Make one copy of each
  • Proceed to the nearest PTA Travel Office, and:
  • Show original documents for authentication of photocopies;Note: Original of some documents have to be submitted
  • Submit copies;
  • Pay processing fee; and
  • Wait for release of certificate and official receipt (O.R.)
  • Submit the Travel Tax Exemption/Reduced Travel Tax Certificate to the airline ticketing/travel agency office for the issuance of air ticket.


  • April 5, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    now this is clear!! one of the victims of this travel tax..thanks for this..

  • May 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM
    Anonymous :

    Weird thing is that for some persons who are exempted, you still need to pay for 200pesos. This is a joke! We are OFWs and are always exempted to pay for the travel tax. We always travel in and out of the Philippines with my daughter and when she turned 2 years old, they demanded the travel tax. They said we can get a certificate but still paid 200pesos to be exempted. Exempted yet still needs payment. :(

  • May 5, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    The country Philippines has many tourist travel destination that you could like to visit a stay in.

  • May 17, 2011 at 4:21 PM
    Anonymous :

    yes its discusting that the phili people have to be subjected to this tax do what i did complane to the and get a refund it might take a few weeks but stand up for ur selves message to philippine goverment stop taxing ur people leaving ur country

  • June 27, 2011 at 6:04 PM
    Anonymous :

    It's a pain but the rules are the rules. The 200php is suppose to be admin fee but it could easily be 20.

    I have never had a problem with Cathay pacific. They are very good. When I bought a ticket from their office, they had a piece of paper where my they check the immigration stamp codes against whether i was required to pay travel tax. No problem!

  • February 19, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    can i get a refund if its paid through credit card and my sibling paid for the ticket that is under my name?

  • February 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    funny coz they say PDOS and OWWA SEMINARS are free but if you'll run through the POEA Clearance assessment, you'll see that it's not really free. Why do we have to pay theOWWA Membership (na di nmn tlaga worthy dahil pahihirapan ka lang mag claim)and philhealth insurance if we are no longer working in Philippines and all your family members have their own Philhealths? I dont think it makes sense aside sa ginagatasan lng tayo! bakit hindi nila taasan cost of set expenses sa tourism ng foreigners if they really believe that Philippines is one of the top tourist picks? kapwa pinoy gumagatas sa kalahi. thailand has different rates sa mga expats example, hospital, iba linya ng local at puti, mas mahal sa puti ang singil. package tours, mas mahal ang singil sa foreigns. tsk tsk... pinoy nga naman!

  • March 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM
    Anonymous :

    Hi! I had the same trouble. It is realy annoying that they let me pay that much. I paid 2,170pesos for my travel tax and international airport tax. I am a shame for being a filipino living outside the country for more than a year but not working and being forced to pay that much of money.

  • January 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM
    AnewMe :

    good day, Ms. Cher. Sa case ko po, 2 years mahigit na akong nandito sa Korea pero hindi pa ako permanent resident. Mae-exempt po kaya ako sa Travel Tax?

  • August 19, 2013 at 4:12 AM
    Anonymous :

    Hello po! Regarding this topic i have a concern. My husband is a korean. We visited philippines last yr jun 2012. We want to purchse his ticket from manila to incheon. Now this airline (jeju air) ask us to pay for 1,620 before they can release my husbands air ticket. They ask us the copy of his last visit stamp in the philippines. And it stated their that he only stayed in the philippines for 2 days. Now they said even though he stayed 2 days in the philippines still he needs to pay tax because its already past one yr. but according to them if we can provide his latest entry in less than a year he will not pay the tax. And they said its their policy. Is this right ?

  • August 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM


    Travel Tax

    The information about Travel Tax in this page is partial. Complete information on the Philippine Travel Tax can be accessed at the website of the Philippine Tourism Authority (now the Philippine Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) at

    The Travel Tax is a levy imposed by the Philippine Government on persons who are leaving the country regardless of the country where the air ticket is issued and the form or place of payment, as provided for by Presidential Decree (PD) 1183, as amended. The Travel Tax must be paid by:

    • Citizens of the Philippines;
    • Foreigners holding a permanent resident visa Sec. 13 Quota or Preference Immigrant Visa
    • Foreign tourists or expatriates who have stayed in the Philippines for more than one (1) year.

    Foreign temporary visitors (tourists and businesspersons) and Filipino balikbayans (either expatriates working in other countries or former Filipinos who are now citizens of other countries) who stay in the Philippines for less than one year do not pay Travel Tax.

  • March 2, 2014 at 3:33 AM
    Anonymous :

    wow!! thanks for this info... I've been to manila so many times and i always pay travel tax. I didnt know that i am exempted from it. Super thanks for this info!!! ^^

  • November 4, 2014 at 4:55 AM
    Anonymous :

    thanks a lot!!! this will help to our fellow pinoys that don't hv idea on this.

  • February 24, 2015 at 11:34 AM
    Anonymous :

    Good day mga kababayan! I am an OFW and my family (mom, dad and single sister) plan to visit me this coming May. Are they eligible to avail for travel tax exemption or reduced travel tax at least? Salamat po!

  • February 24, 2015 at 9:32 PM

    I dont think the travel tax exemption/discount extends to your family members. ONLY you as an overseas filipino worker is can avail of any travel tax exemption/discount.

  • February 24, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    If you are married only your legal spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can avail of the reduced travel tax rate.

    . Section 2-B of PD 1183, as amended, states that the following are entitled to a privileged reduced travel tax rate:

    Legitimate spouse of overseas contract worker (OCW)
    PassportPOEA Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) / balikmanggagawa form
    Legitimate unmarried children of OCW below 21 years old

    PassportOEC / balikmanggagawa formBirth certificate

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