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Bureau of Customs Passenger Guidelines

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To ensure smooth Customs clearance, please read these guidelines thoroughly.

All persons and baggage are subject to a search at any time. (Sections 2210 & 2212, Customs Law)

General Provisions

All articles, when imported from any foreign country into the Philippines, shall be subject to duty and tax upon each importation, even though previously exported from the Philippines, except as otherwise specifically provided in the Customs Code or in other laws. (Section 100, TCCP)

Prohibited and Regulated Articles

The unlawful importation of prohibited articles (i.e. marijuana, cocaine or any other narcotics or synthetic drugs, firearms and explosives and parts thereof, gun replicas, obscene or immoral articles, adulterated or misbranded articles of food or drugs, gambling outfits and paraphernalia, used clothing and rags – R.A. 4653, elephant / ivory tusk products) or those which violate the Intellectual Property Rights Code, R.A. 8293 (i.e., DVDs, VCDs, other imitation products) and regulated items (i.e., transceivers, controlled chemicals / substances / precursors) regardless of quantity constitute a violation of Philippine Customs Laws and may subject you to criminal procesuctions and / or fines and penalties.

Agriculture and Quarantine Regulations

Agriculture quarantine restricts the entry of animals, fish and plant produts or their by-products (such as meat, eggs, birds, fruits, etc.).  Transport of endangered species and their by-products is also restricted / prohibited by CITES / DENR regulations.  Likewise, export of such products / by-products must be referred to quarantine officers to ensure compliance with Philippine regulations and requirements of country of destination.  Failure to obtain prior import and / or export permit from the Philippine Department of Agriculture together with corresponding health sanitary or phytosanitary certificate from country of origin and to declare the same may result to seizure, fines and / or penalties.

Regulated Articles That Require Import Permit / Clearances:

Articles that need import / export permits and / or clearances and government agencies that issue them:

Live Animals and Meat Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)
Fruits and Plants Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)
Marine and Aquatic Products Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)
Firearms, Parts, Ammunition, etc. PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO)
VHS, Tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc. Optical Media Board (OMB)
TV, Movie, Film Print and Negatives, etc. Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)
Transceivers, Communication Equipments, etc. National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
Endangered Species Dept. of Environment and National Resources (DENR)
Medicines and the like Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD)

Currency Regulations

It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing passenger to bring in or out Philippine Pesos in excess of P10,000.00 without prior authoirty from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.  Any violation of this rule may lead to its seizure and civil penalties and / or criminal prosecution. (BSP Circular 98-1995)

The transportation of foreign currency or monetary instruments is legal.  However, the carrying of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must be declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.  VIolation of this rule may lead to seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.

Accompanied Baggage Intended as Donation

Relief, charitable and / or humanitarian organizations intending to donate for free distribution or extend free medical, dental or any other services to the less privileged must coordinate with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, through the Philippine embassies and / or consulates abroad, for purposes of clearance, prior to actual departure.  Donations must be covered by a Deed of Donation and Deed of Acceptance, approved by the Department of Finance.

Non-Resident Foreigners

Passengers who inted to bring back to their place of residence abroad any dutiable article must inform the inspecting Customs Officer of said intention.  In this case, the passenger may be required to accomplish a re-exportation commitment form duly secured by a cash bond deposit equal to the ascertained duty and tax on the article, refundable upon departure of the passenger with the article, for which a corresponding Official Receipt will be issued.

Exemptions / Duty-Free Concessions

Adult Passengers:

  • Two (2) reams of cigarette or two (2) tins of tobacco
  • Two (2) bottles of liquor or wine not exceeding one (1) liter per bottle

Balikbayan and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are entitled to a Ten Thousand (10,000,00) Peso duty exemption on their USED personal and household effects.  Any excess thereof is subject to an ad valorem duty (Executive Order 206).  In addition, OFWs are entitled to duty and tax-free privileges on their USED appliances limited to one of every kind provided the total value does not exceed PHP10,000.00.  Any excess is subject to duty and tax.

The amount of duty to be paid shall be determined by the Customs Officer. Please have all your receipts and / or supporting documents ready for presentation to the Customs Officer.

Philippine Duty-Free Shopping

All passengers arriving from abroad can enjoy a one-time duty-free shopping privilege within the prescribed number of days from the date of arrival, upon presentation of a valid passport, flight ticket and boarding pass.  Philippine duty-free shops are retail establishments licensed by the government to sell duty and tax-free merchandise to cater to travelers and balikbayans.  Frequent travelers can enjoy up to US$10,000.00 worth of duty-free shopping privileges in a given calendar year.

However, duty-free shopping is subject to certain conditions and limitations.  Purchases must be made in US dollars or its equivalent in Philippine Peso and other acceptable foreign currencies.  This privilege is not transferable (except for kabuhayan shopping).  Balikbayan privileges can only be availed of once a year.  Minors are not allowed to buy cigarettes, liquors, wines, electronics, and home appliances.  Tourists buying home appliances and electronics are subject to duties and taxes.

Balikbayan Categories

  • Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year from the date of last departure;
  • A Filipino overseas worker (OFW); or
  • Former FIlipino with foreign passport and members of his family (i.e. spouse and children) who are traveling with him.

IMPORTANT NOTICE – Your Customs Declaration

All arriving passengers are required to accomplish a Customs Declaration from (BC Form 117) given on board the carrying aircraft.  If traveling as one family, one declaration is sufficient.

Arriving passengers are required to declare all articles purchased or acquired abroad, indicating the quantity and its total acquisition price.  If unsure of what to declare, please consult any Customs Officer on duty.

(R.A. 7659)

For more information, please contact:

The Commissioner of Customs,South Harbor, Port Area, Manila 1018 Philippines, (632) 527-4573 – Fax (632) 527-9453
NAIA District Collector of Customs, (632) 879-6003 – Telefax (632) 819-5088
Deputy Collector for Passenger Service, Telefax (632) 831-6262
Chief, Arrival Operations Division, Telefax (632) 879-5185
Click here for the Bureau of Customs Philippines website or e-mail them at

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