Did You Know That These Countries Have Departure Tax?

Did You Know That These Countries Have Departure Tax?

A fee that many travellers overlook, the departure tax is either to be paid in cash or included in the airfare.

Ever been caught without local currency in an airport and then find out you need to pay cash for a fee before you can claim your boarding pass? Chances are, you’re going to pay what are called “departure tax” or “airport tax”. These fees can be in another name depending on which country you are leaving from and if you are departing from an airport or a land border.

We know it gets stressful to scrounge for change (or more, actually) to pay for these exit fees. But which countries’ airports and borders do you need to prepare cash for and which ones are already included in your ticket price? Here is a guideline for countries, focusing on those in Asia, that have departure tax and whether you need to set aside some local cash for it or not.

Countries that only accept cash

Philippines – The terminal fee or the “Philippine Passenger Service Charge” in the Manila airport have to be paid in cash (either in Philippine Peso or US Dollars) when the departing passenger will be coming from another local province and will be departing internationally through the Manila airport. If the passenger’s flight out of the country is directly from Manila, the terminal fee is already included in the airline ticket price. The terminal fee ranges from PHP 200 to PHP 700 per person and Overseas Filipino workers are exempted from this fee.

Bangladesh – Bangladesh charges “embarkation fees” to people using the land border exits. The fees must be paid in cash in Bangladeshi Taka at any branch of Sonali Bank or at a bank booth at the land exits. Aircraft passengers, however, do not need to worry about paying in cash as the embarkation fees will be collected at the time of the airline ticket purchase.

It would be worth noting that these countries only accept cash payments for departure tax:

  • Brunei – Passengers leaving for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have a lower fee
  • Egypt – Passengers have to make cash payments only in Egyptian Pound
  • Guyana – Passengers can pay in Guyanese Dollar or US Dollar
  • Iran – Only Iranian citizens have to pay the fee and it should be in cash
  • Palau – Only foreign passengers must pay the airport fee

Countries where airport tax is included in the airfare

While you cannot escape the airport tax in some countries, the good news is that these can already be prepaid upon your airline ticket purchase.

Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka and Thailand include the departure tax in the airfare payment. Hong Kong charges different departure tax amounts whether departing via airplane or ferry. The fee is included in the ticket price and may be refundable in some cases. Malaysia charges a fee for all airport departures except for those coming from rural airports.

Note that in the past, Indonesian airports are known to have airport tax to be paid in cash only. As of 9 Feb 2015, however, all airlines departing from Indonesia are required to include the departure tax in the ticket price.

If you’re planning to visit Japan in 2019, you will have to prepare to pay for a “Sayonara levy” of JPY 1,000 from 7 Jan 2019. This fee, which will be added to the ticket price, applies to Japanese and foreign travellers leaving the country by plane or ship. Don’t let this kill your buzz, though, because the government will be using the income to boost tourism infrastructures in Japan.

It can get frustrating when additional fees are added on top of an already expensive airfare. Let’s just try to remember, however, that millions of people use these airport facilities every day and that little chunk of the fee will go a long way in serving you better in the future.

About Author

Jihan Estrella
Jihan Estrella

Jihan is a neo-Vancouverite who is enjoying discovering her new "hometown". When she is not getting lost in this beautiful metropolitan, she is busy baking fluffy cakes, knitting warm blankets, biking through beach side trails and Netflix-ing any Anna Kendrick movie. While she has a degree in creative writing, she is (surprisingly) doing graphic design professionally. Currently, she is on the hunt (and saving up) for her next big adventure.


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