Philippines Holiday Visa
note: visa requirements are subject to change, you should always check with the appropriate authorities.
I'm delighted to say I will going back to the Philippines this Christmas, but there has been a small problem of visa requirements. UK passport holders do not need a visa if they are not staying for more than 21 days. I originally intended to stay slightly longer than this, but that of course meant getting a visa. Getting a plane ticket at Christmas time can be an expensive deal and the sooner you book the better. With time (and tickets) running out and prices rising I decided to take the exact 21 days I'm allowed without requiring a visa.
One problem is the requirement to present yourself in person in front of a consular officer at an embassy. This of course is time consuming as I'd have to wait for a day off work or possibly a weekend, and expensive - ie. traveling to the nearest embassy. The alternative if not presenting yourself in person is to get your form "notarized by a local notary public", which pretty much means getting a solicitor to sign your application form verifying you are who you say you are - and they probably won't do that for nothing. Add to that the time and cost of doing all this by post, and I could see that it wasn't going to be worth it for those few days extra.
Other details I would have been required to provide would have been utility bills to verify my address, a photograph and proof of 'financial capacity' - ie. latest bank or credit card statements.
In contrast, compare this to my previous applications for a holiday visa to Australia. Go to one of the many websites providing an Australian Visa, enter your passport details online, pay online by credit card, and wait a day or so for confirmation of your visa.
You can get an visa extension once you are already in the Philippines, but can you imagine if you are refused and already have your flight booked home beyond the time you are allowed to stay? Not good.
My advice is that for an extended stay in the Philippines is to get your visa application in early so you can take your time. Don't leave it to the last minute.
For more information see The Republic of Philippines Visa FAQ