FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Tuesday said it is working with US authorities to fully reinstate its US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) arrangement.
In an advisory on Tuesday, PAL said it is temporarily unable to accept non-immigrant travelers entering the United States under the visa program after its arrangement expired.
“We are continuing to work with the US authorities on full renewal of our VWP arrangement,” Philippine Airlines Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna said in a Viber message.
PAL, however, clarified that most of its passengers, especially Filipinos with valid US visas and US citizens are not affected by this development and may still travel on its flights to the US.
“We are managing the situation by providing options to passengers under the Visa Waiver Program. We are working towards resolving this issue,” she said.
The company has also given its assurance that it will assist VWP passengers traveling to the US under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
PAL has assured that affected customers will be given alternative flights. Among the options it offers are a transfer to another airline, travel credits, or a refund.
US VWP allows most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for stays of three months or less without obtaining a visa.
Information from the website of US Customs and Border Protection said that in order to facilitate the arrival of passengers under the program, carriers function as a signatory to a current agreement with the agency.
It said a carrier is mandated to be a signatory in order to transport aliens seeking admission as non-immigration visitors, adding that agreements expire every seven years. — Ashley Erika O. Jose