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Bureau of Immigration to launch six-month, long-stay visa

June 15, 2013 12:50pm
Foreign nationals wishing to stay longer in the Philippines may soon avail of a long-stay visa that is good for six months, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said over the weekend.

In a news release on Friday, the BI said it will launch the long-stay tourist visa - along with a new visa sticker that will replace the wet stamp - this coming week.

“Through this long-stay visa, we expect lesser crowding in our offices due to the decreased volume of visa extension applicants,” BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said ().

The BI presently lets foreign tourists stay in the Philippines for a maximum of two months each time they apply for visa extensions.

David said the project, dubbed Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE), lets foreigners prolong their stay in the Philippines without having to frequently return to the BI.

On the other hand, he said the new visa sticker, which will feature many security and tracking features, will counter some syndicates using fake visa extension stamps.

“It will also speed up transaction in our visa section, allow more efficient tracking of records and faster detection of forged and tampered stamps,” he added.

David said the projects stemmed from the BI's meetings with the Departments of Tourism and Foreign Affairs.

New immigration stamps

Meanwhile, the BI has started using new arrival and departure stamps for all international travelers.

David said they started using the new BI Border Stamps (BIBS) midnight of June 11 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The stamps, which have new security features, were also issued to immigration officers at airports in Cebu, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, and Kalibo.

David advised the public to report any usage of the old, decommissioned stamps, which will be defaced to prevent illegal use by unscrupulous BI employees.

BI spokesperson Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said the stamps aim to counter human trafficking.

Mangrobang also said some foreigners fake these stamps to evade payment of immigration fees. - VVP, GMA News
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