All arriving passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, need to fill up a Customs declaration form prior to the arrival in the Philippines. This is usually prepared during the flight, then submitted to the Customs upon arrival in a Philippine airport. In cases of families traveling together, only one declaration form is required. It should be filled up by the head or any responsible member of the family.
Customs Declaration Form
The form requires the traveler/s to provide the following information: complete name, sex, birthday, citizenship, occupation/profession, passport number, date and place of issue of passport, address in the Philippines, address abroad, flight number, airport of origin, and date of arrival in the Philippines.
The traveler must also mark the appropriate boxes whether they are: “balikbayan” (returning Filipino or former Filipino who traveled outside the Philippines for purposes of tourism, business, including a dual citizen or a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of another country who is coming back to visit the Philippines); returning resident; Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW); foreigner traveling to the Philippines for business; or foreigner traveling to the Philippines for tourism. There is also a box to be checked and a space to specify a traveler’s purpose or nature of travel to the Philippines, if the prior options are not applicable in his/her case.
The traveler must place the number of traveling family members in the appropriate space provided. This may be left blank, or ideally, marked with an N/A (not applicable), if traveling alone.
The traveler must also provide the number of baggage checked-in and handcarried during the trip.
There is a space for general declaration of regulated and dutiable items. This part is simply answered by marking the box for each item with either a “Yes” or a “No.”
Prohibited and Regulated Articles
Prohibited articles that are not allowed to be brought to the Philippines during the travel include: firearms; dangerous drugs and narcotics; bombs and other similar destructive weapons; and pornographic materials. The importation of these prohibited items regardless of quantity is a violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and other special laws implemented by the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs. Those bringing the said items may be subjected to criminal prosecution and/or fines and penalties.
Regulated articles include transceivers; films, tapes, DVDs, and VCDs; controlled chemicals, substances, and precursors; animal and plant materials and their derivatives (including souvenirs made out of such materials); weapons and weapon replicas; and drug-related products and medicines containing endangered species or plant extracts.
Entry of foreign agricultural products including animals, plants, wildlife, and endangered species and their products and by-products such as meat, eggs, and fruits are restricted. Such items can only be brought to the Philippines if the traveler obtained prior import permits and/or health, sanitary or phytosanitary certificates from the country/airport of origin.
Those without anything to declare typically gets through the Customs faster. However, non-declaration of restricted articles may result to seizure, appropriate fines, and/or penalties.
Before dutiable/taxable items can be cleared and allowed entry to the country, the traveler must pay the appropriate duties and taxes as assessed by a Customs Officer. The rates of duties imposed depend on the kinds of items brought. It is highly recommended that the traveler brings all the receipts and/or supporting documents for the said items for inspection and verification by the Customs Officer. The traveler must always demand for official receipts when paying the duties and taxes.
Currency and Monetary Instruments
A traveler can bring into the country or take out of the country a limited amount of Philippine monetary instruments including legal tender Philippine notes, coins, checks, money orders, and other bills of exchange. The maximum amount that can be brought in or taken out is PHP10,000.00, unless there is a prior authorization provided by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas/BSP (Central Bank of the Philippines).
In cases of foreign currencies, a traveler can bring into the country or take out of the country a limited amount of monetary instruments as well. Such items include legal tenders, notes, travelers checks, other checks, drafts, money orders, securities, bonds, deposits, certificates, trust certifications, deposit substitute instruments, commercial papers, trading orders, transaction ticket, and confirmation sale/investment. The maximum amount that can be brought in or taken out is US$10,000.00 or its equivalent; otherwise, the traveler must accomplish a Currency Declaration Form to be submitted to a Customs Officer assigned at the Customs Desk located at the Arrival or Departure Areas of the airport. Anything in excess of the allowable amount as stipulated by the Customs regulations is subject to duties and taxes as well.