Travelers need to register online as Bureau of Immigration to stop paper-based cards

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THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) has advised arriving and departing passengers that the use of paper-based departure cards will be discontinued starting May 1 to pave the way for the full-implementation of the “e-Travel System.”

In light of this, the BI said crewmembers and passengers of all aircraft and sea vessels will be required to register through the agency’s online portal or via a QR code prior to their departure or arrival starting April 15, 2023.

The online portal will replace the paper-based departure card, which passengers are required to fill out prior to departure.

BI Commissioner Norman G. Tansingco said arriving passengers are required to register not earlier than 72 hours from the scheduled time of arrival up to actual arrival into the country.

For departing passengers, the BI said travelers should register not earlier than 72 hours up to not later than three hours from the scheduled time of departure from the country.

The e-Travel System, which was initially launched in December, aims to harmonize and consolidate data collection processes at ports of arrival.

“The eTravel platform will soon be used for both arriving and departing passengers. Travelers no longer have to fill out departure cards, and instead may log in the online portal prior to their flight,” Tansingco reiterated.

The system is an initiative of a sub-technical working group of an inter-agency task force chaired by the BI.

It is a joint project of the agency with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

“This is a major step in streamlining documents presented by departing travelers, allowing for faster and more efficient immigration processing,” said Tansingco.

The e-Travel web site may be accessed at https://etravel.gov.ph.