3 June 2020 Immigration Update

Know Before You Go

I haven’t had a lot of time for writing and updates.  But this news from the embassy today indicates things are going to retun to a state of “new-normal” soon.

All offices of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration have seen closed to the public since the start of the COVID 19 Quarantine.  Now those offices in the area under General Community Quarantine will be accepting clients b appointment to deal with the client’s Immigration needs.

Philippine Bureau of Immigration Update

Under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) publicly announced the following guidelines and measures aimed to achieve social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  1.      Online appointment system in place:
  • Only clients with appointment codes will be served during the specified date and time of their appointments;
  • Clients will need to present government-issued or valid identification cards before they will be allowed to enter the bureau’s premises; and
  • Clients may still use the services of BI-accredited travel agencies and law offices on their behalf.
  1. Clients can review a complete set of instructions and requirements needed for every BI transaction at the bureau’s website.
  2. Clients can address their inquiries and concerns through BI’s online social media platforms and telephone hotlines found on their website.
  3. International travel restrictions remain under GCQ:
  • Operations:  Most international flights remain suspended as a result of the travel restrictions, thus operations at NAIA are still downscaled and personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment;
  • Arrival:  Only Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs); Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents; foreign diplomats; and foreign crew members of airlines are allowed to enter the country; and
  • Departure:  All foreigners can leave anytime, but Filipinos are not allowed to leave unless they are OFWs, permanent residents, or holders of student visas in their countries of destination.

Actions to Take:

  • Contact the airlines directly for reservations and updated information.
  • Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Monitor local news for updates.
  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
  • For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  • Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 here for information on conditions in the Philippines.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
  • Consult resources below as necessary:


U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

1201 Roxas Boulevard

+63(2) 5301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63)(2) 5301-2000.

Please pay attention to the paragraph above highlighted in red.  If you are not a Philippine citizen you will not be admitted to the Philippines.  Plain and simple.  If your airline is on the ball they should deny you boarding there in the states … of curse you have already lost the money you paid for your ticket, because it is your own responsibility to be legal in terms of immigration before buying a ticket.

But many airlines might not check your documents y=until you change planes somewhere along the way … like, say Tokyo.  If you are not on a Philippine passport here, you will be refused boarding and you are stuck,  Either negotiate a ticket back to the USA, or wait in Tokyo until you are “legal”.

Hint, I lived in Tokyo for three years.  You do NOT want to think about the cost of living there.

How long will this restriction last?  I have no idea but I have seen statements from various government officials that indicate the restriction might be in place until 2021.  Bottom line, know before you go …or actually before you buy a ticket.ship

And If You Hold Philippine Citizenship It Is Still Not Easy.

Read this woman’s very recent account of arriving in Manila.  She may still be cooped up in a Manila hotel, waiting for there COVD 19 test results.


Enjoy your travels.

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