BI supports efforts to increase overseas Filipino visits to PH

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco said that he supports the move to invite more overseas Filipinos to visit the country.

Tansingco said that inviting more overseas Filipinos to come home and spend their vacations in the country would have potential economic and cultural benefits, fostering stronger ties with the global Filipino community.


BI records show that in 2023, the Philippines recorded a total of 12,681,231 arrivals, with substantial passengers from America and Canada, which are key destinations for Filipino migrants.

Americans, totaling 1,186,135, while Canadians contributed 271,955 arrivals, many of which are former Filipinos and their families who spent their holidays in the Philippines.

Tansingco made the statement following the proposal of House of Representatives Minority Leader Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan to lure more overseas Filipinos to visit the Philippines.


Libanan, who serves as the representative of the 4Ps partylist, said that the spending of overseas Filipinos who visit the Philippines can greatly boost the country’s tourism revenues and job growth.

Tansingco reiterated that former Filipinos from non-visa-required countries, together with their spouses and children traveling with them, get one year of visa-free stay as part of their balikbayan privilege.

BI supports efforts to increase overseas Filipino visits to PH

The BI’s stance complements the Department of Tourism’s goal to attract more international tourists.


“Our focus on supporting tourism aligns with the larger goal of creating vibrant and sustainable connections with our global Filipino community,” said Tansingco.

Meanwhile, BI said that information from local government units (LGUs) regarding illegal aliens in their areas remains critical in locating and arresting violators.

The BI cited a recent operation of its regional intelligence operations unit (RIOU) 2 in Barangay Sta. Maria, Cab # 8, Ilagan City, Isabela, last January 16.

The operation, in coordination with the Ilagan City police station, resulted in the arrest of South African Abdool Kamer Mahamed, 67, for overstaying and for being an undocumented alien.

Fortunato Manahan, Jr., chief of the BI’s Intelligence Division, highlighted the crucial role of information received from the barangay level. He emphasized that the investigation of Mr. Mahamed’s activities originated from barangay reports, which were crucial in confirming his illegal records and activities.

Mahamed was the subject of complaints in the barangay, reportedly due to his unruly behavior in the community.

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