Things You Need To Prepare for an Immigration Interview plus the top questions asked by immigration officers

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Applications are what most Filipinos are thinking of. Application for IDs, for memberships, for overseas employment, all kinds. In these scenarios, being able to properly prepare or ready is the best course of action. Furthermore, when applying for something, it won’t hurt to make a few clicks before actually going through it, right?

To start, we need to understand first the reasons why Filipinos would even go out of the country. It’s a no-brainer to think that one of the more obvious reasons why people go abroad is to work. Yes, to make money and to put meat on their families’ tables. Although it’s clear that they can definitely do that here, the chances and opportunities abroad is broader and higher.

But this article is not about to help you with that, of course, before travelling to a certain country to reside, visiting that country first is essential. Why? Because you don’t want to shock yourself with the environment and obstacles in the country. Visiting them first would actually make you more comfortable and determined as to what your decision will be.

If you think that the application interview is difficult, think again.

Although it can be quite intimidating at first, if you clearly think about it, it’s just a normal interview. No need for you to be ultra fluent in English; no need for you to be a master of sales, all you have to do is to clear your mind and answer the questions as concise and as honest as possible.

Before we get to the questions, let’s first tackle the list of the things you need to have in the airport. Yes, let’s be optimistic; you pass the interview and it’s now boarding time.

What are the Must things you should always have?

Company ID

Of course for your identity. You don’t want people to be mistaken about who you are, right? Moreover, immigration officers sometimes ask for this to kind of prove that you have plans of returning to the Philippines.


Kind of obvious and self-explanatory…


Only if applicable

Photocopy of your passport + VISA

Just in case your immigration officer is a bit O.C and wants these things, it’s better to have it firsthand. Furthermore, in the event that you lose it, you’ll easily have something to present without you panicking your way through.

Your itinerary and your flight information

This one is something that might make you lose the hook. Some officers and agents ask for this to raise awareness and preparedness. Oftentimes and in domestic flights, a digital copy in your phone would be sufficient. However in international flights, it’s best to be ready to have a physical copy of them.

A pen

Yes, this might sound a bit crazy but having a pen and an extra could be a life-saver.

Those are the things you should always have with you whenever you’re in the airport to board a plane. Now that we got those covered, let’s now go to the usual questions that immigration officers ask vacationers.

Here are the top questions asked by immigration officers

Prior to starting, the questions you will be asked aren’t rocket science; these questions are made just for them to be sure that 1.) you’ll have sufficient funds and resources to help you in your journey as well as your return; 2.) that you have the utmost plan of returning to the Philippines; Lastly, that you’ll not violate the rules and regulations of the destination country you’re about to set foot in.

Where are you going?

When the immigration officer throws this question at you, no need for you to tell a story. Tell the officer where you’re going. Oftentimes, a follow up question would come next to this which is;

What are you going to do in that country?

This time, tell the officer your plans and goals as to why you’re travelling there. Visiting a friend, a family member, just going on a vacation, etc. Be honest and stay true to the words you’ll say!

When will you return to the Philippines?

Now this question, if I’m not mistaken is thrown at every person who undergoes the interview. Of course, if you don’t get a proper working VISA, the immigration officer could not expect that you’ll return in years. If you’re going for a vacation and you’re planning to stay abroad for work, better think about it twice. Immigration officers since they’ve been doing this for too long knows different attitudes and types of people – in and out.

Do you already have a place to stay in (name of country)?

This is to ensure that you have some place to stay in and that you won’t be wandering in the streets for the rest of your stay! If you’re visiting someone, may it be a friend or a relative, it would be best to tell this to the officer. If you have an invitation, best if you provide it to them ONLY IF THEY DEEM NECESSARY. Furthermore, it would be extremely helpful if you have a copy of your hotel booking/accommodation.

Whom are you traveling with?

Directly tell the officer that you’ll be traveling alone. If not, educate the officer about this as well as this can be a relevant piece of information.

Do you have a spouse/partner?

Although it may seem that this question is an irrelevant one, it can bear a lot of answers that would help the immigration officer know more about you. If you do have a spouse and you’re not traveling with them, it might trigger the immigration officer to think more on why you won’t be traveling with your spouse; if it’s for business, just a vacation, because of funds, etc. Again, all you need to do is to be honest with the things and the answers you’ll say.

Read: Five Things You Should Not Say During an Interview

General questions

Other than the specified questions above, the immigration officer will be hands-off about other information. Usually, immigration officers only throw a question or two if you’re lucky. However, there are other immigration officers that are strict and would actually exhaust you in questions but don’t get tired because at the end of it, you’ll be successful in departing, am I correct?

How do I ensure that I won’t get offloaded by the immigration?

As per the Bureau of Immigration, they have been implementing stricter rules lately and around 40 people are offloaded everyday in Terminal 1 (NAIA) alone. Moreover, 4 to 5 out of this 40 have legitimate reasons to go abroad. Obviously, you don’t want to be a part of this, right?

So to ensure, as per a 2012 memorandum, officers will expect the following from a departing passenger:

  • Filled out departure card
  • Passport
  • VISA (if applicable)
  • Tickets (Departure, Arrival)

Oftentimes, officers ask for the company ID. IF THEY DEEM NECESSARY, then they’ll go to the next step and assess you through the following criteria:

  • Financial capability to travel abroad
  • Age
  • Educational attainment

To clarify what all of those mean, they’ll try and see if you’re eligible and sufficient to travel abroad. For this, people who have no steady and reliable source of income are the people who are more likely to be offloaded by the immigration.

So what do you do?

Of course, you need to prepare proof of your income and how legitimate it is. If you’re an employee, prepare your Certificate of Employment (CoE); If you’re self-employed or if you have a business, prepare your Business Registration Certificate; Lastly if you’re doing freelance, prepare to present your ITR. If you don’t have an ITR, your client/s should still have it and you can ask it from them.

Just to reiterate, you don’t have to present everything in the immigration booth. All you need is to prepare this in the event that the officer asks for it. As I mentioned, usually, immigration officers ask for your company ID to prove that you have a stable and reliable job and that you are expecting to be back in the country.

In the event that you don’t have a company ID (self-employed or freelance), tell them that you’re either a consultant or a business owner. If these are the cases, of course, prepare the necessary documents that would prove your standing.

To sum it all up, you don’t have to think heavily about the fact that you’re being interviewed. Just be calm and answer concisely and honestly; and besides, it will never do you good to lie about a certain thing. Even if it’s just a simple general question like “What did you eat for lunch?” if you don’t know or don’t remember, just tell them.

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2 thoughts on “Things You Need To Prepare for an Immigration Interview plus the top questions asked by immigration officers”

  1. what a shame that we have an international reputation for cheating, lying, overstaying, illegal working and prostitution….. It would be so nice to have a normal reputation like other countries, wouldn’t it?


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