IN THE KNOW
On Aug. 15, 2017, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued a circular implementing the visa-upon-arrival (VUA) program for Chinese nationals.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) was directed to issue landed visas or VUAs to Chinese visitors upon arrival in the Philippines.
The program is implemented at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, international airports in Clark, Mactan and Kalibo, and sea ports in Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laoag and Caticlan.
The VUA scheme is open to Chinese visitors who are either part of tour groups organized by operators accredited by the Department of Tourism, businesspeople endorsed by local and foreign chambers of commerce and government agencies, athletes or delegates of conventions and exhibitions, and other Chinese nationals upon the discretion of the BI and approval of the Department of Justice.
The Chinese may apply for landed visas through their tour operator at the BI office at least 10 working days before arrival.
The VUA allows an initial authorized stay of 30 days, which may be extended up to six months.
Applicants should be holders of valid passports and return tickets, and should not be on the BI blacklist or subject of an Interpol red notice.
Each of them shall be charged a visa fee of $25 and a legal research fee of P10.
China is not among the countries listed in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website that are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay of 30 days or less.
For Filipinos going to China, only Philippine diplomatic passport holders or members of the Philippine government holding official passports and on official business are exempted from the visa requirement for temporary visits to China for up to 30 days.
Filipinos participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of less than six days organized by the travel services registered in Hong Kong or Macau also need not apply for a visa.
The Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area refers to the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou.
Filipinos who want to go to Hong Kong for transit, tourism or business for up to 14 days do not need a visa. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
Sources: InquirerArchives, BI website, DOJ website, Philippine Embassy in China website
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