The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Tuesday that tourist visa extensions may pose a 20 percent increase following the launching of its electronic services (eServices) platform.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the recently launched end-to-end eServices platform shall provide foreigners with convenient access to extension applications and payment services.
“We fully support the Department of Tourism’s drive to invite tourists to visit and stay longer in the Philippines. The recent launch of our online visa extension is a significant step to make it easy for foreign nationals to comply with BI policies and prevent them from overstaying,” he said.
Tansingco noted that the 20 percent projection may be felt in the next six months.
This is still in line with the administration’s thrust to boost tourism in the country with the help of government services’ digitalization.
According to the BI’s tourist visa section, over 91,000 tourists have already extended their visas for the first half of the year.
“This is a significant increase from July to December of last year when we only saw around 77,000 extensions,” tourist visa section chief Raymond Remigio said.
Remigio emphasized that with the rollout of the eServices option, foreign nationals may either enjoy on-site or online extension applications while waiting.
“With our streamlined operations, and with the management introducing online options, foreign nationals will definitely feel the change and improvements of our Bureau,” he added.
Besides the tourist visa extension features, the BI’s eServices also offers online access to the BI’s annual report, Republic Act 9225 dual citizenship principal application, emigration clearance certificate, visa waiver, and waiver of exclusion grounds.
Interested foreign nationals, meanwhile, desiring to apply may access these features via e-services immigration.gov.ph. (PNA)