March 20 ------ The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Thursday the temporary suspension of visa issuances and visa-free privileges in all its Foreign Service Posts “effective immediately” amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019. “All visa-free privileges including those based on Visa Waiver Agreements, those under Executive Order 408, s.1960, and for holders of Hong Kong and Macau SAR passports, Macau-Portuguese passports, and British National Overseas passports, are likewise temporarily suspended, effective 22 March 2020,” the department added. However, the suspension exempts foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals, and accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents.
Under the temporary suspension, all previously issued visas will be canceled and foreigners possessing visas issued by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts, primarily 9a Temporary Visitor/Tourist visas, will be denied entry to the Philippines starting March 22. “This temporary suspension has no impact on foreign nationals that are already in the country or on holders of visas issued by other government agencies,” the DFA clarified.
The directive was issued two days after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the Philippines under a state of calamity due to the COVID-19 threat.