A scene at the Manila Airport Terminal 1 on January 6, 2021
A scene at the Manila Airport Terminal 1 on January 6, 2021. Image Credit: Jay Hilotin / Gulf News

MANILA: More foreign nationals will be allowed to enter the Philippines following lockdowns imposed in December following the reported emergence of more infectious strains of the coronavirus, the government announced. Foreigners with valid visas can now enter the country starting February 16, 2021, according to the presidential palace.

The Inter–Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has announced the decision to allow entry for foreigners with visas issued as of March 20, 2020 and are still valid at the time of entry. Moreover, holders of valid and existing Special Resident and Retirees Visa (SRRV) and Section 9 (A) visas are also allowed to enter the Philippines — as long as they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival, according to Harry Roque, spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Fact file: What is Section 9 (A)
Section 9 (A) or temporary visitor’s visa is issued to foreign nationals coming to the Philippines for business, tourism or medical purposes.

Tourists still not allowed

Roque told reporters in Manila: “Tourists [are] not allowed still unless with exemption...The Commissioner of Immigration has the exclusive prerogative to decide on waiver or recall of exclusion orders for all foreign nationals allowed to enter the country under relevant IATF resolutions,” Roque stated


All foreign nationals allowed to enter the country are required to have pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility. Many of the top hotels in Manila and key cities in the country had been designated as quarantine facilities, who operate with bare-bones staff, and operate under strict safety protocols. On the sixth day from the date of their arrival in the Philippines, foreigners allowed to enter are required