MANILA – Foreigners with approved visa applications will be allowed to leave the Philippines even without visas stamped on their passports, the Bureau of Immigration said, as travel in and out of the country remained restricted over the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“I have instructed our Port Operations Division (POD) to allow the departure of foreigners with approved but unimplemented visas, provided they meet certain conditions during this critical period,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement issued Friday.
The BI chief said this would give foreigners the chance to return to their countries during the lockdown period in Luzon- where key airports are located- despite not fully completing visa application procedures.
Under regular BI procedure, foreigners with approved visa applications are required to submit their passports for the bureau to affix the visa.
Morente said the visas can be revalidated and implemented when they return to the Philippines.
BI POD Chief Grifton Medina said in lieu of the visa stamp, foreigners shall present to the immigration officer a valid passport, printout of his name in the agenda when said visa was approved, Department of Justice Indorsement, or Certification from the approving office whichever is applicable; and official receipts of reentry and exit permit fees.
“Before clearing the passenger for departure the immigration officer shall instruct the alien to immediately proceed to the BI main office upon return to apply for revalidation of his visa and its implementation on his passport,” Medina added.
The immigration office earlier advised foreigners to stay at home and not go out to apply for visa extension during the lockdown.
Morente said foreigners whose visas will be expiring during the lockdown period shall not be fined as long as they filed applications within 30 days from the lifting of the ECQ.
The Department of Health on Friday said there are now 3,018 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines and 136 deaths.