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I’ve harped on this issue countless times during the past ten years I’ve been writing about living in the Philippines. If you don’t have any visible means of supporting yourself, there’s a good chance you could be barred from entering the Philippines. Case in point, today’s post headline “Majority of 7,724 Aliens Barred from Philippines in 2019 were ‘Public Charges.”’

Majority of 7,724 Aliens Barred from Philippines in 2019 were “Public Charges”

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente revealed that a total of 7,724 foreigners were denied entry in 2019, or 65% higher than the 4,679 aliens who were turned back in 2018.

Medina disclosed that 3,527 Chinese topped the list of the excluded aliens, followed by 488 Vietnamese, 380 Indians, 329 Indonesians, and 255 Malaysians.

Medina added that nearly two-thirds of the aliens were tagged as likely to become public charges, or persons whose reasons for entry to the Philippines is doubtful, lacks the means to support their stay in the country, and were unable to explain their purpose in traveling to the Philippines.

 “The others who were turned back were improperly documented aliens, convicted sex offenders, rude passengers, blacklisted foreigners, and those without entry visas,” he said.

Above all, what exactly is a “public charge?”

Under Section 29 of 1940 Philippine Immigration Act, grounds for exclusion to the Philippines include persons who are likely to become a public charge. Because of that regulation, immigration officers have the express authority to bar anyone from the Philippines who they believe lacks the means to support their stay in the country.

First of all, I, personally first arrived in the Philippine in 2009 with my Filipina wife by availing of the “Balikbayan Privilege.” I was admitted into the Philippines since my spouse was a returning Filipina, “Balikbayan,” who had been living in the States with me for nine years.

The “Balikbayan Privilege,” or visa, allowed me to stay in the Philippines for a year without applying for a tourist visa. Consequently, I didn’t have to leave the Philippines for up to a year. No one asked me for any bank statement or other visible means of support. I was essentially a guest in the Philippines because of my wife who carries a Philippine passport. I also carried a certified copy of our marriage certificate. We were married in the Philippines.

photo courtesy of pixabay

The 13 (a) Resident Visa

Furthermore, in order to stay in the Philippines legally without having to leave, my wife sponsored me for a Permanent Resident Visa (13a.) Now I only have to pay 310 pesos when I make my Annual Report to my local Immigration Field Office in nearby Iloilo City.

I wondered how someone at your port of entry in the Philippines could determine if you’re a public charge or not. No one at Immigration ever asked me how much money I made. Typical questions you might be asked as you enter the country are as follows:

Do you have an onward ticket?

Do you have a hotel reservation?

What is your purpose for visiting the Philippines?

How long do you plan to stay in the Philippines?

If you’re set aside for further questioning, which does happen to some foreigners, you could be asked what you do for a living.

Don’t Make any Bomb Jokes

NAIA bullets to hong kong

Don’t joke with the Immigration officer. They might think you’re hiding something to offset your possible nervousness. Most of all don’t make any “bomb jokes” which could even possibly put you in jail.

Probably the most important factor to remember that it’s entirely up to the individual immigration officer as to what questions you will be asked. When first applying for my Permanent Resident Visa, a Manila Immigration officer said each individual immigration employee handles each case on an individual basis.

However, your particular country of origin and your attitude could also play a part. I’m sure that the majority of the people reading this have enough common sense to be polite when entering another country. You’re a visitor.

The Philippines is no different. They demand and deserve your respect. If you wish to display arrogance and rudeness, you could even be barred from even entering the Philippines and blacklisted.

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