The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has given foreign nationals whose visas here have expired during the pandemic a grace period until November 30 this year to apply for renewal of their visas.
In an order issued last Wednesday, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that for humanitarian reasons, the BI is allowing aliens, whose converted visas expired from March 16, 2020 up to July 4 this year, to file their applications for visa renewal or amendment up to the end of November.
Morente said the deadline is non-extendible, and warned that aliens who fail to file their applications before November 30 could be subjected to deportation proceedings for illegally staying in the country.
In the same order, foreigners with expiring visas were also given a non-extendible grace period of six months from the expiry of their visas to file their applications for visa renewal or extension.
“The order applies to renewal or amendment of already converted visas, meaning those who have working, student, or resident visas here,” said Morente. “Said grace period does not apply for tourists in the country,” he added.
Morente said his order was in response to numerous requests from foreigners whose visas are expiring or about to expired that they be given ample time or grace period to file their visa renewal applications.
It was learned that even the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has also requested the BI to consider the possibility of giving aliens, who were stranded in the country due to the pandemic, a grace period within which they may file their application for visa renewal or amendment.
The BI Chief, nonetheless, stressed that the privilege can only be availed by aliens who have never left the country since the pandemic.
“Those whose visas have expired while they are abroad should refile their visa applications if they wish to reacquire said visas,” Morente said.
Morente then pledged that they will continue to study ways to assist stranded foreign nationals in the country in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.