The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said all departing foreign nationals who were issued visas by the Department of Justice, Board of Investments, Philippine Retirement Authority, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and economic zones are now 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 Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Exempted from this directive are those holding an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) from the BI, since they are leaving for good.
Morente also announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) 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 said.
Morente, however, clarified that requirements set during the pandemic are added to regular immigration requirements as safeguard against the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a separate advisory, the BI also said that foreigners with valid and existing visas who have been permitted to enter the country should possess and present unexpired reentry permits upon their arrival. Failing to do so will result to them being 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.
“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 were no longer valid.