BI reminds selected aliens with BI-issued visas still need travel pass to leave PH

Marje Pelayo   •   March 11, 2021   •   645

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified that some foreign nationals holding visas issued by the agency will be required to present a travel pass before departing from the Philippines.

In an advisory, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a departing alien must obtain a travel pass from the BI if he or she is a special non-immigrant who is exempted from securing emigration clearance certificate (ECC) and special return certificate (SRC) when leaving the country.

The said ruling is in compliance with an Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) resolution.

The said resolution requires visa issuing authorities to issue a travel pass to departing aliens who were issued visas pursuant to the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and other special laws governing visa-issuing agencies, except those holding ECCs issued by the BI.

According to Morente, the ruling was crafted by the IATF to allow the BI to be the central repository of data of all foreign nationals in the country.

“While in the meantime, the data is being transmitted to us manually, we hope that in the near future we can start automatic data sharing,” he stated.

Morente advised concerned foreigners to apply for their travel pass at the office of the BI board secretary at the bureau’s main bldg. in Intramuros, Manila.

Applicants for the pass shall submit an accomplished application form and submit a copy of their passport’s biopage, airline ticket, and visa implementation page at least seven (7) days before departure.

Among the aliens who need a travel pass are those who were issued:
* Special Visas for Employment Generation (SVEG)
* Special Non-Immigrant Visa under Republic Act No. 8756 in relation to Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code
* Special non-immigrant visas under PD 1034
* permanent resident visas under Republic Act No. 7837

BI warns foreign nationals against fake immigration services

Marje Pelayo   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has warned the public against a circulating document from a Philippine-based company that is allegedly charging money to its employees, who are foreign nationals, for extra services that provide immigration assistance.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he was able to obtain a copy of the said document which shows a breakdown of fees in exchange for immigration airport assistance.

Morente said based on the document, the company allegedly charged the following services with a hefty amount:
P5,000 for Airport Assistance Fee
P5,000 for processing fee
P20,000 for a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Invitation Letter

“It seems that this company is using the name of government agencies to be able to charge such high rates to its employees,” he added.

The BI chief reiterated that the agency does not collect any ‘immigration assistance’ fees from foreign nationals.

The Immigration Bureau earlier released several advisories warning the public about individuals pretending to be BI employees involved in such fraudulent activities.

“Be wary of falling prey to these scammers. Immediately report to the authorities if you encounter such a modus,” Morente said, adding that they are now studying possible legal actions against said company.

BI reminds public: Travel ban on 7 countries stays; tourists still not allowed in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that the travel ban on seven countries due to emerging COVID-19 variants in their domain is still in effect.

In an advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed that passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are still not allowed to enter the country until June 15, following the pronouncement of the Palace.

The BI said it is committed to strictly implement the said measure.

“Those who have a travel history from said countries within the last 14 days from the date of their arrival in the Philippines, will also be prohibited from entering the country,” said Morente.

“However, those who will only be transiting in the region—meaning they will not exit the airport and will not be cleared by immigration authorities there, and will only be landing for a layover, may be allowed to enter the Philippines,” he added.

In addition to this, foreign nationals entering the country for tourism purposes are still not allowed.

“Only Filipinos, Balikbayans, and foreign nationals with valid and existing visas who are not coming from the 7 restricted countries may be allowed to enter the Philippines,” BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong.

“Those who will be entering under a 9(a) Temporary Visitors’ Visa or a Special Resident Retirees Visa would need to present an entry exemption document to be allowed to enter,” he added.

Morente said that with the aggressive vaccination drive of the government, he is hopeful that travel restrictions will ease in the latter part of the year.

Foreigners’ unused entry exemptions docs considered expired starting June 1 – BI

Marje Pelayo   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Starting June 1, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that foreign nationals with entry exemption documents (EEDs) issued before February 8 this year will no longer be allowed entry.

In an advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the BI will implement the said travel guidelines pursuant to a communication received from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“We were informed by the DFA that entry exemption documents now have a validity of 90 days from the date of issuance,” said Morente.

“As an effect, we were informed that all issued before February 8 are deemed expired by June 1,” he added.

Thus, aliens who are still holding said EEDs that remain unused must enter the country on or before May 31.

Meanwhile, entry exemptions issued by the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) during the travel ban from March 22 to April 30 may still be used until May 31.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong said this was allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in a resolution passed earlier this month which ruled that entry exemptions issued by the NTF shall be recognized as valid until May 31.

Capulong added that in compliance with the IATF-MEID resolution, all 9(A) visa holders, as well Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) holders, are required to secure entry exemptions from the DFA to be allowed entry into the Philippines.

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