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

Balikbayan Travel

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I have looked at various PI government websites, airline websites and so on, but I can't seem to find an answer to the question of whether a "balikbayan" is "Filipino" for the purpose of current C-19 travel restrictions. 

In general, it appears to be the case, depending upon point of origin, Filipinos can return home to the Phils with little restriction. But does this include balikbayans...those who have been living abroad and who have acquired other citizenship?

My wife was born and raised in the Phils and came to Canada on Filipino passport, but is now a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport.  Can we enter the Phils from Canada or the US?  I am asking because we would like to go back to the Phils within the next year.  I harbor little hope for a vaccine (never done yet for a corona virus) or a cure.  So any kind of return to "normal" is but a pipe dream.  So I do not expect to ever see tourism permitted in the Phils (or anywhere else for that matter).  Our only hope for ever getting back there is using balikbayan status.  But even that door might be closed.  Anyone here have any info of that score? 

FWIW, I think this Brit living in the Phils has made some interesting observations/comments about the sea change that is underway:

Ok, well, first think I'd suggest is see if you can take her to the Philippines Embassy or Consulate in Canada.  There she can fill out some forms, stand in a line, read a card(take an oath) and she'll be given Philippines Citizenship again.  It's really that easy.  The cost is under $200.  I use to know the exact cost because my ex's sister did it.  But, I cannot remember any longer.

Then, per the Immigration Website you and her will be able to enter the Philippines.  Her with her Philippine Passport(have her get that while at the Embassy/consulate) and you as her husband(balikbayan). 

Oh, and I forgot to clear up a possible question.  When your wife takes that oath, it does not remove her Canadian citizenship.  She'll be a dual citizen.  Granted, there will be some restrictions on her Filipino citizenship.

Thanks JoeLP,

I was aware there were some steps she could take to recover Philippine citizenship and up until now, we never much thought about it.  Similarly, I believe that our son, born in Canada, can go through a similar process and acquire Philippine citizenship.

We always had it in mind to take those steps for both my wife and my son "some day", but never got too motivated.  I think the present circumstances might just provide the necessary motive.

It might be the case the balikbayan travel is now, or soon will be, possible.  But maybe taking the steps to recover citizenship is the preferred course, since it seems uncertainty will otherwise prevail.  On that note, I called Philippine Airlines recently and asked about travel restrictions. Their website refers to "Filipinos" and their family members being allowed to travel.  By some definitions I read, Filipinos include balikbayans.  So I asked if balikbayans could fly into the country.  No one there seemed to know.  I spent some time on hold while they considered the matter and, in the end, they suggested I call the Philippine Embassy to get an answer. 

I would not want to get into a situation where Philippine Airlines sells us a ticket, we arrive in the Phils only to be told entry is not allowed.  Might just be safer to recover my wife's Philippine citizenship, get her a PI passport, and travel that way.

Thanks again for your useful input.

There is an American living near me who is here now and only arrived about a month ago.  If you read that immigration website I linked above you'll see where they also make it clear that Filipinos can travel back to the Philippines as well as their balikbayan spouse. 

Now, I understand your concerns and I would have it printed out.  Hell, if you go to the consulate/embassy with your wife, have them give you a letter or something to also back up your travels to the Philippines.  Just a suggestion if you take this route.

Gray Wolf:
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


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