What is the change? The Philippines has issued regulations for its new visa-on-arrival program for Chinese nationals.

What does the change mean? Chinese nationals will be eligible to obtain visas on arrival if they provide (1) a letter from an accredited Philippine tour operator or endorsed by a government entity, (2) three copies of the biographical page of their passport, (3) flight details, and (4) an affidavit describing their intended activity in the Philippines. Tour groups of 20 or more people must provide a USB with the names, dates of birth and (3) passport information for all travelers. Visa-on-arrival applications and supporting documentation must be submitted no less than 10 days before travel.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/Permits affected: Visas for Temporary Visitors Upon Arrival.
  • Who is affected: Chinese business travelers who are invited by recognized business organizations or government agencies, tourists traveling as part of a government-accredited tour group, athletes and delegates to sport competitions, exhibitions or conventions,
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save time in the visa process for some travelers because applying for visas on arrival may be easier than applying though an embassy or consulate.
  • Business impact: The business impact may be minimal. Although the program is open to business travelers, obtaining the requisite letter from an accredited Philippine tour operator or government entity could prove difficult for individual business travelers.
  • Background: The Philippines announced a visa-on-arrival program for Chinese nationals in August and issued the additional guidance Sept. 5. After receiving an approval notice, applicants may pick up their visas when they arrive in the Philippines. Visas will be valid for 30 days from the arrival date.

BAL Analysis: While the Philippines’ new visa-on-arrival program was designed in part to boost business travel from China, the documentation requirements make it hard to tell at this point whether the program will be a viable option for individual business travelers. Chinese nationals traveling to the Philippines should consult with BAL about the visa option that is best for them. At this point, individual business travelers should consider the visa on arrival only as a last-minute alterative. Travelers should note that work activities are not permitted on a visa on arrival, however, and still require work authorization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Philippines. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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