Expat children in the UAE often travel to their home country to spend their school vacation with family and relatives. According to the government of the Philippines, if a minor is travelling either alone or with an adult other than a parent, it is important to get a travel clearance certificate from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Please note that a minor in this case is a Filipino citizen who is 17 years old or younger.
How can Filipino expats obtain a DSWD travel clearance certificate?
Whether a minor is travelling alone or with an adult (who isn’t a parent or legal guardian), a travel clearance from DSWD is necessary. The only exemptions to the DSWD travel clearance rule apply to minor children whose parents work for foreign services and kids with a passport or permanent resident visa of another country.
This law comes under the special protection of children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination act and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996. Here is all that you need to know about getting a clearance certificate from DSWD.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR A CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE FROM DSWD?
To apply for a clearance certificate from DSWD, one must submit the following documents.
- The application form can be obtained from any DSWD regional office or the official website.
- PSA-issued birth certificate or a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
- Notarized affidavit from the legal guardian, parents or single parent. The content should clearly mention the name of the travelling companion, his/her relationship with the minor, the intended length of stay at the destination, the purpose of travel and dates of departure and arrival.
- PSA-issued marriage certificate of parents or alternatively, a copy of the certificate of legal guardianship of the child.
- Single parents are required to produce a PSA-issued Certificate of No Marriage Record (CENOMAR) as well as a copy of single parent identification card from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office/Local Social Welfare and Development Office. For specific cases, Tallaq or Faskh certification from Muslim Barangay, Shariah court or a religious leader also works.
- In case parents have passed away, a photocopy of the death certificate is required.
- The adult who will travel with the child has to provide a copy of their passport.
WHERE DO I APPLY?
The application is submitted at the DSWD Field Office which has jurisdiction over the area the minor resides in. An alternative option is to apply online and use the DSWD eServices.
For any queries, you can call at 16545. Typically, if the documents are complete, a certificate is issued within 24 hours. However, it is recommended that you submit the application at least a week in advance to account for any unforeseen delays.
WHAT IS THE DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE VALIDITY?
The DSWD travel clearance certificate validity can be a year or two years, depending upon your request. The certificate remains valid for multiple visits, except for minors travelling with foster parents.
WHAT IS THE DSWD TRAVEL CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE FEE?
DSWD Clearance Certificate fee is as follows:
- One year: 300 Peso (AED 23)
- Two years: 600 Peso (AED 45)
CAN I REQUEST CHANGES AFTER THE CERTIFICATE HAS BEEN ISSUED?
Yes, you can request the authority to make changes. Changes related to the travel companion or the destination can be made as long as the certificate is valid. For this, you would need to submit a copy of the minor’s passport, notarized affidavit from a legal guardian or parent confirming the change in plans. If the child is travelling to a new destination, you can also submit a return ticket. No additional fee applies to this request.
The process of obtaining a DSWD travel clearance certificate has been streamlined in the recent past. If you submit the documents and follow all the requirements, you can get a certificate pretty quickly. Often children visit the UAE from the Philippines with family members or grandparents. This exercise of acquiring the certificate can help reduce criminal activity and keep children safe.
If you’re looking to settle in the UAE with family, check out our detailed moving to Dubai from the Philippines guide to prepare for this change. It is always better to do some research before moving to a new destination. You can start by looking at the top areas to live in Dubai for Filipino expats.
Another important consideration is applying for OEC. Filipino nationals who want to get married in the UAE, have to apply for Cenomar. Renewing Philippines passport in the UAE is another official procedure you might have to go through during your time here.