BI issues visa upon arrival for Chinese tourists, investors
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has launched a program aimed at attracting more tourists and investors from China, the world’s second biggest economy after the United States.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said Thursday the BI will be issuing “landing visas” in deference to the Department Circular 041 issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II granting visa upon arrival (VUA) to Chinese nationals.
A landing visa allows a traveller to receive his or her actual visa at the airport of destination.
The new program is open to Chinese nationals 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.
“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).
Under the rules, interested Chinese nationals may, through their tour operator, apply for their landed visas at the BI for an initial authorized stay of 30 days and they may apply for an extension up to a maximum period of six months.
Applicants should be holders of valid passports and return tickets and they should not be on the BI’s blacklist or subject of an International Police Organization or Interpol red notice.
Each applicant will have to pay a visa fee of US$25 and P10 legal research fee.
Interested Chinese nationals should also file their applications 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,” the BI said.
“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,” it added.
Relations between China and the Philippines have vastly improved under President Rodrigo Duterte, who opted to pivot to China in terms of trade ties and economic aid, while shelving long-running territorial disputes, including an arbitral tribunal case won by Manila in July last year.