Tag Archive: Tourists


02-20

While we anticipate the approval of the proposed 10-year validity of Philippine passports, we should continue to mark our calendars as to when we should be applying for a passport renewal.  Currently, Philippine passports have a 5-year validity period and most passengers who have less than a year before their passports expire are no longer permitted to leave the country.

This is a dilemma encountered by most OFWs.

So what happens if your passport expires while you are overseas?

Read on:

1.Allow a one year renewal period.

Avoid waiting until you only have a few weeks left before your passport expires.  The process of renewing your passport from abroad takes at least 8 to 12 weeks.

2. Visit the Philippine Embassy / Consulate General in the country where you are currently located.

a. Bring your passport and other pertinent documents related to your travel or stay.

b. The Philippine Embassy will send your renewal application to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office in Manila.

c. Check online if the Philippine Embassy in your area requires applicants to set up an appointment.  Most Philippine Embassies accommodate walk-in applications for passport renewal.

d. All details such as photographs, fingerprints, and signatures will be taken on-site.

3. What are the documents you need to bring?

a. Duly accomplished passport application form, typed or printed legibly on black or blue ink.

b. Latest passport.

c. One (1) photocopy of each of the data page/s of the passport.

d. Photocopy of any valid identification card where the middle name is fully spelled out, such as state4 ID, driver’s license, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, or Baptismal Certificate.

e. Proof that applicant has not applied for foreign citizenship, e.g. resident alien card (green card).

These requirements may vary depending on the host country of the Philippine Embassy you will be applying to.

4. But how about if the passport IS already expired?

If your passport got lost or is already expired and you need to travel back to the Philippines, you have to secure a Travel Document from the Philippine Embassy in your host country.

What is a Travel Document?

  • Travel documents are issued to Philippine nationals returning to the Philippines, who for one reason or another, have lost their passport or cannot be issued a regular passport.
  • It is also issued to Filipino citizens who are being sent back to the Philippines.
  • It is valid for a non-extendable period of thirty (30) days from date of issuance and only for a one-way direct travel to the Philippines.  It cannot be used for re-entry to the host country.

The travel Document can only be issued when:

  • The consular officer determines that its use is warranted by emergency/critical circumstances.
  • It cannot be used as a short cut in complying with the requirements for the renewal of a passport or the replacement of a lost passport.

Renewing your Philippine passport abroad may be the last thing you would want to do while on a trip, whether as a tourist or an overseas worker.  You can avoid this by simply making sure that your passport is kept up-to-date.  Until the law on the 10-year validity period for Philippine Passports has been ratified, we all need to exert a little more effort in making sure that our passports are updated and are not expiring anytime soon.

Sources:

http://www.dfa.gov.ph/2013-04-04-07-00-36

http://bangkokpe.dfa.gov.ph/consular-office/services/passport/travel-document

http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/philippines-dc/consular-services-dc/faq-dc/

http://www.pinoyhood.com/renew-passport-abroad/

Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen

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01-12

So you’re traveling to a different country soon?  Here are some tips that you may find useful as you embark on your first journey ever outside the Philippines.

  1. Make sure your Passport is updated and not expiring within the next six months.

If you haven’t renewed your passport yet, read our previous article on the new requirements when renewing passports here.

2. The Departure Card

Secure a copy of the Immigration Form (or Departure Card) at the check-in counter and fill it out.  Be ready with the address of the place where you will be staying abroad; if you are staying in a hotel, indicate the complete hotel name and its address.

3. The Travel Tax

Yes, be prepared with cash while you’re at the airport because you will be paying additional fees before you board your plane.  Check to make sure that the travel tax has been included in your ticket price already; if this is the case, you no longer need to pay the tax at the airport.  If not, check-in first and have the check-in agent verify that the travel tax is not covered by your ticket price.  You may then proceed at the travel tax counters and pay a fee of Php1,620 (per traveler).  Hold on to your receipt.

4. Checking in.

Simply present the filled out Departure Card and Travel Tax receipt at the check-in counter and wait for the agent to hand you your boarding pass.

5. Immigration

You will then be directed to the Immigration Booths where the officers will be asking you about your trip.  You may refer to this previous blog for tips on how to breeze your Immigration interview and avoid getting offloaded from your flight.

6. Final security check

 You will be asked to remove all metallic items attached to your clothing (including belt buckles, coins, gadgets, and in some cases, even your jewelry and accessories).  Word of the wise: avoid wearing too much bling-bling when traveling to save time at security counters.

A friend of mine was wearing a pair of gladiator-type sandals when he went through security check.  He was confident that his sandals would pass as it was basically open except for the elaborate strings tied around his legs.  Unfortunately, the guards asked him to untie his sandals and walk barefoot through the scanners.  He spent about 5 minutes lacing the sandals after security let him through.  Again, wear shoes that can be taken on and off without too much hassle.

Also, avoid carrying liquids in your bag like colognes in big bottles, bottled water, alcohol, etc.  You might be asked to leave these behind anyway for security reasons.

7. Be early.

Give yourself at least two hours to go through all the verification, interviews, and security checks because it really does take at least two hours to finish all those, sometimes even longer.

8. Keep a checklist of the following and keep these within reach (a messenger bag, one with an easy to open flap, will do the trick):

  • Your updated passport
  • Travel Itinerary and plane tickets
  • Your company ID
  • DSWD clearance if you are traveling with a minor who is not your child.
  • Cash
  • Hotel addresses, contact numbers, email addresses. If you are staying at a friend’s house, keep a copy of her name, address, and contact numbers too.
  • A pen (Don’t use red-inked pens.  An immigration officer nearly denied me my boarding pass because I filled out his logbook with a red pen).

9. Exchanging Currencies

You may have your Pesos exchanged right at the NAIA or wait until you land at your destination.  It helps that you know how much the exchange rates are before leaving so that you would know where it would be wiser to “buy” money.  The safest place to do this though is within airport premises.

10. Ditch the book and enjoy the scene!

Only frequent travelers take reading materials when traveling.  If this is your first time out, indulge yourself in the atmosphere of the airport, walk around the lobby while waiting for your flight.  Once you have boarded, take as much photos as you can until they ask you to switch off your phone.  Don’t waste the moment buried in some magazine.

Enjoy your trip!

Reference: http://www.thepoortraveler.net/2013/03/philippines-first-timer-international-flight-travel-guide-abroad/

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01-10-2

No one can really say if there is a definite means to avoid getting questioned at your point of entry when travelling as a tourist.  We did a research on the types of documents that are often asked of Filipino travelers and some basic reminders to avoid being detained unnecessarily at Immigration points.  We hope this article helps in shedding light to your questions about getting through Immigration and points of entry.

Required Documents:

  1. Passport issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
    • Not expired
    • Must be valid for six (6) months from the date of departure.
  2. Visa
    • If required at the tourist’s destination
    • Must not be expired
  3. Return ticket
    • Backpackers (or tourists who will be hopping from one country to another) still need to present a return ticket as this will also be asked of them upon arrival at the different countries they will be traveling to.
    • It serves as proof that the tourist does not intend to stay in that country illegally or any longer than his visa permits him.
    • If tourist fails to show a return ticket, he may be denied entry to his destination country.

Prepare to be asked for additional documents at your point of entry.

When my mom travelled to the US as a tourist for the first time, she was questioned at the Immigration by an officer because of a letter found in her handbag.  Apparently, one of her co-workers asked her to hand-carry an envelope to a relative who lives in the same city where my mom will be staying.  One of the immigration officers asked to unseal the letter and read it.  The co-worker mentioned in her letter that my mom will be staying in the U.S. to work and tour.

My mom had a return ticket, her passport was updated, and she had a 1-year multiple entry visa to the U.S.  Still, she was held for questioning because of the letter that she agreed to deliver as a favor for a friend.

Good thing my mom was carrying the same set of documents she presented at the U.S. Embassy when she was interviewed for her tourist visa.  These and her firm statement that she does not intend to work in the U.S. at all somehow convinced the Immigration officers that she is telling the truth.  She stressed that she had been working for 25 years straight and it’s time she gave herself a break.  She said that she does not know what her co-worker’s intentions were and that the letter was sealed when it was handed to her, she accepted it based only on trust and confidence.  They let her go after two hours of more questions and several calls to my mom’s office in the Philippines.

Of course, not all travelers are as lucky as my mom and not all Immigration officers are as trusting as the one assigned to her.  So just to be on the safe side, consider the following tips when traveling as a tourist:

  1. Be familiar with your itinerary and study the places you will be visiting by heart. Some travelers get in trouble at their point of entry when they fail to mention even one attraction they intend to visit.
  2. Never ever attempt to show a fake I.D.
  3. Immigration officers also consider the following details when assessing the traveler, as a means to arrest instances of human trafficking, smuggling, and illegal recruitment:
    • Traveler’s age and health condition
    • Educational attainment
    • Financial capacity to travel
    • Travel history (if any)
    • Final destination

Again, these are reminders and tips gathered from frequent travelers and should not be taken as the standard list of requirements to avoid being held by an Immigration officer.  As travelers, it is our responsibility to prepare all necessary documents that will attest to the purpose of our trip and our sincere intention to come back to our country.  When preparing your file, keep in mind the following pointers:

Immigration officers will want to make sure of three things:

  1. That you can afford your trip;
  2. That you are traveling only for your stated purpose (tourism); and
  3. That you are coming back to the Philippines.

Based on my mom’s experience, it is best to have the following documents handy when you are lined up at the Immigration center of your destination:

  • Your old passports to show that you have traveled before and you came back to the Philippines.
  • Round-trip ticket with receipt or any other proof that the ticket is fully paid.
  • Hotel reservations, with receipt and other proof that your accommodations are fully paid.
  • Bank statements and bank certifications, if available. Again, the amount of money you have in your account does not guarantee a seamless encounter with your Immigration Officer.  You may need to justify how much you intend to spend on the trip and if you would still have enough left in your account when you come home.
  • Proof of ownership of assets.
  • Certificate of employment and approved leave of absence, photocopies of your company ID and the IDs of the people who signed your employment certificates.
  • Income Tax Return
  • Tour itinerary.
  • Marriage certificate and birth certificates of your children.

Visit us again for more articles about passports, visas, and traveling abroad.

Source: http://smalltowngirlsmidnighttrains.com/

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10-06

Whether you are a frequent traveler, an Overseas Filipino Worker, or flying out of the country for the first time, there are basic things you need to know about travel documents and IDs essential to a smooth and hassle-free flight.  We’re not just talking about airlines that leave and arrive on time and don’t get your luggage all mixed up.  These are things every Filipino passport holder must know by heart.

Here is a summary of reminders, lifted from the Bureau of Immigration website that every Philippine passport holder must be aware of.  Read on.

  1. Travel requirements for Filipino tourists:
    • Unexpired DFA-issued passport. The passport must not be expiring in the next six months to avoid running the risk of being denied departure from the Philippines.
    • Unexpired visa if traveling to a country that requires tourist visas.
    • A return date on your plane ticket.
  2. Additional required documents and when these are needed.  Consistent with anti-human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal recruitment laws, additional documents shall be required in the following circumstances:
    • Passenger discloses a doubtful, false, or suspect travel intent;
    • Passports and travel documents/visas are counterfeit, fraudulent, falsified, simulated, or tampered, such as:
      • Age;
      • Educational attainment;
      • Financial capability for travel;
      • Travel history, if any; and
      • Final destination.
    • Passenger’s totality of circumstances manifests a well-founded certainty of human trafficking, smuggling, or illegal recruitment.

3.  What documents are required for sponsored travel?

  • Philippine Embassy or consulate-authenticated Affidavit of Support with Undertaking showing:
  • 4th civil degree of consanguinity relationship between sponsor and the passenger. (e.g. pinsang buo) or affinity (e.g. bayaw/hipag/biyenan);
  • Sponsor’s financial capacity and legal status; and
  • Sponsor’s contact information; and/or
  • Philippine Embassy or consulate-authenticated Affidavit of Support with Undertaking showing:
    • Sponsor’s financial capacity and legal status;
    • Sponsor’s contact details; and
    • Sponsor’s corporate registration papers, if applicable.
  • In cases of local sponsor traveling with the passenger, a duly notarized Affidavit of Support and Undertaking which shall contain the following:
    • Sponsor’s financial capacity;
    • Sponsor’s undertaking is for passenger’s tourist travel with intent to return;
    • Sponsor’s complete residential address of the sponsor and contact details; and
    • Sponsor’s corporate registration papers, if applicable.

4. What documents are required of OFW?

  • Unexpired passport (The passport must not be expiring in the next six months to avoid running the risk of being denied departure from the Philippines.);
  • Unexpired and POEA-conforming visa;
  • Validly-issued travel tickets; and
  • POEA/PESO-database issued E-receipt or OEC.

Tomorrow, we will feature the documentary requirements for emigrant Philippine citizens and DSWD requirements when travelling with minors.

Meantime, keep this page as a bookmark and share it to your friends and families.

Source: http://www.immigration.gov.ph/faqs/travel-req

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09-21

Good news to Balikbayans, OFWs, and tourists!

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is set to implement higher tax exemptions for Balikbayan boxes brought in by Pinoys and tourists, starting December 2016.  As a matter of fact, as early as October 2016, the BOC will no longer impose taxes on hand-carried pasalubong items not exceeding Php 10,000 in total value.  This includes goods bought at outlet stores abroad.

The new policy on the tax exemptions is regulated by the following policies, depending on how long the Balikbayan has stayed abroad:

Years Stayed Abroad

Tax Exemption on Balikbayan Box

6 months to less than 5 years Up to Php 150,000 worth of goods are tax exempted.
5 years to less than 10 years Up to Php 250,000 worth of goods are tax exempted.
10 years and up Up to Php 350,000 worth of goods are tax exempted.
Overseas Filipino Workers Up to Php 150,000 worth of goods are tax exempted.
Tourists Up to Php 150,000 worth of goods are tax exempted, limited to three times a year.

The BOC stressed that boxes must not contain too many items of the same kind as this will be taken to mean that the goods will be sold and are not gifts to families and friends.  This is a warning to everyone not to abuse the tax exemptions on Balikbayan boxes that the government will be implementing soon.

This is indeed going to be one merry homecoming for all our kababayans who will be coming home for Christmas!

Share this to your families and friends!

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/video/overseas/09/19/16/mga-balikbayan-box-tatanggalan-na-ng-buwis-pero

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