The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that it will be implementing resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on the inventory of foreign nationals.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, following the IATF resolution, visa issuing agencies are mandated to provide the BI a list of foreign nationals to whom they issued visas.
“It’s not just the BI that issues visas for foreign nationals. There are a lot of other government agencies that issue visas, without the need for registration with the Bureau,” said Morente. “Hence in the past, it was difficult for the agency to come up with a full report on the number of foreign nationals in the Philippines,” he added.
Morente stated that the move would allow the BI to be the central repository of data on foreign nationals issued visas in the country. “This is a major step for the Bureau, as it has always been a challenge in monitoring aliens,” he shared. “While for the meantime, the data is being transmitted to us manually, we hope that in the future we will be able to automate data sharing,” he added.
The BI shared that the IATF also required all departing foreign nationals who were issued visas by the Department of Justice, the Board of Investments, the Philippine Retirement Authority, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and economic zones will be required to present a travel pass upon departure, starting March 1.
“Foreign nationals issued visas by these agencies will need to present the travel pass to the immigration officer upon departure,” said Morente. “Exempted are those holding an Emigration Exit Clearance (ECC) because they are leaving for good,” he added.
Meanwhile, IATF Resolution No. 100 has removed the reckoning date of March 20, 2020 for aliens now allowed to enter the country. “In effect, those with valid and existing 9(g), 9(f), SVEG and SIRV under EO 63 visas shall be allowed entry, without the need to present an entry exemption document,” Morente shared.
Morente, however, clarified that requirements set during the pandemic are added to regular immigration requirements as safeguard against the further spread of Covid-19.
The BI, in a separate advisory, also reminded that foreigners with valid and existing visas who are now allowed to enter the country should possess and present unexpired reentry permits upon their arrival or they will be turned back at the airport.
The Philippine immigration act requires all foreigners registered with the bureau and who were issued alien certificate of registration (ACR I-Card) to present valid reentry permits (RPs) or special return certificates (SRC) when returning to the Philippines.
BI implements inventory of foreign nationals, expansion of scope of allowed aliens in country
“Failure to present these RP/SRCs shall constitute a ground for exclusion and the alien passenger shall be denied entry and boarded on the first available flight to his or her port of origin,” Morente warned.
He explained that the RP and SRC, which is valid for one year, are issued to aliens who are holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas, respectively, and these are secured and paid prior to their departure from the Philippines.
Thus, departing immigrants and non-immigrants should keep a copy of the official receipt of their paid reentry fees which they will have to present to immigration officers at the airport upon their return to the Philippines.
Nonetheless, Morente said aliens with expired RP and SRC who intend to return to the Philippines may still regain their privilege to reenter the country by asking their authorized representative to renew their permits at the BI main office and its satellite and extension offices in Manila.
The BI chief issued the statement after scores of foreigners were denied entry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the past several days for having expired reentry permits.
On Thursday alone, the BI port operations division reported that eight Chinese nationals were excluded at the NAIA 1 terminal due to expired SRCs.
It was learned that the alien passengers all left the country in January 2020, thus they have been out of the country for more than a year and their reentry permits are no longer valid.