Visa-Free Travel to Guam?

It’s on the drawing board, again!

Some days you wake up to news that just makes you shake your head. Today though I woke to some encouraging news that gives hope to many filipinos, who can afford to travel, to be able to take the shackels off and expand their horizons. As a Philippines passport holder, it can be a real pain to obtain visas for travel, outside the list of ASEAN countries that currently are visa-free, or visa on arrival. Travel to Guam and beyond is impossible without first obtaining that visa.

While this is not the first go-round with a request of this nature, it is the first time since the suspension of the H2B Visa Program (foreign laborers) just last year. Under this new Governor, I believe Guam is getting serious about propping up their tourism numbers and will put some real effort into this next request to Homeland Security. There is much to be said about the rising Philippines economy and the substantial increase to the Filipino middle class, and should have nothing but a positive impact on this new attempt.

Of all the countries that do allow the Filipino traveler entry, Singapore is probably the only real 1st world country to do so. Guam would do good to follow Singapore’s guidelines on admitting passengers from the Philippines. Guam would then be a good addition to this list. It would be good for some relatives to be able to visit us for a change! (News article follows)

Guam official wants U.S. to waive visas for Filipinos traveling to the island US Bureau / 12:36 AM June 08, 2019

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s chief economic and international affairs adviser is trying to get the Philippine government’s support in convincing the U.S. government to waive the U.S. visa requirement for Filipinos visiting Guam.

Guam’s chief economic adviser Carl T.C. Gutierrez is seeking the Philippines support in convincing the U.S. government to waive U.S. visa requirements for Filipinos traveling to Guam.

Leon Guerrero said she’s aware of former Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez’s visit to Manila and his efforts to get the Philippine government’s support. She said she would be grateful if the Department of Homeland Security grants a visa waiver for Filipino tourists.

But the governor said she hasn’t written a letter to Homeland Security to make a formal request. Gutierrez said citizens from Japan and South Korea have been allowed for decades to travel to Guam without a visa, according to Pacific Daily News.

Nearly all of Guam’s foreign skilled labor under the H-2B visa program come from the Philippines. In January, however, Homeland Security removed the Philippines from the list of countries eligible to participate in the program. It allows authorization on a case-by-case basis.

Guam’s governor from 1995 to 2003, Gutierrez told Philippine officials many Filipinos can now afford to travel abroad without overstaying, because their standard of living has changed.

End of Article.

While Guam is a U.S. Territory, and is an immigration “Port of Entry.” Any current visa-wavered travelers (Korean, Russian, Chinese, etc.) must possess round-trip or onward tickets to any destination other than a U.S. destination. The same (assumed) would be required for Filipino tourists… if this supposed proposal ever gets off the ground and moves forward to an approving authority. As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time this has been proposed, but the chances for serious consideration of approval is better than it has ever been. The driving force today to get this going is based largely on the economic improvements made in the Philippines in recent years, not to mention Guam’s own need for tourism. The potential for overstays obviously would need to be addressed and the onus would be with the front-line Immigration officials here on the island to approve and reject each arriving passenger based upon individuality. Guam would then be on the hook in the event of actual overstays. Only Guam has the ability to create and control deterrance for such and how it is all proposed will likely determine the overall feasibility of Philippines being added to the Guam-CNMI visa waiver program.

About the author: Arel (Filipino for R.L.) first arrived in the Western Pacific in 1974, and has been coming and going ever since. He and his filipina wife of 33 years moved to the Philippines in 2013 and now share residency and travel between the Philippines and the island of Guam. He pulls no punches when he blogs about life, liberty, and happiness under the tropic sun, all the while Living in the Pacific… the Western Pacific – One Day at a Time!

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2 thoughts on “Visa-Free Travel to Guam?

  1. Given the current administrations “white only” preferences this probably doesn’t have much chance of succeeding, but it would be GREAT for Filipinos and for US military vets and retirees married to Filipinos.

    Great place to get in those commissary store visits and Exchange visits as well as avail of the military hospital there. My dual-citizen wife and I made several Balikbayan “reset” trips to Guam, liked it a lot.

    One of the biggest reasons it would help a lot of Filipinas is the relative cheapness and only 7-day Guam residency requirement for a Guamanian divorce.

    So many women here in the Philippines are trapped in marriages gone bad that they have no affordable way to legally terminate … while their former foreigner husband just went overseas and got a quicky divorce and moved on.

    Fingers crossed.

  2. You’re right Dave, this would be a good thing in so many ways. The ball is totally in Guam’s court though in how their proposal is structured to Homeland Security. They have the burden of proving to HS that they can implement this program in all the right ways, without some half-hearted, stop-gap design which would create an overstay problem. And Guam could sure use the tourism dollars! Might need to build a few Motel 6’s and budget hotels as I don’t see many Filipinos staying on Tumon Bay! Thanks for the comment!

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