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DFA to tighten tourist visa rules for Chinese nationals

By: Donna Pazzibugan - | May 10,2024 - 01:45 PM

DFA logo and building facade.

DFA logo and building facade. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) plans to make tourist visa rules stricter for Chinese nationals to prevent exploitation by syndicates involved in illegal Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).

Foreign Undersecretary Jesus Domingo announced this at a news briefing on Thursday, stating that the new requirements will be enforced starting this week.

These include requiring tourist visa applicants to present social security documents on top of government-issued IDs, bank statements and employment certificates.

The DFA will also increase the minimum number for group applicants from three to 10.

Unlike individual applicants, group applicants do not have to personally appear before a Philippine consular office in China to apply for a tourist visa.

For ‘quality tourists’

“There are a lot of fraudulently acquired visas,” said Domingo, the undersecretary for civilian security and consular affairs.

“We are urging our (diplomatic) posts to have a renewed tourism drive but we are looking at more quality tourists and not Pogo (workers),” he said.

“Our reforms are aimed largely at better security. There will be [fewer] instances of unsavory people coming in to commit heinous crimes against their fellow Chinese,” Domingo added.

‘Blatantly fake’

According to the DFA, the main problem encountered by Philippine consular officers in China is the submission of “blatantly fake” or fraudulently acquired documents by visa applicants.

Suspicious applicants are usually found out due to inconsistencies during their interviews, where they are revealed to be lacking the financial capacity to stay in the country as genuine tourists.

‘Thousands overstaying’

There are also instances of attempted bribery of the Philippine consular staff by agents, Domingo said.

When asked about the current number of “overstaying” Chinese tourists in the Philippines, the DFA official said they were in the “thousands or more,” but deferred to the National Security Council as to the actual figures.

“We balance business, tourism promotion and national security (when issuing visas). Our tour operators may have some challenges to adjust,” Domingo said.

For tourists, a single-entry visa is good for three months, while a multiple-entry visa is good for six months up to one year. Group tourist visas are good for 59 days and are not extendable.

READ: Chinese tourist absence hampers PH tourism recovery 

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TAGS: Chinese, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), DFA

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