No need for Filipinos to fill out immigration cards by March 1

Posted at 02/21/2014 3:32 PM | Updated as of 02/21/2014 3:50 PM

NAIA eyes paperless, 'queueless' system

MANILA, Philippines – After being tagged as one of the "worst airports in the world," the government said the public should expect major changes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) this year.

"Our target is a paperless and queue-less airport within 2014," Justice Assistant Secretary. Geronimo Sy said on Friday.

Sy said new Philippine immigration arrival and departure cards are now being distributed to different airlines with international destinations.

The new cards are expected to be used by March 1, 2014.

Sy said that by March, all arriving Filipinos no longer have to fill out the new immigration arrival cards while foreigners, including Philippine passport holders with existing immigrant status, will be required to fill out the new arrival cards.

For international destinations, all Filipino departing passengers are required to fill out the new Philippine immigration departure cards while foreigners and Philippine passport holders with immigrant status will no longer be required to fill out the departure cards.

All airlines with international destinations are advised to secure the new Philippine immigration arrival and departure cards for immediate compliance before March 1.

Sy, however, said airlines are given until April 1, 2014 to dispose of their old arrival and immigration cards.

“It is important to implement this new Philippine immigration arrival and departure cards in preparation for a paperless and queue-less airport,” Sy said.

He added that the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Customs will discuss the masterplan for paperless transactions at the airport.

He said this program will reduce the problem of long queues in all airports.

Bureau of Immigration executive director Erwin Dimaculangan, meanwhile, said 372 new passport-reading machines and computers are expected to replace the defective units within the year. -- Report from Raoul Esperas