FOREIGN pilots and other crew members of international airlines will now be subjected to immigration inspection once they arrive and leave from the various airports nationwide, the Bureau of Immigration said Wednesday.
Commissioner Jaime Morente said immigration arrival and departure formalities for airline crew members has been going on since last month as part of the bureau’s efforts to strengthen border security operations.
Morente observed that unlike in the past when these foreign airline crewmen were allowed to just breeze through immigration counters, their identities and other personal details are now being scrutinized in line with the BI’s mandate to regulate and entry and stay of aliens in the Philippines.
“We have to ensure that these alien crewmen are indeed bona fide employees of the airlines they represent and that they are not included in our blacklist of undesirable or wanted aliens,” the BI chief explained.
He added that the new policy is also consistent with existing international standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Under new guidelines issued by Morente, all crew members of commercial airline flights are required to queue at the designated immigration counter for arrival and departure formalities and present their passport or airline identification card for inspection.
The immigration officer may deny the admission or defer the departure of a crew member, if warranted, such as when the latter is in the blacklist, watchlist or hold departure list of the bureau.
Prior to their arrival or departure from the airport, the airline representative shall submit two copies of the general declaration (Gendec) of the inbound or outbound aircraft.
BI spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said that despite the new policy the six-month rule on passport validity and visa requirements for visa-required foreign nationals still do not apply to foreign airline crew members.