Getting offloaded is heartbreaking that’s why as a traveler you should get ready with your documents and answers that the immigration officer might ask of you.
Travelling to old or even unfamiliar places can be very exciting. However, every traveler like you has to make sure that you do not encounter serious problems that will dampen your getaways. One of the most common travelling issues especially if you are coming from the Philippines is the possibility of getting offloaded, especially if it is your first time to travel abroad.
What is offloading?
Offloading is the process of stopping any traveler from leaving the country. This certainly can cause anger and frustration especially that you have already paid for your flight, and may even have paid for your hotel accommodation too. Its money gone to waste just because you can’t get on your flight since you were stopped by either the airline check-in counter staff or the immigration officer.
Offloading Travel Tips
Being offloaded can actually happen to anyone and the reasons may vary from not being able to provide sufficient documentation or you pose as a security risk. It is every tourist’s worst nightmare to get offloaded especially when they have already spent a good amount of money and effort in planning the trip. This literally means that the trip you have planned for days ends before it has even begun.
The Philippine Bureau of Immigration has reported that around 40 people are offloaded at NAIA Terminal 1 every single day; and those figures are only for that single terminal. According to the Bureau’s report; the majority of the offloading incidents happened to travelers who are deemed to go abroad not as a legit tourist but to seek employment in their destination country.
If you are going abroad for work, you must present all the necessary papers from your employment contract, to OEC certificate or exemption, and more docs from POEA, OWWA, etc. Filipinos will be stopped by immigration from boarding the flight if the primary purpose of flying international is to apply in job vacancies in other countries.
The issue with offloading passengers may seem very controversial especially that a lot of Filipinos have even questioned the justness of the policy but the Bureau of Immigration have been long implementing the said policy.
So if you are flying out of the country soon and especially if it’s your first time; then here are a few important reminders to help you breeze through the immigration process:
- Always prepare all the necessary documents.
Check the official website of the Bureau of Immigration and you will see that they require all travelers to provide the right documents such as a valid passport, visa (if necessary) and round-trip tickets. But if you are an OFW, then you also need to present your work contract and as well as your OEC from POEA if you don’t have an OFW yet.
Other documents that may be needed for inspection are the following:
- Hotel booking confirmation / receipts and related documents
- Copy of your itinerary if you are part of a guided tour
- DSWD travel permit for minors
- Birth or Marriage certificate for age and affinity verification
*Not all these documents will be required, sometimes the immigration officer will not even ask you anything except to present your passport for stamping and visa if needed, but we at 1Pisofare recommends that you anticipate every possible scenario, so bring docs that you think could help you passed immigration check without any issues.
2. There are instances wherein the Immigration Officer will ask the traveller to present employment records such as company ID, latest copy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Certificate of Employment, or even your approved vacation leave form to ensure that you have intentions to come back to the country or to show that you are financially capable to travel.
Make sure that you know your company’s HR number in case immigration will ask it of you to verify your employment status. Some officers do call the company for those individuals tagged as highly suspect.
Some officers might even ask you to present bank certificate or ask you how much money you have as your vacation fund if it is enough to go to a particular country, etc. Now, this does not mean that only affluent people have the right to travel abroad but just make sure to prepare all your financial details especially if you are travelling for leisure.
3. If your travel is sponsored then you have to provide pertinent documents such as a letter of invitation that has been authenticated by the concerned embassy or Philippine Consulate. Make sure you have a copy of an endorsement letter from sponsoring friend or family that is written in English.
4. Dress appropriately and converse with the Immigration Office in a proper manner.
First time travellers will most likely be interviewed by the officer so it is very important to provide consistent and clear answers. Do not be dodgy or provide misleading answers. It is also very important to dress properly especially for women since the officer might think that you are a sex worker which is definitely a red flag.
5. For those traveling with family, especially those under one ticket itinerary, the immigration check is generally faster compared if you are traveling solo and you are a first time traveler.
Real Experience of Getting Offloaded in NAIA
This is an actual experience of an offloaded passenger. A reader of 1Pisofare emailed us sharing his experience about getting offloaded for his flight going to Hong Kong and asked us for advice on what to do the next time he will travel abroad, hence we are writing this post to help fellow travelers.
Now, this reader’s intention in going to Hong Kong was really to use HK as transit point to go to Dubai to look for work. When it was his turn for the immigration interview, the first thing he was asked was when is his return flight. He did not book any return ticket. This is a red flag. Next question was what he will do in Hong Kong, he said that he is going there as a tourist. It was his first time abroad and on solo travel. The immigration officer asked what places he would like to explore in Hong Kong. He wasn’t able to answer. He was offloaded right then and there.
A legit tourist going to a new country normally do research of the places to see, the food to try, do advance hotel booking, or at the very least, have some trip itinerary and enough pocket money.
We strongly advise our 1Pisofare readers to follow ALL LEGAL procedures. If you want to work abroad, do it the proper way. Do not go to the airport and attempt to fly as a tourist but in reality you have a different agenda. Masasayang lang pinambili ng ticket.
Now for those who are really traveling as a tourist, do not be too nervous when it is your turn to face immigration. Approach the immigration window calmly and answer in clear voice.
And the next time you travel, make sure that you are armed with the right attitude and all necessary documents to avoid getting offloaded.
While some travellers may be lucky when dealing with immigration; some are not too lucky leaving all their travel plans on the floor. However, luck is not all that you need when you need to go through immigration; rather being well informed and prepared can take you to all your bucket list destinations.
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