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Return Ticket Requirement to be Enforced

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Policy on tourists imposed
By Eric B. Apolonio | Posted on July 23, 2012 | 12:07am | 0 Comments

The Bureau of Immigration would impose fines on airlines that allow foreign tourists to board an aircraft and travel to the Philippines without return tickets, airport operations chief Ben Se said on Sunday.

Se said the administrative order on return tickets issued by Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David, which takes effect today, is an international practice, which is implemented in almost all countries in the world.

“This rule is meant to guarantee that a tourist will leave the host country before the lapse of his stay as a temporary visitor,” David said in his order.

Section 29 of the Immigration Act provides that aliens who arrive as tourists would be excluded and sent back to their port of origin they do not have valid return or onward tickets.

Balikbayans are exempted because they are former citizens of the Philippines. But their stay is limited to one year.

Ed Monreal, Airline Operators Council chairman and Cathay Pacific Station Manager, said they have been implementing for some time the “no return ticket, no entry to the Philippines” to all tourists who come to the country.

I had the same problem with Delta airlines earlier this year in February when my wife and I were on the way to Cebu from Florida. The manager was not going to allow me on the flight even though I had a return ticket that was set for months later and even though I had numerous stamps in my passport showing we stay for about 4 months each year. I always print and carry a copy of the balikbayan law with me in my computer case and I provided that to her and she read it and asked if she could make a copy of it and I of course said yes. After making the copy she then allowed us on the flight but I could tell she was still uneasy with it because she had said she did not wish to have to pay for my return ticket and the fine that Delta would take out of her salary if the Philippines would have turned me around. So it is always best to have an onward ticket and I am not sure what will happen next trip when we do the same thing yet again.  :(

At some point in the year my wife and I take a vacation.  This year we had decided to go to Hong Kong so in January I bought my tickets for there.  I have used the same on word tickets all year, I have decided to return to the states for christmas and have bought that ticket as well so when we go to HK I will have my forwarding ticket at that time as well.  

Before I return in January we will decide where we want to go and I will purchase that ticket also in advance. It takes a little forethought and planning but has worked well for us.

I flew in on Qatar last year. One way ticket.  They asked me and I simply told them I was going to be upgrading to 13a at immigration.

Just fyi, I just arrived on Thursday. Flying out of San Antonio, Tx, I was booked all the way under the auspices of United but flew on Asiana Airlines from LA to Manilavia Seoul.  I had a return ticke but it was well outside of the 21 day period.  No one at United or Asiana asked about a visa.  When I got to immigration in Manila, there was a sign in front of each booth that required presentation of Passport, immigration form, and onward ticket (Tourist only).  I just gave the lady my passport and form only. She looked at the passport, did asked to see a ticket, and gave me the 21 day visa.  I noticed, however, that some Korean passengers were being ask about stays and tickets. I'm not sure what criteria they were using.  I was one of about 5 American/Europeans on the fligt. The rest of the passengers appeared to be Korean.


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