Seeing the world, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people are part of that great adventure called traveling. And for us Filipinos, this dream is even made more accessible thanks to airline and accommodation promos. Before we get on that plane, however, we need to pass immigration.
Due to our reputation as being “everywhere,” legally or otherwise, Philippine immigration has tightened security protocols to prevent individuals with dubious plans abroad from leaving the country. As a result, it’s not uncommon to hear of Filipino travelers being “offloaded” for not passing Filipino immigration inspection.
To avoid this fate and enjoy a stress-free inspection at Philippine immigration, here are things you need to do and remember when traveling abroad.
Complete travel requirements are a must
In order to leave the country, you’ll need to present a set of requirements based on whether you’re traveling as a tourist or you’re traveling as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).
- For tourists — Travel requirements include your unexpired DFA-issued passport, unexpired visa, and return ticket.
- For OFWs — OFWs need to present their unexpired passport, valid travel tickets, unexpired and POEA-conforming visa, and OEC or E-receipt issued by the POEA/PESO database.
Minors who are traveling alone to a foreign country or with a guardian are also required to secure a Travel Clearance from the DSWD. For more information, click here.
Filipino travelers also bring additional documents to support their identity and prove their financial capability to travel, such as: Certificate of Employment, Income Tax Return, Approved Leave of Absence (issued by employer), and even Bank Certificate. For more information about travel requirements, visit this page.
The importance of a return ticket
Most times, the immigration officer assigned to you will ask to see your return ticket. Due to the prevalence of Filipino illegal aliens around the world, the Philippine government has taken it upon itself to prevent such entities from leaving the country. If you’re unable to present a return ticket, you might be taken in for further questioning, unless your past travel experience is deemed enough to vouch for your intentions. In other cases, some Filipinos report not even being asked to show a return ticket. It seems that, in the end, it entirely depends on the immigration officer assigned to you, but to be sure, secure your return ticket.
Don’t panic. Answer questions truthfully and concisely.
Before you pass the inspection at the Philippine immigration, your immigration officer will ask you a couple of questions, ranging from your employment status, your travel plans, your accommodations, and your return to the Philippines. As your immigration officer asks questions, they will also profile you. During this stage, it’s important to keep a level head and answer the questions straight to the point. Be confident, smile, and if asked, show additional documents you’ve prepared.
Do you want to know more about Philippine immigration?
The Bureau of Immigration’s official website is an excellent resource for all your travel queries. For more information, you can also reach out to Duran & Duran-Schulze Law at [email protected] or (+632) 478 5826.