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DFA releases details on additional visa requirement for Chinese tourists

DFA releases details on additional visa requirement for Chinese tourists

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) released details on Thursday on the additional requirement for Chinese citizens applying for a temporary visitor's visa.

The DFA said that Chinese citizens applying for a 9(a) Temporary Visitor’s Visa at Philippine Foreign Service Posts will be required to submit their Chinese Social Insurance Record Certificates.

According to the DFA, the certificates must be registered for at least six months at the time of the visa application.

Those exempted from the visa requirement are Chinese citizens who are currently enrolled in primary, secondary, or college education—who will be required to submit proof of enrollment—and retirees over 55 years old.

Meanwhile, the department said other exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“The additional visa requirement is part of the DFA’s continuing efforts to enhance its visa policies and regulations for the safe and efficient entry of foreign visitors,” it said in a statement.

Last month, the DFA announced that the Philippines would tighten its visa requirements for Chinese tourists amid many fraudulent applications received in its embassy and consulates in China.

It said that it would require a visa applicant to submit a social insurance certificate as proof of identity.

Other requirements are proof of financial capability, such as bank statements, a notarized letter of support from a host in the Philippines if applying for an individual visa, and hotel and airfare bookings.

A personal interview is required for individual applicants.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Domingo said on May 9 that the stricter visa requirements intend to "weed out" the "illegitimate and unsavory" tourists from the legitimate ones.

Several Chinese citizens have reportedly been involved in organized crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, and fraud.

However, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) warned that tighter visa rules for Chinese citizens visiting the Philippines could have a negative impact on the country's economy.

"Chinese tourists are a major source of income for the Philippines, so making it harder to visit could discourage tourism and hurt businesses. They might even be the ones to give travel advisories not to go to the Philippines," said PTAA president Evangeline Tankiang-Manotok in a "24 Oras Weekend" interview with EJ Gomez on May 11.

"They also spend on accommodations, shopping, and food, so that has also increased our economy," she said, adding that to avoid being accused of discrimination, the government must make sure that the new policy is fair and clear.

Over 140,000 Chinese individuals arrived in the Philippines in the first four months of 2024, double the number in the same period last year, data from the Department of Tourism showed. —VBL, GMA Integrated News