Who Can Donate?

Any individual, group, or organization abroad can send donations to the Philippines. To avail of duty-free entry of donations, however, there are certain conditions and requirements that have to be complied with under existing rules and regulations governing the importation of donations. There are specific items which may be allowed duty-free entry, as there are organizations/entities in the Philippines that are allowed to receive donations on a duty-free basis.

What Can Be Donated?

Goods or items which may be allowed duty-free entry by the Philippine government are the following:
- Food items and non-food commodities for relief dispensing organizations;
- Medicines and medical supplies/equipment;
- Books and other educational, scientific, or cultural materials;
- Essential machinery and equipment, including spare parts and accessories thereof;
- Essential consumer goods not available locally in times of calamities and/or fortuitous events; and
- Other articles in the interest of economic development, not included in the list of prohibited/contraband and restricted/regulated items issued by government agencies concerned subject to certain conditions.

Who Can Receive Donations?

The following agencies/entities/institutions in the Philippines may receive donations on a duty-free basis:
• Non-profit, welfare, religious, and charitable organizations which are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and duly licensed/accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as provided for in Section 105 (1) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines;
• Educational Institutions accredited by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) that are enjoying tax incentives under Department of Finance (DOF) Order No. 137-87;
• Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions or societies, and similar organizations duly approved by competent authorities such as DepEd and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines;
• Other non-profit religious and charitable institutions (except civic/service/cultural and scientific organizations), duly registered primary and secondary hospitals upon recommendation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); and
• Other organizations covered by bilateral or international agreements to which the Philippines is a signatory, and by Presidential decrees and other special laws.
• Government agencies including local government units may also receive donations, in cash or in kind, from their functions. The acceptance of donations from foreign governments is, however, subject to prior clearance and approval of the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (General Provisions of the General appropriations Act). Taxes and customs duties to be paid by government agencies on this importation will be subject to automatic appropriations (General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act).

NOTE: Other organizations not licensed or accredited by DSWD, Department of Health (DOH, and DECS may also receive donations but they will be required to pay customs duties and taxes. All importations of donated articles are subject to the payment of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) unless expressly exempt from such imposition Under Title IV, Chapter I, Section 1 of the VAT law. The VAT is Equivalent to about 10% of the landed cost of the shipment.

What are the Documents Required?

The documents required prior to the issuance of duty-free certification by government agencies concerned are the following:
• From the Donor: Deed of donation duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate; Pro-forma or commercial invoice and packing list/inventory of donated items; and Shipping documents (original bill of lading/airway bill).
• From the Donee: Letter of request to agencies concerned for duty-free certification; Notarized deed of acceptance and distribution plan of the recipient endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient is a DSWD-accredited or licensed NGO. Other documents may be requested depending on the nature of donated articles.

What are the Obligations of Qualified Beneficiaries?

The recipient organization is usually expected to shoulder the cost of the following:
• Shipment cost from port of origin to port of entry; Arrastre and wharfage charges. Storage fees for donated goods kept at the storage area (i.e., NAIA Cargo Terminal, Manila International Container Port, South Harbor) while awaiting release from the custody of the Bureau of Customs, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven (7) working days;
• Demurrage fees (being charged by the shipping lines) for the use of the containers/vans, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven to ten (7-10) working days depending on the policy of the shipping agency: Trucking fees to transport cargo from the container yard to the recipient/consignee’s warehouse; Customs brokerage fees, if services of a customs broker or a brokerage firm is availed of. NOTE: If the recipient is not in a financial position to defray the aforementioned fees, the donor should be made aware that other fees/charges will be collected on the donations upon arrival of the shipment in the Philippines.


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 prosecutions and / or fines and penalties.

Agriculture and Quarantine Regulations

Agriculture quarantine restricts the entry of animals, fish and plant products 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:

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)

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 intend 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 travellers and balikbayans. Frequent travellers 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.


For more information, please contact:

The Commissioner of Customs, South Harbor, Port Area, Manila 1018 Philippines,
(00632) 527-4573 – Fax (00632) 527-9453

NAIA District Collector of Customs, (00632) 879-6003 – Telefax (00632) 819-5088

Deputy Collector for Passenger Service, Telefax (00632) 831-6262

Chief, Arrival Operations Division, Telefax (00632) 879-5185

Click here for the Bureau of Customs Philippines website or e-mail them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.