Sunday, October 23, 2011

Philippine Immigration @ NAIA

            I have been to several places in Asia for a few times and I don't have any problems getting through the Immigration. Not until I decided to go to Singapore. It was our first time to travel to Singapore. After we checked in, we proceeded to the immigration counter and the first question that was asked was "Who invited you to Singapore?" We told her none, although, we have friends and relatives there. I guess she was not convinced with our answer and  she asked us to go to another IO (Immigration Officer) for an interview. In short, we were held. At first, we were scared thinking that they will not allow us to board Tiger Airways. While on the holding area we saw several others who were being held and interviewed. We waited for long minutes, answered all their queries, showed all the required documents. I am just wondering why we had to go through such scrutiny where in fact Singapore only requires a valid Philippine Passport?

Anyways, to avoid the hassle we had been through, here are the tips on how to avoid being offloaded:

* Have a return ticket. Some were asked for a return ticket by Immigration Officers in Singapore.
* If you are currently employed, bring with you your company ID. If unemployed, it is advisable have an invitation letter from a friend or relative.
* Answer all the questions with confidence raised by an Immigration Officer.
Show them your reservations (hotel, tour, a bus ticket, etc)
* Bring cash ($$$$) that would be enough for the duration of your stay.
* If  asked how much did you spend for your travel, double it. Tell them you have booked for a tour, a show etc.
*Be always ready with your supporting documents, show them that you are a real tourist and that you don't intend to look for a job there.
*One of my friends , a  former Immigration Officer, says, if you are a real tourist, you should dress like one. You should look good and neat because this would simply imply that you can afford to travel.
* Don't be intimated by some rude Immigration Officers in  NAIA.
* Check in early, let say 3 or 4 hours before your flight so that you will have more time just in case you will be held at the departure area. 
*Please note that while at the holding area, you will be asked to fill out a form. You have to indicate your personal details, your address abroad, reason for travelling, your flight details, etc. Once you are done filling out the form, you need to fall in line for an interview. An interview takes 10-20 minutes. After which, they will decide whether to allow you to board or not.

---Good luck and have a safe trip!