Are you looking for ways on how to avoid getting offloaded by immigration at NAIA?
Recently, there’s been a surge in news about Filipino travelers getting offloaded by the Philippine immigration department at the airport.
Getting offloaded can be a nerve-wracking and disappointing experience, especially if it’s your first time travelling.
In this post, we’ll talk about the best tips to help you avoid offload in Philippine immigration.
Here’s a table of contents to help you navigate this post. You can click on them to skip to the section you’d like:
- What Getting Offloaded Means
- How to Avoid Offload in Philippine Airports
- Tried-and-Tested Tips to Avoid Offloading at NAIA
Let’s jump right in.
What Getting Offloaded Means
First of all, what does offload mean in airport?
When we say “offloading” by immigration, this officially means that you’ve already boarded the the airplane, but then you get pulled out of it so you can’t continue your flight.
In the Philippines, though, the Bureau of Immigration does not have an offloading policy. Meaning, they won’t pull you out from your airplane.
But they have the authority to deny or allow you to board your flight.
We can also say that “offloading” means a traveller is prohibited from leaving the Philippines.
This means that if you’re offloaded, then the immigration department at the airport did not allow you to continue boarding your flight.
Why do Filipinos Get Offloaded?
According to the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines, they deny boarding to Filipino travelers who have “insufficient documentation” or who may have a security risk in relation to human trafficking.
If you’re travelling as a tourist, you can prevent being offloaded if you:
- Prove your financial capability for the trip
- Present proof of work or support in the Philippines
- Or submit an affidavit of support if visiting relatives overseas
How to Avoid Offload in Philippine Airports
How strict is Philippine immigration?
To protect Filipinos against human trafficking, immigration officers are strict in interviewing Filipino tourists, especially if they’re going to Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Bangkok, which are considered transit points accounting for high incidents of human trafficking.
Here are the most effective tips to help you avoid getting offloaded from any Philippine airport.
1. Dress appropriately
There’s no specific dress code when going to the airport. But if you’re travelling as a tourist, make sure to dress like a tourist of your intended destination.
For example, it may help to bring a jacket or sweater with you if you’re going to a country during winter season.
Or if you’re visiting a tropical place during summer, you can wear a comfortable item of clothing that also gives off a “respectable” impression. (You can always change at your hotel later!)
2. Deal with Immigration Officers truthfully
How you can deal with Immigration Officers confidently?
One of the most important tips in this Philippine immigration offloading guide is to provide consistent answers to the immigration questions.
You can also think of it as being confident when interviewed by the immigration department.
When you get questioned by immigration, be honest. Don’t lie because they’re trained to spot untruthful statements.
Usually, immigration officers can tag you as suspicious if your statements are inconsistent with your travel plans. This may mean:
- You don’t know when you’re departing and when you’re arriving back to the Philippines
- You’re not sure where you’re staying so it helps if you have a confirmed hotel booking
- You can’t talk about your travel itinerary
- You don’t know the popular tourist places in the country you’re visiting
If your travel as a tourist is valid, then you should have a fairly straightforward time answering their questions confidently.
3. Prepare for immigration questions in advance
What questions do immigration officers ask at airport?
Check out this post on the most commonly asked questions for tourists so you know what to prepare for before you travel.
4. Refresh your travel history
When Mirai and I went to Thailand this August 2022, the Immigration Officer saw her passport stamp and asked:
Where did you go last March 2020?
Thankfully, she already memorized her recent travel history so she told them we went to Vietnam last March 2020.
That’s why it’s important for you to keep in mind your travel history.
Can immigration see your travel history? The immigration department can trace your previous international trips, so it helps to refresh your memory every time you travel.
This way, when you get questioned, you can give an honest, truthful and confident answer.
5. Prepare travel documents with you
Your travel requirements can differ, depending on what type of traveler you are.
Prepare the following documents — either printed or saved in your phone’s storage.
- Departure ticket
- Return ticket back to the Philippines
- Hotel booking with your name
- Certificate of employment with your salary
- Company ID
- Bank certificate or bank statement
- ATM cards
- Credit cards, if available
If you’re an OFW and you’re going to work abroad officially, make sure you have the following travel documents ready:
- Official work contract
- Proof of attending required seminars such as PDOS
- Work visa
- OWWA membership
Important: Give your travel documents only if you’re asked. You don’t need to give them immediately at the start of your interview.
Tried-and-Tested Tips to Avoid Offloading at NAIA
- Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months before your flight
- Make sure to arrive at the airport at least 4 hours before your international flight. This way, when you get questioned, you have plenty of time before your flight’s boarding starts so you won’t be offloaded.
- One question = one answer
- Don’t be afraid to look at the immigration officer in the eye. Be confident and respectfully assert your right to travel.