Dubai: Foreigners married to Filipino nationals can enter the Philippines if they already have existing visas previously issued to them by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI), Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente clarified on Friday.
The rule also applies to spouses of Filipino nationals who are UAE residents.
In a post on the official BI Facebook page, Morente explained: “(Foreign) spouses can enter the Philippines as long as the visas that were issued to them by the Bureau are still valid.”
“If you are married to a Philippine citizen and a holder of a valid visa that you obtained from the Bureau, you may enter the country without the need to secure an entry visa from your port of origin,” Morente underlined.
“The visa that you hold will suffice as basis for our immigration officers to admit you upon your arrival in our ports of entry,” he added.
Morente said he issued the clarification to address reports of alleged confusion over the BI’s earlier pronouncement.
In a press release issued on August 8, the BI told foreigners who have Filipino spouses and dependents that they can “only enter the Philippines if they have the appropriate visas”.
“It is clear from the latest updates from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution 60 that foreigners, including spouses of Philippine citizens, allowed to enter country must have the proper visas prior to their arrival in the country,” Morente said in a statement.
He added that the same requirement applies to children of Philippine citizens and children with special needs, regardless of age, as well as to foreign parents of Filipinos and children with special needs, also regardless of age.
Morente pointed out that prior to the issuance of the said IATF-EID resolution, foreign nationals married to Filipinos were indeed allowed to enter the country upon presentation of their marriage certificates and other proof of their matrimonial relationship.
“But that is no longer the case with the issuance of this latest IATF-EID resolution,” he underlined.
On Friday, Morente stressed, “it would be impractical to require foreign spouses, dependents and parents of Filipinos to secure new visas if they already have visas that are still valid in their possession.
“Only foreigners married to Filipinos who do not possess any visa at all are required to secure entry visas to be able to enter our country.”
Morente, however, warned that “aliens” with existing visa but possess expired “Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards (ACR I-Cards)” will be denied entry. They will be required to renew it before traveling to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, a memorandum issued on August 12 by BI Port Operations division acting chief Grifton Medina clarified that alien spouses, minor dependents and parents of Filipino minors are no longer required to secure visas if they already possessed valid visas issued by the BI.
Medina said these visas need not only be those that were issued to aliens by reason of their marriage to Filipinos.
“For example, a holder of a valid 9(g) working visa or a Special Retiree’s Resident Visa (SRRV) can enter the country if he or she is married to a Filipino. They need not apply for a new entry visa from our Philippine Consulates abroad,” Medina said.
Medina said that foreign spouses of Filipinos exempted from the travel ban also cover former Filipinos who have been naturalised as citizens of other countries. He said: “They may join their spouses or children so long as they secure or possess the appropriate visas.”