What to Expect at the Border: A Guide to Immigration Interview Questions

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For Filipinos looking for more comprehensive tips designed for Philippine Immigration, check out my post Immigration Tips for Filipinos: A Guide to Philippine Immigration. 

As someone who has been to 20 countries, lived in China where I frequently get my passport stamped in Hong Kong and Macau  and crossed borders more than I count my own hair, immigration still strikes fear in me.  Think of it – immigration is nothing more than people standing behind a box that stands between you and your travel adventures.

As a Filipino even leaving my own country drives me into an anxiety filled spiral.  Since so many of us work illegally around the world, my country makes it a point to make life difficult for us to leave the country if we don’t have a return ticket and an exit permit/travel tax exit. We are grilled when we leave our home shores and grilled again as soon as we arrive in our destination.

I also encounter many different probing/inquiring tactics at different borders and customs. Some, I’ve answered well and some I didn’t prompting close calls with the risk being detained.

Here are my experiences and tips when handling immigration:

  • Know the officer’s intent

The immigration’s officer’s job is to ascertain which passenger would likely cause trouble to the country, commit a crime or reside illegally. Your task is to make sure their suspicions aren’t aroused. For them everybody is guilty till proven innocent.

Sometimes immigration officers might just want to fill their quotas of suspicious people interrogated questioned (hint: post 9/11 USA). If you’re lucky enough to be randomly chosen for a second screening, do not take it too personally – you’re just a number to them after all. Do not look too nervous and just answer their questions. Looking nervous would just arouse their suspicion. When you’ve reached that point, the immigration’s officer’s intent now is to harass you to submission so they can finally pat themselves in the back for catching a criminal or they just want a break from their monotony of stamping passport all days and surprise! you’re there to provide them the entertainment their day needs. Think of all cop movies you saw in the interrogation room – playing good cop/bad cop. The immigration officer want to feel like those cops.

In some immigration like the US, the person is actually stripped bare of their rights and treated like a criminal because technically in the customs area, they haven’t arrived in US soil yet. They would harass you, search your belongings and if they find one shred of evidence that you are guilty, they would detain you and wouldn’t even allow you to make a single phone call to your family or friends who might be waiting for you. It’s that bad. When they think they’ve proven you’re guilty, they would sometimes force  you to sign papers (do not sign any papers, you at least have the right to do so). It’s like the immigration officers want to turn US immigration into Guantanamo Bay. I can’t even imagine how many people they “tortured” and deposited into their cells and tower over them feeling like dictators. I read a story they put a poor 64 year old woman into a cell when all she wanted was to attend her daughter’s wedding.

My cousin Lloyd was selected for random screening at the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. He was detained for 2 hours in a room because they found he brought his work documents with him because he wanted to apply for a Japanese visa in the States. Only when he insisted on his torturer’s ID badge number and to speak to his supervisor was he let go.

My friend Shirley was also interrogated as soon as she reached Australia customs. For no apparent reason that she is brown and looks like an immigrant (yes, immigration officers love profiling.) Never mind she’s traveled to 30 countries. She was horrified at being treated like she was less of a human being. After the horrific experience, she later realized there was a reality show in Australia called Border Security where immigration officers catch passengers who planned on staying in Australia illegally or were sneaking drugs in. These officers were probably harassing her hoping for their lucky break on that show.

  • Know how to answer questions. Be detailed but not too detailed

Immigration officers would sometimes ask you queries to determine your intent in coming to their country. Immigration officers in developed countries (USA, Canada, France,etc. ) would often ask these questions:

–          Why are you here?

–          Where will you be staying?

–           Who will you be visiting?

–           How long will you be staying?

–           How much money are you bringing?


It was Alice’s first time to visit Hong Kong from the Philippines. As a first time traveler she was very naïve and answered all questioned truthfully. When asked by the Philippine immigration officer before departing, “Why are you going to HK?” She answered enthusiastically, “To see my boyfriend in HK!”

She wasn’t allowed to leave. The immigration officer in the Philippines thought she was going to stay there illegally. Also, one must never answer seeing a boyfriend when it’s your first time traveling.

When I first arrived in LAX airport, I was jet lagged and hurting from a 14 hour flight from Japan where I barely slept on the plane. When asked the customary question, “Why are you here?”

I answered, “To see my family and friends.”

When he asked, “Why is your visa issued in China?”

I said, “I used to work there.”

The immigration officer’s expression remained nonchalant.

Which baffled me that I was given second screening by that officer. That had never happened to me before in the US. I was getting nervous. The officer in charge of searching my luggage was a huge bouncer looking guy. He looked at my things and then my I-94 customs form.

“You’re visiting family and friends right?”


“You’re supposed to give them gifts. Why did you write $0 for the value of their gifts?”

Because sometimes we don’t give friends gifts when visiting! Use your common sense! I bit my lip. Now was not the time to be a wise guy. So I wrote $20 in the value. He looked at it and typed something in his computer and let me go.

I realized perhaps I was too vague in my answers which prompted the officer to give me a second screening. Instead of answering “visiting friends and family” maybe I should’ve said, “I’m visiting my Uncle Willo in LA and then visiting my friend Brett in Chicago and do a road trip up north to check out the great lakes in Minnesota. Then fly to NYC to see the Statue of Liberty.” Instead of “I used to work in China.” I should’ve added my current work status to dispel any suspicion I was going to look for work in the US. “I used to work in China but now I’m the marketing manager of my family’s plastic and retail business in the Philippines.”

But who knows anyway how immigration officers conduct their screening? It could also be random or any kind of unfair racial profiling. In China, immigration officers stop any black person they see and open their luggage. Whenever I used to cross the sea borders in China, the officers search my luggage when they see I hold a foreigner passport.

  • Be careful of questions that trap you

Sometimes officers in developing countries probe you to look for loopholes they can use in their power to keep you from entering or departing the country. Their reason is so you can offer them a bribe. They just want money.

I noticed this immigration officer in the Philippines was looking for red flags in my answers.

“What type of business does your family operate?”

“What do you sell?”

“What are your responsibilities?”

“What type of plastic do you sell?”

Questions which are awfully detailed and probing for my job. Luckily I do work in my family business and was able to answer.  I offered simple and concise answers that didn’t prompt him to ask for follow up.

“Plastic retail and distribution.”

“Plastic and household supplies.”

“I supervise and liaise between the sales staff and management.”

“Canada plastic bags.”

The guy seemed kind of bummed when I left.

My friend Joe was legally employed by a school in Hanoi but because he had was asked to pay an exorbitant amount to get unnecessary translation for his documents to Vietnamese, he decided that getting a 3 month business visa and exiting Vietnam was cheaper than the fee. He spent most of the year exiting Vietnam and coming back.   He went back to the Philippines for the summer break. Upon departing the Philippines to return to Vietnam, the immigration officer questioned him, “Why did you exit and enter Vietnam many times in a year?”

Joe said, “Sir, I was on vacation and wanted to explore Vietnam.”

“Don’t kid me! For a year? You were obviously working there illegally. I noticed you have a previous work visa in Vietnam.”

Joe tried to explain his translation situation but the officer would hear none of it. In desperation, Joe fished out a P1,000 (USD23) bill. The officer’s eyes lit up and stamped his passport.

  • Do not bring unnecessary merchandise that might implicate you

Traveling with all your documents (birth certificate, security clearance, bank statements, etc.) can be tricky because if found in your luggage, the officers will use these to lay charges on you especially in Australia and the US that you are going to look for work in their country.

My couin Lloyd brought documents with him so he can apply for a Japanese tourist visa in the Japan consul in the States. Unfortunately, the officers found them and questioned him about it.

By sheer naiveté, I bought some Kim Il-Sung pins in China and brought them with me when I crossed the border to North Korea not knowing that these pins weren’t supposed to be sold. A little background, Kim Il-Sung was the maniacal dictator of North Korea and they were worship him there after his death. To show their loyalty, North Koreans pin a picture of him on their clothes.

You are also cautioned in bringing too many gadgets into North Korea because well, simply they would think it was a spying device. Unfortunately, I had brought my laptop, my mp3 player and my banking USB stick with me and a DVD copy of (wait for it) Captain America (swear total coincidence).

Customs took a lot longer in examining my suitcase and trying out all the gadgets (fortunately, Captain America was laid aside). When they got to my Kim Il Sung pins, they questioned me aside and grilled me on where I had found them (you can find the complete story here) to the point I got scared and thought they were going to detain me.

When I promised I had no idea that the dear Leader shouldn’t be bought as souvenirs and threw them away, I was finally allowed entry into North Korea.

  • Show your return plane ticket, if necessary

Immigration officers often want you to show proof you will be exiting the country. In fact most countries won’t let you in unless you have an outgoing flight.

If prompted, you can show the ticket to prove you will be leaving the country soon. That would increase the chances of the officer being more at ease with letting you in.

Other interesting questions Immigration had asked me:

Sometimes immigration officers ask peculiar questions I’ve never heard of, especially in developing countries.

When entering Vietnam, the officer asked me, “Can you say ‘I love you’ in Vietnamese?”

When entering China, “Were you shooting a film in Macau?”

When entering India, “Are you single?”

The important thing is to keep calm and answer the questions that would satisfy the immigration interviewer and allow you into the country. 🙂

Update: Due to the volume of comments I have received in this post, I’ve decided to disable the comments section. 

I have decided to compile all the common comments/questions I have received and answered them in this post:   Immigration Tips for Filipinos: A Guide to Philippine Immigration. 

If you are a Filipino with a question, then it’s most likely answered in that article. Head over there now!

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74 thoughts on “What to Expect at the Border: A Guide to Immigration Interview Questions

  1. Risa Rosalejos says:

    thank you for bringing this up. It really helped me a lot. I am going to travel to malaysia for the first time, I really don’t know what to do in the immigration. Thanks for this I’ ve got ideas.

  2. deborah says:

    Im travelling alone for the 3rd time this feb 28 my last travel was 2011 and i had a good record on it.here is my questions..i already renewed my passport and no stamped on it,do i have to attached my old passport during IO interview?and is their a possibility to be denied even i had a good record travel before?coz im travelling alone now..need your opinion..thanks

    • Kate says:

      Hi Deborah
      Thanks for dropping by. Yes, attaching your old passport could help until you have a few stamps with your new one.

      And yes, there is still a possibility of being denied even if you have a good travel record though it is slim. It depends if you have all your documents in order and if you complied with the visa application requirements and questions. Keep in mind embassies can be arbitrary and they all have quotas.

  3. Monique says:

    Hi! This is a big help!! Glad i found ur site😚😍😍😍😍😂shys
    Im goinf to fly to SG this HOlly week for five days, my boyfriend(british citizen) will wait for me at the arrivals (he will attend a business meeting on SG that day he is a frequent traveler almost the whole world just to attend meetings, hes been here last Dec)
    so just wanna know your advice and tips.. i have my passport, roundtrip ticket, hotel booking, pocket money, copy of his passport and credit card. (Im a private contractual employee but ive been working for that agency for four years now, im just bothered bout my latest id, it will expire on june 22,2015(but i will just renew it all over again)
    i have my ticket one month advance, and now, i only have 6days to prepare my self for iO.. i am really scared.. hope you can boost my self confidence:) thank you sooo much!!!

    • Kate says:

      Hi Monique!! Thanks for dropping by! Where are you from so I know more of the situation you’re in? What’s iO? How can I help? Are you worried about your company ID expiring?

      • Monique says:

        Hi, thanks for the reply! Im from Manila Ph. Why i cant tell my Boyfriend is waiting for me at the arrivals? All my documents has his name on it, because he is the one who purchased everything. He will just attend Business meetings on SG (after japan), and yes im quite worried about my company id.
        Last week, i called the immigration customer service hotline here in manila and verify my documents and explained a bit bout my boyfriend too, they said that all are fine, im just being paranoid about the other blogs i read being offloaded but its years ago, theres no latest complain, hope that everything goes well.

  4. Kate says:

    Being offloaded has been a recurring event. To quell your doubts about your ID expiration, bring a copy or your original contract with the company. If the immigration officer asked why your ID has expired, show them the contract as proof that you will continue to work in the company and not be a TNT or illegally stay in Singapore.

    When you approach the immigration officer in the Philippines and Singapore -do so with a lot of confidence and smile (relax!). Attach your return ticket with the passport. Say you’re visiting friends and do some sightseeing in Singapore. When the officer in the Philippines ask how you will fund your travel – tell them with your money and your friend’s combined (not exactly a lie since you’ll contribute a bit right?). If all else fails show your boyfriend’s credit card but say it’s your friend.

    I’d recommend not saying your boyfriend is waiting at arrivals. Just stick to answering questions but don’t provide further information. I say that because my Japanese friend had a horrible experience when she visited the US. She told the immigration officer she was visiting her boyfriend. She was then escorted to another room for further questioning.

    Just have confidence and smile and act as if you’ve done this your whole life. It’s all about attitude. Hope this helps!

  5. shiyline says:

    Hi..i was about to leave last april 9 my birthday to thailand from.phil to have a birthday getaway sponsored by my friends…the IMMIGRAtion officer asked me whats my occupation.i told them im a housewife but im able to support myself to travel with the help.of my friends since my husband is a head of technical support in one big company..with all the documents i presented and asked me so many questions i got off loaded..the next day i booked a flight from a differnt airline and different terminal..it appears that i got offloaded and ask me to go the sexond officer for another interview same explanation, same reason and they said to me that if i travel to one country i need to show them an.invitation from at least 4th degree relative and then i sad i cant show you tjat because i dont have family abroad and for the.second time im off loaded again..my question is if i travel again for a meeting or different reason will my previous offload affect my next interview in THE IMMIGRATION?

    • Kate says:

      It depends. Did the immigration officer check their records during your interview? If you’re traveling for a different reason like leisure, you’re traveling without being invited by anyone abroad and it doesn’t require an invitation, then you might not be off loaded but that depends on the officer.

  6. Joe says:

    Hello there! Glad to locate this article..Im a private teacher here in the Philippines and planned to explore Kuala Lumpur with my second cousin this coming May. Its our first time to travel actually and i sponsored this trip that serves as a gift to myself and at the same time a graduation gift for her since she already finished college beacuse i was the one who also sponsored her schooling. We already have our return ticket, hotel voucher that includes iterinary of our trip. So what else do i need to avoid being offloaded? Thanks for replying.

  7. shiyline says:

    Hey there again….yes you’re right i guess it depends on the officer if he’s really doing his job to prevent human trafficking or the like or it is alsi true that they’re just tripping on you or they just want money from the passengers..actually i told the IO for the second time that isnt it enough proof to prove that i already bought again my round trip ticket to thailand?? And then she said , why didnt you said that to the officer that took hold the interview in the first time?? These immigration officers think that they have the power to hold you or not give you clearance..and most of the time they will keep looking for loop holes so when you get desperate you’ll going to give them money for your clearance..

  8. Anthony Antonio says:

    Hi there.. i will be traveling alone to Hongkong this end of july for the first time travel abroad.. I’m working here in philippines as Call Center Agent with Good pay. I will toure there just for 4 days with round trip ticket. also I prepared all neccessary document such as Company ID, Cert of employment and Bank statement.. it is okay to bring Bank statement.? or can you please help me to pass the IO or give me some tips.. thanks you and hope you will give tips ASAP.

    • Kate says:

      I think a bank statement wouldn’t hurt or even a photocopy is okay. As long as you have return tickets and can show you can afford the trip, it should be fine. Prepare a short list of what you will do in HK in case Philippine and HK IO ask you. Answer confidently and don’t be nervous. Good luck!

  9. Elise says:

    Hi, I’m a Filipino passport holder planning to travel to the US. When I applied and was approved of a visa, I had planned to visit only for 2 weeks with my partner. However, my plans have changed. I recently decided to resign from my job but before moving on to a new one, I wanted to take a long vacation. So I’m planning to travel to the US alone for 2 months. I’ll be staying with some relatives but will be paying for my own travel expense. I’m just concerned that my initial plan (which I declared in my visa application) and current plan no longer matches and plus, I’ll be unemployed by then. Any tips when I get to US immigration?

    • Kate says:

      Hi Ellise, Sorry this is late. I was traveling. Regarding your visa application plan and real plan, it shouldn’t really matter as long as you adhere to the 6 month limit stay. TSA or US Immigration Officer doesn’t have your visa application on hand. However, if they ask what your occupation is- better tell them your old job or the job you’re planning to take as it would look really suspicious if you tell them you’re unemployed. They might think you’re planning to stay illegally and look for work in the US. You might get a second screening and be taken to a separate room for further questioning. As for the rest, give them a semi detailed plan of what you plan to do in the US for 2 months.

  10. Jenifer says:

    Hi kate, I’ll be travelling to SG this coming Sunday and this is the first time I’m going to ravel abroad,My sister gave me an invitation letter cause she currently residing in Singapore.I just resigned from my previous job. would it be easy to pass the immigration if I do have invitation letter?Thanks in Advance 🙂

    • Kate says:

      Hi Jenifer! What would prove more sufficient is a printed copy of your return ticket and to show it to the immigration officer as soon as you reach his box. That’s the speediest way and should be enough.

      If he asked for your invitation letter, then show him. Also, is your sister supporting your travels or are you spending your own expenses for this trip?

      Don’t mention you’ve resigned from your job unless he asked because you might be offloaded. Also, you can call immigration of the philippines hotline and ask your concerns. They would be the best to know regarding the job situation.

      Good luck!

      • Jenifer says:

        Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. Yes. I paid for my round trip ticket but my sister will support my expenses. By the way do I also need a letter of sponsorship as a proof?

      • Kate says:

        I think you’ll have to call the immigration office hotline of the Philippines to ask that. I don’t think you need to show it unless they ask. I usually just show my return ticket and the immigration officer lets me in but I have been to several countries. I think once you’ve shown you’ve traveled they go easy on you. It’s a little difficult if it’s your first time but SG is a common destination so it might be not be difficult.

  11. Picham says:

    Hi kate! Me and my friends (there’s 5 of us) are planning to tour Dubai this October since travel expenses are cheaper in this season. We will be accompanied by our girlfriend who currently holds an employment visa there. She’ll be coming here on the 22nd and leave on oct.2 with us. She will be arranging our papers before flying here. What would probably be the problems we can encounter when we reach the IO’s box?

  12. leslyn says:

    hi po, galing na ako sa sg nung january. dis dec 5 babalik aq kasama bf q 1st tym nya po, nd po ba kme ma off load? invitation ung gamitn nmen, bgay ng tta q xe dun xa work. ano po kaya maganda gawin tnx

    • Kate says:

      Hi Leslyn. First off, shouldn’t be a problem since you already have a record of going and coming back from Singapore. As long as your boyfriend is with you when you’re interviewed by the immigration officer- it should be okay. The most important thing is the return ticket. Show it to the immigration officer when you are about to be interviewed to show you are both returning to the Philippines.

      Who is sponsoring your trip – yourselves or your aunt? If your aunt, it should say so in the letter. By the way, could you spell out the words and not use your short cuts in your comments? It makes it hard to read. Thanks! 🙂

  13. leslyn says:

    HI po, thank you po. yung tita ko po ang mag bibigay ng invitation, dapat po nakalagay bf ko sa invitation? ano pa po dalhin namin requirements para hindi ma off load? our ticket is december 5- 8, more tips. thank you

    • Kate says:

      Yes, include his name in the invitation letter. Be sure to show the return ticket. The 2 of you should try going together to the immigration officer. It won’t be so bad for him because he is going with someone who has traveled before. If you’re unsure, you can call the Philippines immigration hotline.

  14. Prabhat says:

    Hi Kate
    I’m Prabhat from India. Already a bad incident happened with me while I visited hongkong before two days ago. The hk immigration ask many questions for 2 to 3 screening test then at the end they keep me in there special immigration point with barricade and arrange my return ticket on that day. My question is to you that though it is my first tour and I got a bitter experience so when I plan again for next tour will this incident create a bad effect on my passport

    • Kate says:

      Hi Prabhat! Sorry this is late. I was traveling. No, I do not think this will create a bad record on your passport except if you go to HK again because they will have a record on you. Even then there is a slim chance of it happening in HK if you have all your documentation. Most countries do not exchange info on their passengers. Good luck on your next trip!

  15. Alyssa says:

    Hi, i’ll be going to hongkong this february with my husband. I resigned from my job last year and is now a full time housewife. Im worried that i won’t get through immigration because i am a housewife although i have a good travel history. We availed a package tour and my husband already paid for everything. I’m not sure though if this will help me get through. Any tips you can give us? Thanks in advance…

    • Kate says:

      I don’t think you need to worry. I think all the details you’ve given me is enough to get you through.

      Does your husband have a full time job? If they ask, just tell immigration you’re traveling with your husband and you’re on a package tour. Also, show your return ticket. Have a good trip!

  16. Mylene says:

    Hello,ma’am! My sister and I are going to travel in brunei this february and stay there for 3 days. This trip is a birthday present for my sister from my aunt and i was asked to tag along to accompany her so we’ll be travelling together. My aunt is in the philippines but she has a sister in law in brunei who booked the hotel and round trip ticket for us. She just emailed to me the confirmed booking and receipts to prove that it’s all paid already. My sister is a regular government employee in the province while me on the other hand has no work yet but i do have a small store business running in our place. I’m concerned and afraid that immigration officers might be suspicious of me and got offloaded because i don’t have work. I am hoping you could give me some advice that can avoid it from happening.

  17. Kate says:

    Thanks for dropping by Mylene. I have a comprehensive article with all the tips to avoid being offloaded in the Philippines coming out soon that can help you with your question. I’ll be posting it in this comment next week.

    As to answer your question, I don’t think they will be suspicious as long as you can show proof that you own that small business (business permit), your sufficient funds (photocopy of passbook or bank certificate, etc) and your return ticket. If your aunt’s sister in law in Brunei is paying for your expenses then you can show them an invitation letter and her own proof of funds that she has enough to support your trip.

    Update: Here is the article- A Guide to Philippine Immigration.

    Good luck!

  18. jennifer says:

    hi, kate! 🙂 i’m jen. i’m actually planning on travelling to hong kong next month as a backpacker. i resigned from my previous job and i just do online selling from time to time and i have money to support myself for 13days of stay. i only have my debit card from my savings account. would there be any problem at the immigration since those are the only things i have for now. i don’t have any hotel bookings or so. and i have a round trip ticket.. im just worried about getting offloaded.. 😦 tnx so much!

  19. Letty says:

    Hello po mam im going to travel sa japan ngaun feb 2 ivivisit ko po ung japanese fiance ko first time ko din pong magtravel abroad unemployed din po ako ngaun,ung fiance ko po ang magiging guarantor ko ask ko lang po sana mam aside sa passport visa rountrip ticket and invitation at guarantor letter na galing sa fiance ko ano pa po kayang mga ibang documents ang kailangan kong dalhin sa araw ng flight ko.thank you in advance po.

  20. Ivy says:

    Hi..just wanna ask, is it possible for the immigration officer to call the contact nos. n the company i.d you showd them? For them to make sure that you are really employed. Thanks

    • Kate says:

      Hi Ivy! I am not sure about that as I have not encountered that before. Just assume they might to be on the safe side but I think it’s rare. Sorry, I can’t give you more info.

  21. Mariane says:

    Hi, kate! Im arian. Tanong ko lang po kung necessary na ipakita sa IO yung old passport? Dati po kasi akong ofw in dubai then i decided to just go back here for good, im just worried about my old passport because of the working visa on it though meron din pong travel history sa hk and macau don. Im just wondering kung dapat ko pang dalhin iyon or hindi, coz’ my friend and i are going to hk for a vacation this coming february.. Thanks.

  22. miguel0416 says:

    hi kate! i’m jen.. i’ll be traveling to hong kong with my boyfriend and i’ll be responsible with all our expenses once we get there.. my mom owns a family business here in taft, manila and my purpose going there is actually to buy goods.. we sell branded apparels, shoes and bags.. i just know where to buy cheap items somewhere in mongkok because I’ve gone there last summer.. i haven’t book any hotels yet because from my experience last year, there were actually cheaper hotels going to ngong ping however they don’t do online bookings.. will that be a problem? the documents i have is just my passport, return ticket, passbook and debit cards and my mom’s business permit.. my bf has his passport and his company i.d.. thanks so much!

    • Kate says:

      Hi Jen! Is it your boyfriend’s first time? If it’s not his first time then I think you two will be fine even without a hotel booking. Just make sure you know the hotel name and address because you have to fill that in for the HK arrival immigration form.

      If it’s your bf’s first time, then please read more tips in my post, A Guide to Philippine Immigration

      Happy Trip!

  23. sherry0507 says:

    Wow Kate! I am amazed by your prompt responses! Anyways, parang nabasa ko na lahat ng “how to avoid being offloaded” sa google. Lol

    Eto po yung question ko. I am travelling to HKG this April 11-15, 2016. I will be able to provide the following:

    Roundtrip ticket
    Hotel confirmation
    Company ID
    Disneyland ticket confirmation
    Cultural heritage tour package confirmation
    Cash 20,000
    ATM: 5,000 back up money


    ano pa ba kulang ko?
    makalusot ba ako sa immigration kahit first time solo female backpacker ako mag out of the country?
    Enough na ba yung pera ko?

    I am freaking out lang talaga kasi I’ve heard red flag kaagad pag solo backpacker. Not sure though.lol

    Thank you in advance

    • Kate says:

      If you have read all the “how to avoid being offloaded” in google, I think you should be fine.

      There are many solo Filipino backpackers travel bloggers and I don’t see them having any problem. I travel solo myself and haven’t had an issue either. Looks like you covered all your bases so I’ll be surprised if you’re stopped. Good job!

      I’m also thinking of offering my services as a travel consultant and coach now that I”m getting a lot of these questions about immigration. I might be shutting this comment section and redirecting people to my service page so I can help them better with customized in depth advice.

      If you want to know about more about my services and need extra help with traveling, just get in touch with me in the Contact section and I can quote you my fees. 🙂

  24. aliaslibby says:

    Very detailed post, thanks for this! I could relate. 🙂 Moved to another country and this (immigration) was part of my worries more than the thought of actually leaving my home… Haha!

  25. Jasobel says:

    Hello Ms. Kate! Nandito po ako ngayon sa japan as temporary visitor invite po ako ng auntie ko, plan ko po kasi mag dubai this coming april which is mg eexpired na visa ko dito. Tanong ko lang po possible ba na mgpunta ako ng dubai from here (japan) na di na uuwi ng pinas? My friend ako sa dubai she will help me regarding sa visa and ticket. Di na po ba mg aask yung immigration dito if bakit ako pa dubai? Thank you ms kate

  26. Kate says:

    It depends. Can your friend process your visa from Dubai – if so you can leave Japan. It won’t matter to them as long as you comply with Dubai travel requirements (e.g. do they need a return ticket from Dubai?). Make sure your Japanese visa doesn’t expire BEFORE you leave for dubai then you can’t leave Japan and have to return to the Philippines.

  27. Abalos Cunanan says:

    hi, I stayed in Singapore for almost a month and I have to leave before my 1-month end going to Dubai holding a business visa. do you have any idea what are the requirements that the immigration will ask? and what are the possible questions that the Singaporean will ask me. Thank you and Godbless

    • Kate says:

      The SG airline check in staff might ask you when you plan to return to the Philippines. Regarding the requirements the immigration might ask, it depends which immigration you’re referring to – Dubai or Singapore?

  28. jian says:

    Hi. Im a nurse but unemployed. And ill be flying to kota kinabalu with my travel buddies this coming june 17 to 21. This trip is funded by my parents as a reward for passing the board exam last january 8,2016.. My concern is, is it true that nurses arent allowed to travel? We already have the necessary docus to prep like passport, roundtrip tickets, itinerary and hotel reservation. Were a first time travelers. Nees ur help 🙂 Thanks!

  29. amanda says:

    Hello kate. I’m from Philippines and I will be traveling to Macau this friday and its my first international flight. I’m currently un employed for 3 months already. I have an invitation letter from my mom and my birth certificate with me. Do you think their would be a problem?

  30. Shey Mendez says:

    hello po..i want to ask lang po.. i will be travelling thailand next week po.. for the first time.and i am currently unemployed. this travel is sponsored by my parents.my concern po is that hindi kaya ako ma offload kasi i am unemplyed po ako.. i already had my return ticket, hotel reservation and… i am with my 2 friends who are also first timers. can you suggest po kung ano anu pa kaya ang dapat kailangan?

    thank you.. God bless

  31. erika delos santos says:

    hi miss kate im erika ask ko lng po kc yung fren ko iniinvite po nya akpng magtour aa dubai ofw po ako dti sa hongkong kakabalik ko lng po sito sa pinas last march di po kaya akp ma ofload aalis n po ako nexweek visit visa sa dubai tnx po

  32. Krishelle Villa says:

    Hi There! It will be my first time travelling this August. I am still a college student and I am going to Singapore with my best friend who has been to the US before. My uncle is the one who is sponsoring my trip. Do I have to bring any additional documents since I am still not working and I am sponsored by someone else? Aand is Immigration harder for travelers like me? 🙂

  33. Ika says:

    Hi Kate.

    We’re planning to travel to Malaysia and Sg from Cebu PH in one week from now. Im a filipina with a norwegian citizenship and Im traveling with my gf. I have sponsored everything for our travel and I was just wondering if maybe my gf will be offloaded since she doesnt have a job and she dont study. Our passports, tickets and hotel vouchers and sightseeing itinerary is ready but Im just so worried about my gf getting offloaded even though I will provide for everything. This will be the first my gf travels abroad.
    Hoping for answers and advice.
    Thank you 🙂

    • Kate says:

      I think she will be fine if you’re there, can prove you’re sponsoring here and she has a return ticket. But as always, these things cannot be predicted 100%. You can call the Philippine Immigration hotline. For more information, you can read my post, A Guide to Philippine Immigration Thanks!

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