(File photo)

MANILA – Foreigners affected by flight cancellations on New Year’s Day have been given until next week to rebook their flights without added penalties, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Wednesday.

In an advisory, Commissioner Norman Tansingco said foreigners whose flights were cancelled or delayed due to a technical issue in the Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC) of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) were given several days on the validity of their authorized stay and their Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).

Those whose visas and ECCs expired during the period have been allowed until Jan. 12 to rebook their flights without added immigration penalties.

“Considering what happened to many foreign nationals who were unable to leave during their scheduled flights, we issued this advisory to assist them in rescheduling, without having to worry about overstaying,” he said in a statement.

Foreigners are only required to present their confirmed ticket showing their canceled flight from Jan. 1 or onwards and/or their boarding pass.

“This extension is given in the spirit of the hospitality of Filipino people. Those who were affected did not mean to overstay their visas, hence appropriate considerations are given to them,” Tansingco said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau reminded foreigners to report to the BI for their 2023 annual report, which began on Tuesday.

The annual report is in compliance with the Alien Registration Act of 1950, which requires all foreigners with immigrant and non-immigrant visas to report to the bureau within the first 60 days of every calendar year.

Under the law, aliens holding immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and were issued an alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card) are required to present themselves to the bureau for the annual report. Also required to report are refugees and stateless aliens.

The annual report will continue until March 1.

“The venue of the annual report has been transferred from the BI Main Office to two major malls—Robinsons Place Manila and SM Mall of Asia. The aim is to bring the service closer to the people, to provide convenience and accessibility,” Tansingco said.

Apart from the two malls, BI offices nationwide may also cater to the reporting.

Lawyer Jose Carlitos Licas, BI alien registration division chief, said foreigners going to the BI for their annual report via any immigration office nationwide are required to register with the BI’s online registration system via http://e-services.immigration.gov.ph.

They must present their original ACR I-Card and valid passport as well as pay a PHP300 annual report fee and PHP10 legal research fee.

Foreigners who are out of the country during the reporting period may still make the report within 30 days from the date of their return to the country, so long as their re-entry permits are still valid.

For aliens below the age of 14, their parent or legal guardian is obligated to make the report for them.

Senior citizens and persons with disability are exempted from personal appearance and may file through a representative with a Special Power of Attorney. (PNA)