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Rude passport control in NAIA

Hello.

I living in the Philippines since June 2014 with tourist visa.

Last night I arrived from Thailand with all legit documents and ticket to third destination, and had issue with passport control in airport. One young police officer asked me: "What are you doing in Philippines?"

I said: "I'm here as a tourist!"

Police officer: "NO, WHAT ARE YOU REALLY DOING IN THE PHILIPPINES LAST 3 YEARS???"

Me: "Hey, do not talk with me like that. If you do not like your own rules, just call Duterte. I can stay as a tourist whole life if I want"

Than he called his boss. They brought me to some special room and asked many question. They even checked my Facebook and my girlfriend's Facebook. They stopped when I told them than I will call my embassy to ask them why they keeping me there without any valid reason.

Did anybody else had same problem with them? Maybe they expected from me to offer them a money?  Is their treatment was legitimate? If I have all required documents, can they still deny entrance to country?

eduardo001 :

Hello.

I living in the Philippines since June 2014 with tourist visa.

Last night I arrived from Thailand with all legit documents and ticket to third destination, and had issue with passport control in airport. One young police officer asked me: "What are you doing in Philippines?"

I said: "I'm here as a tourist!"

Police officer: "NO, WHAT ARE YOU REALLY DOING IN THE PHILIPPINES LAST 3 YEARS???"

Me: "Hey, do not talk with me like that. If you do not like your own rules, just call Duterte. I can stay as a tourist whole life if I want"

First rule - NEVER upset an immigration official.
Next - They do have the right to detain you and deport if they consider it acceptable to them - not you.
3 years on a tourist visa is a very long time, even if they were all legal visas, so it's hardly a shock the officer stopped you.

Thank you for reply. I do not think that one person can decide about deport just like that.

I think their recommendation will stand most of the time.
No one has the right to enter any country except their own and an immigration officer an deny you any time he sees something he doesn't like.

No Offisers No Poly (Multybel) Tiks(Bloodsukers)  Paradys!!!

Ive lived in the philippines on tourist visa for 6 years. Why? Because they will not give me any other type of visa unless i am married to a filopina.

Eduardo...  You are not the Croatian footballer, I assume...  Anyway...

Fred is extremely right for rule # 1.  Airport immigration officers have lots of power, anywhere!  If you did that in the US, Australia, you probably got deported.

Do not think you are always right when you talk to an immigration officer, even if really you are.  These people have seen it all.  They have seen expats entering in and out the country with a tourist visa for 5, 8 years.  They have heard all kinds of excuses and answers.  They have seen all kinds of items trying to get shipped in a country and they have the right to confiscate it if it violates the arrival country laws.

Always be respectful to them.  Do not raise your voice or answer back.  Do not make unnecessary jokes, especially bombs or terrorists.  They do not have time for those and will quickly arrest you.  Do not name drop.  Your embassy CAN help you, but it should be last resort.  But if you are really wrong, your embassy may not be able to help you.

I already have heard of people who were denied back at NAIA.  A few of these I know personally.  Chinese, Vietnamese, British to name a few.  Some of them have possessions remaining here and even has an active lease contract.  So don't you ever think you are special.

Be prepared to be harassed or interrogated or be asked with a question that will caught you off guard or unprepared to answer.  The key is to be relaxed and respectful.  Being tense or angry can mean to them that you are hiding something.

So the next time you enter, please be respectful.  They probably placed a red mark on you already.  Try to make up.

Cheers!

Another, being respectful will help you save time.  I am in the US right now and when I entered LAX, it took maybe 3 minutes only with the immigration officer and didn't even opened my suitcase.  He just asked if I have any food items and I told him just a few crackers and biscuits.

On the other immigration booth, I saw bags being opened and checked very well.  I am not sure what the problem was, but I can tell the arriving passenger was not pleased with the inspection.

Dressing well and smartly will also help you avoid being questioned.  I arrived in LAX wearing a suit and the one beside me (the one being questioned) was wearing shorts!

Yes. I would agree to be most humble when dealing with immigration officials at ANY airport. The harder you make it for them the much harder they will make it for you. Just be polite and answer any questions respectfully.
In all just remember they don't have to let you in.

Hi,

Being granted a stay in the Philippines on a tourist visa is a privilege, not a right. You can be denied entrance, or being deported if you are already here, on any kind of reason or for no reason at all. A privilege  can be withdrawn at any time from those who have given it to you.

Staying in the Philippines on a permanent resident visa is different though since this is right that has been granted to you by the BID Commissioner and it needs his decision to have it revoked, and then for a valid reason.

I agree that being polite and nice to immigration officers is a must. Don't forget that they are doing a good job in keeping us safer here by stopping human elements who should not be allowed to enter the Philippines at all.

I have lived in the Philippines for 20+ years and occasionally met and observed foreigners who should not have been allowed to be here at all due to their bad and offensive behavior towards the Filipinos in their own country.

Have a nice day in the Philippines. :-)

Did they let you into the country? As they can refuse entry to anyone, best thing to do in that situation is call a senior immigration officer and explain what the young immigration officer said but never argue with these guys as they have the upper hand and they know it as long as your polite your usually ok . Asking you what you were doing for the past 3 years is really none of their business as long as your not on their watch or Black lists you should have just said touring the country they could not prove otherwise unless you were involved in any illegal activity as their intelligence is pretty good here

First of all 3 years on a tourist visa is not unusual as I know a few married guys still on tourist visas who have been here 15 years and longer , the extension for Those on tourist visas was changed over 2 years ago from 16 months to 36 months I have noticed that some people who have permanent residency visa tend to look down on guys with a tourist visa like we are second class citizens , take the married guys still on tourist visas they stay that way because once you have a 13 A your wife has complete control over you and many guys are living in absolute misery because of it as some not all wives use it to get extra money out of them remember your wife sponsors you if she withdraws that you will lose your status , hence why a lot of guys would rather stay on a tourist visa

Wearing shorts is not against entry rules in the Philippines

I am a U.S. citizen with 21 years of military service. A few years ago, after arriving at Las Vegas airport from the Philippines, I was "selected" to undergo a thorough search, which took about one hour. My two suitcases were opened and searched. The immigration officer requested access to my laptop. The most interesting thing about this whole adventure was that they didn't care about my age (75 at the time) or the fact that I have been traveling for 16 hours, or that one of  my friends came to pick me up at the airport.  Unfortunately,I was not able to call him, because the immigration officer forbid anyone from making calls. Lately, there is no cell phone service in the arrival area!

On the other hand, not once was I subjected in the Philippines to undergo a thorough search at the airport after arriving from overseas. Most of the time it is a routine process, answering a few questions asked by the immigration officer and having your passport stamped.

But make sure you don't antagonize the officers. A friend of mine arrived from Honolulu in bad condition, because he was drinking non-stop on the airplane. He got into an argument with the immigration officers, but more importantly, he didn't have an airplane ticket out of the country, which is a requirement for all tourists. He was sent back to Honolulu and had to enter the Philippines again with proof of intent to leave the country.

Hi Good Morning Sir yes heavy drinking is not recommended on a long haul flight as you just dont know what to expect when you have to face an immigration officer also you have to make sure you have that onward ticket or you will be in trouble but it's usually the Airline company that will stop you boarding the flight in the first place if you cannot show the onward ticket

Deca 2015 :

Wearing shorts is not against entry rules in the Philippines

Even if that is the case, it might not help if your case is borderline.

Fred as long as your dressed tidy with shorts below the knee and look clean as well they don't bother in fact someone asked that question to an immigration officer who gave a talk  in one of our monthly expat meetings and He said the same thing

As that is the least of their worries they are more concerned with correct documents than anything else and the answers you give to questions they may ask

Deca 2015 :

Fred as long as your dressed tidy with shorts below the knee and look clean as well they don't bother in fact someone asked that question to an immigration officer who gave a talk  in one of our monthly expat meetings and He said the same thing

I was thinking more of borderline cases where an officer was either way on entry and the lesser dress code could possibly tip his decision.
I base this on watching officers at airports and the way they seem to act when they single out a passenger for inspection. Not claiming great experience, just some observations when in queues.

Opinion?

Unfortunately immigration in many countries are not friendly and sometimes rude.
The only thing you can do is be polite even when they are not. I was asked in Manila airport why i was coming back to the Philippines as i have many tourist visa extensions in my passport. I told the officer i had my house here but that didnt stop him being sarcastic. I just stood there and said nothing.
Better to be quiet than rude back.

Sir ,
What happened to you i consider normal

You should always play smooth and down when you enter a foreign country .... Whatever the style of the IO.
Always smile , answer to questions and keep calm even he is agressive .
Talking about president and beeing 'hot' is not advised , lol.

Kind regards

Hi Eduardo,

There has already been a lot of good advice here. I've done a fair amount of travelling, in and out of some countries, living in others.  I've been to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, China, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Turkey, Poland and the UK (and, of course, the Philippines).

I find that a sincere smile and openness always helps.  I've only ever encountered one slight problem, and it turns out I was at fault.  In Ukraine it is required to register your living address with the immigration people.  I did so, but was unaware that leaving the country meant I had to register again, even for the same address.  The Immigration officer listened quietly while I explained that I was registered, and showed him the stamp.  He then patiently and politely explained that I'd left the country a few months earlier, and that I needed to register again.  He must have believed me, because he said that I'd have to pay a fine, but he made it the minimum possible.  He had the discretion to impose a huge fine, but didn't.

I'm sure that if I'd argued with him the fine would have been much higher, and I could have been permanently barred from re-entering.  I asked if this would prevent me from re-entering, and he assured me that it wouldn't.  And it didn't.

We're guests in the Philippines, no matter what kind of visa we are on.  Even those who are married to a Pinay and have 'Migrant' on their i-Card are here only so long as the Philippine Government allow it.

If asked again why you are here, I'd simply smile and say, "I really LOVE your country!  The food is great, the people are so friendly, the beaches are wonderful - okay, the weather is a bit too hot sometimes, but everything else is great." 

Is it pandering?  Probably - but those are my honest views on the Philippines, so I have no difficulty in sounding sincere.

Hi ,
Don't say you are here for the great food , they will not believe you and put you direct to jail , ahaha

After living in India for almost 2 years, the food here is heavenly!  Where I was in India was maybe the worst state (Gujarat) to live in - alcohol free zone, and almost no meat available, and then only goat and chicken.  And they put chilli into EVERYTHING!!! I mean EVERYTHING!  Even tea, Pepsi and ice-cream weren't safe without stressing 'ZERO SPICE'.

I guess each to his own. When I toured Calcutta and the Assam region I loved the fact that I could go anywhere and enjoy what was served. Only thing that I had to be careful about was making sure that everything was cooked. Of course, I LOVE spicy food!

You can change an A13 visa to tourest anytime it is around 5,000 peso than you have to leave every 3 years the old lady won't like that especially if to Thiland

What is your citizenship?

I was asked similar questions and I always answer that I am planning to retire in the Philippines.

I just love the Philippines and want to retire there. This is true.

Some more tips to avoid being hassled even if you are totally innocent:

Always enter thru Clark. This is a huge retirement/tourist haven. You will be entering with a bunch of US retirees at all times. In Manila they often have an attitude. In Cebu, even worse.

Always wear non descript conservative clothes. A grey long sleeve shirt, track pants. All dark. Glasses also help.

As much as you can, choose an immigration booth with a younger officer. The most unfriendly to me were middle aged people.

Speaking Tagalog and Visaya helped turning their friendlier side to me.

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