There are certain guidelines to follow when sending of duty-free and tax-free balikbayan boxes as there is a recorded increase in number as the holiday season goes by.

According to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act or the Republic Act No. 10863, Filipino residents returning to the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are given the authority to bring balikbayan boxes to their loved ones in the Philippines.

The Bureau of Customs further clarified that these qualified Filipinos while abroad (QFWA) are those OFWs who have a valid Philippine passport from the Department of Foreign Affairs with a certification from the Department of Labor and Employment or from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for job purposes.

“They cover all Filipinos working in a foreign country under employment contracts, regardless of their professions, skills, or employment status. It also includes Filipino working abroad under job contracts that do not require certification from DOLE or POEA,” says the Bureau of Customs.

The same benefit goes to those Filipinos who are holders of a student visa, tourist visa, investor’s visa and other similar visas.

Balikbayan boxes can be sent home three times every year as long as the value won’t exceed the maximum PhP150,000. If the amount of items inside the balikbayan box exceeds the limit, it becomes subject to duties and tax payments.

The Bureau of Customs also reminded Filipinos abroad regarding the content of these balikbayan boxes. It should only be personal and household items such as toiletries, personal adornments, wearing apparel, and electronic gadgets.

“Goods in commercial quantities and those intended for sale or for hire are not covered by the duty and tax-free balikbayan box.”


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