Airline crew are now required to undergo immigration inspection

MANILA — Crew members including pilots of international airlines that operates global flights in the country are now required undergo to immigration inspection upon their arrival and departure from the various international airports in the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday.

Commissioner Jaime Morente noted that the new policy has started in August, which is part of the bureau’s efforts to strengthen border security operations.

Under new guidelines, all crew members of commercial airline flights are required to queue at the designated immigration counter for arrival and departure formalities and present their passport or airline identification card for inspection.

“We have to ensure that these alien crewmen are indeed bona fide employees of the airlines they represent and that they are not included in our blacklist of undesirable or wanted aliens,” the BI chief explained.

He added that the conduct of immigration arrival and departure formalities for airline crew members would enable them to scrutinize their identities and other personal details in connection with the BI’s mandate to regulate and entry and stay of aliens in the Philippines.

Morente added that the immigration officer may deny the admission or defer the departure of a crew member, if warranted, such as when the latter is in the blacklist, watchlist or hold departure list of the bureau.

The BI also directed airline representative to submit two copies of the general declaration (Gendec) of the inbound or outbound aircraft, prior to their arrival or departure from the airport.

He said the new policy is also consistent with existing international standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In the past, foreign airline crewmen were allowed to just breeze through the airports’ immigration counters.

On the other hand, BI Spokesperson Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said that despite the new rule the six-month rule on passport validity and visa requirements for visa-required foreign nationals still do not apply to foreign airline crew members.

She added that Filipino pilots and flight attendants of international flights are also covered by the order issued by Morente. Ferdinand Patino/PNA/