By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday clarified that only fully vaccinated foreign nationals coming from over 150 countries are allowed to enter the country without a visa starting February 10.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners whose country of nationality is not listed under Executive Order (EO) 408 cannot avail of the visa-free privilege and are required to secure visas before traveling to the Philippines.
Under the EO, nationals from 157 countries may be admitted into the country without a visa for an initial stay of 30 days.
The nations include Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United States, New Zealand, Malaysia, and South Korea.
The BI chief said foreign tourists from countries not listed under EO need to secure a 9(a) visa and an entry exemption document (EED) through any of the Philippine embassies or consulates abroad.
“They should also be fully vaccinated or else they will be denied entry even if they have valid 9(a) visas and EED,” he added.
Morente said all foreigners entering the country are now required to present the appropriate proof of full vaccination as set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Visitors who will fail to comply will be turned back at the airports and booked on the first available flight to their port of origin.
The task force also required arriving alien tourists to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, taken at least 48 hours prior to their departure from their country of origin, a return ticket, a passport valid for at least six months, and a travel and health insurance for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with a minimum coverage of US$35,000 valid for the entire duration of their stay.
Meanwhile, he added that former Filipinos are qualified to avail of the one-year Balikbayan privilege but they also have to be fully vaccinated before they could enter the country.
Under the program, former citizens, including their foreign spouse and dependents who are traveling with them, are allowed to enter the country visa-free for one year. (PNA)