Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente clarified that foreign seafarers with valid 9(c) visas are allowed to enter the country.
In a statement, Morente said that by virtue of the latest Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) directive issued on Monday, March 29, foreign seafarers are allowed to enter via airports and seaports.
The BI chief explained that seafarers would be undergoing crew change at the country’s green lanes.
According to BI bay service section chief Alnazib Decampong, the green lanes were launched by the government to promote the Philippines as a hub for crew change for international maritime vessels and facilitate the movement of sailors in the region during the pandemic.
Crew change hubs are located in Manila, Bataan, Batangas, Subic, Cebu, and Davao.
“The entry of foreign seafarers that will undergo crew change is essential in keeping the maritime industry afloat,” said Decampong.
Currently, only Filipinos and their parents, spouse, and children who are traveling with them are allowed to enter the country, but must have a valid and existing visa a the time of entry.
Also allowed to enter are diplomats and members of international organizations, and their dependents with a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)2 visa.
Aliens arriving for emergency and humanitarian cases may also be allowed to enter as well as foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.