PH resumes stamping on Chinese passports with nine-dash line map

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019   •   738

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday (November 6) announced that it will resume stamping of Philippine visa on Chinese regular e-passports.

“We support this policy update of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement.

The BI stopped stamping visas directly on Chinese passports in 2012 under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III in protest to the map of China imprinted on it which shows China’s aggressive claims over the South China Sea using the undefined demarcation line referred to as the “nine-dash line” that encompasses the contested territories such as the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.

This claim was invalidated in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration saying it has no legal basis.

But China has never accepted the international court’s ruling in favor of the Philippines but instead, carried on with its reclamation activities in the disputed territories.

The practice of using a separate sheet for Chinese travelers came after a month-long standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the Scarborough Shoal in that same year.

In a memorandum issued by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, immigration officers are instructed to affix their stamps adjacent to the Philippine visa of a regular e-passport presented by a Chinese passenger in compliance with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) foreign service circular.

This change in policy, Morente said, will address security concerns associated with stamping Philippine visas on a separate paper.

“We support this policy update of the DFA,” said Morente.

“In the past, we have also expressed security concerns over the old practice because sheets of papers can easily be lost,” he added.

Phl extends travel ban; allows aliens with travel exemption

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that foreigners who were given entry documents prior to the implementation of last month’s travel ban may now enter the country.

In an advisory issued by the Bureau, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners with entry exemption documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before March 22 are now allowed to enter the country amid an extension of travel restrictions to April 30.

The revised rule is pursuant to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Morente said other foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering the Philippines and that the Balikbayan privilege for former Filipinos remains suspended.

“The foreign parents, spouse, and children of Filipinos may enter the country, provided they are traveling with the Filipino principal, and have a valid entry visa,” he said on Sunday (April 18).

Based on the IATF’s policy, aliens with valid entry visas currently allowed to enter the country include:

* Diplomats and members of international organizations with valid 9(e) or 47(a) (2) visas;
* Those involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); and
* Seafarers with 9(c) visa for crew change; and (4) those with emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) or his authorized representative.

Morente said travel exemptions are without prejudice to the mandate of the BI to conduct strict screening and formalities on all arriving foreigners.

Aliens not traveling with Filipino kin not allowed to enter PH during travel ban — BI

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday (April 8) announced anew that foreign parents, spouses and children of Filipino citizens cannot enter the Philippines if they are not traveling with the latter.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated that said existing guidelines on international travel set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) do not allow the entry of foreign parents, spouses, and children of Filipinos if they are traveling alone.

Also, said foreigners should possess valid visas secured in the country’s foreign posts abroad to be able to enter the country.

Morente added that the Balikbayan privilege, which allows the visa-free entry of foreign spouses and children of Filipinos, remains suspended.

The reminder was issued following reports that a handful of aliens were denied at the airports for attempting to enter the country without their Filipino spouse, children, or parent.

Morente stressed that airlines are directed to ensure that only foreigners eligible to enter the country during the implementation of the travel restrictions are allowed to board their Philippine-bound flights.

The Philippines reimposed a ban on the entry of foreigners last month amid the resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The ban, which started last March 22, remains in effect until April 21.

Aside from prohibiting the entry of foreigners, the IATF also ordered a reduction in the number of inbound international travelers to only 1,500 a day.

BI reminds selected aliens with BI-issued visas still need travel pass to leave PH

Marje Pelayo   •   March 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified that some foreign nationals holding visas issued by the agency will be required to present a travel pass before departing from the Philippines.

In an advisory, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said a departing alien must obtain a travel pass from the BI if he or she is a special non-immigrant who is exempted from securing emigration clearance certificate (ECC) and special return certificate (SRC) when leaving the country.

The said ruling is in compliance with an Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) resolution.

The said resolution requires visa issuing authorities to issue a travel pass to departing aliens who were issued visas pursuant to the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and other special laws governing visa-issuing agencies, except those holding ECCs issued by the BI.

According to Morente, the ruling was crafted by the IATF to allow the BI to be the central repository of data of all foreign nationals in the country.

“While in the meantime, the data is being transmitted to us manually, we hope that in the near future we can start automatic data sharing,” he stated.

Morente advised concerned foreigners to apply for their travel pass at the office of the BI board secretary at the bureau’s main bldg. in Intramuros, Manila.

Applicants for the pass shall submit an accomplished application form and submit a copy of their passport’s biopage, airline ticket, and visa implementation page at least seven (7) days before departure.

Among the aliens who need a travel pass are those who were issued:
* Special Visas for Employment Generation (SVEG)
* Special Non-Immigrant Visa under Republic Act No. 8756 in relation to Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code
* Special non-immigrant visas under PD 1034
* permanent resident visas under Republic Act No. 7837

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