BI scraps requirement for printed tickets; will accept e-tickets instead

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Responding to the global trend in international travel, immigration personnel at the country?s international airports will no longer require travelers to present printed copies of their onward or return tickets.

Instead, passengers can just show their electronic tickets or e-tickets that can be viewed via mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

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This new policy was announced on Wednesday, Sept. 11, by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which has jurisdiction over the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

?This is another simple step to improve access to basic government services,” DOJ secretary Leila M. De Lima said in a statement. “We shall continue to work with all stakeholders to inject common sense and process logic into our systems,” she said.

The rule on e-tickets is embodied in Operations Order No. SBM-2013-003 entitled “Removing the Requirement of Presentation of the Printed Hard Copy of Return and/or Onward Passage Ticket” dated last August 12, 2013, a copy of which may be downloaded at www.immigration.gov.ph.

DOJ assistant secretary Geronimo L. Sy, who also heads the agency?s Planning and Management Service, said the reform measure was a result of the government?s effort to understand the needs of the traveling public.

Other countries have long eliminated the requirement for hard copies or paper tickets when traveling. In the Philippines, this has resulted in complaints and misunderstandings between local airport officials and foreigners or even balikbayans, who thought that e-tickets are enough. The new ruling, however, is expected to finally iron out this kink.

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