August 17, 2019 – Stricter rules will now be implemented on the issuance of visa upon arrival (VUA) for Chinese nationals visiting the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday said.
Guevarra noted that instead of scrapping the VUA scheme, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) will enforce a tighter system to prevent its abuse.
The justice secretary highlighted that the two agencies will put into effect the following:
– limit the validity period to 30 days without any extension
– ensure non-conversion to work visa
– blacklist any alien staying beyond 30 days
– dis-accredit and penalize travel agencies abetting violations of the VUA rules.
Guevarra also reminded that the VUA is designed to be used for tourism purposes only.
Meanwhile, it was Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr who suggested the scrapping of VUA after National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperson Jr. raised concern over the surge in the number of Chinese nationals working in the country.
Earlier, the Department of Tourism clarified that VUA is only granted to Chinese tourists that have passed the screening of tour operators accredited by both the department and the BI.
In 2017, the BI started issuing visas to Chinese nationals on their arrival in the Philippines instead of applying beforehand to draw in more tourists from China. (Juno Buena / AAD)