FOREIGN nationals with long-term visas will be allowed entry into the Philippines starting August 1.
Malacañang Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. made this announcement on Friday, July 17, saying that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases reached this decision after its meeting on Thursday, July 16.
This also applies to individuals who were born in the Philippines, but have become naturalized citizens of other countries.
“Beginning 01 August 2020, foreign nationals with long-term (immigrant visa under Sec. 13 of CA 613; RA 7919 and EO 324, including native-born foreign nationals) shall be allowed entry in the Philippines while maintaining the priority of returning Overseas Filipinos,” the ITAF-EID Resolution No. 56 reads.
Foreigners who are traveling to the Philippines must have valid and existing visas as no new entry visa would be accepted upon arrival.
Roque also said that foreigners traveling to the Philippines must also comply with quarantine and testing requirements, apart from having valid visas.
“Foreign nationals must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider,” he said.
Roque reiterated that as the airports and seaports in the Philippines are complying with social distancing rules, a maximum capacity of travelers will be enforced. The resolution passed by the IATF says that it will prioritize returning overseas Filipinos in the ports of entry.
While the Philippine government shoulders the quarantine and testing costs for returning overseas Filipino workers, returning Filipinos who are not OFWs normally shoulder the quarantine and test costs out of their own pockets.
The quarantine procedure normally takes at least three days (and maybe up to a week) as arriving passengers have to wait for confirmation from the appropriate agency of their COVID-19 test result.
In March, the Philippines banned the entry of foreign nationals into the country.
Online posts recently circulated stating that Filipinos who are U.S. passport holders and not dual citizens were being denied boarding privileges for their return flights to the Philippines.
This created some confusion for Filipinos in America who had become naturalized U.S. citizens and who did not apply for dual citizenship through the Philippine Embassy or consulate near their area.
Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr. of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco clarified to community advocates that the ban was temporary, and was part of the efforts of the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Dell Merano, area manager of PAL in the Bay Area, previously told the Asian Journal that there have been very limited instances when passengers were not allowed to board their flights in San Francisco International Airport (SFO) because they are U.S. passport holders.
She said that the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco expedited these passengers’ dual citizenship applications upon being advised by PAL. The passengers were able to board the next available flight to the Philippines when they presented their documents.
“Majority of our passengers have been able to board their flights to the Philippines,” Merano said. “Based on our experience, passengers who have had problems come from the interior of the U.S. who use domestic flights coming from their cities to connect with their international flights. These are very minimal in number.”
Merano revealed that they do advise their passengers on the current travel restrictions/regulations to the Philippines and have posted a reminder for passengers to check the Philippine government and provincial websites. She encourages Filipinos who become naturalized citizens of other countries to apply for dual citizenship in order to prevent unnecessary complications when traveling to the Philippines, as this pandemic has shown.
Filipino Americans who are traveling to the Philippines are advised to call the Philippine Consulate in their area and check with representatives of international airlines for any requirements needed to gain entry to the Philippines if they need clarification or more information.
[In the Bay Area, visit www.philippinessanfrancisco.org or call (415) 433-6666 for the Philippine Consulate General. The Consulate in Los Angeles, covering Southern California, Southern Nevada and the state of Arizona, can be reached at www.philippineconsulatela.org or by phone (213) 639-0980. The Consulate in New York, covering 10 states in the East Coast, can be reached at (212) 764-1330 and www.newyorkpcg.org]