Immigration clarifies travel restrictions for foreign spouses, children of Filipinos
This 2017 file photo shows the Christmas rush at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
PNA/Avito Dalan, File

Immigration clarifies travel restrictions for foreign spouses, children of Filipinos

(Philstar.com) - December 1, 2020 - 5:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday clarified that foreign spouses and children must travel with their Filipino or former Filipino family or must be coming to the Philippines to visit them to be allowed to enter the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente explained that the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the recent decision to allow entry of foreigners who are families of Filipinos was to reunite them in the country.

“Thus, such intention is not served if the alien comes here when his wife or children are not in the country,” Morente said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force last week said announced that under its Resolution 85, Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and children of Filipinos, regardless of age, may be allowed to enter the country.

Balikbayans or former Filipinos may also be return to the Philippines, under the privileges granted to them in the Republic Act 6768.

BI over the weekend said they will grant visa-free entry privileges to tourists under the Balikbayan Program starting December 7. 

BI said arriving dependents of Filipinos or former Filipinos may be denied entry if they are not travelling with Filipino or former Filipino family, or if their Filipino family is not in the Philippines.

“The intent of the relaxed restriction for balikbayans is to allow families to reunite this holiday season. Apart from those exempted by the IATF, others who will be entering under a tourist status will still not be allowed,” Morente stressed.

Guidelines for returning balikbayans

BI said that inbound balikbayans must be from visa-free countries as listed under Executive Order 408, s. 1960.

They must also have a pre-booked quarantine facility and COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport. They must also be subjected to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, BI also said.

Morente meanwhile said dependents, including minors, of Filipino citizens going to the Philippines may still enter the country even if they are travelling with them, but are joining them in the Philippines. However, they must first 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,” Morente said.  “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.

Foreign parents of Filipinos who are minors may also enter the country, but must also first secure an entry visa. “The Balikbayan privilege may not be extended to other members of the family,” Morente added. — Kristine Joy Patag

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