PRESS RELEASE 2020 December 01BI reminds: Aliens families of Pinoys can’t come to PH if not traveling, joining them
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) advised foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens not to travel to the Philippines if the Filipino or former Filipino is not traveling with them or is not in the Philippines, lest they be turned back upon their arrival at the airport.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the advisory after the bureau received a clarification from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) explaining the rationale behind the recent decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to lift the restrictions on the entry of foreigners who are immediate family members of Filipinos.“The intent of the IATF resolution was to enable foreigners to reunite with their families in the Philippines. Thus, such intention is not served if the alien comes here when his wife or children are not in the country,” Morente said.As a consequence, Morente stressed that arriving dependents of Filipinos or former Filipinos may be denied entry if the immigration officer finds that said Filipino or former Filipino is not traveling with them or is not in the country.
The BI chief said that they received queries from foreigners who complained they were not allowed by the airlines to board their flights to Manila because their Filipino spouses are not in the Philippines."The intent of the relaxed restriction for balikbayans is to allow families to reunite this holiday season," said Morente. "Apart from those exempted by the IATF, others who will be entering under a tourist status will still not be allowed," he clarified.On Saturday, the BI announced that they will be resuming granting visa-free entry privileges to tourists falling under the Balikbayan Program starting December 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, series of 1960. They are eligible for a 1-year stay in the country, without the need to apply for an entry visa but must be traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino principal.Inbound Balikbayans are required to: (i) be fromvisa-free countries under Executive Order No. 408, s.1960; (ii) have a pre-booked quarantine facility; (iii) have a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and (iv) be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.Morente clarified that if the dependents are not traveling with the principal but are joining him in the country, they may still enter if the principal is still a Filipino citizen, and if the dependent child is a minor, but will have to secure an entry visa from the Philippine post abroad.
“The Balikbayan privilege is specifically for spouse and children of a Filipino or a Former Filipino only, who is traveling with him,” clarified Morente.“If they are not traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino spouse, and are just joining him in the Philippines, then they may be allowed to enter if they secure an entry visa, but with a limited stay in the country,” he added.
Morente said that foreign parents of minor Filipinos arealso eligible for entry, but are also required an entry visa."The Balikbayan privilege may not be extended to other members of the family," said Morente.Other travel restrictions for inbound passengers, according to the BI, remain in effect.
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