Today, July 17, Malacañang announced that they are will allow the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas in the country starting August 1. However, to maintain safety, the government’s COVID-19 task force set conditions prior to the entry of these foreigners.
In an press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that foreign nationals must first have valid and existing visas at the time of the entry, meaning no new entry visa shall be accepted. He also said that foreign nationals are subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, as returning overseas Filipinos will be given priority.
Moreover, foreign nationals must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider.
This new policy was approved by the task force yesterday, July 16.
Previously, only Filipinos, their spouse and children, accredited foreign government and international organization officials, as well as foreign airline crew, were allowed to enter the country. The government earlier created a technical working group to study the possible entry of more foreigners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study was prompted by the appeal of a foreign embassy for the Philippines to ease inbound travel restrictions to allow the entry of foreign workers in flagship infrastructure projects and permanent resident visa holders.
Last week, the Philippines lifted the ban on non-essential overseas travel by Filipinos although subject to conditions such as submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas and a declaration acknowledging the risks in traveling.