As a first time traveler from the U.S. to The Philippines, it was easy to get the arrival visa, good for 30 days. I share how to extend your visa in The Philippines for more than 30 days.Ggetting the 29-day visa extension for first time travelers was a lot less easy than I thought it would be.
My Visa Situation as a Mexican American
I traveled to The Philippines on a one way ticket. Since I have dual citizenship, I always check to see if I get a longer stay depending on my passport. The default one is the American one.
Whenever I travel, I ALWAYS book a one way ticket out of the country via Expedia in case they ask for proof of exit. Once I land, I cancel for free within 24 hours. I always set calendar reminders to cancel, too.
Not all tickets on Expedia let you do this as it depends on the airline, so just make sure it has that option. Also, I NEVER overstay my visas. I like to buy one way tickets when I’m ready to leave a country before my visa is up. Or, in the case of The Philippines, which I liked so much, the day of!
I couldn’t extend my visa in the manila airport
When I went through customs, I tried to get the 29 day extension for first time travelers. According to google, it seemed easy. Apparently, things changed! Airport staff gave me confused looks regarding the extension. One man said it would be “cheaper” downtown. It wasn’t a big deal to pay extra for the convenience at the airport, but I just couldn’t find where to extend it.
Getting the visa extension in manila
I still had 30 days as a first time visitor. I ended up going to the 5th floor of the Ayala Mall in Makati to get my visa extended at the extension office. It was about $55USD (cash) for a 15 minute turnaround. A 3 day processing time was about $36USD but I gladly paid for the faster service.
Just take your passport and cash, since they don’t take credit cards yet. I later found out you can get your visa extension in other cities like Puerto Princesa in Palawan (Here’s my Palawan Itinerary) and Cebu. I decided to get it done in Manila.
Any questions about how to extend your visa in The Philippines as a first time traveler? Leave them in the comments!