THE Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) has allowed foreign nationals stranded in the country to renew their visas that expired during the pandemic until November 30 this year.
According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the latest order covers visas that expired from March 16, 2020 up to July 4, 2021.
He stressed that the deadline is non-extendible, warning foreigners that failure to file their applications before November 30 could be subjected to deportation proceedings for illegally staying in the country.
In addition, foreigners with expiring visas were given a non-extendible period of six months from the expiry of visas to file for renewal or extension of visas.
“The order applies to renewal or amendment of already converted visas, meaning those who have working, student, or resident visas here,” Morente said Friday, July 9.
However, the six-month grace period does not apply to tourists.
Morente said the latest order was in response to numerous extension requests from foreigners whose visas were expiring or about to expire to be given ample time for renewal applications.
He added that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) likewise asked the BI to consider the possibility of giving stranded foreigners due to the pandemic more time to file their application for visa renewal.
Morente maintained that the privilege only applies to foreign nationals who have never left the country since the pandemic began.
“Those whose visas have expired while they are abroad should refile their visa applications if they wish to reacquire the said visas,” he said.
In June, the BI allowed American citizens stranded in the Philippines whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 and are expiring up to December 31, 2021 to depart the country.
A memorandum issued by Morente directed all BI personnel assigned at the different ports to allow the departure of passengers whose American passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 and are expiring up to December 31, 2021.
However, expired passports may only be used for departure to the U.S. until the end of the year, the memo said.
Morente also directed the bureau’s Tourist Visa Section and Alien Registration Division to “process all applications for updating of stay and emigration clearance certificates (ECC) of holders of expired U.S. passports upon presentation of a confirmed ticket bound for the USA.”