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Because of enhanced quarantines (lockdowns) throughout the Philippines, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration relaxes visa rules during the COVID-19 crisis. BI Commissioner Jaime Morente made the announcement on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Philippine Bureau of Immigration Relaxes Visa Rules during COVID-19 Crisis

The Commissioner is urging foreigners to stay home. Visa application rules are being relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic. You won’t be charged with any penalties as long as you file your application within 30 days from the lifting of the quarantine.

However, if you’re a foreigner in the Philippines who files your application 30 days after the lifting of the quarantine you will face penalties. Penalties will also apply to those whose visas expired prior to the declaration of the quarantine period.  

Whether President Duterte will shoot dead any foreigners who face penalties is not known at this time. Duterte has warned citizens that he would order the military and police to shoot dead anyone who is a troublemaker or who violates lockdown curfews.

Comply with the Law

However, the Philippine National Police has promised to only shoot quarantine violators as a last resort. On the safe side, I would advise any foreigner to comply with the Immigration laws and get your visas extensions updated if necessary after the quarantine ends. Nevertheless, keep your alien rear end at home for now, since, as foreigners, we are even more of a target than usual.

Some foreigners are still going to local immigration offices despite the quarantine, Immigration reports. Frankly, I would, too, if I needed to get a visa extended.

I’m in possession of a Quarantine Pass for our local barangay in Guimaras. Only one pass is issued per family. With current travel restrictions in place, I need this pass in order to travel to nearby Iloilo City if necessary. Our local Immigration Office is located in Iloilo.  

However, if you have a Permanent Resident Visa, you only have to worry about your Annual Report that is accomplished during the first of the year.

So take a “chill pill” my fellow expats in the Philippines. This too, will pass. We’re only going out on essential food runs. The gas tank in our Ford Ranger is full. Whether the current quarantine period will be extended past April 14 is anyone’s guess. I suspect it might be extended, however, with some modifications but no one knows for sure at this point.

(With reporting from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration website)

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