Finally, some good news for Filipinos and their foreign spouses separated by the pandemic

When we speak about the casualties of the pandemic, we don’t always count the couples and families kept apart by travel restrictions. But clearly there are many Filipinos affected, if the posts appearing on the #LoveIsNotTourism hashtag is any indication.

Here’s some good news—finally!—for Filipinos with spouses or children with foreign passports: Beginning Sunday, 1 August 2021, they will no longer require an entry exemption document (EED) to travel to the Philippines. Parents of Filipino citizens are also included in the partial lifting of entry requirements.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, foreign family members were required to procure EEDs from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in addition to their valid 9(a) visas.

These new guidelines were announced by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), following the updated resolutions from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) that called for the easing of travel requirements.

Read: DFA announces 177,500 new passport appointment slots (if you’ve got somewhere to go)

This applies to foreigners who are not traveling with their Filipino family member, as those who are traveling with their Filipino spouse, parents, or children may be admitted into the Philippines for a year without need for a visa under the Balikbayan program, clarified BI commissioner Jaime Morente.

“We welcome this latest ruling of the IATF as it will now be easier and convenient for foreigners whose Filipino spouses and children are currently in the Philippines to visit and reunite with their loved ones,” Morente said.

With concerns about the Delta variant at an all-time high, people traveling from countries where the variant has been detected are still banned from entry into the Philippines. This list currently includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. This includes those who have a travel history to these countries within the last 14 days from their date of arrival.


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