BI eases requirements for departing aliens to prevent crowding in immigration offices
MANILA, Sept. 2 (PIA) – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is again easing its rules and requirements for departing foreign nationals in its efforts to protect its personnel from contracting COVID-19 as the number of cases continue to increase in the country.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in the BI’s official Facebook post said the Bureau will now allow foreigners with visas approved by the BI to leave the country before they could be issued their alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card)
“By allowing these aliens to leave pending release of their I-Cards, the number of people going to our offices will be lessened and physical distancing will be achieved, thus preventing the further spread of the virus among our frontline personnel and clients,” Morente said.
The policy would be implemented until end of this year and that its effectivity may be extended or revoked earlier depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Acting Chief Grifton Medina said with the directive, the immigration officers at the airports will no longer require departing foreigners with BI-approved visas who have not yet received their I-Cards. Instead, they can present an I-Card waiver order from the Bureau.
Medina further explained that if the I-card waiver order is not yet available, too, the passengers will be asked to present their passport with visa implementation stamp and official receipts of payment for their ACR I-Card waiver application fee, Emigration Clearance Certificate/Reentry Permit (ECC/RP) or Special Return Certificate (SRC).
“The passenger will also be advised to safekeep the copies of his official receipts as the same should be presented to our immigration officer upon his return to the Philippines,” Medina said.
It will be recalled that the BI previously allowed aliens with BI-approved visas to leave without I-Cards last March when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ, as the Bureau needed to suspend frontline services or scale down the operations in their different offices.
The BI resumed issuing ACR I-Cards and I-Card waiver orders in June after the Bureau launched its online appointment system for clients after Metro Manila was placed under less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).
However, the BI recently reported that despite the implementation of stricter health protocols, more than 70 of its employees have been infected with the virus (VQR/PIA-IDPD with information from BI).