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No more paper-based departure cards from May 1 as BI expands eTravel system

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Beginning May 1, 2023, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) will be discontinuing the use of paper-based departure cards and will instead be expanding the eTravel system to lessen the requirements of departing passengers.

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in an advisory that the said platform, which was initially launched in December, harmonizes and consolidates data collection processes at arrival ports in the entire country.

“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 said.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval explained that the system is an initiative of a sub-technical working group of the IATF, chaired by the BI.

Sandoval said 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).

ETravel Technical Working Group chairperson Dennis Javier said that starting April 15, departing passengers may log in to the platform not later than 72 hours to not later than 3 hours from the scheduled time of their flight.

The online portal replaces the paper-based departure card, which passengers were required to fill out prior to departure.

“This is a major step in streamlining documents presented by departing travelers, allowing for faster and more efficient immigration processing,” said Tansingco, adding that the eTravel website may be accessed at etravel.gov.ph and is free of charge.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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