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BI Offers Amnesty to Foreigners Illegally Staying in Cebu

CEBU CITY, Sept. 22 (PNA)-- Foreigners, who are illegally residing in Cebu or anywhere in Central Visayas for less than two years, may avail themselves of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) amnesty program. Immigration Regional Director Geronimo Rosas said overstaying aliens must take the new amnesty program, a new policy of Commissioner Marcelino Libanan to give illegal aliens the chance to legalize their stay. Rosas, however, said foreigners who are illegally staying in the country for more than two years already cannot avail themselves of the amnesty and will be encouraged to leave voluntarily.He said the new policy is more liberal when it comes to visa extensions and explores corrective mechanisms."Commissioner Libanan is giving overstaying aliens an opportunity to come out in the open and legalize their stay. This allows overstaying aliens to avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of being arrested, jailed and deported, especially in light of the government's ongoing massive crackdown against illegal aliens," Rosas said. He said the move, as admitted by Libanan, will in a way be beneficial to the government as it will generate substantial revenues for BI, which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ). "The Immigration Bureau, as a regulatory and enforcement agency, is also collecting fees for services rendered that are remitted to the National Treasury," Rosas said. He believes that there are hundreds of foreigners who are illegally residing in Central Visayas, mostly in Cebu .The immigration director urged illegal aliens to register and not wait for authorities to catch them. Rosas said aliens, who will voluntarily submit to BI jurisdiction, will not be arrested but will be assisted to legalize their stay instead.” What they are going to do is comply with BI rules and regulations and pay whatever fees they owe to the government," the official said. More than 7,000 foreigners are permanent residents in the Visayas. They are engaged in business, married to Filipinos or are working in various companies. These permanent resident aliens are required to secure the I-Card, a paperless travel record that cannot be tampered with. But Rosas said the number of overstaying aliens increased, with some of them trying to avoid arrest. (PNA)

Philippines Visa

A Philippine Visa is an endorsement made on a travel document by a consular officer at a Philippine Embassy or Consulate abroad denoting that the visa application has been properly examined and that the bearer is permitted to proceed to the Philippines and request permission from the Philippine Immigration authorities at the ports of entries to enter the country. The visa thus issued is not a guarantee that the holder will be automatically admitted into the country, because the admission of foreign nationals into the Philippines is a function of the immigration authorities at the port of entry.

Primer On Philippine Immigration Law

Nonimmigrant Visa

Section 9 of the Philippine Immigration Act provides for the admission of aliens as non immigrants under the following categories:

A. Temporary Visitor’s Visa [9(a) Visa]- A temporary visitor coming for business or for pleasure or for reasons of health;

B. Transient’s Visa [9(b) Visa]- A person in transit to a destination outside the Philippines;

C. Seaman’s Visa [9(c) Visa]- A seaman serving as such on a vessel arriving at a port of the Philippines and seeking to enter temporarily and solely in the pursuit of his calling as a seaman;

D. Treaty Trader/Investor Visa [9(d) Visa]- An alien entitled to enter the Philippines under and in pursuant of the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation (1) solely to carry on substantial trade principally between the Philippines and the foreign state of which he is a national or (2) solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Philippines, he has invested or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital; and his wife, and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age, if accompanying or following to join him, subject to the condition that citizens of the Philippines are accorded like privileges in the foreign state of which such alien is a national;

Frequently Asked Questions About Philippines Visa

How would I extend my visa?

You may get an application form from the Visa Extension Section located at the ground floor Annex building, Bureau of Immigration.

Fill up the form; provide a photocopy of your passport, visa, and latest arrival card, valid extension of stay, if any and other pertinent documents which will support your application.

How long will it take me to extend my visa?

For non-restricted citizens, one (1) day using the express processing lane and one (1) week using the regular processing lane.

For restricted nationals, it will take three (3) days using the express processing lane and one (1) week using the regular processing lane.

Benefits Of Balikbayan Visa

I have two foreign friends that got married here in the Philippines. Both travel out as they were on tourist visa. When they return they both were denied a Balikbayan Privilege.

As a general rule, balikbayan privileges are extended to the alien spouse and children of Filipinos and former Filipino citizens. This means visa-free entry into the Philippines for the alien spouse and children who are traveling with the Filipino or former Filipino citizen even if they stay in the Philippines for more than 21 days up to 1 year. Excepted from this rule are certain foreign nationals who still must obtain an entry visa to the Philippines even if they are married to a Filipino or former Filipino citizens. For a list of these nationals, concerned parties are encouraged to call the Philippine Consulate before making any travel arrangements.



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