DUBAI — Filipinos in the UAE who wish to sponsor the visit of their relatives to the country are no longer required to obtain an affidavit of support from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Philippine Consulate in Dubai following a decision undertaken by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration in Manila.
The suspension, which is of immediate effect, also applies to the Declaration of Support and Undertaking of Support executed by establishments to facilitate the travel to the UAE of Filipino nationals on visit visas under their sponsorship.
This is welcome news to the Filipino community in Dubai who had earlier been calling for the scrapping of the requirement made by the immigration authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It is believed that imposing unnecessary restrictions on travellers does not only breed corruption but also results in discrimination and contributes to bureaucratic red tape.
In its public information bulletin, the Philippine Embassy stated: “The Consular Section of the Embassy shall notarise and process only the Affidavit of Support for travel outside the Philippines (executed by the parents or legal guardians) of a minor child or dependent.”
Commenting on the suspension of the affidavit of support, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Libran Cabactulan told Khaleej Times: “It has not been a requirement of the Department of Foreign Affairs. We had not implemented it as it was not required and further inconvenienced Filipinos departing for the UAE.”
The cost of the attested affidavit of support is Dh100. The Department of Foreign Affairs might lose out on much-needed revenue. “Revenue is not an issue here as it (notarisation and attestation) are among the services rendered by the Philippine Embassy to Filipino nationals,” Mr Cabactulan stressed.
He added: “We had earlier sought clarification with the Bureau of Immigration in Manila on the revival of the requirement this year. It had been scrapped in June 2003 when immigration authorities relaxed the requirements for departing Filipino tourists.”
In June 2003, Immigration Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo had instructed immigration officers to allow the departure of any Filipino passenger who has a valid passport, a valid visa and a round-trip ticket, which are the basic requirements for tourists. Earlier, departing Filipino tourists were required to present other documents such as an affidavit of support from a relative in his country of destination.
Mr Cabactulan, however, clarified that the Bureau of Immigration had the right to offload passengers whom they suspect are not real tourists but are employment-seekers.