Visa-free entry for ‘balikbayans’ starting Dec. 7

Published November 28, 2020, 4:20 PM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that “balikbayans” will be allowed visa-free entry starting Dec. 7.

Balikbayans are former Filipinos and spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morenteb said that the one-year privilege is also extended to their foreign spouse and children.

“Following the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), we have devised guidelines to guarantee the smooth implementation of the policy,” Morente said.

The procedure requires inbound balikbayans to come from visa-free countries and have a pre-booked quarantine facility.

They must also have a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at the airport laboratory.

Morente further reminded that former Filipinos who wish to avail themselves of the balikbayan privilege should present their old Philippine passports or a copy of their birth certificate to the Immigration officer upon arrival, while their spouses and children shall present their marriage certificates and birth certificates, respectively.

The balikbayan program was launched by the government in 1989 to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos visit their motherland.