How to Avoid The Second Screening at the Philippines Immigration [Secondary Inspection]

By Lyza Paloma February 3rd, 2021 Posted in Guide for Filipinos, Philippines Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

One of the scariest things to happen when you travel abroad is when Immigration bars you. Yung akala mo okay na ang lahat, pero naharang ka sa immigration. Every time we go out of the country, we will always pass through immigration. However, here’s an article on how to Avoid the Second Screening at the Philippines Immigration.

How to Avoid Second Screening at the Philippines Immigration 01
Photo by Michael CC BY 2.0

Many are scared of the Immigration Officers in the Philippines. Some are quite strict, but they are just doing their jobs. One of their duties is to protect us Filipinos from being trafficked. Ayaw nila na lumabas ang mga kapwa Pinoy para ma-exploit. As you’ve seen in the news, some people are maltreated or not even given enough food or pay. In case you want a happy vacation, meet your loved ones abroad, or work there, read our tips kung paano hindi maharang sa Immigration.

People Subject to Secondary Inspection

As per BI’s Guidelines On Departure Formalities For International-bound Passengers 

  • Travelers without the financial capacity to travel that are accompanied by a foreigner who is not related
  • Minor traveling alone or unaccompanied by either parent or legal guardian without DSWD travel clearance
  • Repatriated irregular workers, in which case, travel may not be allowed without clearance from the IACAT
  • Partners and spouses of foreign nationals intending to depart to meet or marry his/her fiancé without the CFO Guidance and Counselling Certificate;
  • Passengers traveling to counties with existing deployment bans, alert levels, and travel advisories and those in possession of visas to the said countries
  • Passengers who stayed abroad for more than one (1) year during a previous departure from the country as a tourist/temporary visitor, intending to depart for the second and/or subsequent time.

Here are tips on How to Avoid Second Screening at the Philippines Immigration

1. Ready your primary documents

Philippine Immigration Tips for Unemployed and Home Based Online Worker or Freelancer1

Here are the usual documents asked by the immigration

  • Passport – your passport must be valid for at least 6 months, kasi if below, baka di kana pa-aalisin. There are some countries na hindi nag-papasok ng mga foreigners if less than 6 months valid na ang passport. Better renew it if your passport is valid for less than a year. Read our guide on Passport Renewal.
  • Visa – if required. Of course, you will need a visa to go out of the country if Filipinos are not visa-exempt. Make sure it’s also the proper visa. For example, you are going on a vacation; then you will need a tourist visa. If you are working, then a working visa. If the Immigration Officer feels that you will be working outside the country rather than have a vacation, you might be screened again. To avoid this, you can prove that you will come back to the Philippines by having a return ticket, showing you have a job or business, or any concrete reason that you will leave and return to the country.
  • Roundtrip Ticket – for those who are traveling as a tourist or in short term visits. Ito yung isang proof na babalik ka sa Pinas after ng visit or gala mo. It’s rare but not impossible to go out of the country as a tourist without a return ticket unless you are a frequent traveler. But, if it’s your first time, better to have this. Don’t use fake return tickets, as they may get you offloaded if they know it’s bogus.

2. Bring your Supporting Documents

It’s important to read this part as this is one of the most crucial requirements when you travel. Many IOs will base here. You may be included in many categories.

For those who are traveling for Tourism Purposes

  • Hotel Accommodations, Travel Itinerary, and Voucher – proving that you are indeed there for vacation purposes
  • Financial Capacity to Travel – you may be asked what’s your job and an ID to prove it or if you have cash, credit, or debit cards

In case there are bans or high alerts on that country – this is a bit tricky; the question would be why you will travel there? If it’s unsafe or the authorities are on high alert, you need to be firm on your purpose of travel—Ayaw ka nila mapahamak.

For those without Financial Capacity To Travel

This is usually for those who don’t have jobs or enough savings

You will need an authenticated affidavit of support; your sponsor must be within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity with proof of relationship. Ang ibig-sabihin ng fourth degree is until first cousins; first yung parent-child, second ang magkapatid, third yung aunt or uncle mo or pamangkin.

May na experience yung cousin ko nito – nascreen sila dahil wala syang job pero kasama na yung first-degree cousin nya, mag-kaiba na sila ng apelyido kasi mother at father nila magkapatid pero married na pinsan nya. Pero, he still traveled with her, pina-pirma lang sya ng affidavit of support after questioning sa isang office. You need to go to the lawyer to get this, pero mas maliit ang cost ng affidavit kaysa pamasahe.

An affidavit of undertaking or guarantee is also okay

Proof of relationship might also be asked between your sponsor and you. Sometimes, you’ll need to let the officers see pictures and conversations, especially if your sponsor is your lover abroad.

For those traveling to meet or marry foreign partners abroad

The CFO does not require those with a tourist visa for a CFO certificate, but sometimes the Immigration officer is a bit strict on that, especially if you are there for more than a month or two. In case you are there with an unmarried visa or visit, it’s better to have a CFO Temporary certificate.

Messages and Conversations – sometimes, hahalangkutin ng IO yung phone mo to establish na what you are saying is true – na may relationship kayo at pupuntahan mo sya – hindi ang ibang tao or magtrabaho doon. If you would like to have privacy, you can print some of your conversations or posts if you don’t want them to touch your phone.

CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate – for immigrant or permanent visa holders

CFO Emigrant Registration Sticker – for immigrant or permanent visa holders
It’s also good to prepare other documents such as an invitation letter, sponsorship letter, an affidavit that you will be staying with them, etc. In case you have visa applications, have a photocopy or a picture of what you submitted.

CFO Sticker

For Minors

Because children are vulnerable and child trafficking is present all over the world, IOs will be strict with this one, prepare:

DSWD Travel Clearance – if minor is traveling alone or someone who is not their parents or legal guardians. In case parents live abroad, they might need proof that they indeed live with their parents, like permanent resident visas, etc.

If the child is traveling with his/her solo parent or Legal Guardian, need to present either of the following:

For Overseas Filipino Workers (and their family)

Overseas Employment Certificate

Special Travel Exit Clearance – for those who are going to training outside of the country or on final interviews or exams

Invitation Letters with duration, entitlements, or a Trainorship Agreement – in case there are intra-company training abroad

In case you are an OFW and want to go to other countries, you may not need to get an OEC for your vacation. Treat yourself as a tourist.

Birth or Marriage Certificate – for immediate family members of OFWs and copy of OEC

For Emigrants, Resident Visa or Permit or Permanent Resident Card Holders

These are for Filipinos who will live permanently abroad

For those under Exchange Visitor Program

Examples may include au pairs, J1 visa holders, etc.

  • Valid Visa
  • Contracts may also be asked

For OJT

Specific courses have on-the-job training abroad, here are what you need:

  • School Certification on OJT
  • Acceptance by Host Company
  • Certificate of Overseas Training – from CHED

During the Pandemic

Requirements by your final destination country – e.g., Negative PCR Test, Accommodation Bookings, etc.

3. Be ready for anything.

You’ll get OK Immigration Officers, and sometimes you get STRICT IOs; we randomly get one, so you’ll have to consider your luck for this. Groups should stick with the same immigration officer and tell them you are traveling together, mas concrete and walang maiiwan.

They will also be asking you questions related to your purpose of traveling, but it may take longer, especially for those without financial means to travel or meet their loved ones for the first time. Documents will be asked and also personal questions, and they will even read your conversations. Sa dami daming taong tinatanong nila every day, di ka marerember nyan – well unless may mali kang ginawa.

4. Be Honest with the IO

You don’t have to be scared with the IO if you are honest, and they can see that. If wala kang masamang gagawin, wag kang matakot. If you’re not hiding anything, no need to be too nervous. Tell the IO the truth and show them your documents.

My first trip abroad was solo to Japan. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but I tried to be confident and told the IO the truth. There were only a few questions asked from me – my purpose of travel (tourism), if I was going alone (yes), what’s my job and how long I worked there (showed her my company ID and said my answers), and the accommodation (I printed those out and showed it to her.) And poof! I got approved.

The usual reasons why people get secondary inspections or offloaded are there answers aren’t consistent. For example, Juan said that she is going to Singapore to meet a friend, which is his final destination. Upon an inspection of his phone and conversation, IO has noticed that he has a tourist visa to another country and a ticket. Juan obviously lied, and the “friend” might be an illegal recruiter. Misrepresentation of his real purpose got him offloaded.

P.S. Don’t forget to keep your answer short and straight to the point and to smile.

5. Additional Tip: Be Early

If you think you are one of the persons who are automatically subject to second screening by the Philippines Immigration, then you need to be there early. The usual time to be at the airport is 3 – 4 hours before the flight; here, you might need more as you will be questioned repeatedly by IOs. So you have to be firm on your purpose and ready.

Visa Bundle Service

I hope this guide will help you avoid second screening at the Philippines Immigration. Yes, nakakatakot talaga ma screen again, especially as you are escorted to another room and dami ng mag-tanong sayo. But be firm with your purpose of travel, be honest, and be ready with your documents. Good luck! Kaya mo yan!

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About the Writer

Lyza Paloma

Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and I fell in love with the experience. I aim to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.​

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Written by Lyza Paloma

Lyza is a native of Leyte who spent 10 years studying and working in Cebu before working for Two Monkeys Travel. She decided to stop daydreaming and started to pursue her dreams of traveling to the Philippines and the world. She has already been to 4 countries in Asia and 18 provinces in the Philippines. She’s flexible and can travel solo, with friends, or family. Besides traveling, she loves organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends.

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