Instituting the Bureau of Immigration's Trusted Traveler Program ( BI Operations Circular No. SBM-13-025 )

November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013



WHEREAS, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is principally responsible for the administration and enforcement of immigration, citizenship and alien admission and registration laws in accordance with the provisions of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended (Executive Order No. 292, Book IV, Title III, Chapter 10, Section 31); HcDaAI

WHEREAS, on 04 July 2013, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported that it registered a total 2.01 million tourist arrival from January to May 2013, a 10.5% increase from the year before, indicating that the country is on track towards achieving its 2013 target of 5.5 million arrivals for 2013 and 10 million arrivals by 2016;

WHEREAS, in support of the government's drive to boost and sustain the gains in tourist arrivals and tourism-related activities, the BI continuously adopts and implements programs and projects intended to ease travel into the country and facilitate immigration processes;

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to Section 3 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, authorizing the Commissioner of immigration to issue, subject to the approval of the Department Head, such rules and regulations he deems necessary for the implementation of all immigration laws and on all matters within the BI's jurisdiction, the following are hereby promulgated:

SECTION 1. Institution of the Program. — There is hereby instituted a Trusted Traveler Program, hereinafter referred to as the "Program",to be administered by the Bureau of Immigration.

SECTION 2. Objectives.— Designed for frequent international travelers, the Program aims to allow expedited immigration clearance for pre-approved, low-risk air passengers upon arrival into and departure from the Philippines through dedicated immigration counters in all the international airports of the country without compromising the national security and safety.

The Program will further enhance the BI's ability to expedite and facilitate immigration processing at international airports of known frequent travelers, thus, allowing BI officers additional time to focus on higher risk unknown travelers.

SECTION 3. Qualification and Eligibility.— Citizens of countries allowed to enter the Philippines without an entry visa pursuant to existing Foreign Service Circulars (FSCs) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are eligible to enroll and participate in the Program provided:

a. He/She must have traveled to the Philippines as a temporary visitor at least once in the immediately preceding twelve (12) months and have stayed in the country for not more than thirty (30) calendar days in each of the visit(s);

b. He/She must not have been convicted or charged of any crime, felony or offense in his country of nationality; and

c. He/She have no recorded violation of Philippine immigration laws, rules and regulations.

SECTION 4. Privileges under the Program.— Members of the Program shall enjoy pre-approved and expedited entry and exit clearances in Philippine international airports, such as less processing lines, no paperwork, and reduced queuing time resulting in fewer delays and more confidence while traveling.

SECTION 5. Validity.— Membership in the Program is valid for three (3) years unless sooner revoked by the Commissioner due to any of the following causes: HEcIDa

a. Commission of any act constituting a violation of Philippine immigration laws, rules and regulations, without prejudice to further enforcement action;

b. Conviction in any crime, felony or offense outside the subject foreign national's country of nationality; or

c. Loss of any of the qualifications or eligibilities provided for in Section 3 hereof.

SECTION 6. Immigration Clearance Processing.— At international airports, a Member shall proceed to the immigration counter dedicated for the Program and present his/her valid passport.

The Immigration Officer shall swipe his/her passport and upon validation of his active membership in the Program, record the member's travel and appropriately stamp his/her passport indicating immigration clearance without further query or presentation of additional document.

SECTION 7. Application Procedure. —

a. Each applicant shall personally fill-out and file an application form and pay the fees at the BI Main Office, Intramuros, Manila. The application form shall be accompanied by the following supporting documents:

a.1. Clearance from the appropriate federal or national law enforcement agency of the applicant's country of nationality issued within thirty (30) days prior to his/her last arrival stating that he/she has not been convicted or charged of any crime, felony or offense;

a.2. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Clearance issued within fifteen (15) days from his last arrival;

a.3. Bureau of Immigration Clearance Certificate secured upon the filing of the application;

a.4. Photocopy of valid passport showing its bio-page and pertinent pages showing his latest arrival in the immediately preceding twelve (12) months; and

a.5. Photocopy of one (1) other form of valid identification with photograph.

 All supporting documents issued outside the Philippines must be duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate official of the Philippine Foreign Service at the place of issuance or nearest to it, with English translation, if necessary.

b. Upon filing of the application, the Central Receiving Unit (CRU) shall inform the applicant of his/her scheduled interview by a BI Officer duly designated for the purpose which shall not be later than three (3) days from the filing thereof. CDEaAI

c. The CRU shall forward the application folder to the Intelligence Division who shall conduct a thorough background investigation on the applicant and shall submit its findings to the BI Officer at least one (1) day prior to the scheduled interview.

d. Immediately after the interview, the applicant's biometric data/information shall be captured by the Intelligence Division.

e. The BI Officer shall submit his recommendation on the application to the Commissioner within twenty-four (24) from completion of the interview.

f. In all cases, the BI Officer shall immediately notify the applicant of the final action by the Commissioner on his/her application. In case of approval, the AOD and ICTS shall include the applicant's name and other information details in the Masterlist of Members of the Program.

SECTION 8. Fees.— Each applicant shall pay the following non refundable fees at the time of filing of the application:

a. Application Fee — Php5,000.00

b. Certificate Fee — 500.00

c. Legal Research Fee — 50.00

d. Express Lane Fee — 1,500.00

SECTION 9. Reportorial, Monitoring and Evaluation.— The Airport Operations Division (AOD) shall render a monthly report to the Commissioner on the implementation of this Program.

SECTION 10. Administrative Provisions.— The AOD, Intelligence Division, Information, Communications Technology Section (ICTS) and CRU shall formulate the appropriate systems and undertake the necessary activities to ensure the effective and efficient implementation and enforcement of this Program.

SECTION 11. Repealing Clause.— All circulars, memoranda, orders, rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with this Circular are hereby revoked or modified accordingly.

SECTION 12. Effectivity.— This Memorandum Circular shall take effect immediately upon approval hereof.

Let a copy of this Circular be published in a newspaper at least once in a newspaper of general circulation and furnished to the Office of the National Administrative Register (ONAR),U.P. Law Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

City of Manila, Philippines, November 18, 2013. EHSCcT

(SGD.) SIEGFRED B. MISONOfficer-in-ChargeBureau of Immigration