BI to stop stamping new Chinese passports

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) instructed today its personnel in all field offices and ports of entry nationwide to stop stamping the passports of nationals from the People’s Republic of China .

BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr., issued a memo directing immigration officers to instead place their stamps on the backpage of a Chinese national’s visa application form.

The said visa application form should be attached to the passport of the holder upon his arrival in a Philippine port of entry and whenever he transacts in any of the BI’s field offices.

David cited Foreign Service Circular No. 211-12 issued earlier by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as his basis for issuing the order.

The government earlier announced its decision not to stamp the Chinese passports to signify its protest over the inclusion in the travel document of a map of the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea .

David stated that in view of the DFA circular and pursuant to the Philippine immigration act, BI personnel shall refrain from placing any immigration stamps on the PROC passports.

The directive applies to all BI stamps, including arrival, departure, conversion, downgrading, and extension stamps, the immigration chief said.

However, he clarified that the directive does not apply to diplomatic, official and service passports of PROC officials.

David’s memorandum further provides that in case an arriving or departing PROC national holds a passport issued prior to the DFA circular, the passenger shall be referred to an immigration supervisor who shall have the passport page bearing the visa photocopied.

The arrival or departure stamp of the BI shall then be placed on the photocopied page of the DFA-issued visa which shall be attached to the passport.

The DFA had said the move was necessary to reinforce the Philippines ’ protest against China ’s “excessive claim” over the entire South China Sea.

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