Indians can enter Philippines sans visa for up to 21 days

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

INDIAN nationals who are regular international travelers may now enter the Philippines without a visa and stay in the country for up to 21 days, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Thursday.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said he had issued a memorandum circular allowing Indian nationals to enter the Philippines visa-free so long as they are holders of a valid visa from the European Union (EU) or any of six other countries.

Aside from EU’s Schengen visa, David said the visa-free entry privilege may also be availed by an Indian with a visa from either the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Singapore, or United Kingdom.

“Indian nationals who avail of this scheme will be granted an initial stay of 14 days, which may be extended for an additional seven days,” the BI chief explained.

However, he added that in no case shall the Indian’s stay exceed 21 days, which is the maximum allowable period that he can stay in the country.

Previously, Indian tourists must apply for an entry visa with a Philippine consulate in their port of origin before coming here.

According to David, the new policy is based on a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) circular issued last February that aims to draw more foreign tourists to the country.

The rules provide that aside from having any of the seven mentioned visas, an Indian traveler’s passport must be valid for at least six months and he or she must have a return ticket or an onward ticket to the next country of destination.

Also, the Indian must have no derogatory record with the BI, National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency and the International Police (Interpol).

Lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI spokesperson, stressed that Indian tourists availing themselves of the scheme may enter the country only via the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Furthermore, Indian nationals admitted into the Philippines via this scheme cannot apply for conversion of their status to other visa categories,” Mangrobang said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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