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“RETURN OF THE BALIKBAYAN PRIVILEGE…WITH CONDITIONS”

Philippines allowing foreign spouses & children to return to the Philippines beginning Dec. 7

Above all, its good news for those foreigners married to a Filipina or Filipino wanting to return to the Philippines for Christmas. Starting December 7, 2020, the following may enjoy entry privileges to the Philippines under the Republic Act 6768, aka the “Act Instituting the BalikBayan Program.”

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will allow the entry to the Philippines of Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with them.

Former Filipino citizens, and their foreign spouses and children, regardless of age, who are also traveling with them, will be allowed into the Philippines.

In addition, those qualifying may enter the Philippines VISA FREE.

Previously those foreigners wanting to enter the Philippines with their Filipino/Filipina spouses had to secure a visa from the Philippine consulate in their home country. Those restrictions were due to COVID-19 regulations. Make sure you have a valid marriage contract with you.

Conditions for Entering the Philippines

While it’s not all fine as frog fur, there are some conditions.

  • They must pre-book at a quarantine facility in the Philippines
  • They must pre-book a swab (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test at a laboratory operating in the Philippine airport
  • The traveler must abide by the passenger maximum capacity of their ports of entry.

That’s per IATF Resolution 85. The next graphic taken from the Official Gazette of the Philippine government shows part of that resolution.

Foreigners with only tourist visas are still banned from the country.

That’s according to a report from Rappler.com.

Price Cap Set on COVID-19 Tests

Don’t be taken in by potential scammers trying to overcharge you for inflated COVID-19 tests. The Philippine government, on November 25, set a price range for public and private healthcare facilities.

The range for these tests in private hospitals and laboratories is from 4,500 pesos to 5,000 pesos. That’s approximately 100 US dollars. Public facilities may only charge 3,800 pesos (approximately $ 75 USD) for a swab test.

Private facilities may charge cheaper than the set floor price but they cannot exceed 5,000 pesos. Moreover, they can’t even charge you more for rush test results. That’s according to a report from CNN Philippines.

You Have to Foot the Bill

As noted in the IATF guidelines, the Bureau of Immigration has the responsibility to ensure the smooth implementation of the new rules.

The Department of Tourism, meanwhile, must ensure adequate quarantine facilities for those who plan to enter the Philippines under these new rules.

Hotels have been used as quarantine facilities for overseas Filipino workers returning from abroad. The government covered their testing and hotel expenses. However, others coming from abroad have to foot the bill for their stay and their COVID-19 test.

Those quarantined in hotels may only leave when they receive a negative RT-PCR test result.

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