On 1 January 2021, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) issued an advisory pursuant to the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated 31 December 2020 to include United States of America on the list of countries that are subject to travel restrictions.

Additionally, the BI has issued an advisory on 5 January 2021 regarding the extension of the proof of payment of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) Waiver in lieu of the Waiver Order for departing passengers.

Who will be affected?

a. Travelers coming from or transiting through the countries listed below within 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines.

1. United Kingdom
2. Denmark
3. Ireland
4. Japan
5. Australia
6. Israel
7. The Netherlands
8. Hong Kong SAR
9. Switzerland
10. France
11. Germany
12. Iceland
13. Italy
14. Lebanon
15. Singapore
16. Sweden
17. South Korea
18. South Africa
19. Canada
20. Spain
21. USA

b. Foreign nationals with approved visas who will depart the Philippines pending the release of their ACR I-Card.

Background

In December 2020, the new strain of COVID-19 (B.1.1.7) had been detected in the United Kingdom. Hence, the Philippine Government put additional measures in place and implemented travel restrictions to countries (refer to the above list of 21 countries included in the restrictions) with confirmed B.1.1.7. Travelers from the restricted countries will not be allowed to enter the Philippines except for Philippine citizens and transiting passengers who will be required to undergo an extensive quarantine period of 14 days regardless of a negative COVID-19 test result.

On 5 January 2021, the BI temporarily adopted the clearance procedure for those foreign nationals with an approved visa and will depart the Philippines pending the release of their ACR I-Card. This measure is an initiative to help the Philippine government contain the spread of the COVID-19. Payment of the ACR I-Card Waiver will suffice as supporting document for foreign nationals who intend to depart the country without a valid ACR I-Card. It will be implemented until 28 February 2021.

Impact

For Arriving Philippine Citizens

  1. Philippine citizens coming from or transiting through (left the airport or were cleared for entry) the countries covered by the travel restrictions will not be restricted from entering the Philippines. However, they are required to undergo the 14-day quarantine period at the facility-based quarantine regardless of a negative COVID-19 test result.
  2. Philippine citizens transiting through any of the restricted countries may not be required to complete the full 14-day quarantine and may be allowed to home quarantine provided that they tested negative on the RT-PCR and they have stayed at the airport the whole time and were not cleared to enter the restricted country by its immigration authorities prior to arrival to the Philippines.

 

For Arriving Foreign Nationals

  1. Foreign travellers merely transiting through any of the countries covered by the restrictions may be allowed entry provided that:
    • They are holders of visas allowed to enter the Philippines pursuant to the relevant IATF-MEID resolutions and BI’s advisories
    • They have stayed at the airport the whole time and were not cleared to enter the restricted country by its immigration authorities prior to arrival to the Philippines
    • Comply with the existing quarantine and immigration protocols and regulations set by the Philippine government for arriving passengers
    • They have secured an approval from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the travel ban exemption and holders of a valid visa issued by any of the Philippine Embassy or Consulate
  2. Those coming from or who have been to countries included in the restrictions within 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines will not be allowed to enter the country. This restriction will apply to all visa categories, special privileges such as the Balkbayan program under RA 6768, and previously issued endorsement or exemption from the DFA during the duration of the travel restrictions.

 

Departing Foreign Nationals

  1. Foreign nationals with approved visas implemented to their passport who intend to depart the Philippines pending the release of the ACR I-Card will not be required to secure an ACR I-Card Waiver Order prior to departure. The mere payment of the ACR I-Card Waiver fees is sufficient. The foreign nationals are required to present the following documents at the airport during the departure formalities:
    • Original passport with implemented valid visa
    • Official receipts of the ACR I-Card waiver application fee and Emigration Clearance Certificate – Reentry Permit (ECC-RP) for Immigrants or Emigration Clearance Certificate – Special Return Certificate (ECC-SRC) for Non-Immigrants.
  2. Foreign nationals shall keep the official receipts of the waiver application and ECC-RP/SRC as these are required to be presented at the airport upon return to the Philippines.

 

Implementation

Effective immediately until 15 January 2021

Santa Fe Analysis

We are monitoring any new updates closely and will provide additional 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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