International Essentials for Traveling to Philadelphia

Traveling to Philadelphia is a breeze. Follow these local tips and customs for an effortless trip.

Before you take off

COVID-19 Requirements

As of May 12, 2023, international travelers are no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel to the U.S.

For the most up-to-date requirements, visit the CDC website.


Many foreign travelers need visas. To determine your needs, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.


The U.S. and Canada use 110 to 120 volts AC, as opposed to 240 volts in use in most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It’s best to purchase an outlet adapter before traveling to the United States.

At the airport

Airport Information desk.


Once you have landed, it’s a quick and easy trip through Customs. The Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection monitors average wait time per passenger going through Passport Control and Philadelphia International Airport works hard to keep the wait time minimal. The airport offers 24 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the passport control area of Terminal A-West to help ensure a swift experience.

Language Services

International flights are often met by airport employees who speak the native tongue of the departure country. Besides most European languages, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Mandarin, the passenger assistance team also have employees who know Kpelle, spoken in parts of Guinea and Liberia; Malay, spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; and Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. The city also offers a language line for travelers in need of services. It can be reached at 800-648-0170.

Wifi & Charging Stations

The airport offers free WiFi access to everyone with no data limits. In need of a charge? Look for red “Power Up” signs for charging stations with available outlets.

Nursing Mothers

Nursing mothers can take advantage of Mamva, Minute Suites or Companion Care Restrooms, available throughout the airport.


Many services, including skycaps, sighted guides, electric carts and wheelchairs, are provided directly by the airlines. If you require assistance, please notify the appropriate airline.

Visitors with hearing or speech impairments can call the Pennsylvania Relay Service at:

  • 800-654-5984 for TTY relay
  • 800-654-5988 for Voice relay

Visitors with disabilities or medical needs can address any concerns they may have about the policies or procedures at security checkpoints by calling the TSA help line at 855-787-2227.

In the city

Two people walking down a city street holding coffee and chatting.

Sales tax

Most goods in the city have an 8 percent sales tax. This is in addition to the amount on the price tag. Necessities like food and clothing are not taxed, with some exceptions.


Tipping is expected in certain situations. At restaurants, for example, diners should tip 15 percent to 20 percent of the total check. Other tipping guidelines:

  • Bartenders: 10 percent to 15 percent of the total tab
  • Hotel bellhops: $1 to $2 per piece of luggage
  • Hotel cleaning staff: $1 to $5 per day
  • Parking valets: $1 to $2

Visitors guides

Pick up a Philadelphia International Visitors Guide, available in English, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, at the city’s visitor centers.

Philadelphia is one of the world’s most walkable cities with excellent public transportation systems. Learn more visitor basics.

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