BI orders tight screening of aliens claiming they have Pinoy spouses

BI orders tight screening of aliens claiming they have Pinoy spouses

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports of entry have been ordered to tightly screen foreigners claiming they are married to Filipinos before allowing them to enter the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he issued the order following reports that some foreign nationals were able to enter the country by presenting fraudulent marriage certificates to make it appear that they are eligible to enter the Philippines.

“I have ordered our frontline officers at the ports to be doubly strict in screening foreigners alleging that they are married to Filipinos or have Filipino children here. It is not enough that they have entry visas, marriage and birth certificates in their possession,” Morente said.

It can be recalled that the government recently revised its restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists by exempting those who are spouses of Filipinos or have minor Filipino children or children with special needs, regardless of age, in the Philippines.

Morente, however, warned that the BI will run after foreigners who managed to enter the country through fraud and misrepresentation.

He urged the public to report to the Bureau any foreigner suspected of involvement in these sham marriages so they could be arrested and deported.

BI Port Operations Division Acting Chief Grifton Medina said that, in compliance with the BI Chief’s directive, all immigration officers manning the ports were already instructed to exercise extra vigilance in screening alien spouses and parents of Filipinos.

“It is not enough that these passengers have entry visa, marriage, and birth certificates in their possession. If they notice inconsistencies in a passenger’s answer to their questions, the latter should be referred for secondary inspection, either to the immigration supervisor or personnel from our Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU),” Medina said.

He cited the case of the two South Korean nationals who were denied entry at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) last 17 August 2020 for presenting scanned copies of their marriage certificates that turned out to be fraudulent.

Medina said the duo was excluded after BI officers found that one of them has not been to the Philippines, while his companion was actually out of the country on the date of his supposed marriage to a Filipina. — Source: / (Press Release)

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