MANILA, Philippines - To boost the competitiveness of the Philippines as a tourist destination, the government, through the Department of Tourism (DOT), is implementing visa reforms as agreed upon by DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr., Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. de Lima, and Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Ricardo A. David Jr.
The new visa policies include an increase in the visa-free privilege for 166 countries and territories from 21 to 30 days, granting of a 30-day visa-free stay to Chinese nationals traveling to the Philippines as part of a tour group handled by a Department of Tourism-accredited Philippine tour operator, and a 14-day visa-free stay for Indian nationals who have a valid American, Japanese, Australian, Canadian, Shengen, Singaporean, or British visa. Other policy reforms are currently being reviewed by a working group composed of representatives from the DOT, DFA, and BI, including a special long-stay visa for retirees.
These visa reforms are part of the government's efforts to attract more foreign tourists by simplifying entry requirement procedures and processes, allowing them more time to experience what the Philippines has to offer.
With these visa reforms, the DOT said the country will be at par with the entry policies of our neighboring countries in the region such as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, that allow entry of nationals of most countries without a visa for stays of up to 30 days, and Cambodia which issues visas valid for one month to tourists upon arrival, except for nationals of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries who enter visa-free.
Foreign visitors will now enjoy a longer visa-free stays in the Philippines. This will help us achieve the target of 10 million foreign visitors by 2016. MABUHAY!