Department of Justice

Revised departure rules mostly apply to new travelers, says DOJ

Jairo Bolledo

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Revised departure rules mostly apply to new travelers, says DOJ

CONGESTED AIRPORT. Passengers queue at the immigration area of NAIA Terminal 1 on June 16, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

(UPDATED) For more than 95% of travelers, only basic requirements would be needed, which are: passport, boarding pass, confirmed return ticket, and visa (only when required)

MANILA, Philippines – Shortly after the government publicized the revised departure guidelines for travelers, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a clarification on Thursday, August 24.

During a press briefing on Thursday, DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said the new requirements will mostly apply to first-time travelers: “Madalas 90% or 95% of the time, for first-time travelers lang talaga maging applicable…Ang dala ay wala silang visa ngunit gusto nila magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Iiwasan po natin ‘yan sapagkat wala pong proteksyon.”

(Mostly, 90 or 95% of the time, the revised rules will be only applicable to first-time travelers. Some of them have no visa, but want to work abroad. We’re avoiding that because there is no protection.)

Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano, DOJ spokesperson, clarified that the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) revised guidelines on traveling did not impose additional requirements on outbound international travelers.

“Instead, what the revised departure formalities have achieved is a formalization and streamlining of the existing requirements that pertain to different categories of travelers,” Clavano said, added that they only released the guidelines for transparency.

For more than 95% of travelers, only basic requirements would be needed, Clavano clarified. These are:

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • Confirmed return ticket
  • Visa (only when required)

“The intention behind these revisions is to create a more organized and coherent framework for departure formalities. By structuring the guidelines in a clearer manner, travelers and relevant authorities can navigate the departure process more efficiently, minimizing confusion and procedural complications,” Clavano said.

The DOJ spokesperson clarified that the revised rules almost have the same requirements with the old guidelines. The justice department also explained that the documents specified in the guidelines are not absolute requirements, but only a list of supporting papers that may be asked before travel.

On Tuesday, August 22, the IACAT released the revised guidelines for FIlipino passengers traveling abroad as part of its mandate to avoid human trafficking. The revised rules were approved on August 18 and will take effect on September 3. For the full list of requirements, you may access the story below:

Must Read

LIST: Immigration requirements for different categories of Filipino travelers

LIST: Immigration requirements for different categories of Filipino travelers

Clavano also clarified that Filipino passengers who will travel abroad to meet their partners will no longer be required to secure Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO)-issued clearance, save those who have permanent commitments.

It (the requirement) is only for those (with) more permanent arrangements, mga set-up kagaya ng fiancé or those who are seeking a long-term visa, or who have a long-term visa, that have to go to CFO (The requirement is only for those with more permanent arrangements, like those who have fiancés abroad, those who are seeking a long-term visa, or who have a long-term visa, that have to go to CFO),” the DOJ spokesperson explained.

On the requirement of financial capability, DOJ Undersecretary Nicholas Ty explained that it is meant to protect Filipinos, as part of the state’s police power. The proof will mostly be asked to those who will go to countries that do not require visas, he added.

How much would be needed to determine financial capability? The DOJ official said it would depend on the duration of the travel and the traveler’s destination. The DOJ also advised first-time travelers to prepare necessary documents, while seasoned travelers should be less concerned, the justice department added.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco likewise said tourists should not worry about the revised guidelines, clarifying that there was “no change in procedures.”

“This is the same procedure we have been previously implementing, but it has been streamlined by the IACAT so it is clearer for Filipinos,” Tansingco said in a statement on Friday, August 25. “There is no new policy for departing tourists being implemented by the BI.”

The BI also gave assurances that the new guidelines wouldn’t be the cause for “unnecessary interviews,” especially for departing passengers with no red flags. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.