Are you an educator or employee under the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines planning to travel overseas for work, personal reasons, or professional development? You may require a Personal Authority to Travel permit for international travel.
Allow me to share my personal experience when I applied for an Authority to Travel Permit for an overseas trip. My aim is to help ensure a smooth process for your international journey, eliminating any concerns about facing issues at the Philippine Immigration Office.
Here is the New Travel Guidelines for all Personnel of the Department of Education: DepEd Order No. 46 s. 2022
Write a Letter of Intent to Your School Head
Before initiating the application process, it is advisable to draft a letter of intent addressed to your Principal or School Head. In this letter, kindly express your intention to travel abroad for personal reasons and your request for leave without pay during this period. It’s crucial to specify the dates of your absence, as you will also need to record these dates on your Service Form (SF) 6.
Obtain School Clearance
Once your Principal has endorsed your letter of intent, you will receive a Clearance Form certifying that you have no pending property or financial responsibilities, nor any ongoing administrative cases against you. This clearance pertains to your school and requires signatures from various individuals in authority within your school. This process may take up to 2 days, depending on the availability of these officials.
Request a Certificate of Employment
Irrespective of your travel purpose, it’s always beneficial to have a Certificate of Employment on hand. You may need it for visa applications or as a supporting document during immigration checks.
Complete your Service Form (SF) 6
With assistance from your Accounting Office and School Registrar, complete Form 6 by providing the travel dates and destination. Once it is signed, you can tick one requirement off your checklist.
After completing these steps, you will need to await the INDORSEMENT LETTER from your Principal’s office. Once you receive it, it’s time to fulfill the remaining requirements at your SCHOOL’S DIVISION OFFICE.
Visit the Records Office
Upon arriving at the records section, submit the requirements you obtained from your school. In return, you will receive a CLEARANCE FORM.
Get the Clearance Form Signed by the Clearing Officer/Official
Similar to the school clearance process, this step is division-based. If the officials or officers are available, obtaining their signatures should be straightforward. However, if they are away on official business, you may need to wait until their return. Depending on their availability, completing this clearance may take at least 2 days or more. In my case, it took another 2 days, and I considered myself fortunate.
Submit the Clearance and Other Requirements to the Records Office
Once you have completed all the necessary steps, submit your documents to the Records Office. They will then forward these to the Regional Office.
The Schools Division Office (SDO) will be responsible for issuing the CERTIFICATE OF NO PENDING CASE.
After these steps, your only task is to wait. The SDO will forward your application to the Regional Office, where the Regional Director will sign it. Your SDO will also send Indorsement Letters to the Regional Office.
You may choose to follow up with your SDO regarding the status of your application. In my case, after two weeks, I finally received my AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL, which was signed by the Regional Director.
These changes in the application process for a Personal Authority to Travel have made it even more accessible for DepEd teachers to travel overseas and spend time with their families or simply enjoy a holiday abroad. This process has also expedited the procedure compared to the past and has altered the way teachers perceive declaring their government employment status at the airport immigration.
If you’re wondering when is the right time to begin processing your Authority to Travel, I recommend starting 1 to 1.5 months before your scheduled flight. This will provide ample time to complete the process without any rush.
Do You Need to Pay the Travel Tax?
Yes, except for cases of OFFICIAL TRAVEL AUTHORITY, personal travelers are required to pay the travel tax.
Finally, just before our flight abroad, I informed the Immigration officer that I was employed by DepEd. He requested my Authority to Travel, examined the document signed by the Regional Director, and stamped my passport. No further questions were asked. Safe travels!