Philippines Travel Tax for Foreigners – TIEZA, e-Travel, Exit Clearance

This one often causes a few confused looks amongst the ex-pat communities! The TIEZA travel tax is a tax that every Filipino must pay when they leave the country. It’s calculated based on your ticket class… first class pay more than business and economy seats, but it is payable for every journey.

If you visit the Philippines as a tourist, and leave within the normal tourist visa provisions, or even if you’ve had it extended, the TIEZA does NOT apply to you. You do not need to pay it and may simply leave the country. However, if you are a visa holder of any other type (working, marriage, etc), they it’s a little less clear – you *might* have to pay it… but not always.

I have a working visa (9G) and have had many journeys out of the country and back, and have always paid it no matter what. It’s around £20.00 or so, which is not dreadful, but seems quite punitive. On my last trip out I was told at check in (after already paying it online) that it was not necessary. I did not understand why, so today took the opportunity to talk to someone working at City Hall who collects this tax.

It turns out that you only need to pay it if you hold a non-tourist visa, and your last travel was over a year ago. Let me write that again… you only need to pay it if your last travel was over a year ago. More specifically, your last date of entry to the country was over a year ago… so if you arrived in August after a short trip to Hong Kong, then you want to go to Thailand in October, you do not need to pay it again for the Thailand trip… it applies to for a year, based on the date of your last entry to the country.

Now, I am going to go back and ask that same question again from City Hall, because it seems to me that if I left the country having paid TIEZA, then returned, and then took a series of flights every 5 months or so, the date of last entry would never be a year ago, so it would seem no TIEZA would be payable. That doesn’t seem right – for a country so obsessed with making you pay for every single item ever, missing out on the TIEZA payment because of a quirk in the rules would be beyond unusual! After all, my 12 month visa is only ever 9 months, and to get 12 months I have to pay for an ‘extension’ even though it’s within the original 12 months. They’ve got that one well and truly sewn up… so I will go and double check TIEZA rules for you, and report back.

Don’t confuse TIEZA with the other forms of payment you need to make as a visa holder. For example, despite paying for a 12 month visa and getting around 9 months, that visa payment does not give you the right to exit and re-enter. The visa gives you the right to apply to exit and re-enter only. If you actually do exit and re-enter, then you pay a different levy at the airport before you go to immigration – you have to have an ‘Exit Clearance Certificate’ and they cost around php2,300 (roughly £35.00 or so). This certificate is printed on lightweight paper that doesn’t fit in any envelope that you may or may not be carrying, and you absolutely do need it when you return. It is clearance to say you have no outstanding debts to pay, etc – although they don’t actually check that. So, a visa gives you the right to stay in the country, and apply to leave, but to actually leave you need an Exit Certificate, and if your last date of entry was over a year ago, you also need to pay TIEZA travel tax.

Oh – one more thing – thanks to the Covid pandemic, you also need to apply for a health declaration – this is actually free, and is done entirely online. You get a QR code to show when you leave, and you must apply for an entry code no more than 72 hours before you come back.  This is the ‘e-travel Pass’ and has to be completed by everyone – it’s a bit like the old arrivals card you had to complete in days gone by. It’s actually a record of your passport, travel arrangements (flight number, etc) and a declaration that you’re healthy to travel. On arrival you also state your residence when in the country… but, at least that part is free!

Tourists – leaving within the tourist visa time scale – no TIEZA, no exit clearance
Tourists – leaving more than 3 months since arrival – no TIEZA, but you MUST pay the exit clearance. Worth also checking if you need police clearance to say you’ve got no debt – do this a week before travel at the very latest, and make sure that week allows plenty of time with no public holidays. You can initiate this check at the local BI office near you, you don’t need to go to the main BI building in Intramuros

Visa holders – leaving within a year of your last date of entry – no TIEZA (I will check this)
Visa holders – leaving more than a year after your last entry – PAY TIEZA (

Visa holders – returning to the country – PAY the Exit Clearance Certificate in the airport, near the immigration desks, and keep that puppy safe for when you return – you will need to show it.

ALL passengers – complete the e-Travel declaration (