Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the country, the Philippines government has placed Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces (Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal) under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from August 1 - 15, 2021.1 The current entry ban on travelers coming from previously-listed restricted countries is extended until the end of July and expanded to include travelers from Malaysia and Thailand.2 The Bureau of Immigration also issued updates and clarifications on the travel guidelines for transiting travelers and dependents of Filipino citizens.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Border restrictions will continue to change and, as such, travelers to the Philippines will be impacted. They may experience inconvenience, disruption, and/or be obliged to alter travel plans. It is necessary for companies and individuals alike to be updated of the travel limitations and requirements to prevent the possibility of being refused entry at the border, and as such, they should consult with their travel agents and immigration counsel. Individuals traveling from restricted countries especially need to stay abreast of the latest travel guidelines and make travel plans in consultation with their travel agents and/or immigration consultants.
The expansion and extension of travel restrictions will continue to affect employers and their globally-mobile employees as those employees may refuse to travel/relocate to a location that they consider to be a health risk to themselves (and family members) in light of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the local population.
Employers need to evaluate the potential challenges and changes that may be imposed on the business and have a clear plan to identify precautions to protect their workforce.
Updates to Travel Guidelines in the Philippines
- All arriving passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia or those who have been to these travel-restricted countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines shall not be allowed to enter until 31 July 2021.
- All arriving passengers coming from, or who have been to Malaysia and Thailand within the last 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines shall not be allowed to enter the country from 25 July 2021 until 31 July 2021.
- Those who transited through or who have a mere lay-over at the airport of travel-restricted countries (no immigration admission at said countries) and those not coming from these countries may be allowed entry, provided they are authorized to do so through relevant resolutions of the IATF-MEID and subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols issued by the Department of Health.
- Effective 1 August 2021, foreign spouses, parents, and children of Filipino citizens, not traveling together, but with valid 9(a) visas may be allowed entry without the need of an entry exemption document (EED). The visa shall contain the notation: “EED not required per IATF Resolution No. 128 (s.2021).”3
For prior coverage of the travel guidelines in the Philippines, see GMS Flash Alert 2021-178 (18 June 2021).
1 For news coverage of the latest extension, see https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1148624 .
2 See BI Public Advisory posted in the official Facebook page 27 July 2021.
3 See IATF Resolution No. 128 posted in the Official Gazette page 22 July 2021.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the Philippines.
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