Philippines issues 25,000 non-tourist visas in 2015
Posted on January 5, 2016
MANILA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — The Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued around 25,000 visas to non-tourist foreign nationals in the country for 2015, a senior government official said Monday.
Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison attributed the high, positive turnout for visa issuance on the reforms introduced in the system that led to more efficient processes and less bureaucracy.
“The figures only show that the Philippines is fast becoming a preferred venue for foreigners not just for tourism, but also as their second home,” he said.
Application fees for tourist visa applications exceeded the one billion peso (21.22 million U.S. dollars) mark for the first time last year, he added.
Mison said the agency ensured that applications were acted upon expediently.
“We streamlined the processes and introduced less stringent policies to make sure that foreign nationals have a pleasant experience in our country,” explained Mison.
In 2015, the BI began a new procedure on visa issuance, wherein the application no longer required the approval of the board of commissioners.
Previously, applications were withheld for at least one more week until the board meets as a body.
Under the current visa task force, visas are approved right away, without the need to wait for the schedule of the board meeting.
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