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PHILIPPINES TO LAUNCH LONG TOURIST VISA

MANILA, Philippines -  Starting next week, foreigners wishing to stay longer in the Philippines can do so by applying for a six-month-long tourist visa.
In a statement, Immigrations Commissioner Ricardo David(right photo) said the Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE) project intends to spur tourist arrivals in the country by giving foreigners the privilege to prolong their stay without the need to visit the immigration office.
Currently, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) allows foreign tourists to stay in the country for a maximum of two months. The visa is extendable.
David said, “Through this long stay visa, we expect lesser crowding from our visa extension applicants.”
David said that according to data, many foreign tourist who had visited the country in 2012 had opted to stay longer or beyond the period of their visa.
He added that from January to December last year, the Bureau of Immigrations visa extension office had processed and approved 172,055 applications for extension of stay.
He said the number of approved visa extensions in 2012 was 13 per cent higher than the 151,913 applications in 2011.
“Our country remains a favourite tourist destination. Many foreign visitors are opting to stay here longer not only for vacation or to visit our tourist attractions but also to explore business and investment opportunities,” David said.
Apart from the long stay visa extension project, he said the immigration department also plans to use a new visa sticker that will replace the wet stamp currently used to validate extension of stay in the passports of foreign tourists.
  • He said the new visa sticker will prevent the proliferation of fake visa extension stamps. David said the sticker has security and tracking features that cannot be copied.
  • “It will also speed up transactions in our visa section, allow more efficient tracking of records and faster detection of forged and tampered stamps,” he added.
  • According to David, the projects were initiated after meetings between the BI, Department of Tourism and Department of Foreign Affairs on what policy reforms can be initiated to further attract more foreign visitors to the country.
  • The tourism department aims to increase the volume of tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2016.

Source: Agency
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