Foreigners banned from entering PH starting March 22
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday announced that most foreigners will be temporarily barred from entering the Philippines starting March 22 this year as the government combats the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The DOTr said this was in step with the circular issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which provided exceptions.
The DOTr said foreign spouses and their children accompanied by a Filipino national, foreign government and international organization officials would still be allowed to enter.
OFWs can enter
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and repatriating Filipinos will likewise be granted entry, the DOTr noted.
OFWs and foreign nationals will be allowed to leave through any port in Luzon during the enhanced community quarantine. The DOTr said they must show proof of an international travel itinerary scheduled within 24 hours of departure.
The DOTr reiterated that Filipino tourists would not be allowed to leave.
The DFA on Thursday said it was temporarily suspending visa issuance in all its foreign service posts effective immediately. The move will also deem all previously issued visas canceled, and foreigners with visas issued by Philippine foreign service posts will not be allowed entry.
Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals are exempted from this temporary suspension.
Meanwhile, the DOTr said the transport of goods, such as medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to COVID-19 and other humanitarian assistance shall be allowed.
So called recovery flights for foreign nationals will also continue.
The DOTr said only one person may accompany a departing or arriving individual in the airport. The driver must also carry a copy of the airline ticket of the passenger as proof of transport.
Visa issuance suspended
The DFA on Friday said visas of foreigners still in the country remain valid despite the suspension of all visa issuance services by Philippine diplomatic posts abroad beginning Thursday midnight.
“Foreigners currently in the country are allowed to stay until they depart. The Bureau of Immigration is currently addressing issues like expiring visas based on their directive,” the DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez, told reporters on Viber.
In a public advisory, the DFA said all visa-free privileges including those based on visa waiver agreements, those under Executive Order No. 408, Series of 1960, and for holders of Hong Kong and Macau passports and British National Overseas passports will be temporarily suspended beginning at 12 a.m. on March 22.
The suspension, however, would have no impact on foreign nationals already in the country,” the advisory said.
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