travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Immigration Questions: Tips for Filipino Travelers

July 18, 2023

The one question that the Immigration Officer always asks Filipinos traveling outside the Philippines.

“When is your return date?”

There are so many immigration offload stories circulating on TikTok, and if you are a first-time traveler, there is no need to worry about being offloaded (especially if your real main purpose of travel is tourism).

Numerous articles and blogs online have already shared valuable tips on pre-trip preparations. I am hopeful that my insights and experience will offer additional value to you. Note that this is based on my experience, and there are many other factors that we need to consider like travel history and background.

I am grateful to get the awesome opportunities to travel for different purposes – for leisure, for business, as part of a media familiarization tour, and as part of a travel incentive program. Let me know if you want to know more information and tips about these specific travels.

But just like you, I also started with a fresh, newly-released passport. My first international travel was with family, and the succeeding travels were with my friends. I think this somehow established my travel history, and by the time I got to travel solo, I never encountered being asked questions. But, again, it is not a guarantee that I will always be allowed entry to the destination country or even approval on my visa applications.

I can compare the Immigration Interview to a visa application. Just like in applying for a visa, you need to establish strong ties in the Philippines – which means you have something to return back to in the Philippines, and that you will not overstay or work in another country.

The most common questions that they ask at the Philippine Immigration are:

When is your return date?

What will you do there?

How long is your travel?

Follow-up questions would depend on your answers.

The only time I encountered numerous questions from the Immigration officials in the destination country was during a business trip.

What is the purpose of travel? I mentioned that the purpose of travel was for business-related activities, but didn’t provide details.

Where are you staying? I provided the name of the hotel we had made arrangements with. Interestingly, the Immigration official did not request any documentation to support this information.

Do you have a companion? When questioned about having a companion, I responded affirmatively and pointed out my colleagues who were traveling with me.

He then stamped my passport and approved my entry.

Travel and Immigration Tips

Here are some of the Immigration Interview Tips that I hope you will find helpful (especially for those who are traveling for the first time as a solo traveler):

1.Personally, I do not bring hard copy documents or any envelope during travel. If you carry an envelope and hard copy documents, it would look like you would apply for a job interview (you might even appear suspicious to the destination country’s Immigration).

You can save copies of your documents on your phone, or if you are traveling for business, you can put them in an envelope and keep them inside your hand-carried bag/luggage which you can easily access. You can show the requested document to the Immigration Officer. Here are some of the documents that you may want to prepare:

  • Return Ticket
  • Booking Confirmation (Hotel)
  • Concert Ticket (if you are traveling to watch a concert)
  • Employment Certificate (esp if solo traveler)
  • Approved Vacation Leave (esp if solo traveler)
  • Business Registration (if business owner)
  • Student Registration (if student and traveling solo)
  • Invitation Letter (if traveling for business or incentive)

2. Dress comfortably and just be yourself. While others recommend that you “dress to impress”, I personally go for clothes that I would normally wear when traveling.

3. Make sure that your visa is consistent with your travel purpose. If you have a tourist visa, prepare an itinerary or places you plan to visit. Do not say that you will travel to the country to take care of your grandmother, or nieces/nephew.

4. Bring your old passport/s. While Philippine Immigration authorities have access to your travel history records, it can be advantageous to carry your previous passport, complete with visas and travel stamps, when traveling to enable Immigration officials in the destination country to review your travel history.

5. Always be truthful. Immigration Officers are trained to read your body language and know if you are telling the truth. It is also important to stay calm, cool, and collected.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Stay safe and have fun on your trip!

Follow me @ruthilicious for more stories.

You may also want to watch my newest Tiktok video where I shared my weird experience at the Immigration during my recent travel to Jakarta to watch a concert.


Immigration Interview (Concert Edition) 🎤 My immigration experience during my travel for the #AgustD D-Day Concert in Jakarta. ✈️ If you are traveling to attend a concert abroad, I hope you find it helpful 🫶 #immigration #philippineimmigration #travelinfluencer #ruthilicioustravels #traveltips #agustd_dday

♬ Sugarsweet – Zach Sorgen

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