On 22 December 2020, due to the new B117 Strain of COVID-19, which was just recently discovered in the UK, the IATF issued Resolution No. 90 imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals coming from the United Kingdom. On 29 December 2020, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) increased the list of countries included in the travel ban. On 1 January 2021, the United States of America was included.
On 5 January 2021, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) released Resolution No. 92, access here, adding exemptions to the travel restrictions for certain foreign nationals. The BI added more countries to the list on 9 January 2021 and released the Travel Restriction Guidelines, access here.
On 12 January 2021, through a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary, access here, more countries were added to the list.
We summarize the relevant issuances.
The following countries are included in the travel ban:
- United Kingdom of Great Britain;
- The Netherlands;
- Hong Kong SAR;
- South Korea;
- South Africa;
- United States of America;
- Brazil; and
- Oman; and
- People's Republic of China ("Covered Country/ies").
The travel ban shall be effective until 15 January 2021.
The travel ban covers foreign nationals, regardless of nationality, transiting through or coming through the Covered Countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines. The travel ban is imposed "regardless of visa category and previously issued endorsement / exemption."
While the travel ban is in place, the following may be admitted into the country:
- Foreign nationals, even nationals of the Covered Countries, and Filipino citizens who did not enter a Covered Country within 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines; provided, that such foreign nationals are qualified for entry into the Philippines under existing IATF/BI resolutions;
- Foreign nationals and Filipino citizens, who just stayed in the airport of a Covered Country and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities (i.e. layover);
- Filipino citizens, who were cleared for entry into a Covered Country within 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines except unaccompanied minors who are not part of a repatriation program of the national government.
- Foreign nationals who entered a Covered Country within 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines who fall under the following categories:
- Local / accredited foreign diplomats and international organizations such as World Health Organization and United Nations [9(e) visa holders or diplomatic/official/regular passport holder with valid 9(a) visa and DFA authorization];
- Foreign dignitaries [with DFA authorization]; and
- Those for medical or emergency cases, including their medical escorts, if any [with valid 9(a) visa and DFA authorization].
Foreign nationals and Filipino citizens covered by the exceptions in (1) and (2) above need not complete a full 14-day facility-based quarantine, and may be allowed home quarantine upon a negative RT‑PCR test result upon entry into the Philippines.
Foreign nationals and Filipino citizens covered by the exceptions in (3), (4)[a] and (4)[b] above shall be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine, notwithstanding a negative RT‑PCR test result upon entry.
Effective until 15 January 2021, foreign nationals who have entered a Covered Country, within 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines, shall be absolutely prohibited from entry.
The travel ban is subject to the exceptions stated above.