By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday urged foreign residents in the country who plan to spend Chinese New Year abroad to process their reentry fees in any of the bureau’s offices prior to their departure date.
BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina made the appeal in anticipation of the annual surge in the volume of travelers lining up to pay their reentry fees to immigration cashiers at the departure areas of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals.
“We are expecting a surge of Chinese residents in the Philippines who wish to spend the Chinese New Year abroad. It may result in heavy congestion of our airports, which could be avoided if they process and pay their fees before heading to the airport,” he said in a statement.
He said a 10-15 percent increase in departures is expected during the annual celebration.
“Last year we saw a 14 percent increase in departures, this year the increase might be more or less the same,” he said.
Immigration policies require foreign nationals who are registered holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas to pay exit and reentry permits every time they leave the country.
Medina said reentry fees can be paid at the BI main office in Manila and in the immigration field, satellite, and extension offices nationwide.
“The BI has almost 60 offices nationwide that may cater to this need. It’s a very quick process, which will only take a few minutes. We also have offices located in malls and other convenient locations,” he said.
Foreign nationals are required to present official receipts of their reentry permit fees before they are cleared for departure. Otherwise, they are directed to first pay their fees to BI cashiers at the airport.
“We expect that the surge could congest our immigration cashiers, hence we are appealing to registered aliens to pre-pay their fees to avoid the congestion,” Medina said.
It has been a customary practice for many Chinese nationals living abroad to visit their homeland for the Chinese New Year which falls on January 25 this year. (PNA)