Return Ticket Exemptions

This will be the first time I will enter the Philippines without needing a return ticket. I will be availing of the balikbayan visa. This is stated in article 11 of the BI Travel Requirements:

"11. Who are exempt from the return ticket requirement?       

1. Philippine passport holders;

2. Former Filipinos and their dependents (immediate family members);"

There is a #3 but it doesn't apply. Am I safe in assuming #2 exempts me from purchasing a return ticket? Does anyone have first hand experience entering on a balikbayan visa without a return ticket?

I have been trying to find out if Balikbayan visa is available if I leave the country with my wife and then return, We have recently married and are applying for 13a visa but my current visa and my 3 years will expire in mid August. I have applied for an extension beyond that date citing the fact we have applied for the 13a visa but I have been told in my local immigration office that "if" the extension is granted it may cost as much as P30k.

When my wife and I were in immigration we asked about leaving the country and re-entering together to get a balikbayan visa the staff there insisted that balikbayan visas were not being issued at this time. I just wonder if anyone on this forum has, or know of anyone who has arrived in Phils recently and been given a balikbayan visa?

I am not an expert, but i think there is not such thing as a bb visa.
BI does not issue such visas.

It's just a stamp, placed in the pp of a foreigner upon entering the country together with his/her spouse. Validity is limited, but extendable.

During the height of the pandemic foreigners were not allowed in. Later it changed that foreigners accompanied with their spouse were allowed.

Moon Dog wrote:

This will be the first time I will enter the Philippines without needing a return ticket. I will be availing of the balikbayan visa. This is stated in article 11 of the BI Travel Requirements:

"11. Who are exempt from the return ticket requirement?       

1. Philippine passport holders;

2. Former Filipinos and their dependents (immediate family members);"

There is a #3 but it doesn't apply. Am I safe in assuming #2 exempts me from purchasing a return ticket? Does anyone have first hand experience entering on a balikbayan visa without a return ticket?

This is in reply to both Findlaymacd,

Whatever avenue you pursue make sure it is the correct one or it could be a costly mistake. I really don't know the ins and outs of everything regarding  Balikbayan entry or exit.

I arrived three years ago on a Balikbayan Visa not knowing I was the recipient of that type of visa. I had read horror stories of people barred leaving on their trip to the Philippines by the airline because of not having a return flight. Our flight was nonstop on PAL.

I had a return throwaway ticket. My wifes one way flight ticket was hundreds of dollars more than my first leg of my return ticket. You could possibly buy a one way ticket that is more expensive than the complete ticket with exit.

I should have had a throwaway ticket to a cheaper destination. If in doubt buy a throwaway ticket somewhere cheap, think of it as insurance, something that you need and never have to use.

YMMV so be careful.

I use to get a throwaway ticket from Philippines to Malaysia it was $ 28 USD, I never bought a round trip ticket, you can see what happens if their is a Pandemic, and the Airline cancels your ticket, you could be stranded, I heard of cases where individuals could not afford another ticket, and had to resort to ask US Embassy for return ticket, if your one way you leave any time

Okieboy wrote:

I use to get a throwaway ticket from Philippines to Malaysia it was $ 28 USD, I never bought a round trip ticket, you can see what happens if their is a Pandemic, and the Airline cancels your ticket, you could be stranded, I heard of cases where individuals could not afford another ticket, and had to resort to ask US Embassy for return ticket, if your one way you leave any time

Yes throw away    (if not plan to use the return.)
BUT I suppouse if an Airline cancel the trip you have paid, then they have to compensate you.  (If they havent gone bankruptcy.)

I do remember that even prior to this pandemic (Apr 2019) the airline crew of the plane I was about to board fm Singapore did insist I produce my return ticket, which offcourse I didn't have.....All I had was my SRRV card & my brand new Singapore pp (the old pp had been stolen / thats another story). Showed that to them saying I was a permenant resident of the Philippines & that I would NOT be coming back  :D ...they smiled and let me board.
So yes best not to assume anything if you are not sure...especially these days when you here that even SRRV holders were being barred fm entering without an ECC???? If a throw away ticket that costs less <$50 to a nearby destination.... is the price to pay I would gladly. Infact if you are lucky due to many airline flights being postponed/cancelled by the day you may infact get to have your free re-booking option/refund at your disposal. (omo)
Stay Safe

The cheapest tickets I can find is $150 each and that is with PAL. If the consulate in  DC calls the wife for oath taking soon I will only need one but then I will need two round trip tickets from Atlanta to DC and that will cost even more. I can't find any Cebu Pacific flights to Malaysia. I would like to contact Delta to see if they require return tickets for former and spouse but hold time is 4 hours, I would rather spend the $300.

Agree with manwonder, purchase a refundable exit ticket unless 13a or trying for Balakbayan visa on entry then maybe take the risk or simply book a fully refundable ticket. I bought a return ticket with PAL in Feb 2020, flying mid March and returning to Australia Early Aug 2020,,,,, didn't happen, C-19. I booked my ticket through an online agency and not PAL as it was about AU150 cheaper. Pandemic hit the day I arrived, come July PAL emailed me that all flights to Oz were cancelled and to apply for a refund through my agency, did that and minus AU 37.50 agents fee got my money back 2 months later. I am now living here, reporting to immi every 2 months without an exit ticket and never been questioned.

Also pay heed to what FindlayMacD observed with Balakbayan visas and also if not available, entry status on a tourist visas with an exit ticket.
Difficult times Moon Dog but I'm sure you will navigate the correct path, good luck.

Cheers, Steve.

Moon Dog wrote:

The cheapest tickets I can find is $150 each and that is with PAL. If the consulate in  DC calls the wife for oath taking soon I will only need one but then I will need two round trip tickets from Atlanta to DC and that will cost even more. I can't find any Cebu Pacific flights to Malaysia. I would like to contact Delta to see if they require return tickets for former and spouse but hold time is 4 hours, I would rather spend the $300.

The cheapest someoine had found BEFORE covid was FERRY from Luzon to HongKong.
I suppouse Palawan - Malaysia will be the cheapest, because its much shorter,, but it seem they have postponed opening that line because of covid.

I found Cebu Pacific tickets to Malaysia for $73 in November booking through Cheapoair. I did a search the other day on the Cebu Pacific website and it kept coming up not available.

The balikbayan visa program (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6768) was shut down for a while but it is back in effect.

If you want to roll the dice I seen a vlogger post about throw away tickets. It's less than 20 dollars and good 4 only 48 hours. Google onward ticket to get the information. That's what he used to arrive in the Philippines. Back in February I booked a one way to Vietnam thru Cebu airlines for about 60 dollars.  Cebu then canceled the flight after 2 to 3 weeks after I arrived. They offered a credit or a refund.  I took the refund.

Haven't they banned tourists from entering the country entirely?  So why if your in the in-crowd of an approved visa need a throw-away ticket in the first place?

The problem is they didn't refund your ticket, and there were no flights out of the Philippines for some, I had just returned from vacation March 5 the next week no flights in or out,lot of people stranded because they had round trip ticket and could not leave before the return date, remember when your looking for a throwaway ticket as long as it is out of the Philippines find the close place to leave from, if your going to Malaysia find the nearest airport in the Philippines, a ferry would cost about as much as air fair, at least it use to be, but I don't recommend going from Zamboanga to Malaysia I took that journey years ago , we made a stop in Sulu not a safe place, I stayed out of sight one crew member told me they don't bother them they are the only means of supply, in my return to Zamboanga there is only one immigration offical and he was not there so I had to wait 9 hours for him to show up, while waiting I had numerous offers to take me by boat to my destination, you see how Chinese and Indian nationals enter the country illegally

I'm down to $68 and needing only one ticket. My wife just received notice that her dual citizenship was approved and she can schedule the oath taking. I'm sure Filipino citizens are exempt from the return ticket policy.

I don't think I'm going to find a ticket much cheaper during the pandemic. My tickets from Atlanta to Manila are $2,250 each and normally cost around $900.

Really crazy I just checked on a flight from Cebu to Oklahoma city P34,000 seems leaving Philippines a lot cheaper than coming here

I'm fairly certain too that Filipino nationals are exempt from the return ticket as well.  Each official at the airport has some leeway as to when they might call their supervisor in to challenge something.  But if you have the marriage license and application that should save you the cost on her return flight out.

Note: When I entered they asked me (immigration officials at the airport) about the flight out,  I didn't have one.  I simply told them when I travel I stay for a few weeks and then decide when to fly out.  Its all over my visa stamps in my passport which was so filled there was little space to stamp an entry visa on it.  So they let me in without an exit "return" flight (3x I entered the Philippines).  I look like a tourist, I don't look like a retired pensioner or poor immigrant wanting to game the immigration system IMHO.  I actually do travel this way all over the world.  I never have these return flights out.  I've been asked about it, but I just have them look at all the countries I do this in and no one asks a second time.  Some don't smile about it, but are they really going to block entry just for a tourist traveling this way?  Not one yet in 20+ countries.

Plus, if they went hardball on me and actually did block me?  I'd turn around get on the Internet and book a flight. Cheapest one in the 30 day time period of a free-visa entry stamp.  Then show it, and that would solve the entire situation if I'm facing a hard-baller official.

neopal wrote:

Plus, if they went hardball on me and actually did block me?  I'd turn around get on the Internet and book a flight. Cheapest one in the 30 day time period of a free-visa entry stamp.  Then show it, and that would solve the entire situation if I'm facing a hard-baller official.

Sounds a little too easy especially trying to board a flight without a return ticket. Just pull out your laptop at check in, research all the possibilities, which are more expensive than if you booked a exit flight several months in advance, then pull a printer out of your back pocket print the ticket and try to calm down the screaming crowd behind you who have been waiting to check in.

Who prints out a ticket in the day of e-tickets?  Whats more expensive, paying in advanced for a throwaway flight or searching for flights far out into 30 day time period for a cheap return flight at the moment someone plays hardball.  Up to you, but never once got called out to pay for one - in any country.

In the day of AirBnB and extended staycations, its a lot more common to book a 1-way flight.   Especially for freelance consultants who don't know the exact dates.  its not like the old days when you had to give months notice to take a vacation and knew when you had to come back.  I've been doing 1-ways into major countries for hmm.. 20 years now, and not once was demanded to show a return trip or get kicked out from entering a country.  As I said, if I'm faced with that and the supervisor doesn't relent, I'd just go logon to Expedia or some local cheap flights, find the cheapest flight, we're talking its not same day flight, but one 30 days out, which is going to be pretty cheap if you find the right travel package and they want to close it out.   Ever book a flight months in advance for what you thought was the best price and then see one half the price.  That's the booking packages and routes they have to settle up and sell out.  Just don't try it during the holidays...

I hear stories of someone saying airlines prevent it at the gate.  But I never have gotten into that situation, not once.  What airlines plays the role of immigration officer?  That sounds fishy in itself.  Like someone making stuff up...

Got married 5 years ago to a Filipino. I left the country and came back that year. I booked a one way to the Philippines,in  Chicago at the ticket counter I was asked about a return ticket. I told them I was married to a Filipino but was told it didn't matter, that I needed a return ticket. So I got online booked a return flight and proceeded to get my ticket. This February I returned to the philippines and was asked at the Airlines ticket counter to provide a return ticket. Every time I've come to the philippines the Airlines check 4 my return ticket. If you don't have one they will not give u ur boarding pass to the philippines.

neopal wrote:

I hear stories of someone saying airlines prevent it at the gate.  But I never have gotten into that situation, not once.  What airlines plays the role of immigration officer?  That sounds fishy in itself.  Like someone making stuff up...

Singapore actually joined a number of other countries by *ending passport stamping at immigration exit counters w.e.f 2019.
They have this auto biometric passport clearance system
(*Travellers must have already enrolled  with their iris and facial biometrics)
which I then used to exit without the need for any immigration attendance/stamp.  Its the respective airline crew that actually get involved with some immigration matters e.g : concerning my exit flight fm my respective destination country.

https://loyaltylobby.com/2019/04/22/sin … l-22-2019/

Nothing fishy about the quest for my freeeddddoooommm.
:whistle:

neopal wrote:

hat airlines plays the role of immigration officer? .

It isnt that.  If the ARRIIVING country refuse someone to get in,
then the AIRLINE, which fly that passenger, risk to need to pay the costs

neopal wrote:

I hear stories of someone saying airlines prevent it at the gate.  But I never have gotten into that situation, not once.  What airlines plays the role of immigration officer?  That sounds fishy in itself.  Like someone making stuff up...

Its already been said. The airlines risk the cost of returning an errant passenger. I have had to show proof of return tickets when leaving UK, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Singapore. I've never been asked for proof of return in the arrival country.

neopal wrote:

I hear stories of someone saying airlines prevent it at the gate.  But I never have gotten into that situation, not once.  What airlines plays the role of immigration officer?  That sounds fishy in itself.  Like someone making stuff up...

It's happened to me twice. The last time I was on a short fun trip from PI to Malaysia or Thailand, I forget, and was returning to PI.  Anyway.. the gate agent asked me to verify how I was going to leave the Philippines. Oops.. my original roundtrip e-ticket from US to Philippines from a couple of months earlier was in a gmail folder.. that I couldn't access.. because I couldn't get on the airport wifi.

I was basically screwed, they were not going to let me board, the supervisor was involved, etc. Finally the gate agent let me use HER wi-fi logon credentials to get online and dig into my gmail folders so I could locate my ORIGINAL e-ticket from US to PI to prove I had a way out of the country.

So yes, it does happen, and it IS the airline that checks, and as Coach mentions, it is because THEY pay the penalty.

The reason airlines enforce a return ticket is because if you are refused entry into the country they have to fly you back to your original destination, I have made the flight many times and only been asked one time by Japan air for a return ticket, the last time I returned to the Philippines from the USA they checked my visa to be sure I did not need a return ticket before my flight, if you are a permanent resident you will get a receipt from immigration where you paid to keep your visa, it is good for one year your I card will say permanent resident and you have your receipt no problem from any Airline

Hello neopal.
The only time I was asked about a outward bound ticket was by the check-in desk of the airline at the airport (Singapore) and I had to purchase one before I was allowed on my flight. I don't have to worry now, 13a visa but before that I would book as cheap a flight as far in advance as I could. I may have been able to use that ticket multiple times until it expired.
regards  Bruce

Hi, Moon Dog. I received my 13a visa about 20 months ago (pre-pandemic) and didn't have to do an in-person interview in DC. Handled it all by mail. Maybe that has changed since, but I would think they would be more inclined to avoid in-person interviews now. Just be sure you submit everything on their list.

That said, their list was not as specific as what BI was looking for when I arrived in Manila. For example, the list said chest x-ray but didn't say I also needed a doctor's report on the x-ray. The list asked for a stool test but didn't say what the stool should be tested for.

Also, they neglected to tell me that upon arriving I needed to go to the main BI office to start the process of getting an ACR-I (alien registration) card. I ignorantly caught a flight to Cagayan de Oro the next day and only found out about my mistake when I tried to return to the US two weeks later.

Good luck!
-- Rich

Thanks Rick,

Looks like we will have to do everything in the Philippines. After submitting my wife's dual citizenship papers there were no slots for oath taking available in July by the time she was approved. They do not answer phones or email so we wasted our time, can't even get them to return her papers. We are flying out this Thursday, July 22th.

I have all the medical stuff completed for the 13a but she needs her dual first. Sounds like it's simpler in Manila, just hate traveling to Manila. They can do my 13a in Tacloban but I didn't know about having to do the ACR-I at the main BI, thanks for that. I was reading a blog about an expat doing his 13a at the main BI, he said they didn't even ask him for any medical results.

I returned to the PI from a short trip to the US just before the lockdown. I had not booked a return ticket and didn't have any kind of status.

But I found a company--two, actually--that will issue you what appears be a valid ticket confirmation for about $12. Tell them when and where to, they email it to you and you're all set. It really is a throwaway ticket!

And the airline (JAL) didn't even ask for it in Los Angeles.

Flew from Ft. Lauderdale in June. Wife is a dual citizen with a US passport. Delta to Atlanta, Korean the rest of the way. No return ticket for any of us (2 adults and 2 kids). Balikbayan stamps on arrival. Only hassle was in Atlanta with Korean Air insisting we had to have a quarantine booking for 10 nights, and I had 9. You only have to have 9 nights because the day you check out is the 10th. Eventually we got the extra night booked but by then my wife had gotten them to give her a waiver to sign that the airline would not be responsible for our flight if we weren't allowed in. I didn't know they had a waiver so that is something you can ask for if they say you have to have a return ticket.

Moon Dog - funny you mention dual citizenship. Long story, but my wife got hers in NY, but BI at Manila didn't accept it (twice in 2 years), so she came in as a US / Balikbayan tourist and took her docs to the Dep't of Foreign Affairs in Cagayan de Oro and they issued her a Philippine passport in pretty short order (2 weeks?). I was able to come in as 13a because the embassy in DC recognized her dual citizen status even though she didn't yet have a passport.

Patience. Take a deep breath. And another. Patience.

Wish I knew about the $12 fake ticket company, do you have a link? I did buy the cheapest throw away tickets I could find, even though the BI travel regulations states that balikbayans are exempt from the return ticket regulations. I paid $88 each for a pair of tickets to Taipei.

I sent our original marriage certificate to Austin, TX to have it apostilled. There was some drama attached to that process but it is done now. I also ordered 2 certified marriage certificates from Harris county, TX just in case. I read that the BI keeps all the documents submitted for dual citizenship so we have a certified copy for them and we can keep the original.

The BI doesn't handle dual citizenship and Philippine passports; that's done by the Dep't of Foreign Affairs, which also runs the embassies and consulates. It seems pretty clear (to me) that these departments don't talk to each other or follow the same regulations and processes. Basically BI is for foreigners and DFA is for citizens.

Your wife should enter as a returning Filipina (balikbayan) and you enter as the husband of the Filipina. Be sure to go through the immigration line together. Once you are at your destination, just find the nearest DFA office and take your wife's paperwork there.

Various cities are on various levels of Covid lockdowns, changing every 2 weeks, so it may (will) take a while. But once she is a dual citizen, I suggest going to your local BI office to explain your situation and ask their advice about processing your 13a application. I think I saw something about the main BI office operating by appointment only, but that could be wrong (again, things change frequently). And bring your wife with you everywhere - it will help to smooth out the process.

Lastly, I hope that you are both fully vaccinated. All of the vaccines used in the US are approved in the Philippines. But you may still need to be tested and/or quarantined when you arrive - again a moving target.

And again, bring lots of patience. The government workers you encounter will likely be very friendly and try to be helpful, but they will strictly follow whatever processes they've been given, and no amount of logic or reasoning will change that. And don't be surprised that completing 1 step leads to 2 more that you didn't know about.

I'd love to hear how it goes.
-- Rich

Rich,

Are you sure the BI doesn't handle dual citizenship? I got this info from the BI website, link below, which states "Where to apply? - BI Main Office". I've been in email contact with the Tacloban BI and they do answer email, unlike the DC consulate. I was told by them that the dual can only be accomplished at the BI main but I can do the 13a at the Tacloban facility.

We were both fully vaccinated here in Georgia. We have a 9 night hotel reservation that happens to be in the same hotel we stayed in for her K1 visa interview 14 years ago so that should add a romantic touch to an otherwise bleak situation.

Our dog Tikla will fly to Manila 4 days after our departure and be delivered to a friend in Manila who will keep her until Aug. 1st.  The friend will meet us at the airport with Tikla after quarantine and hopefully the dog fly with us as cargo to Tacloban on PAL. Tikla's ticket was more than both of our tickets combined and she will spend a day at the pet spa in Amsterdam.

https://immigration.gov.ph/services/cit … itizenship

Mad Dog - maybe things have changed (again) or maybe my wife's situation was different than yours. Either way, it seems like you have a good plan. I've heard Tacloban is really nice. Good luck.

Moon Dog,

Was number 3 SRRV visa holders? I ask because I just read the SRRV application form and it said one of the benefits of getting an SRRV visa is that you are exempt from the return ticket requirement.
Carl

Rich,

Tacloban has made an amazing recovery after being flattened by Yolanda in 2013. Our home is actually on Biliran Island which is a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Tacloban airport.

Carl,

I believe you are correct, here is what it says in the BI travel requirements.

"11. Who are exempt from the return ticket requirement?       

Philippine passport holders;
Former Filipinos and their dependents (immediate family members);
Permanent residents and holders of other special visa categories requiring temporary residents (with valid ACR I-Cards);     
Passports of recognized foreign-government officials;
Visa under CA 613, Sec. 9, except Sec.  9(a), and 47(a)(2)  where visa validity extends beyond passport expiration date, provided, an embassy or consulate is maintained in the Philippines; and
Those admitted by the Commissioner on humanitarian grounds."

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