Philippines to expedite processing of tourist visa extensions

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MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) assured Wednesday foreign tourists who wish to prolong their stay in the country that the processing and approval of their applications for extension of stay will be further expedited.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. made this assurance after he issued a memorandum order transferring the agency's visa extension section to the office of the BI commissioner.

The visa extension section is responsible for processing all applications for extension of stay of tourists whose visas are expiring or have already lapsed.

It accounts for a large chunk of the BI's revenue collections as the applicants are assessed extension fees and fines and penalties are imposed on overstaying tourists.

David said he was assuming direct supervision and control over the said office to ensure that "all applications for tourist visa extensions are promptly approved or acted upon with utmost dispatch."

He explained that the visa extension section, which was previously under the immigration regulation division, will now be under the commissioner's direct executive supervision to "further improve efficiency, accountability and transparency" in the agency's frontline services.

David underscored the important role of the visa extension section in helping government succeed in its efforts to draw more foreign visitors and boost the tourism industry.

"Thus, we should extend the most efficient service to these tourists, many of whom end up engaging in businesses here that generate jobs for our people," the BI chief added.

In his memorandum, David directed the visa extension section to continue acting on applications for extension of stay of so-called non-restricted foreign nationals, or those who do not need entry visas in traveling to the Philippines.

Applications for extension of stay by visa-required foreign nationals shall, henceforth, require approval by the commissioner or the associate commissioner to whom such function he might delegate.

ETN Global Travel Industry News

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