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Airplanes at the PHL airport.

International Essentials

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

Before you take off


Many foreign travelers need visas to enter the United States. 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.

Airplane landing in Philadelphia, PA

At the airport


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 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. The PHL passenger assistance team has employees who know Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Mandarin, Kpelle, Malay, Amharic, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Mandarin, and most European languages. 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. Need to charge your phone or device? 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.


The PHL Wingmate Pass is an exclusive amenity allowing non-ticketed guests access to the secure side of the airport. The pass allows guests to walk throughout the concourse, shop and dine, and to greet friends, family, and colleagues directly at their arrival gate.


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 Cares help line at 855-787-2227.

Currency Exchange

Terminal A West features a TravelEx branch, offering currency exchange facilities. Currency One operates currency-exchanging counters in Terminals A East and B.

Philadelphia International Airport

In the city

Sales tax

Most goods in the city have an eight percent sales tax, in addition to the amount on the price tag. Food sold at grocery stores, clothing, and shoes are not taxed, with some exceptions.


Tipping is expected in certain situations in the United States. In most cases, it is acceptable to tip in cash. Here are some tipping guidelines:

  • Restaurant server: 15 percent to 20 percent of the total check.
  • Read your receipt before tipping as some restaurants include gratuity in the total cost.
  • Bartenders: 10 percent to 15 percent of the total tab.
  • Hotel bellhops: $1 to $2 per piece of luggage.
  • Hotel cleaning staff: $2-$5 per day.
  • Parking valets: $5.
  • Cab/ride share drivers: 10 percent to 15 percent of the total cost.

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.

Family reading a pamphlet next to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA.