The Philippines will implement electronic visas for foreign visitors beginning in the third quarter of this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Wednesday, making visa application and processing quicker and more efficient.
Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Jesus Domingo stated that the country’s e-Visa system would enable foreign nationals to file for Philippine visas remotely via desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices.
“This would make the visa application process faster, more efficient, and more convenient for foreign nationals who wish to visit the Philippines for touristic and business purposes,” Domingo said.
Henry Bensurto, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Office of Consular Affairs, presented a prototype of the e-Visa this week during a meeting of Philippine chiefs of diplomatic posts and consulates in China at the Home Office in Manila.
Domingo, who leads the DFA Office of Civilian Security and Consular Affairs, and Bensurto co-chaired the meeting.
The Philippine e-Visa is currently being developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to “use technology to facilitate the entry of legitimate visitors into the country.”
According to Domingo, the introduction is scheduled for the third quarter of 2023.
PH to impose eVisas for foreigners this year
“The launch of the e-Visas is part of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s policy to significantly enhance and transform the Philippine tourism industry with the view of increasing tourist arrivals in 2023 and beyond.”
Visitors from China, one of the biggest sources of foreign tourists in the nation, will profit substantially from the new e-Visa system, according to Domingo and Bensurto.
Currently, Chinese visitors must apply for a visa in person at an embassy or consulate in China.
As of February, when Chinese nationals were once again permitted to travel abroad, Philippine diplomatic missions there “have been operating beyond their full capacity to process and issue visas to Chinese nationals in accordance with existing Philippine visa regulations and policies,” Domingo said.
The Department of Tourism anticipates 1.7 million Chinese tourists this year.
According to Domingo, the heads of posts in China highlighted that there is no backlog in their consular operations of processing visa applications for Chinese people, both for Chinese tour groups and individuals.