Clarification on the exemption on temporary travel ban for arriving foreign nationals

On 21 March 2020, the Bureau of Immigration has released a memorandum clarifying the exemption in relation to the previously issued memorandum on Temporary Travel Ban for Arriving Foreign Nationals.

Who will be affected?

Foreign nationals who will be traveling to the Philippines under the following categories:

  1. Visa Waiver Agreements (AJACS, AJACSSUK, FSC, MCL series)
  2. Special Visas (SRRV, SIRV, ABTC, and economic zone visas, etc.)
  3. 9(a) Entry Visa (Restricted nationals)
  4. Visa free entry privileges (Non-restricted nationals arriving as tourist)
  5. Holders of Hong Kong-SAR, Macau-SAR, Macau-Portuguese, and British National Overseas passports
  6. Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas (i.e. 13 visa, 9(g), 9(f), 9(d), 47(a)(2), etc.)

 

Who will be exempted?

  1. Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals (in case not traveling with the Filipino national, foreign spouse and children should show proof of marriage or filiation)
  2. Officials of Foreign Government and International Organizational accredited to the Philippines with valid visa
  3. Foreign crew members
  4.  Foreign nationals who will be traveling to the Philippines under the following categories are also exempted in the temporary travel ban for arriving foreign nationals:
    a. Permanent Resident Visa of a Chinese National married to a Filipino citizen under MCL-07-021
    b. Permanent Resident Visa of a South Korean National married to a Filipino citizen under MCL-08-003
    c. Holders of diplomatic or 9(e) Visa
    d. Holders of Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
    e. Non-Quota Immigrant by Marriage or 13(a) Visa

 

Background

On 19 March 2020, Pursuant to Proclamation Nos. 929 and 922 series of 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs has issued an advisory on the Temporary Suspension of Visa Issuance and Visa-free Privileges. Hence, foreign nationals under certain visa categories including those with valid 9(a) entry visa previously granted will not be allowed to travel to the Philippines starting 12:00 midnight of 22 March 2020. However, the BI has issued another memorandum clarifying the list of foreign nationals not allowed to enter the Philippines as well as those who are exempted. In addition, this recent memorandum has provided the admission category that shall apply to arriving foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals.

All previous issuances inconsistent with the memorandum dated 21 March 2020 are hereby superseded.

 

Impact

  1. All foreign nationals under the abovementioned categories will be allowed to enter the Philippines starting 12:00 midnight of 22 March 2020 provided that they will show proof that they are holders of a valid visa included in the categories such as original passport with visa stamp and ACR I-Card.
  2. Non-restricted nationals who are not included in the additional exemption and whose visa will expire outside the country, shall be required to apply for a conversion of tourist visa to a non-immigrant again upon their return to the Philippines. Note that a non-immigrant visa that expires outside the country will automatically be downgraded to a tourist or 9(a) visa. Non-restricted nationals will be given a 9(a) visa waiver upon entry to the Philippines provided that they hold the following documents: Outbound ticket to the country of origin or next port of destination and a passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines (with sufficient blank pages).
  3. Restricted nationals who are not included in the additional exemption and whose visa will expire outside the country, shall be required to apply for a conversion of tourist visa to a non-immigrant again upon their return to the Philippines. In addition, restricted nationals shall apply for a 9(a) entry visa to the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country of residence prior to the scheduled travel to the Philippines. Upon arrival to the Philippines, they will be required to present the following documents: valid 9(a) entry visa issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate, an outbound ticket to the country of origin or next port of destination and a passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines (with sufficient blank pages).
  4. Non-visa required spouse and/or children traveling with the Filipino national shall be admitted as a Balikbayan under RA 6768.
  5. Non-visa required spouse and/or children not traveling with the Filipino national shall be admitted under EO 408 (visa-free entry valid for 30 days) subject to assessment and immigration protocols. They also need to present the following: copy of the Marriage Certificate or proof of filiation, outbound ticket to the country of origin or next port of destination and a passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines (with sufficient blank pages).
  6. Visa required spouse and/or children, with 9(a) entry visa, traveling with the Filipino national shall be admitted as per the issued 9(a) entry visa and shall be required to present the following: valid 9(a) entry visa issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate, an outbound ticket to the country of origin or next port of destination and a passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines (with sufficient blank pages).
  7. Visa required spouse and/or children, with 9(a) entry visa, not traveling with the Filipino national shall be admitted as per the issued 9(a) entry visa and subject to assessment and immigration protocols. The spouse and/or children shall be required to present the following: copy of the Marriage Certificate or proof of filiation, valid 9(a) entry visa issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate, an outbound ticket to the country of origin or next port of destination and a passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines (with sufficient blank pages).
  8. Visa required spouse and/or children, without 9(a) entry visa, traveling or not with the Filipino national shall be excluded from entry into the Philippines.

 

Implementation

12:00 midnight of 22 March 2020 until further notice

 

Santa Fe Analysis

  • The Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Foreign Affairs have not set a specific date as to when they will lift the travel ban. Hence, foreign nationals who are affected by the said ban will have to postpone their travel plans indefinitely.
  • Sponsoring entities/companies in the Philippines who will be hiring foreign nationals who are covered by the temporary ban should delay the employment start date of the foreign employees until the ban has been lifted.

 

Santa Fe Relocation is monitoring the situation closely and will provide updated information once available.

 

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Ma. Emmariza Ola
Immigration Manager
Santa Fe Relocation

Philippines
Tel.: +63 917 848 6830
Email: Emmariza.Ola@santaferelo.com

Robert Day
Group Head of Immigration Operations
Santa Fe Relocation

D: +44 7990 021125
Email: Robert.day@santaferelo.com

To read more immigration updates, click here.


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