The Balikbayan Program as instituted by Republic Act 6768 (amended by Republic Act 9174) was launched by the Philippine Government to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate.
The program allows visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year for the following:
- A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year
- A Filipino overseas worker
- A former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in one of the following countries and who comes or returns to the Philippines:
|Angola||Grenada||Papua New Guinea|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Guatemala||Paraguay|
|Bahrain||Honduras||Republic of Korea|
|Benin||Ireland||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Bolivia||Italy||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Brunei Darussalam||Kazakhstan||Sao Tome and Principe|
|Cameroon||Lao People’s Democratic Republic||Slovak Republic|
|Cape Verde||Lesotho||Solomon Islands|
|Central African Republic||Liberia||South Africa|
|Cyprus||Malta||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Czech Republic||Marshall Islands||Tunisia|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Mauritania||Turkey|
|Dominican Republic||Monaco||United Arab Emirates|
|Ecuador||Mongolia||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|El Salvador||Morocco||United Republic of Tanzania|
|Equatorial Guinea||Mozambique||United States of America|
The Balikbayan Program also extends to immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are nationals of one of the countries above, and travelling together with the Balikbayan.
Former Filipinos and/or their immediate family who are nationals of countries not found on the list will need to secure a visa before going to the Philippines. Please see the requirements for a visa here.
Balikbayans traveling to the Philippines are advised to declare before the Philippine Immigration Officer at the port of entry that he/she is availing of the privilege and has to present either their old Philippine passport or copy of Philippine birth certificate as proof of their former Philippine citizenship.
Accompanying family members of the balikbayan should bring appropriate supporting documents:
- For the spouse: copy of marriage certificate
- For each child: copy of birth certificate
- For adopted children: copy of adoption papers
Aside from visa-free entry to the Philippines, Philippine Law (R.A. 9174) provides benefits to balikbayans:
- Tax-exempt maximum purchases in the amount of USD 1,500, or the equivalent in Philippine and other currency, at Philippine Government–operated duty free shops
- Exemption from Travel Tax, provided that their stay in the Philippines is one year or less. If their stay in the Philippines exceeds one year, Travel tax will apply to them.