Some travelers are unable to leave the country. They cannot leave due to several reasons, apart from having a hold departure order. This practice is offloading.
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Being offloaded is a stressful experience. It can be a hassle for those who have a crucial function outside the country. Some of us need to leave for work, and some will travel for leisure. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about getting offloaded if your documents are in order. You must have a legitimate reason for leaving.
Practical Tips to Avoid Being Offloaded by Immigration
Even if you are all packed and ready to go, getting through the immigration officials is another hurdle that you must face. Some will not be allowed to travel because of offloading.
Being offloaded is not limited to OFWs. Tourists also cannot leave if they cannot fully explain the nature of their trip.
Here are some tips to avoid being offloaded:
1. Bring sufficient documents.
When talking about documents, you should have all supporting papers at hand. This means that you have a valid passport and visa, if applicable.
If you are an OFW, you should present your work contract, work visa, and certificates of seminar attendance. The immigration officer might not request to see all of these papers, but it would be good to bring them with you just in case.
If you are traveling upon the invitation of another individual, you could bring the affidavit of support or invitation letters. But you have to have the documents authenticated by the embassy of your country of destination.
2. Be consistent in your answers.
One possible reason for being disallowed to travel is due to inconsistent answers. You may have the necessary documents, but your answers to the immigration officers do not match.
If you are a tourist, you should give supporting reasons for your travel. Telling the immigration officer that you would like to get a job when you get to your destination will likely raise red flags.
You should also be ready to answer the usual questions for travelers, like the places you plan to visit and the length of your stay. You could even show your booking confirmation with the hotel you are staying in.
Keep in mind that immigration officers will be more particular with you if your destination is a transit point for drug couriers. If you are going to this country as a tourist, you should have no problem giving a straightforward answer.
3. Wear appropriate attire.
Travelers will dress according to what is comfortable for them. But the outfit you choose will also give a clue about your intended destination. If it is winter in your destination, you are expected to bring clothes appropriate for winter. Or if you are going to a Muslim country, you are will wear modest clothing. Most importantly, if you are a tourist, you could bring a camera or any similar items that you can use when sightseeing.
4. Females are encouraged to travel in groups.
If you are a female and traveling solo, you are not going to be offloaded every time to attempt to leave the country. But if you make a slight mistake, there is a higher possibility of being offloaded.
The reason for this is that females traveling alone can be a cause of concern. Even if they are backpackers or going back to work, solo female travelers tend to attract the attention of officials since they might worry about their safety.
if you have legitimate reasons for traveling, you will be able to pass through immigration with a breeze. You must also remember to bring all your pertinent paper works and answer the questions consistently.
Immigration counters follow the profiling of every passenger that approaches them. If you are not dressed appropriately, you might look like a sex worker trying to get work abroad. Unfortunately, there have been too many cases of human trafficking in the Philippines, so our immigration officers are doing their best to prevent this.
5. Know the purpose of your trip and answer as truthfully as you can.
As a traveler, you need to know all the details of your trip. You want to appear confident when you answer the immigration officials. Those who are traveling illegally, whether as human traffickers or drug couriers, will not appear as confident.
Keep in mind that the immigration officer will also look at the body language if the traveler cannot seem to answer properly. Remember to exude confidence and be consistent with your answer.
6. Bring proof of your financial capability.
OFWs may not have to worry about this regard since they are leaving the country to earn money. But tourists may need to present proof of their financial capability to justify their travel.
What if the traveler is unemployed? One way to solve this problem is to bring a letter from the family member abroad, which attests to the willingness to shoulder the expenses of the traveler. It might also be better to present bank statements or credit card accounts.
It is not proper to show cash to the immigration official, either. You could be suspected of being a money launderer. Or you might be accused of bribing an official.
7. Know your sponsor abroad.
If you are traveling upon an official invitation or any other similar reason, you should be able to show valid proof that you know who sponsored you. You can also present a letter of invitation or affidavit of support. The immigration official could ask for specific details about your sponsor. If you cannot answer reasonably, then there is a possibility of offloading.
8. Know your travel history.
Immigration officials are also wary if the traveler keeps coming to the same country. Even if you are returning to the same country to work. The immigration officials will want to ask some questions. If you cannot answer properly, up might not be allowed to proceed. Most importantly, if you have a history of being offloaded then you must be able to explain it when you travel in the future.
In the end, a boarding pass and a passport are not enough to be allowed to leave the country. Our immigration officials have the task to screen passengers to prevent human trafficking.