After the National Bureau of Investigation confirmed the ‘tanim-bala’ incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, it seems there is a new scam in our airport.
In a viral post circulating in the social media, a Japan-bound passenger recalled how a new scam prevented them from leaving the country. The complainant narrated that an Airport Immigration officer demanded an AFFIDAVIT OF INVITATION LETTER. The so-called letter can be secured from the Philippine Embassy.
The complainant said that their papers were in order, but after failing to produce the said the document, they were brought to the room for an investigation. As a result, they could not catch their plane. Their trip was cancelled and plane tickets were wasted.
Although, there was no mention that the BI employee demanded money to allow them to continue their trip, this appears to be a shakedown and simply a strategy to force the traveler to offer money and avoid wasting the chance to fly overseas.
I did a quick research on this issue, but it appears there is no mention of a MEMORANDUM being circulated by the Philippine Embassy in Japan, in the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines and in DFA.
In addition, the ‘invitation letter’ is only required when applying for a VISA at the Japanese Embassy. An INVITATION LETTER is not even mandatory when applying for a VISA via package tour.
Furthermore, there is no advisory from the Bureau Immigration requiring passengers bound for Japan to present an ‘INVITATION LETTER’ to Airport Immigration Officers upon leaving the country. This is true for tourist or family members visiting Japan. When you have a passport stamped with a VISA from the Japanese Embassy, you are good to go.
In case you encounter such scam, stay calm and try to give the impression that you know your rights as a traveler and you are knowledgeable about immigration procedures. If the immigration officers prevent you from boarding your plane, get their names and make sure to get the names of your tormentor. This is for the purpose of ticket reimbursement and in case, you need to claim damages in the future, this is the best way forward.
Source: Malago Forum