My Philipine Immigration (IO) Experience As a First Time Traveler | Blushing Geek

My Philipine Immigration (IO) Experience As a First Time Traveler

Just like my previous travel post, this one is another long overdue post, hehehe. So please bear with me, *wink.

I had my first international trip last year with my mom. It was also her first international trip, so imagine how nervous but extremely excited we were, lol. I still remember how I searched like crazy for that trip to be a success because it was during that time that we’ve been seeing lots of offload horror stories online. Yikes!

So for this article, I am hoping that I could help some first time travelers ease their mind so they can think rationally and also learn from our experience.

My Info

  • Date of Travel: August 11, 2023
  • Passport: Philippines
  • Gender: Female
  • Age range: 25 – 35
  • Status: Freelancer (VA)
  • Visiting Country: Malaysia
  • Purpose of travel (length of days): Tourism (5D4N)
  • Traveling with: Mother (public teacher)
  • No family or friends in the country I will be visiting

Documents prepared

  • IC Certificate (Independent Contractor Certificate) – you can request this one to your client. Make sure it has your current rate included.
  • Bank Certificate
  • Printed copy of latest payroll
  • Photocopy of my latest tax returns
  • Original and printed copy of PSA
  • Printed copy of plane tickets
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Printed copy of all tickets/tours purchased on klook
  • Printed copy of travel insurance purchased
  • QR code as proof for filling out etravel

For my mother, she prepared the same documents as mine, except the IC certificate, payroll, and bank certificate. She also has her authority to travel papers which is a MUST if you are a public official and employee and also her ID.

Documents requested by IO

The officer only requested the following from me:

  • Passport (ofcourse, lol)
  • Plane ticket
  • Accommodation (not really, but this was one of the documents I handed first, lol)
  • IC Certificate

For my mom, she only provided her passport, plane ticket, and her authority to travel papers.

Questions

For mine, the officer only asked around 6 questions. Here’s as far as I can remember:

  • Purpose of travel?
  • Who are you traveling with?
  • Do you have family in the country you will be going to?
  • Where are you staying?
  • What is your work?
  • What is the work of your mother?

For my mom, I think it was almost the same.

My Experience

It was crazy hahaha. I faced the officer already thinking that I will be offloaded, probably because of my nerves and I was already overthinking. I was so nervous that the officer told me to take a deep breath and not to worry too much because he will not bite, lol. The third time he assured me not to be too nervous because he will let me get on my flight. Weew, even if that was the case, I was still shaking my hands uncontrollably. After I passed the interview, I met up with my mom at the x-ray machine in which she noted how extremely noticeable my shaking hands were, lol. (Turns out I was sick lol, and hand tremors are one of the symptoms. Don’t worry, I am ok now. I am still taking my meds, but overall, I am ok, *wink)

Btw, I was lucky and had a male officer for my interview. They said female officers were extremely strict (not always, but usually), so I was really thankful not to be interviewed by one. The first thing I did during the interview is to greet the officer and hand over my passport, ticket, and proof of accommodation. I just found out that it should just be the passport and the ticket, so next time I will do that. The officer then asked me to remove my face mask then started asking the questions above. Then I provided the documents they requested. Luckily I was still able to answer the questions considering how nervous I was, lol.

My Personal Tip For First Time Travelers (which I’ll probably still follow on my next trip, *wink)

  1. Don’t be nervous. This is very easy to say, but so hard to do. It’s so easy to overthink since there’s so many offloaded stories online. But you have to fight it. If you have nothing to hide and your trip is purely for tourism, then condition yourself to be calm.
  2. Always be ready. Make sure documents that you may think will be requested by the officer are on hand.
  3. In relation to above, make sure that you are well prepared for your answers to some possible questions by the officer. You can search online on some questions that the IO might ask to practice.
  4. Arrive in the airport at least 4 hours early. This is a must, especially if you are a first time traveler to make sure that you can still catch your flight even if there’s a long line in the immigration or check-in or if you happen to have a second interview in the immigration.
  5. Always be polite.
  6. Always answer the question without extra. If they are asking a yes or no question, just answer yes or no and without any explanations. Only give explanations if asked.
  7. If you are a freelancer with a client, make sure to ask for an IC certificate w/ your rate to cement that you are really employed and can finance your travel.
  8. Dress comfortably and appropriately. Some officers will check your appearance so dress appropriately.
  9. Purchase travel insurance. It is highly recommended to purchase one to make sure that you are protected from some unforeseen accidents or situations while you are traveling abroad. You can get one on Klook and Gcash.
  10. Research. Always do your research about your destination so you’ll know what to do when you arrive there.
  11. Bring snacks. Food is expensive in the airport, so make sure you have food with you to get you through your trip.

I guess that’s pretty much it. I hope this article helps you on your future international trip!

Also if any of you have some tips aside from above, feel free to leave a comment below to further help our fellow travelers on their future trip.

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Sophia Rose
Sophia Rose
1 month ago

I’ve never traveled outside the US by plane so I appreciate reading your advice and tips, Vanessa. Yes, I’d be really nervous, too. 🙂

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