12 Mar 2021

Study in the Philippines: Student Visas & Permits

If you want to study in the Philippines, then you will need a visa. If you’re of Filipino descent, but are not a citizen, then you’ll be classed as Balikbayan. This makes the application process slightly easier. But, as most international students probably wouldn’t be classed as Balikbayan, this section will focus on the standard application process. 

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First and foremost, you’ll need a fifty-nine day tourist visa. Many countries enjoy visa-free access to the Philippines for tourism. Even if your country is one such, you’ll still need to apply for a tourism visa. The only requirements for a Filipino tourist visa are, for the most part, proof of somewhere to stay - this doesn’t have to be a hotel - a passport valid for the duration of your intended stay and proof of intended exit. To fulfill this requirement, most international students buy a cheap plane or ferry ticket to Taiwan, Malaysia or Indonesia and then just don’t use it. 


Once in the country, you’ll need to get the ball rolling on a Special Study Permit (SSP) as soon as possible. You’ll need to do this in person at migration centers in Manila, Quezon City or Cebu. 

You’ll need to take along two passport-sized photos, proof of admission to a program and proof of financial self-sufficiency during your studies - bank statements, for example. Your documents will then be checked by an immigration officer. If everything is present and correct, then you’ll need to pay the fees; an application fee 4,740PHP ($100), a notarial fee of 300PHP ($6.20) and the compulsory registration card that forms part of your SSP application, a cost of 2,900PHP ($60). 

Applications can sometimes take a while to process. If yours does, then you can easily extend your tourist visa - also by visiting an immigration office. All you need to do is buy another cheap plane or ferry ticket to a nearby country. The cost is 1,420PHP ($30). 


You must extend your SSP every semester at a cost of 3,030PHP ($65), plus the 300PHP ($6.20) notarial fee. It’s important to note that the SSP doesn’t allow you to work or to earn money in any way during your time in the Philippines. You'll need to have access to funds to cover the intended duration of your stay.

Compared to many other study abroad destinations, like the US and the UK, the permit application and visa conversion process is refreshingly straightforward in the Philippines.

Study in the Philippines

Want an overview of the Philippines? This section gives you a quick insight into what life is like in these islands, as well as the Philippines' history and welcoming culture.

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Education in the Philippines

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in the Philippines? The Philippines is an evermore popular destination for a variety of students, given its good programs, reasonable fees and its culture and hospitality. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in the Philippines!

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Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in the Philippines.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in the Philippines can vary. Both international and domestic students are expected to pay tuition fees in the Philippines, but these fees can vary a lot. We've put together information on how this works, and on scholarships, in this section.

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Language & Culture

The Philippines is a country rich in history and culture. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more! We also talk about how to stay safe in the Philippines in this section.

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Application Process

Learn more about how to apply to schools using the Philippines' more ad hoc approach to higher education applications.

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Ready to look at education in the Philippines? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the Philippines today!

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Last update: 12 Mar 2021

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