Foreigners banned in the Philippines amid COVID-19 threat
March 25, 2020
Amid the roller coaster policies on the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued a temporary travel ban and barred all foreigners from entering the country which started last Sunday, 12:00 AM of March 22, 2020 up to April 12, 2020, the last day of the ECQ.
This policy amid the COVID-19 outbreak might be the answer to the queries of the public that some foreigners from the contagion-hit countries are still allowed to enter the archipelago despite the community quarantine.
With the issuance of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Circular letter No. 29-2020, the National Government has stated the suspension of the visa-free privileges based on Visa Waiver Agreements, those under Executive Order 408, s.1960, and for holders of Hong Kong and Macau SAR passports, Macau-Portuguese passports, and British National Overseas passports.
The temporary travel ban sets three conditions:
1. Filipino migrant workers, repatriated Filipinos, foreign spouses of Filipinos and their children provided that they are travelling with Filipino relatives, foreign government officials and international organization officials accredited to the Philippines are exempted from the travel ban.
2. Filipino tourists are still banned from leaving the country and same thing goes with domestic flights.
3. The clearance of uniformed personnel on land, air and sea travels are still on provided that those trips are for official business most especially those transporting medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to COVID-19 operations and other humanitarian assistance as well.
The DOTr once again reminding the public that only one companion is allowed to bring passengers to the airport. The companion is also advised to carry a copy of the airline ticket of the passenger.
On the other hand, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that all transactions at all immigration offices in Luzon are suspended.
The suspension includes the filing of applications for extension and conversion of visa including the hearing and interviews, application with regards the Filipino citizenship including those in Republic Act 9225, filing for downgrading of visa status, extension of tourist visa, special work permits and provisional work permits, renewal of ACR I-cards and the implementation of the Bureau of Customs approved visa applications for extensions and conversion to non-immigrant visas.
Exceptions are applied to outbound passengers who intends to depart the country from any international airport within Luzon.
Then, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) advised the public that the head office and its regional offices will remain operational during the enhanced community lockdown. For inquiries, concerned citizens can call to these hotline numbers: 7944-2030 or 0917-515-6972.
And still because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following foreign countries have issued temporary travel ban and restrictions on inbound travelers from the Philippines, namely: China, Cook Islands, India, Palestine, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
As of this writing, the Philippines has recorded 636 confirmed cases of COVID-19 where 38 patients died and 26 patients recovered.
The aforementioned information above are constantly changing that’s why travelers are advised to visit the Facebook page of the Department of Transportation for more updates.