DFA: E-visa system in China still undergoing reassessment

DFA: E-visa system in China still undergoing reassessment

/ 05:48 PM February 07, 2024

PHOTO: Facade of the Department of Foreign Affairs with the DFA logo superimposed. STORY: DFA: E-visa system in China still undergoing reassessment

The Department of Foreign Affairs announces on Saturday, January 13, 2024, that the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh has repatriated 27 Filipinos from Cambodia. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — There is no finish line in sight yet for the ongoing review of the Philippine e-visa system in China, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

In November last year, the DFA temporarily suspended the e-visa system without providing any explanation for the suspension.


However, during a press conference, DFA Visa Director Leilani Feliciano told reporters that the suspension is in place to facilitate the review and reassessment of the system.


“After undergoing beta-testing and [pilot] implementation in Chinese service posts, the e-visa system is currently undergoing a period of reassessment and further enhancement,” she said.

However, the director did not give a target date for the system’s continuation.

“As soon as we make those significant improvements…[we can] continue,” Feliciano added.

DFA Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Adelio Cruz said that they were able to issue 4,090 e-Visas to Chinese citizens before its suspension.

The DFA had previously advised visa applicants in China to contact their nearest Philippine embassy for further inquiries – a message reiterated by the visa director.


Why the review?

As for what sparked this somewhat sudden period of reassessment of the e-visa system, Cruz explained that this is due to the difference between the Philippines’ and China’s payment systems.

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“The big concern we’re facing right now is that China has its own payment system,” he said.

“The applicant cannot be burdened by the processing fee nor can we impose that on the Philippine government. [So] we’re trying to find the middle ground,” Cruz noted.

Meanwhile, DFA Undersecretary Jesus Domingo said that while the system is a project of the agency and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, there have been proposals to introduce a third-party entity to address its concerns.

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But Domingo said that there is no decision yet on the matter.

The e-visa system was pilot-tested in Shanghai, China in August 2023.

TAGS: China, Department of Foreign Affairs, e-visas

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