Foreigners in Philippines told to stay at home, assured of relaxed visa rules


Posted at Apr 02 2020 12:45 PM

MANILA - The Philippines' immigration bureau on Thursday advised foreign visitors who are still in the country to comply with the community quarantine directives as it reiterated the easing of visa rules in light of measures limiting movement of people to contain the new coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente appealed to foreigners to stay at home and follow the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) "as this is our best solution to buy time in the fight against COVID-19."

They are advised in particular not to go out to apply for visa extensions during the lockdown period.

According to Morente, foreigners "anywhere in the Philippines whose visas will expire during the (ECQ) period shall not be charged penalties, as long as they file their applications within 30 days from the lifting of the ECQ."

The eased immigration requirements for foreigners do not apply to applications filed after the lapse of 30 days from the lifting of the ECQ and for those whose visas expired before the start of the Luzon-wide ECQ on March 17.

“We are issuing this reiteration as there are still some aliens proceeding to our offices to file for extensions despite the quarantine," Morente said.

"For everyone’s safety, please stay at home,” he added.

The Philippines as of Tuesday confirmed 96 deaths out of its total 2,311 cases of the respiratory disease. The tally could continue to climb following the recent delivery of test kits and the accreditation of additional screening laboratories, said the health department.