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Philippine government reminds public: Travel restrictions remain

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MANILA (The Philippine Star) — The Bureau of Immigration on Wednesday reminded the public that travel restrictions remain in place in this time of pandemic and community quarantine.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed that foreign nationals are still not allowed to enter the country. “Generally speaking, only Filipinos, their spouse and minor children are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas,” he explained.

Others who are allowed to come in the country are Filipinos’ foreign children with special needs, foreign parent of minor Filipinos and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs.

Foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, foreign airline crew members, foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas and foreigners with long-term visas are also allowed to enter the country.

Those eligible to enter the country, however, are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates prior to the arrival, Morente said.

The bureau noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs in March temporarily suspended the visa-free privileges of 157 countries. Citizens of these countries are now required to secure entry visas from foreign posts, BI said.

The bureau is issuing the reminder following petitions under the #Loveisnnottourism movement that calls for foreign fiancés of Filipinos be allowed to enter the country.

BI noted that Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday stated that the Philippines is not yet ready to open its borders to foreign nationals, as the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases continue to set up protocols before this can be allowed.

Morente stressed: “We acknowledge the petition of the #Loveisnottourism movement, and we understand how difficult it must be to be separated from your loved one. But this is a temporary measure. We trust the wisdom of the IATF, and we are ready to implement immediately, should there be any changes in travel restrictions.”

The BI commissioner added that departure travel restrictions are still enforced in the country. “Only foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers, permanent visa holders, students enrolled abroad and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs, and those who are traveling for essential reasons are allowed to leave the country,” the bureau said.

Morente also stressed that immediate business, medical emergencies and those for humanitarian reasons are deemed essential and may be allowed subject to supporting documents.

He added: “Visiting relatives abroad for a vacation is still not considered under essential travel...  These restrictions were set by the IATF to protect everyone from the threat of Covid-19. If your travel is non-essential, it is best to defer it when the pandemic has subsided.”

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