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MANILA, Philippines – Citing its aim to “improve future operations,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) put a pause on the Philippine e-Visa system, which is being beta tested in Philippine foreign service posts in China.
In a statement on Friday, December 1, the DFA said it was conducting a “reassessment” of the system to introduce improvements, “including for its payment processing systems.”
An earlier DFA statement announced that “operations of the Philippine e-Visa System in China is temporarily suspended until further notice.” While that post has since become unavailable from the DFA website, it is still cached on Google as of posting.
With the e-Visa system put on hold, the DFA said applicants in China should contact the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate general so they can file their visa applications.
During a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Tourism Sector group in January, Marcos ordered government agencies to work on e-Visas for key markets including China, India, South Korea, and Japan.
The PSAC, an advisory body composed of the Philippines’ business elite, had recommended that Indian nationals be included in the visa-upon-arrival program and that the e-visa system be extended to nationals of China, India, South Korea, and Japan.
The e-Visa system was launched in August 2023 at the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Shanghai, with plans of a roll out to other areas in China.
The tourism department had welcomed to move, citing the need to attract more Chinese tourists to the country. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.7 million Chinese visitors came to the Philippines. By mid-2023, the Philippines tallied around 137,822 arrivals from China for the year. – Rappler.com