Seven months after the country was placed in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel restrictions and the suspension of visas still remain. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has provided for exemption from the travel restrictions on meritorious or humanitarian grounds.
In a Bureau of Immigration press release dated 7 October 2020, Commissioner Jaime Morente reminded that those who are eligible to enter but without a valid Philippine visa are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates prior to their arrival.
Aside from Filipinos (including Dual Citizens), only select foreign nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines (See our article “Updates on Temporary Arrival Travel Restrictions” for the list).
Immediate business, medical emergencies and those that would qualify as “humanitarian reasons” may be granted exemption subject to supporting documents. However, the BI warned that visiting relatives or partners are not considered as “essential travel”. Likewise, foreign fiancés of Filipinos are not yet among those who may be allowed entry.
Foreign nationals or Philippine companies with foreign employees with urgent and essential business purpose in the Philippines may request for travel ban exemption, and this request must be formally endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or any relevant National Government Agencies to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
If granted an exemption, the DFA issues an endorsement which the foreign national must present to the airport (if with valid Philippine visa) or to the nearest Philippine Embassy for application of entry visa (if without valid Philippine visa).
Foreign nationals granted exemption shall be subject to DOH Memorandum No. 2020-0200 on the Guidelines for quarantine and COVID-19 testing procedures.
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