May 16, 2022

Travel Restriction Guidelines for New COVID-19 Variant

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  • The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced the expansion of entry travel restrictions starting midnight of January 3, 2021 for foreign passengers due to the reported new strain of COVID-19 that has recently plagued the United Kingdom.

    BI Commissioner Jaime Morente shared that following an order from Malacanang, foreign passengers coming from the United States of America have been included in the list of those restricted entry in the country.

    According to the BI, foreigners coming from the following 21 countries are temporarily prohibited from entering the Philippines:

    • The United Kingdom
    • Denmark
    • Ireland
    • Japan
    • Australia
    • Israel
    • The Netherlands
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • Switzerland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Iceland
    • Italy
    • Lebanon
    • Singapore
    • Sweden
    • South Korea
    • South Africa
    • Canada
    • Spain
    • USA

    “Foreigners from the US have been added to the list of those restricted,” said Morente. “However, aliens from the US eligible for entry that arrive prior to January 3 will be allowed to enter but will be referred to the One Stop Shop for an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period,” Morente explained.

    Morente also clarified that Filipinos who will be arriving from said regions will be allowed to enter, but will likewise be referred for a strict 14-day quarantine.

    The BI Chief clarified that in the new ruling, starting January 3, passengers who are merely transiting through any of the countries covered by the ban will be allowed to enter, provided that they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry in the covered country by its immigration authorities.

    “Aliens with connecting flights and merely had a layover in the 21 countries may now be allowed to enter if eligible for entry,” said Morente. “But if they left the airport or were cleared for arrival in the 21 countries, then they are prohibited from entering the Philippines,” he added.

    Morente added that those who traveled to the 21 countries 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines will also be disallowed entry. He stated that aliens not coming from the 21 restricted countries are subject to the existing Inter-Agency Task Force Against Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) guidelines.

    Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Candy Tan shared that they are on standby to implement any changes in travel policies as set by the IATF and the Office of the President.

    “International travel has dropped 79% in 2020, and you could really feel the effects especially during this holiday season,” said Tan. “What used to be a bustling airport during Christmas and New Year is now silent and somber. There are still a number of traveling passengers, but not as robust as the numbers that we saw in the past years,” she added.

    Tan appealed to the public to bear with the government for implementing the travel restrictions. “These are temporary measures that the government needs to take to prevent the entry of the new strain of Covid-19,” said Tan. “While we are hoping for the revival of confidence in international travel, we are constrained to take these measures for everyone’s safety,” she stated.

    This is a press release. Minor edits were made prior to publishing.

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