Gov’t reviewing policy on entry of foreign travelers

Published October 18, 2020, 4:49 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is studying whether or not to lift the restrictions on the entry of foreign travelers into the country, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said over the weekend.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Nograles bared the latest study by the Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Infectious Disease on the inbound travel restrictions for foreigners after the government has allowed the non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos starting Oct. 21.

“Pinag-aaralan doon sa inbound (The inbound travel is under study). Like I said, one step at a time,” Nograles said during a forum on Facebook Saturday night.

Nograles noted that the “government recognizes that there are foreign citizens abroad who want to spend the holidays with their loved ones and fiancées here in the Philippines.”

The government has restricted the entry of foreigners since March as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak. 

So far, only Filipinos, foreign spouses and children are allowed entry to the country. Foreign spouses, minor children including those with special needs of Filipinos as well as foreign parents of Filipino children with special needs may enter the country provided they secure or possess the appropriate visas. Those eligible to enter are required to obtain an entry visa from the Philippine embassies or consulates in their points of origins before traveling.

According to the immigration bureau, accredited foreign government and international organization officials, foreign airline crew members and seafarers, and foreigners with long-term visas are also allowed to enter the country.

Nograles said the government will look into request for entry of some foreign workers on a case-by-case basis.

“If it’s work related and necessary or desirable or important or urgent ‘yung type na work na kailangang gawin sa bansa, dumadaan sa proseso ‘yan. There’s a process na kailangan sundin, mga papeles, mga requirements na kailangan ipakita para payagan ang foreigner na pumunta dito inbound. (If it’s work-related, the work needed in the country is necessary, desirable, important or urgent, that will go through the process. There’s a process that must be followed, papers and requirements must be submitted to allow the entry of a foreigner here),” Nograles said.

Nograles made it clear that Filipinos who possess dual citizenship with a Philippine passport may also enter the country.

“If you don’t have a Philippine passport, then you will be treated as a foreign national subject to the same rules, must be work related, must submit papers. It will be case-to-case basis,” he added.