MANILA, Aug 15 (Mabuhay) — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday clarified that foreign spouses of Filipinos can enter the Philippines if they have existing valid visas.

“If you are married to a Philippine citizen and a holder of a valid visa that you obtained from the Bureau, you may enter the country without the need to secure an entry visa from your port of origin,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

“The visa that you hold will suffice as basis for our immigration officers to admit you upon your arrival in our ports of entry,” he added.

Morente made the statement amid what he said was confusion following the bureau’s prior announcement that foreign spouses, dependents, and parents of Filipinos must have the appropriate visas to enter the Philippines.

He said only foreigners married to Filipinos who do not have a visa at all are required to secure an entry visa, explaining that it would be impractical to require new visas from those who still have valid ones.

However, Morente said foreigners with existing visas but have an expired Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards (ACR I-Cards) will be denied entry and would have to renew them before travelling to the Philippines.

“The bottomline is that no foreigner can enter the country without a visa even if he is married to a Filipino.  All of them must have a valid visa or they will be turned back upon arriving in our ports of entry,” the immigration chief said.  (MNS)

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