Living in The Philippines > Getting here and back and getting items here and back

Balikbayan Travel

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MotorSarge:

--- Quote from: Gray Wolf on June 02, 2020, 03:08:26 AM ---Over the last 10 years of travel back and forth to the Philippines Gloria and I both have been recipients of the "Balikbayan Privilege", although it is my understanding that it is a privilege that can be denied at any time, with or without reason. I know there are rules, laws, restrictions and privileges, but it all comes down to the Immigration Officer at your Port of Entry. I personally have never had the privilege denied, but that is most likely due to my Ace in the Hole Gloria. She has a way with the locals. I simply stand straight, look them in the eyes and smile... and say "Maraming Salamat Po".

Probably the best source for info and links will be found here:

RA 9225, Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003
https://www.livinginthephilippines.com/forum/index.php?board=61.0

--- End quote ---
8) Can't find the Thumbs Up but thank you and the other contributors to the info log
.

bigrod:
A lot of us who reside here with our Philippine spouse seem to get the Balikbayan Privilege when we are not really entitled.  According to the BI page concerning the privilege the citizen must be out of the country for a year to avail of the privilege.  I have used the privilege while being out of the country for a week and others for a day or two.  We should not be surprised if a BI official denied us the privilege upon entry.

http://immigration.gov.ph/faqs/visa-inquiry/balikbayan-privilege

Chuck

Hestecrefter:
bigrod,

I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that "the citizen must be out of the country for a year to avail of the privilege".  You stopped reading too soon.  The info at the link you provided reads thus:

1. Who are eligible under Balikbayan Program?


a. A Balikbayan, who may be either one of the following:

i.   A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year;

ii.  A Filipino overseas worker;

iii. A former Filipino citizen and his family who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines. (emphasis added)

b. Immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are nationals of countries falling under EO 408, travelling together with the Balikbayan.

I think most of us foreigners and Filipino spouses fall within category iii, above.  In our case, my wife was naturalized and became a citizen of Canada.  We have received BB stamps on our passports more than once when returning in less than a year.  All it takes to pass through the gate under category iii is to be a former Filipino, naturalized elsewhere, returning to the Phils.  I can see no requirement that the return be made after an absence of greater than one year.

I will agree that the regulation is not felicitously worded.  Not a model of the draftsman's art. 

The opening language would be clearer if worded as follows:

1. Who is eligible under the Balikbayan Program?


a. A Balikbayan may be any of the following:

...

bigrod:

--- Quote from: Hestecrefter on June 03, 2020, 12:08:42 AM ---bigrod,

I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that "the citizen must be out of the country for a year to avail of the privilege".  You stopped reading too soon.  The info at the link you provided reads thus:

1. Who are eligible under Balikbayan Program?


a. A Balikbayan, who may be either one of the following:

i.   A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year;

ii.  A Filipino overseas worker;

iii. A former Filipino citizen and his family who had been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines. (emphasis added)

b. Immediate family members (spouse and children) of the Balikbayan, who are nationals of countries falling under EO 408, travelling together with the Balikbayan.

I think most of us foreigners and Filipino spouses fall within category iii, above.  In our case, my wife was naturalized and became a citizen of Canada.  We have received BB stamps on our passports more than once when returning in less than a year.  All it takes to pass through the gate under category iii is to be a former Filipino, naturalized elsewhere, returning to the Phils.  I can see no requirement that the return be made after an absence of greater than one year.

I will agree that the regulation is not felicitously worded.  Not a model of the draftsman's art. 

The opening language would be clearer if worded as follows:

1. Who is eligible under the Balikbayan Program?


a. A Balikbayan may be any of the following:

...


--- End quote ---

My statement was directed at those of us who reside here with a Philippine citizen spouse not those with a former Philippine spouse that fall under iii.  Now the other question is those that have reacquired their Philippine citizenship(dual citizens) do they fall under i or iii?

Chuck

Hestecrefter:
Chuck,

I humbly withdraw my disagreement.  I am the one guilty of misreading.  Your post refers to those residing in the Phils with Filipino spouse, which is a different situation from those of us who live away from the Phils with our Filipino spouses who have acquired citizenship elsewhere.

You pose a good question concerning those who have re-acquired Filipino citizenship.  Where do they fit in?  I would think an argument can be made for either category (i) or (iii).  But I see (i) as the best fit.  It would seem those types are Filipino citizens once again, not "former" citizens.  So for them, in some ways they might be doing themselves - or at least their foreign spouses - a disservice in some cases by reacquiring citizenship.  They would then have to be away for a year to get the coveted BB stamp for the foreign spouse.  For those types, I suppose if the one-year absence test is not met, maybe better to enter on their foreign passport and to claim the BB privilege. 

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