-- July 2013 ~ Travel and Immigration 101
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Canada Opens New Visa Centers in Manila and Cebu

Hoping to attract more immigrants, visitors and students, the Canada Immigration opened new visa application centers (VACs) in Manila and Cebu to make it easier and more convenient for Filipinos who wish to enter Canada.
"The Government of Canada plans to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth by attracting an increasing number of visitors as well as the world’s best and brightest talent to Canada," the Canadian Embassy said in a press statement Monday.

In an effort to speed up the application process for visas and permits, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expanding their global network of VACs, which provides administrative support to applicants before, during and after their temporary resident application is assessed by a CIC immigration officer.

"Anyone wishing to apply for a visitor visa, study permit, work permit or permanent resident travel document is encouraged to use the new VACs," the Canadian Embassy said. 

Applicants may contact VAC service agents by phone, email or in person. The service agents are able to answer questions in local languages and to make sure that applications are complete. "This helps avoid unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications," the Canadian Embassy said.

However, the embassy noted that VACs are not involved in the decision making process and are not authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas.

For an additional fee, VACs also offer other services, including photocopies, application photographs and self-service computer terminals for those wishing to take advantage of the new online applications. 

The new VACs are located at:

  • Manila:  6F Unit 608, Ecoplaza Building, 2305 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City
  • Cebu:    9th Floor Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales Ave., Cebu Business Park, Cebu City

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Europe Union Lifts Ban on Philippine Airlines (PAL)

A Philippine carrier may again fly into European skies after more than three years of being banned. This, as the European Commission on Wednesday partially lifted restrictions which have kept Philippine airlines from flying to European Union (EU) states. Lucio Tan-controlled Philippine Airlines may now resume flights to EU territories, after having been removed from the “EU air safety list.”
The Commission in March 2010 included all carriers from the Philippines in the list, following poor results from an audit by the International Civil Aviation Authority. “Today we confirmed our willingness to remove Philippines airlines from the list as they show real commitment and capacity to implement international safety standards in a sustainable manner,” the Commission said.

The decision was based on “improvements in the safety situation in the Philippines” as observed by experts’ on-site safety assessment visit in June. It takes into account better oversight by state aviation authorities and PAL’s ability to ensure “effective compliance with relevant aviation safety regulations,” the Commission said.

All other Philippine air carriers in the list however remain in the list, with EU stressing the need for further progress to reach compliance with safety rules. Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the EU Delegation to the Philippines welcomed the new development, congratulating the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

“This is a confirmation of the great work performed by our Filipino partners, especially CAAP and Philippines Airlines, in addressing air safety issues,” he noted.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Countries that Filipinos Can Visit Without a Visa

It’s more fun in the Philippines, but amid good economic news, many Filipinos are traveling abroad both for business and leisure. Japan has recently allowed multiple-entry visas for Filipino citizens. South Korea is also reportedly mulling improving visa requirements for Filipinos.
But did you know that as of June 30, 2013, Filipinos can go to at least 25 other countries without having to worry about visas?

According to data compiled by the DFA's Office of Consular Affairs, the following countries fall in the visa-free category, followed by the length of allowable stay by Filipinos:
  • Bolivia - 60 days
  • Brazil - 90 days (for holders of diplomatic, official, and service passports, visa-free for (a) duration of tour of duty or (b) 180 days for official business or tourism)
  • Brunei - 14 days
  • Cambodia - 21 days
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica - 30 days
  • Ecuador - 90 days
  • Hong Kong SAR - 14 days
  • India - Visa upon arrival valid for 30 days (limited only to New Delhi and Mumbai airports)
  • Indonesia - 30 days
  • Israel - visa-free for tourists (no. of days of stay will depend on Immigration); visa-free for holders of diplomatic and official passports; visa required for business)
  • Laos - 30 days
  • Malaysia - 30 days
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique - Visa upon arrival valid for 30 days
  • Palau - 30 days, visa upon arrival (provided that the Filipino national has a return/onward plane ticket)
  • Peru - 60 days
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Singapore - 30 days
  • Sri Lanka - 30 days, visa upon arrival (provided that the Filipino national has a return/onward plane ticket)
  • Suriname
  • Thailand - 30 days
  • Tuvalu - 30 days, visa upon arrival (provided that the Filipino national has a return /onward plane ticket)
  • Vanuatu - 30 days, visa upon arrival (provided that the Filipino national has a return / onward plane ticket)
  • Vietnam - 21 days
  • Zambia - visa upon arrival; 3 months for tourism, 1 month for business
The DFA is still gathering visa information for the following countries:
  • Guam
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Mongolia

Monday, July 1, 2013

South Korea To Simplify the Tourist Visa Requirements

The South Korean Immigration is looking into easing visa requirements for Filipino tourists, according to an official of the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO).
Chang Wook Jung, senior deputy director of the Incentive and Exhibition team of KTO, said the KTO head office in Seoul and the KTO satellite office in Manila have been working on convincing the South Korean government to ease up the visa application process in the Philippines.

''There is a process going on at the moment and our government is looking at the arrangements we have in place for the visa requirements. We're hoping that in two or three years, these arrangements will finally be approved,'' Jung said during the Korea MICE Mart held at a hotel in Pasay City.

Jung added that the move follows the increasing number of Filipino tourist going to Korea, the rapid growth in the Philippine economy and the strong diplomatic ties of South Korea and the Philippines.

According to the recent tourism statistics between the Philippines and Korea, during the first quarter of 2013, 81,540 Filipinos visited the country, an 11.5 percent increase from the same period last year. In 2012, a total of 331,346 Filipinos traveled to Korea.

Meanwhile, for the MICE demand from the Philippines, Korea is now emerging as a corporate incentive tourism destination offering diverse tailor-made tourism programs.

Jung said this increase is attributed to the staunch effort of KTO Manila, which has recently celebrated its first anniversary of operations in the Philippines, to promote Korean tourism in the country.

''KTO Manila is doing great job promoting our country to Filipinos and local travel agencies. But until we address the obstacle of visa application, the Philippine market cannot reach its full potential. Over one million Koreans visited the Philippines last year. We're confident that someday, the Filipino market will match this demand for Korea,'' Jung said.

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