MANILA – Those who will travel to and from the country will now experience a faster and more convenient immigration procedure starting April 15, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced Friday.
This, as the agency will fully implement the e-Travel System, a single data collection platform for arriving and departing passengers for purposes of establishing integrated border control, health surveillance and economic data analysis.
Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the high-tech system requires all passengers and crew members arriving in the Philippines to register through www.etravel.gov.ph not earlier than 72 hours from their intended arrival.
Those who will fail to do so may be assisted by airline staff upon their arrival and before assessment by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).
As a replacement for the paper-based departure cards, only outbound Filipino passengers are required to register in the e-travel system 72 hours but not less than three hours from their scheduled departure from the Philippines.
Those departing Filipino passengers who will fail to register or update their e-travel record may do this before undergoing immigration inspection or may fill out departure cards which are readily available inside the immigration area.
Passengers already registered may update their e-Travel status under the Edit Registration tab while crew members may update under the Registered Crew tab.
The platform was initially rolled out at the arrival area in December and has been expanded to cover departing travelers.
"Not only does this speed up immigration clearance, this initiative also ensures interoperability among border management agencies and saves government resources,” the BI chief said in a statement.
The system is an initiative of a sub-technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force chaired by the BI.
"The paper-based arrival and departure cards can only be used by passengers who are incapable of e-Travel registration and in the event that the e-Travel site is inaccessible,” he added
At the same time, Tansingco reminded travelers that registering and updating in the e-travel portal is free of charge.
He urged the public to report to the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) if they encountered fake sites that are charging fees.
The e-Travel System is a joint project of the Bureau with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Tourism, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Bureau of Customs, the Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice and the National Privacy Commission. (PNA)