MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has adopted stricter rules in registering and issuing visas to dependent-children of resident foreign nationals in the Philippines.
In a statement, the bureau announced that as per a memorandum circular issued by BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. last May 24, there will be new guidelines for registering dependents of foreigners who hold both immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
The circular provides for the cancellation of visas of the non-immigrant alien dependents, who were improperly registered as native-born foreigners, even if they are not qualified under the immigration law.
After December 31 this year, the registration of foreign dependents who were mistakenly given native-born status will be cancelled.
The bureau's alien registration division has 30 days to submit an inventory of the "native-born" dependents and instruct the concerned aliens to apply for the correct visa with the bureau.
The circular, which was approved by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, emphasized that dependents of non-immigrants aged 18-years-old and below are entitled only to the visas granted to their parents, whose stay in the country is only temporary.
BI acting alien registration chief Atty. Ronaldo Ledesma said his office discovered the records of hundreds of alien dependents who were mistakenly registered as native-born foreigners just because they were born in the country.
Ledesma said the mistakes in registration were caused by "confusion and misinterpretation of the law" brought about by the lack of clear and definite guidelines for categorizing and registering alien dependents.
"These new guidelines provide uniform rules for registering these dependents, thus avoiding confusion in determining the status or visa that should be granted an alien born in the Philippines," he said.
He emphasized that the general rule is that "the visa status of immigrant and non-immigrant dependents shall always be co-terminuous with that of their parents."