After two years of operating with restrictive measures, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has lifted some of the temporary suspensions and exemptions given to aliens that were put in place to curb the spread of COVID 19.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said while Metro Manila and other provinces remain under Alert Level 1 which allows for less stringent movement of individuals, government services are moving back to normal operations.
Morente said the bureau will resume biometrics capturing and fingerprinting of foreign nationals under the Alien Registration Program (ARP) and issuance of Special Security Registration Number (SSRN) as requirements for processing of foreign nationals.
During the pandemic, the BI temporarily suspended biometrics capturing in a bid to lessen physical contact during document processing.
However, BI Alien Registration Division (ARD) Chief Jose Carlitos Licas, Jr. said biometric capturing remains necessary to ensure alien records are complete and accurate.
Licas said the ARD would also resume issuing emigration clearance certificates (ECCs), a document required by law for foreigners who have stayed in the country for more than 6 months.
“The issuance of ECCs, which also requires biometric capturing, must be secured from any authorized BI office at least 72 hours prior to the foreign national’s departure from the country,” he stated.
Licas also said the lifting of the suspension meant that biometrics capturing and fingerprinting for all foreign nationals required for visa renewal as well as other immigration transactions would resume.
Morente renewed his call, however, to continuously follow public health protocols and remain cautious under the new normal.
“The virus is still a threat, but this time we are now armed with the knowledge on how to protect ourselves from it. As we transition to the new normal, we urge the public to continue following health protocols so we may continue to keep each other safe from this virus,” he added.