MANILA – Balikbayans or former Filipinos, including their spouses and children who are traveling with them may enter the Philippines starting Dec. 7.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Nov. 28 that they will be granting visa-free entry privileges to tourists falling under the Balikbayan Program.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the one-year balikbayan privilege shall be granted to former Filipinos, their foreign spouses and children who are traveling with them.
“Following the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), we have devised guidelines to guarantee the smooth implementation of the policy,” he said.
The policy requires inbound balikbayan tourists to:
(i) be from visa-free countries under Executive Order No. 408, s.1960;
(ii) have a pre-booked quarantine facility;
(iii) have a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and
(iv) be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.
Morente further reminded that former Filipinos who wish to avail of the balikbayan privilege should present their old Philippine passports or a copy of their birth certificate to the immigration officer upon arrival, while their spouses and children should present their marriage certificates and birth certificates, respectively. He also recommended queuing together for easier verification and processing.
The Balikbayan Program as instituted by Republic Act 6768, amended by Republic Act 9174, was launched by the Philippine Government in 1989 to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate.
“Other travel restrictions for inbound passengers remain in effect,” the BI said. - BI, FJJ