How To Ace Your Immigration Interview And Avoid Getting Offloaded

Ace your interview with the Immigration Officer and avoid getting offloaded!

How To Avoid Getting Offloaded

(Manila, Philippines) – You might have experienced seeing travelers who are crying and begging in front of an immigration officer just to allow them to board their flights. You surely not want to be in this horrific situation.

Being offloaded in any Philippine airport is a nightmare. You would not want to be embarrassed in front of many people. And worst, you would not want to throw away all the preparations you made for your trip.

What Is Offloading?

Offloading is denying a passenger to enter another country. It may happen if you have an inconsistent response to an interview question, you have insufficient documentation supporting your intended trip or for possible safety risks.

Offload is not a policy. However, it is a consequence of the implementation of the guidelines set by the countries and the Bureau of Immigration.

To avoid being deprived of entering another country, you need to understand the people involved with it: You as the traveler and the Immigration Officer.

Being offloaded is a nightmare.

What Is An Immigration Officer?

One of the responsibilities of an Immigration Officer is to control the traffic of people who are going in and out of the country. This officer also gives out advice to travelers regarding the guidelines for residence and traveling in a particular country. Since they are responsible for protecting people from falling victims of illegal recruitments and human trafficking, an IO decides whether a traveler can exit or enter the country or not.

Some people are nervous to encounter an Immigration Officer. Some are thinking that they will be terrorized from the questions that they will ask. However, an IO would only ask travel-related questions: Things concerning your travel itinerary, the number of days you are going to stay in the country, and where you will be staying.

When you are appearing in front of an Immigration Officer, you are already presenting yourself. Make sure to dress appropriately to give a good initial impression.

Only answer those which are being asked of you. Do not voluntarily give details which may result in further interrogation. When answering, stay calm, be consistent, and be convincing. The IO will know whether you are saying the truth or you are just making up stories.

The Immigration Officer will also check whether your documents are complete, the fees are already paid, and if your purpose for traveling is valid.

Don’t be afraid! The Immigration Officer will only ask questions pertaining to your travel.

You As A Traveler

Travelers are categorized into three: The tourist, the overseas worker, and the immigrant. The requirements that you need to settle and present to the Immigration Officer depends on your purpose of travel.

During the primary inspection by an Immigration Officer, you MUST present the following:

1. A Valid Passport

Your passport should still have a minimum of six (6) months validity from your departure date. To prove that you are a frequent flyer, you may also submit your old passport as a supporting document.

2. Round Trip Plane Ticket

Your round-trip plane ticket should not exceed the number of days you are staying abroad. This is a proof that you will be returning to the Philippines and you’re not going abroad to seek employment.

3. Visa (only if required)

Your visa should be a valid one and in sync with the purpose of your travel. A valid visa may not be a guarantee that you will be granted entry to your country of destination. However, it is a proof that your trip is a legal one.

If the Immigration Officer thinks that you have a different reason other than what you initially declared, a secondary inspection may be conducted. Travelers who are traveling for the first time or those with no steady source of income are often asked to undergo a secondary inspection.

These people will be assessed based on the following:

1. Age

Keep a copy of your NSO Certified Birth Certificate or bring another Identification Card showing your birthday.

2. Educational Attainment

You may show a copy of your Transcript of Records or an alumni ID from your university.

3. Financial Capability To Travel

You need to prove to the IO that you can support your trip financially. You may prove your financial capability to travel by showing any of these documents:

  • Company ID
  • Latest Income Tax Return
  • Certificate of Employment
  • Acceptance Letter for your Leave of Absence
  • Bank Statement
  • Bank Certificate

Who Often Undergoes a Secondary Inspection?

You will be automatically subjected to a secondary inspection if the IO categorized you as any of the following:

  • Traveler with no financial capacity to travel.
  • Traveler who is escorted or accompanied by a foreigner who is not related to him or her.
  • Minor traveling alone.
  • Minor traveling with a guardian without the required travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
  • Repatriated irregular workers without a clearance from the IACAT.
  • Parents and spouses of foreign nationals who intend to meet or marry his or her fiancé without a CFO Guidance and Counselling Certificate.
  • Passengers traveling to countries with deployment bans, alert levels, and travel advisories.
  • Passengers tagged as a tourist or temporary visitor who stayed abroad for more than a year during a previous departure from the country and intends to depart for the second time.

If the Immigration Officer is asking too many questions, don’t be irritated. They are just doing their job. They don’t want people to fall victims in another country, especially if you are traveling to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia which are considered as transit points for human trafficking incidents.

Before your trip, make sure that you have all your travel documents with you.

So before you travel, make sure that you have all your travel documents with you. While talking to an Immigration Officer, be calm, be straight to the point, and be honest.

If you want to know more, you may see the full details via The Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International Bound Passengers. You may also reach out to the Bureau of Immigration via their website, or through their direct lines at 465-2400 loc 231-233, 527-3279, 527-3248 or 336-7751.

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Written by Kaye Chang

Kaye is a freelance writer and author of "My Thrifty Thoughts."

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