Bongbong Marcos wants simplified visa process for foreigners, students
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. supports the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) recommendations to streamline visa applications for tourists and international students.
Marcos’ initiatives are meant to attract more foreign visitors to the country, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said.
In a statement on Friday, PCO said PSAC recommendations included the standardization of information application procedure and information on student visa requirements, accreditation of clinics for medical clearance, and certificate requirements for foreign students.
Also, part of the proposals simplifies documentary requirements, allowing foreign students to submit visa applications online and automatically accrediting at least Level 3 hospitals nationwide for tourists’ medical clearances.
“So, I think the easiest… is to align ourselves,” Marcos said.
“We can choose to remove it altogether, the requirement for a medical certificate, or if we will continue to require a medical certificate, as long as it’s a recognized clinic, and it comes out in the actual list of hospitals or something like that, I’m sure there’s a way,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said foreigners applying for a student visa could forgo in-person interviews to fast-track the process despite a memo requiring them to attend a meeting with the issuing foreign service post.
The department will only require applicants to appear in person if government intelligence agencies recommend doing so.
The Philippines’ visa processing time for foreigners can take weeks to months–the longest period among Southeast Asian countries.
As of August 14, the country recorded 3.4 million foreign visitors, 71 percent of this year’s 4.8 million baseline industry target.
Its tourism target earnings for 2023 is P2.24 billion.