IN a bid to attract more tourists and foreign investors, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is now offering “visa-upon-arrival [VUA]” privilege to nationals from China.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Friday said that interested Chinese, particularly businessmen and plain tourists, may enter and stay in the country for as long as 30 days without the hassle of securing first an entry visa from the Philippine Embassy in China. Their stay in the country may also be extended up to a maximum period of six months.
Morente said the program is open to Chinese who are members of tour groups organized by tour operators accredited by the tourism department; businessmen endorsed by local and foreign chambers of commerce and other government agencies; and athletes and delegates to conventions and exhibitions.
The new program was contained in Department Circular 041 issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd.
“Through this scheme we aim to facilitate the expeditious entry and admission of Chinese nationals into the country and thus attract more tourists and investors from China,” Morente said.
The program will be implemented at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and in eight other international airports (Clark, Mactan, and Kalibo) and seaports (Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laoag, and Caticlan) throughout the country.
Applicants should be holders of valid passports and return tickets, and they should not be in the BI’s blacklist or subject of an Interpol red notice. Each of them shall be charged a visa fee of $25 and P10 legal research fee.
The rules also provide that applications for VUA should be filed at least 10 working days before their arrival.
If the applicants are qualified, the BI commissioner shall issue an order approving the VUA and the same shall be presented by the Chinese passengers to immigration officers upon their arrival in the country.
Copies of the order shall also be furnished to the BI port operations division whose personnel (immigration officers) shall implement the visa on the travel documents of the Chinese passengers during the conduct of arrival formalities at the port of entry.