The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will discontinue the use of paper-based departure cards starting May 1.

In an advisory, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said they are expanding the eTravel system to lessen the requirement for departing passengers.

The setup—initially launched in December—harmonizes and consolidates data collection processes at ports of arrival.

“The eTravel platform will soon be used for both arriving and departing passengers,” Tansingco said.

“Travelers no longer have to fill out departure cards, and instead may log in the online portal prior to their flight,” he added.

The system is an initiative of a sub-technical working group (TWG) of the Inter-Agency Task Force, chaired by the BI.  It is a joint project of the agency with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

According to eTravel TWG chairman Dennis Javier, starting April 15, departing passengers may log in to the platform within 72 hours but not later than three hours from their scheduled flight.

The online portal replaces the paper-based departure card which passengers were usually required to fill out prior to departure.

“This is a major step in streamlining documents presented by departing travelers, allowing for faster and more efficient immigration processing,” Tansingco said.