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BI to allow more foreigners in Philippines
In an advisory released yesterday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said those with valid and existing visas who were not permitted to enter the country under the previous IATF resolutions are now allowed to enter.
STAR/ File

BI to allow more foreigners in Philippines

Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will allow more foreigners to enter the Philippines starting Tuesday, following the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) resolution 98 that expanded the list of foreign nationals allowed entry in the country.

In an advisory released yesterday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said those with valid and existing visas who were not permitted to enter the country under the previous IATF resolutions are now allowed to enter.

The new BI list includes foreigners with valid working visas, student visas, Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) and Special Investors Residence Visa (SIRV) under Executive Order 63.

In March last year, the government imposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status in the entire of Luzon to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“It will allow those who were unable to return due to the travel restrictions. However, those whose visas were issued after March 20 would still need to present an exemption from the Department of Foreign Affairs upon entry,” Morente noted.

Resolution 98 adds that holders of Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) and the temporary visitor’s visa may also be allowed to enter, as long as they present an entry exemption document.

Candy Tan, BI port operations division chief, clarified though that not all tourists may be allowed entry in the country at this time.

“Tourists would need to present a pre-applied entry exemption document. The entry exemption document may be requested from the DFA’s Philippine posts abroad, subject to their assessment and approval,” she said.

Tan added that the visa-free privileges of foreigners from 157 countries remain suspended.

“Those who wish to enter the country under a tourist status must secure an entry visa first. Only those that fall under the balikbayan privilege may be granted a visa-free entry,” she explained. The term balikbayan refers to a former Filipino, his or her spouse and their children.

She reiterated that only those traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino spouse and are nationals of visa-free countries under EO 408 are entitled to the balikbayan privilege.

“If they will be entering the country without the Filipino or former Filipino spouse, then they would have to secure an entry visa,” Tan said.

All passengers, she added, are required to have a pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility.

“Despite the inclusion of other categories, we are not expecting a major upsurge since the number of arriving passengers remain controlled. Arrivals are subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers set by the National Task Force for Covid-19,” Tan noted.

Morente warned that those who were cleared for entry but will be subsequently found to have presented a fake booking for a quarantine facility accredited with the Department of Tourism (DOT) will be referred to the BI for deportation proceedings.

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