By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) urged overseas-bound travelers to check-in at least three hours before their flight to avoid airport congestion.
BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said that, while queues in immigration counters could not be avoided due to the surge in the number of travelers during the Holy Week, they “are prepared and expect that queueing time to significantly decrease as compared to the previous years.”
He recommended that passengers check in at least three hours before departure, and proceed straight to immigration for clearance for a more relaxed travel and to avoid the rush.
He issued a similar reminder to travelers, who are required to present additional documentary requirements before they may be cleared for departure.
Medina said foreign tourists, who have stayed in the country for more than six months, may secure their emigration clearance certificates in any of the different BI’s district, field, satellite and extension offices nationwide.
He also reminded that registered foreigners with ACR I-Cards permanently living, working, or studying in the Philippines may secure their re-entry permits in other BI Offices before going to the airports.
He said securing their required permits early “will decrease queueing time in half, because they will not have to line up at the cashier anymore”.
Medina also reminded Filipino government officials and employees to ensure that they have the required authority to travel abroad from their respective department heads.
He also advised adults who are traveling abroad with minors not accompanied by parents to make sure that the latter have the required clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Despite the holiday rush, Medina reiterated that the BI has enough manpower deployed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to serve the traveling public.
He said a total of 57 immigration officers assigned in other BI offices were temporarily deployed to the NAIA to augment the bureau’s manpower and minimize the long queues of passengers at the premiere port.