BI urges airlines not to board foreigners with no appropriate visas

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) called on different airlines not to board foreigners bound for the Philippines who do not have the appropriate visas to enter the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente appealed after receiving reports of foreigners who were turned back at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not having visas.

The chief added similar reports were received from the international airports in Mactan, Cebu, and Clark, Pampanga.

Morente reiterated that the airlines’ responsibility to check if the foreigners bound to the Philippines have the proper visas so they would not be inconvenienced if their passengers are excluded upon arriving at the airports.

“Apart from shouldering the cost of returning these to their port of origin, it is also the responsibility of the airlines to defray the expenses of their accommodation at the airport while awaiting their return flights,” the chief added.

Morente also urged the airlines to keep themselves updated on the latest issuances on international travel from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) posted on BI’s website and other social media accounts.

Atty. Candy Tan, Port Operations Division chief, said that they have constantly reminded airlines not to board improperly documented foreigners.

“We understand that sudden change in the policy happens worldwide because of the pandemic. Borders keep on opening and closing, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases,” said Tan. “Hence we are in close coordination with airlines to update them on the policies as directed by the IATF. We are thankful for their cooperation, it’s a difficult time for everyone, especially for the airline industry, and through their support we are able to implement these measures to avoid the surge of cases in the country,” she added.

She said that most of the excluded foreign nationals have Filipino spouses and children in the Philippines but don’t have any visas at all.

“What they have in their possession are usually their marriage certificates and the birth certificates of their children,” Tan added.

urges airlines not to board foreigners with no appropriate visas

The following were allowed to enter the Philippines:

  • Foreign nationals with visas under Executive Order No. 226, as amended by Republic Act No. 8756, those with 47(a)2 visas, and those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, as well as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
  • Foreign nationals with visas under EO 226, as amended by RA 8756, are those working as executives of multinational companies in the Philippines.
  • Those with 47(a)2 visas are special non-immigrants whose visas are granted by the Department of Justice, while Aurora and Subic-issued visas are under special economic zones.
  • Filipinos, their spouse and minor children, foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs were allowed to enter the country are allowed to enter the country as well.
  • Accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, foreign airline crewmembers, foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas, and foreigners with long-term visas are allowed.

Tan emphasized that those who are eligible to enter under a tourist status are still required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates before arrival.

Tan clarified that arriving travelers must undergo regular immigration inspection and present documents needed for their travel.

“Arriving passengers are also required to have a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility before they arrive, and are still subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers set by airport authorities,” said Tan.