Airlines draw immigration red-flag on erring foreigners

The Bureau of Immigration has reminded the different airlines to ensure that only foreigners currently allowed to enter the country are permitted to board their flights bound for the Philippines.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed it is the responsibility of the airlines to ensure that foreign passengers boarding their Philippine-bound flights are eligible to enter the country under the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“We reiterate that only foreigners with valid and existing visas are allowed to enter the country.   The entry of foreign tourists is still temporarily restricted,” Morente said.

He warned the airlines that foreigners currently banned from entering the country will be excluded upon arriving at the airport and booked on the first available flight back to their port origin.   Airlines likewise face fines and sanctions for allowing improperly documented aliens to board.

“Our Port Operations Division immediately circulates to the airlines updates on current travel restrictions. We are thankful that they have been very supportive, and understands that the IATF deems these actions necessary to curb the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our country,” he added.

Port Operations Division Chief Carlos Capulong stated that the ban on the entry of all travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka remains effective until May 14.

Capulong also explained that only aliens with valid and existing immigrant, non-immigrant, and special visas issued by the BI and other government agencies are allowed to enter the country.

However, those who have a 9(a) Temporary Visitors’ Visa, as well as those holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visa, regardless of purpose, may only enter upon the presentation of an entry exemption document from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Capulong made the clarification upon queries of family members of Filipinos that wish to visit their loved ones in the country.

The bureau further reminded that only foreigners qualified for the Balikbayan privilege are exempted from securing entry visas.

Balikbayans are Filipinos and former Filipinos, as well as their foreign spouse and children who are travelling with them.   They may enter and stay in the country for one year visa-free.

Meanwhile, the BI said that they will also be implementing IATF Resolution No. 114, requiring all arriving passengers to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, with the first ten of which will be observed in a quarantine facility.

“Following this, arriving aliens will be required to present a 10-day booking in an accredited quarantine facility. Failure to present a confirmed booking will result in exclusion,” Capulong warned.

Topics: Bureau of Immigration , BI Commissioner Jaime Morente , Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases , IATF
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