Travel restrictions still in place – Immigration

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded the public that travel restrictions, specifically on the ban on foreigners are still in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is the press of release of BI posted on their official Facebook account:

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded the public that travel restrictions set following the Covid-19 pandemic is still in place.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated that foreign tourists are still not allowed in the country.

“Generally speaking, only Filipinos, their spouse and minor children are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas,” said Morente.

Current restrictions likewise allow foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs to enter the country.

Morente stressed that those who are eligible to enter are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates, prior to their arrival.

“We have encountered instances when spouses of Filipinos who previously enjoyed visa-free privileges try to enter the country under the same manner,” said Morente.

It can be recalled that in March, the Department of Foreign Affairs temporarily suspended visa-free privileges, including those to pursuant to visa waiver arrangements. A total of 157 countries previously enjoyed visa-free privileges are now required to secure entry visas from foreign posts.

Travel restrictions still in place

Apart from said categories, accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, foreign airline crew members, foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas, and foreigners with long-term visas are also allowed.

The reminder comes following the petition of the #Loveisnottourism movement, which made waves in social media. Said movement petitions that foreign fiancés of Filipinos be allowed to enter the country.

However, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles yesterday stated that the country is not yet ready to open to foreigners, as it is a step-by-step process and the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases continuous to iron out some issues and set up protocols before this can be allowed.

“We acknowledge the petition of the #Loveisnottourism movement, and we understand how difficult it must be to be separated from your loved one. But this is a temporary measure. We trust the wisdom of the IATF, and we are ready to implement immediately, should there be any changes in travel restrictions,” Morente stated.

Meanwhile, Morente also reminded the public of departure travel restrictions set by the IATF.

Only foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers, permanent visa holders, enrolled abroad and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs, and those who are traveling for essential reasons are allowed to depart the country.

Essential travel, according to Morente, is for immediate business, medical emergency, and other reasons. They may be allowed subject to sufficient supporting documents. “Visiting relatives abroad for a vacation is still not considered under essential travel,” said Morente. “These restrictions were set by the IATF to protect everyone from the threat of Covid-19. If your travel is non-essential, it is best to defer it when the pandemic has subsided,” he added.