Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI): Things to Know

When it comes to administering and enforcing immigration, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration is the government agency that is responsible for this. It manages and implements alien admission, registration, and other laws related to citizenship. All these processes are carried out according to the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.

BI also supports and promotes the implementation of RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking In Persons Act of 2003. Filipinos who are going outside the country are required to go through the immigration office before they will be allowed to board the plane. The main goal is to prevent them from falling victim to human trafficking and other illegal transactions.

bureau of immigration philippines

What Is the Philippine Bureau of Immigration?

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration is the immigration regulatory and control agency of the country. Its main job is to enforce and administer alien registration and admission, citizenship, and immigration laws. BI also oversees the immigration of foreigners from the country in order to ensure smooth documentation and processing of travel requirements.

BI offers e-services to create more convenient, faster, and safer services for clients whether local or foreign. The core values that the bureau upholds include patriotism, professionalism, and integrity. It’s important to prepare when dealing with an immigration officer to make the experience hassle-free and fast.

The following are some common questions that are asked by immigration officers at the airport:

  • Where are you going?
  • What are your activities there?
  • When will you be back in the country?
  • What’s your job in the Philippines?
  • Are you traveling with some family or friends?

While officers may ask other questions, be prepared for these typical questions. Remember that the questions are mostly answerable by yes or no, so avoid making unnecessary answers. Focus on the question and only provide the exact answer being asked to avoid failing the interview.

Functions and Services of the Bureau of Immigration

Immigrant officers in the Philippines are the ones who administer oaths while taking into consideration the evidence involved in the alien’s right to reside or enter the country. In addition, they also go abroad to look for aliens on vessels or any conveyance that carry aliens to the Philippines. The main function of the bureau is to regulate the movement of individuals leaving and entering the country.

BI controls the stay of visitors and immigrants in the Philippines to maintain peace as well as the socio-economic status of the nation. Since the department is dedicated to providing an innovative and efficient immigration service, the BI e-services were recently launched to help clients enjoy smoother transactions.

The following are the main advantages of the new e-services offered by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration:

  • Convenience. Simply sign in with your Bureau of Immigration e-services account in order to use the online application forms when processing immigration documents. You can use your mobile devices to sign in and transact with BI anytime and anywhere you want.
  • Fast and smooth. Submit any applications online, schedule appointments, and get real-time feedback or answers to queries and concerns.
  • Guaranteed safe. Any information shared with the BI e-services platform is encrypted to ensure it won’t be compromised. The security systems are regularly updated in order to guarantee uncompromised personal details from users.

Some of the online transactions offered by BI e-services include Emigration Clearance Certificate – B, Petition for Re-acquisition or Retention of Philippine Citizenship, Tourist Visa Extension, Visa Waiver, and Waiver of Exclusion Ground.

For Visa Approval Verification, you can only check applications that are for implementation on the website. Basic information you need to provide includes OR or Application ID, complete name, date of birth, and other details. Make sure to read the reminders in order to enjoy a smooth transaction. Also, you need to prepare the following documents if your application appears:

  • Valid passport with at least six months of validity
  • For conversion, an updated tourist visa extension
  • For representative, a Special Power of Attorney along with a photocopy and original copy of a valid government-issued ID

Note that the release schedule for applied per subject is two days while for applied by the representative is four days.

Requirements for BI Appointment and Travel Documents

Regarding the updates on the appointment requirements when dealing with the Bureau of Immigration, there are some important reminders to keep in mind. Foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated including American citizens are no longer required to set an appointment in order to access BI services.

On the other hand, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals should schedule an online appointment so they can access the services of BI. For vaccinated clients, they need to provide their vaccination card or certification before entering the BI offices. Generally, offices are open between 7 in the morning and 5:30 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday. Note that they are closed during Philippine holidays.

Moreover, the bureau requires 95% of travelers to present the minimum requirements before traveling such as:

  • Boarding pass
  • Valid passport with at least six months validity from departure date
  • If required, an appropriate visa
  • Roundtrip ticket or confirmed return flight, if asked

NBI clearance may also be required for immigration to guarantee travelers have no criminal records or pending cases in the Philippines. The validity of an NBI clearance is one year from the day it was released.

How to Set an Appointment Online

Before visiting BI Intramuros, it’s important to schedule an appointment first. Go to to book your appointment online. So let’s talk about how the BI Main Office Online Appointment System works.

The online scheduling system was implemented in June 2020 to ensure safety measures are strictly followed to avoid crowding in the main office. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Log onto to access the BI Online Appointment System or BIOAS. Go to the Quick Links section and click on the e-Services BIOAS button. Register to create an account and choose Individual if you’re a non-BI accredited liaison officer, or Liaison Officer if you are.

You will find the Registration webpage wherein you need to provide your personal information. Fill out the form and make sure all the details are correct before clicking on the Submit button.

After submitting the duly accomplished registration form, check your email for the confirmation of successful registration. The email also contains the activation link for your new BIOAS account.

Step 2: Sign in to your new account and head to the dashboard. Schedule an appointment by choosing Apply Appointment or Transactions. Choose the transaction type and appointment schedule with the preferred time and date. Confirm the details you have entered before clicking on the Apply Appointment button.

Step 3: You will see the confirmation reminder pop-up on the screen. Read it carefully, then click Proceed. A confirmation email will be sent to you containing the appointment code or reference number. You can screenshot or print the appointment details so you can show them during your appointment with the nearest BI office in your area. The security personnel may ask for a copy of it along with your valid government-issued ID so it’s important to be ready.

Video: Bureau of Immigration Launches E-Services Site

Watch this video to learn about the new e-services offered by the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I do to avoid getting offloaded by immigration?

Follow the strict guidelines issued by the Bureau of Immigration and bring all the requirements such as a passport, roundtrip ticket, duly accomplished departure card, and visa if applicable on the day of your flight.

2. What are the basic requirements that I need to provide at the Immigration?

At the Immigration booth, present your requirements including a valid passport and visa if applicable, duly accomplished departure card, company ID, and roundtrip plane ticket.

3. Do I need to provide show money before leaving the country for overseas travel?

Some individuals are asked to show their money before leaving to make sure they will come back, while others are not. It’s important to prepare your money just in case the immigration officer asks about it.

4. Should I bring my ID during departure?

Yes, you need to bring a valid ID on your departure date since immigration officers do not ask for valid IDs along with a valid passport to validate the job indicated in the departure card.

5. Do I need to set an appointment before visiting the Bureau of Immigration’s main office?

Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer asked to schedule an appointment before visiting any BI offices. For partially vaccinated, it’s important to secure an appointment to ensure they will be accommodated when they visit.


Now you’re ready to deal with the Bureau of Immigration for your travel needs. Make sure to check out all the requirements and steps in making an appointment to enjoy a smooth and fast transaction with BI. Prepare all the documents and other requirements to avoid getting offloaded during your departure at the Philippine airport.

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