The Bureau of Immigration released a major announcement on Saturday, August 8, regarding the travel requirements for foreign spouses of Filipinos as well as their minor children. It noted that foreign spouses of Filipinos and their dependents can only enter the Philippines if they have the appropriate visas.
The Bureau of Immigration noted that the entry visa may be applied for at the nearest Philippine foreign service post, and the new rule takes effect starting Sunday, August 9, 2020.
BI: Foreign Spouses, Minor Children of Returning Filipinos Need Entry Visas to the Philippines
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, in a statement, warned: “Foreign spouses of Filipinos must now secure entry visas from our Consulates abroad before traveling to the Philippines. Otherwise, they will be denied entry by our immigration officers and sent back to their ports of origin,” reported GMA News Online.
“It is clear from the latest updates from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution 60 that foreigners, including spouses of Philippine citizens, allowed to enter country must have the proper visas prior their arrival in the country,” Morente added.
He explained that before the issuance of Resolution 60 of the IATF-EID, foreigners married to Filipinos needed only to present their marriage certificates and other proof of matrimonial relationship before they are allowed entry to the country.
However, this is no longer the case, Morente clarified, referring to the latest IATF-EID resolution.
According to the latest resolution, all persons mentioned in the following list are allowed to enter the Philippines:
- Foreign spouse and minor children of Filipinos
- Children with special needs (regardless of age) of Filipinos
- Foreign parent of minor Filipinos
- Foreign parent of children with special needs (regardless of age) of Filipinos
- Accredited foreign government and international organisation officials and their dependents
- Foreign airline crew members
- Foreign seafarers with 9(c) visa
- Foreign nationals with long-term visas
However, with the exemption of Filipinos and foreign airline crew members, all persons entering the Philippines need to comply with the four conditions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). These conditions are:
- must have a valid and existing visa at the time of entry
- with pre-booked accredited quarantine facility
- with pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider
- subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers as set by the National Task Force for COVID-19
Aside from foreign spouses and minor children of Filipinos, the following also need to apply for an entry visa at the nearest Philippine foreign service post:
- children with special needs (regardless of age) of Filipinos
- foreign parent of minor Filipinos
- foreign parent of children with special needs (regardless of age) of Filipinos
Commenting on the new protocol, BI Port Operations Acting Chief Grifton Medina, clarified that foreign spouses, dependents, and parents of Filipinos who already hold permanent and temporary resident visas do not need to apply for a new entry visa and may enter the country anytime.
“Those aliens who already hold valid permanent and temporary resident visas which they acquired because of marriage to Filipinos under Section 13(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act can enter the country anytime,” Medina said.
In line with this, Medina also reminded foreign spouses of Filipinos to always bring with them their authenticated marriage certificate and other supporting documents when they travel to the Philippines for BI officials to check if needed.
As for exiting the country, only the following will be allowed to leave:
- foreign nationals
- overseas Filipino workers (does not apply where the destination has existing travel restriction[s])
- permanent visa holders
- students enrolled abroad and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs
The announcement also emphasized that Filipinos who will embark on essential travel for business and work, medical, emergency or humanitarian reasons may also be allowed to exit the country subject to sufficient supporting documents, on the premise that their destination has no travel restriction.