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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is Balikbayan?



Under the "Balikbayan Program" of the Philippines, the following persons are considered Balikbayans:
  • a Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one year from the date of last departure;
  • a Filipino Overseas Worker; and
  • a former Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in a foreign country and holds a foreign passport (proof of former Philippine citizenship may be required).
Balikbayans are entitled to the following benefits:
  • travel tax exemption
  • visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one year from the date of arrival in the Philippines
  • duty-free shopping privileges up to US$1,500.00
Family members (spouse and children) of a Balikbayan who are holding foreign passports are also entitled to Balikbayan privileges, on the condition that they:
  • travel with the Balikbayan;
  • pay any applicable immigration fees; and
  • observe and comply with immigration rules and regulations.
(proof of affiliation may be required)
However, a Balikbayan who has acquired the citizenship of a country that falls under the visa-required nationals category per Philippine visa regulations, or his/her family member whose nationality also falls under the cited category, is not entitled to a Balikbayan privilege and is required to obtain an entry visa to the Philippines.



What is Balikbayan Box?

A balikbayan box (literally return to one’s homeland box) is a ubiquitous corrugated box containing any number of  small items and sent by an overseas Filipino known as a “balikbayan”. Though often shipped by freight forwarders specializing in balikbayan boxes by sea, such boxes can be brought by Filipinos returning to the Philippines by air. These boxes might contain nearly anything that can fit and that the sender thinks the recipient would like, regardless of whether those items can be bought cheaply in the Philippines, such as non-perishable food, toiletries, household items, electronics, toys, designer clothing, or items hard to find in the Philippines. Balikbayan boxes are delivered directly to the recipient, nearly always the family of the overseas Filipino. Another part of the attraction is the cultural expectation that returning travelers will bring gifts to family, friends and colleagues left behind in the Philippines.


The balikbayan boxes come in three standard sizes:[3]
Medium: 18 x 16 x 18 inches
Large: 18 x 18 x 24 inches
Extra large: 24 x 18 x 24 inches

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