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Philippines Border Open Soon


Fully vaccinated travelers may enter very soon


Some hope on the near horizon!

As we all know, the Philippines has been closed to tourists since March 2020. More than a year after they closed the Philippines border, is the Philippines finally ready to re-open?

The Philippines is making plans to re-open the Philippines border to the international vaccinated traveler! 

A proposal has been put forward to the IATF (which is the Inter-agency Task Force which manages the COVID situation) by the Department of Tourism to open the country up again ……… actually re-open the Philippines to tourist visitors who are……wait for it!……FULLY VACCINATED!


Philippines borders soon to open to COVID fully vaccinated travelers



Philippines Border open – Soon!


The anti-vaxxers won’t like this, I would imagine. However it’s THE most logical thing I’ve heard for a very long time in this COVID drama. The Philippines border open! Wow!

This is driven by the fact that the economy here has really suffered, plus the Philippines tends to be a bit less hard-nosed than certain sides of Australian Government in that it is aware of the suffering of people kept apart from loved ones. 

We have a family member (father-in-law of my brother-in-law who recently died…..heart attack, but the hospital called it COVID because they get more money that way! Don’t get me started!) …. yes, who recently died. His daughter and her family are all in Spain. They can’t travel back to attend his funeral….unheard-of in the Philippines, as most of you would know. 

They ARE aware of this. The Bureau chiefs of both DFA and Immigration here have expressed this recently, and they want the situation to change as soon as possible.

So they’ve set up a Government working group to sort out the protocols of how this will work. They are proposing what they call a “Green Lane” at the airport where those fully vaccinated travelers may pass through with ease (and with safety, being separated from those not vaccinated!). I would imagine this would mean no need to have hotel quarantine, but that’s only my guesswork at this stage. 

And they’re talking about a “COVID Passport” issued to those who are certified fully vaccinated to ensure that no one dodgy gets in. They already have an IATF travel permit system here for the vaccinated, which they’ve trialed already in conjunction with Philippine Airlines. 


Australia – Why NOT open borders to the fully vaccinated?


I’ve long thought that why isn’t the Australian Government thinking along the same lines? Insist on vaccinations, and let the vaccinated in! Why not? The better vaccines (like Pfizer and I think Moderna) not only cut the risk of infection to near-to-nothing, they also cut the risk of spread to a point that a fully vaccinated traveler is an acceptable risk.

These countries have already opened their doors to vaccinated travelers:





•British Virgin Islands





•Republic of Georgia









All of Europe is looking at opening to vaccinated travelers this (European) summer, maybe as soon as next month! And I believe Thailand has similar intentions. 

OK, I rarely get political. I have more important things to do than to worry about what politicians do and think, but I believe that a large percentage of coalition voters are in favour of a “Fortress Australia” policy, and Morrison like all “good” politicians is highly driven by what the voters think. That happens on all sides of politics. It takes a brave man in politics to take a stand for what is right, and the days of right-wing politicians defying their core supporters went out with Malcolm Fraser letting in Vietnamese refugees purely because it was the right thing to do. It takes an exceptional politician who can try to raise overall standards rather than just appealing to the lowest common denominator! Oh, and there was Rob Borbich in QLD committing political suicide (yes, that was the end of his career) by supporting gun control because he believed in it.

But yes I think Mr Morrison will try to drag this out on the Australian side, possibly with elections in view. However I think there will be more pressure from business in Australia to let in the the fully vaccinated traveler in, especially when Europe does it soon. Business is already pressuring the Government over this, because despite what the small-minds think the era of isolated-countries is history (and good riddance to it!). 


Philippines Border Open soon – Hope on the horizon? 


So obviously this will mean that Australians will soon…..hopefully soon!….be able to travel to the Philippines again once they’ve had their two jabs! 

That means those couples who haven’t seen each other in 18 months or more can get back to some type of normality! Parents can see their children. And those who want to have sweethearts that they’ve known literally for YEARS in many cases can finally meet in person! Think about it! Philippines border finally open! Actually travel here and meet! 


To those who plan to marry when they can get here?


A few bits of advice here…….

First: This is the Philippines. NOTHING happens in a hurry! When there’s a quick and easy way of doing things, the Philippines chooses the opposite! “Saving time” is not a high priority here, as I guess a lot of people have an abundance of time. It also keeps people employed if you can needlessly complicate things! 

Normally I say 3 – 4 weeks. Right now? Maybe 2 months to organise a wedding! That means you will most likely stay longer than a one-month visa-free stay.

Second: If you haven’t met before? Arriving…..saying “Gosh, it’s nice to meet you!” and her saying “You too! We need to get wedding clothes fitted this afternoon!” is far from ideal! Goodness me! Spend your first trip getting to know each other! Get comfortable with each other and focus on that! Go to Boracay or Moalboal or somewhere nice, and just gaze at each other! Eat, kiss, cuddle, etc. Get to know the family too, but mostly get to know each other. You do NOT want the pressure of standing in queues to Government offices on your first visit!

If you can stay considerably longer? Then sure. But if you need to get back to work, don’t torture yourselves! You can always marry online! No, I don’t care where you marry. I just remember the days of my first visits here to visit Mila (and…..uuummm…..previous relationships…..which I’ve totally forgotten, of course) and couldn’t imagine how dreadful it would be dealing with initial awkwardness and wedding preparation and gawking relatives! 

Basically, if it was me? I would still have an online wedding! Easier, quicker and cheaper!


What next?


What next? Prepare yourselves! Get vaccinated! Get your passports updated if need be. And smile! The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and closer!



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Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it! Down Under Visa specialises in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Read MORE
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  1. Michael

    Thanks Jeff, interesting article. Scomo not opening the Australian borders is all political. Over 70% of Australians favour the “fortress Australia” so why risk it. In the meantime, us PMV300 applicants/holders have to suffer in the meantine.

    • Jeff Harvie

      I’m sure lots of Australians believed in the White Australia Policy back in the day too! Fortunately some pollies had the courage to go against that.

  2. laurie speelmeyer

    I just met a lady just before covid hit the world. hoping to go spend time together. then bring her to Australia on a tourist visa. Is this a good approach Mr Harvie

    • Jeff Harvie

      Yes Laurie. You must meet her in person before you have a hope of getting a visa.

  3. Andrew

    What will it be like getting back into Australia. If Australia doesn’t change its policy.

    • Jeff Harvie

      Possibly slow. But Australian Citizens ARE allowed back into Australia. Note that part of the message here is that the world is going this way. Many countries have already started allowing fully vaccinated visitors in. Europe soon will. Thailand most likely. And now the Philippines. It will be harder for ScoMo to keep justifying this policy.

  4. Colin Rolls

    HI Jeff,
    I’d like to use your services to facilitate an Australian tourist visa for my Girlfriend and her daughter. I know it will be a while before we can actually jump on a plane, but its already been a year since i was there so i feel its time to put the wheels in motion.

  5. Rodrigo Nery

    Hi Jeff

    Finally the Australian borders are open for international travel. But its hard to find out if Aussies are allowed to travel to the Philippines. I have a wife and two kids I haven’t seen for two years.

    Can you shed some light on what happening in the Philippines and its international border and what requirements will I need to have as a fully vaccinated traveler to enter the country .

    Is quarantine for fully vaccinated required.

    Rod Nery

  6. David Rust

    Finally a little bit of hope. I have travelled there before without a visa. Because I stayed for less than 30 days. Will I need a visa this time? or do the previous rules still apply? Also I hope the airline prices are going to drop. At the moment the cheapest return flight is about $5,500.00. Last time I flew there I paid $760.00 return with Cebu Pacific. What’s your thoughts?

    • Jeff Harvie

      Same rules as before apply to Australian passport holders (and other nationalities, which I can’t list sorry). 30 day visa-free stay granted on arrival. And no idea on airfares. Probably initially high.


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