Americans should get PH visa – lawmaker

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Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel has backed calls for parity in administrative travel conditions between the Philippines and the United States.

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“There are two ways we can achieve parity. Either we obligate Americans traveling to Manila to first secure a Philippine visa, or the US removes the requirement for Filipinos to get hold of a US visa before they can travel to America,” Pimentel said.

The lawmaker said requiring Americans to obtain a Philippine visa could generate $125 million (P6 billion) in revenues.

“This is assuming we ask each visiting American to pay a $160 visa application fee – the same amount the US Embassy in Manila asks from every Filipino seeking a US visa,” Pimentel said.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for “reciprocity” in travel rights between the Philippines and the US.

Pimentel said parity could mean additional good-paying jobs for college-educated Filipinos trying to enter the Philippine foreign service.

“We could use some of the P6 billion annual income to employ a large number of young Filipinos as vice consuls, and deploy them to Philippine consular offices in the US. so they can process the Philippine visa applications of American citizens,” he said.

Filipinos traveling to America, regardless of purpose, have to apply for a US visa, pay a $160 to $265 non-refundable fee, and show up for a personal interview with a vice consul, who may or may not issue a visa.

In contrast, Americans traveling to Manila enjoy visa-free entry to the Philippines for stays less than 30 days.

“There is nothing anti-American about seeking parity in travel stipulations. This is all about equality in treatment. Our people-to-people, business-to-business as well as government-to-government relations with the US remain sound,” Pimentel said.

He said requiring Americans to apply for a Philippine visa would also help weed out criminal offenders attempting to enter Manila.

Americans comprise the second-largest group of foreigners visiting the Philippines every year, next only to South Koreans, according to the Department of Tourism.

In 2015, 779,217 Americans visited the Philippines, up 7.81 percent from the 722,750 in 2014.
From January to August this year, 584,149 Americans visited the Philippines, up 9.96 percent from last year’s figure of 531,217.

Citizens of 38 countries are allowed to travel to America for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days, without having to obtain a US visa. These countries are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

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13 Comments

  1. Salvador dionisio on

    I agree Americans should get a visa when going to Philippines and be charged the same way as they charge pinoys when getting a visa and it should be hard on them to get a visa as they do for pinoys applying for visa to U S A

  2. In short the visa situation in Philippines is diabolical. 30 days upon entry and then having to go and renew it at a crap immigration office every two months and pay a fee which seems to change every two months, further more there’s always “new” paperwork to fill out.

    I was recently sent to Manila from Angeles City as I was told I could not renew my visa at that office due to some cock-up (even though they’d renewed it two months earlier). In Manila they give me a memo to show the immigration office in Marquis Mall in Angeles City, explaining to them their OWN Bureau of Immigration procedures. Incompetent and inefficient plus over priced, just like SMART, GLOBE, ISP’s, the LTO, Electricity, Medicine, Second hand cars and consumer goods! The Philippines no longer represents value for money.

  3. so if you have a dual citizens an a us an pi passport you have to get visa for coming an going Next up one child per household Like China welcome to ther rules

  4. This is reciprocracy as what Pimentel explain. This about equality of treatment if you doesnt love your country then so be it. You can go anywhere as what you want.

  5. First off yes I’m an American but married to a Filipina for a few years now and i love her and the Philippines ALOT… And i have no reserve paying visa fees..But i also listen to other Americans that have Filipina wives… they are saying why pay visa fees.. fly wife to a country that they can both enter without visa.. airline ticket is cheaper than visa fees..I’m worried that this will eventually hurt your tourist income..

  6. This is the question: Is every visit of the Americans to the Philippines for the good of the Philippines in terms of goodwill and economic benefits or not? As an alternative a FilAm can easily and comfortably visit the not only Europe but countries of Central and South America, Canada, Australia. The $$$$$ of the FilAm will flow in those countries instead of the Philippines.

    I suggest to the Philippine politicians not to be controlled by their emotions. However, “Common sense is not common.”

  7. I am an American that loves your country. I made my first visit because of the fact I could just buy a ticket and go on short notice. Many of my friends have taken vacations there as well. If a Visa is required that will stop the vacations there. Due to a struggling economy that Obama has created.

  8. Notice anything about these 38 countries that doesn’t apply to the Philippines? They’re citizens of countries that most of them have shown they respect the immigration laws of other countries. Unlike the Philpino who have a poor track record of overstaying and working illegally in the black economy of the countries they are allowed to enter. They also have transparent and checkable civil records like birth certificates, passports etc. Not in the Philippines. They have stable economies with good standards of living and are less of a risk for overstaying. The US doesn’t need Philippine unskilled workers, they have Mexico to provide them. What kind of employment opportunities for Americans are here that would induce Americans to overstay and work illegally? Exactly, you can’t provide decent employment for your own Citizens so don’t compare apples with oranges. In short, you need access to America, Americans don’t need access to the Philippines as they can go anywhere in the world mostly visa free and may choose to do so if you continue putting obstacles in they’re way.

  9. This is not a question of sourcing funds thru visa requirements for the country. It’s a matter of parity , equality in treatment of citizens of both countries entering their territories. That’s the reason why some Americans have a condescending attitude towards Pinoys or what they call our “little brown brothers”. It’s about time we wake up from this deep colonial slumber and demand equal application of protocols.

  10. They should be free to go to Europe if they want to. I am not putting a gun into their head to travel here in PH.

    What’s the deal with FilAm travelers, we have Koreans, Japanese, Europeans coming in.. besides I think they’re not tourists but balikbayans who want to reconnect with families so they are more likely to visit their families in PH and not so much with visiting attractions.

  11. I grew up believing that everything USA is good for the country. When Vietnam war came it opened my eyes, saw that not all USA is good. When martial law was declared (supported by the USA for their personal interest) I see that USA is not good it only serve itself.
    Sad but until now we Filipinos believe that USA is good even when we are not treated as friend or equal but only as a tool when needed. We still look at USA as master that it will feed us when needed.
    These are the Filipino mentality, sad to say that WE Filipinos has forgotten the meaning of our National Anthem.

  12. This will discourage FilAm to go back home more often. They might go somewhere else like Europe as they are not
    required to obtain Visa. What is the deal? You aim to extract some money from Visas but the after effect a decrease in Tourism revenue.