There is a law in the Philippines that excludes travel tax for all Filipino overseas contract workers, seamen, and permanent resident workers outside of the Philippines. It is known as the Philippian Tax Reform Act of 1997, or the Philippine Republic Act 8424 

These types of workers are free from the obligation to pay any travel-related tax. Travel Tax exemption is granted only if the applicant meets certain criteria.

This article will thoroughly explain how this law applies to overseas contract workers, and all requirements applicants may need to enjoy the benefits from this tax exemption.

What Is The Seafarer Tax Exemption

The fee imposed by taxing travel is one of the most reliable sources of income for any country. Originally imposed to reduce and conserve foreign exchange, today, the sole purpose of these travel taxes is to generate funds for tourism-related programs and projects. 

However, giving the workforce’s importance outside the mainland, governments tend to provide a solution like a travel tax exemption.

The seafarer tax exemption recognizes the economic contribution these types of workers bring to the country.

These types of tax exemptions are not only accustomed to the Philippines. Many countries offer certain reliefs of travel exemptions for their overseas workforce.  Before traveling, we encourage seafarers to check with their local authorities on how travel laws may apply in their countries.

Travel Tax Exemption For Filipino Seafarers

An Overseas Filipino Worker or OFW is a person from the Philippines living or working in another country on a temporary stay.

To be considered an OFW, the person must be registered as such with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). In order to register with the POEA, the seaman needs to present a valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) and a seaman book issued by the Maritime Industry Authority.

Overseas Filipino workers are exempted from paying travel tax when they enter or leave the Philippines in a span of a year.

 

Who qualifies?

The following Filipino citizens are exempted from the payment of travel tax according to Sec. 2 of PD 1183 (Philippian Law), as amended:

  • Overseas Filipino workers
  • Filipino permanent residents abroad whose stay in the Philippines is less than one year.
  • Infants (2 years and below)
  • Foreign diplomatic representatives in the Philippines
  • United Nations employees
  • US military personnel
  • Members of an international carrier crew
  • Philippine foreign service personnel
  • Philippine government employees who are traveling on official business
  • Students on scholarships
  • Personnel of multinational companies

If you do not fall under any of these categories, you can check the TIEZA Travel Tax Exemption Certificate, where you can find a detailed list of exempted travelers.

Requirements & documents

Firstly, we need to mention that the Philippine Embassies don’t issue travel tax exemption certificates. All applicants must bring forward the necessary documents in one of the following offices in the Philippines:

  • Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) Main Office located at DOT Building, Agrifina Circle, Rizal Park, Manila 
  • PTA Travel Tax Counter at the Departure Lobby of NAIA 1, 2, and 3 
  • PTA Travel Tax Provincial Offices

If you haven’t filled out an online application, you will need to provide one of the following documents at check-in at the airport:

  • Overseas Employment Certificate
  • Balik-Manggagawa Documents
  • NAIA Authority Exemption Certificate

If you opt to fill out an application online, you must first agree with TIEZA’s Privacy Policy to apply for a travel exemption certificate.

Keep in mind that all TEC applications (Travel exemption certificates) submitted online take about three working days to be processed. This means you’ll have to submit your TEC application three days before the date of departure on your flight.

For standard requirements, you will need to provide a clear scanned copy of these documents: 

  • 2×2 ID Picture (taken within the last six months) (JPG only)
  • Identification page of Passport
  • Airline Ticket or Flight Booking

There are additional requirements that specific individuals may need to present to secure a TEC. You can find more details about these requirements here.

Submitting an online application will also save you the worry of being rejected at check-in. If for some reason, your documents aren’t valid or have expired, the travel tax shall be paid directly at the airport. Any associated penalties may imply, due to the caused implications at the airport.

How do OFWs benefit?

There are quite a few Filipinos who have chosen a career path overseas. It’s no secret that foreign salaries are incomparable to the ones in the Philippines.

Alongside the travel tax exemption, if a Filipino becomes a resident ex-pat, they get to enjoy benefits like medical assistance, educational assistance, and the ability to become a permanent resident.

Filipino overseas workers

With laws such as the travel tax exemption, the Philippine government actively promotes finding career opportunities outside of the Philippines.

As the number of OFWs increases yearly, the Philippine government actively enhances the conditions for this citizen group.

The TIEZA Travel Tax Exemption online tool is developed by the Philippine government to represent their efforts. All you need to do is make sure your documentation is valid, and you are good to go.