Visa Upon Arrival Program (VUAP)What is the Pre-arranged Visa Upon Arrival Program?
The VUAP is a solution to challenges posed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to draw in foreigners into the country to boost the Philippine Economy.
In response to the call by Pres. Arroyo for the government to proactive in the national economic development agenda, the Bureau of Immigration through the stewardship of Commissioner Marcelino Libanan originally conceived the Prearranged VUAP as a mechanism to facilitate the entry of foreign investors from visa required countries intending to enter the Philippines.
Due to the positive response from the various foreign embassies, foreign chamber of commerce, the program has been made open to all foreigners from visa required countries, investors and tourist alike. How does the VUAP facilitate entry of foreigners in the country?
Prior to the Pre-Arranged VUAP, visa required foreigners seeking to come to the Philippines have to travel to the nearest Philippine Embassy or consular office in their country of origin to apply, process and secure their single entry visas. Under the VUAP, the foreigners are provided the option to only get in touch with their business chamber or a legitimate local association, to directly file their request with the Bureau of Immigration. Once the processing of all their documentary requirements are complete they are issued a confirmation letter from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and they can get a single or as much as up to three (3) year multiple entry visa upon arrival in the Philippines depending on the nature of their application.
Foreigner find the alternative system offered under the VUAP as a more convenient and expeditious way for them to secure visa to come to the Philippines
instead of having to travel to the nearest Philippine embassy.
In fact, because it was found convenient, our very own Department of Tourism requested that the program be also made available to the tourist sector. Even the Asian Development Bank (ADM) and the TESDA, also requested to avail of the program. Hence the decision to open the Pre-Arranged VUAP to all visitors from visa required countries.
Will the Pre-Arranged VUAP compromise the Philippine Interest?
NO. The Pre-Arranged VUAP will in no way compromise Philippine interest. In fact, the adoption of the BI alternative and optional visa issuance program, does not only promote national security, it also serves as a tool in building confidence in foreign investors and tourists alike.
Prior to the issuance of visa under the VUAP, the Bureau of Immigration undertakes a carefully scrutiny of all the submissions of the applicant made through their foreign chamber or the local association and thus in the process ensure that the only legitimate investors and tourist are issued the appropriate visas.
The guarantee arrangement with the sponsoring organization and or chamber poses an added security in as much as the government is assured by the concerned organizations that the foreign applicants they are processing and in effect vouching for have legitimate purpose or intentions in visiting our country.
Moreover, issues of human smuggling and or trafficking is UNLIKELY to come into play under the program because the foreign nationals who come into the country under the VUAP are properly documented, their arrival and departures easily monitored and or tracked and can readily be verified not only from the Bureau but also through their sponsoring organizations. Will the government gives up in revenues under the VUAP?
On the contrary, the government does not offer any loss in revenues under the VUAP. Instead, it has caused an increase in the government income in the form of a drastic increase in the number of applicants seeking Philippine Visa to come into the country because of the BI Visa friendly policy. In the last four months of the year alone, BI registered 31 percent increase in revenues. We at BI see this as a measure of trust by foreigners on our country.
The brief that the government gave up millions of pesos because a visitor has to pay a onetime amount of P5,510.00 for multiple entry under the program cannot be farther from the truth. The said fee pertains only to the application fee for the multiple entry visa which will initially allow the foreign visitor to stay in the country for no more than a 90 day period.
Question: What are the other advantages of VUAP?
IT BEARS STRESSING THAT THE VUAP is an alternative and an optional means of securing visa to visit the Philippines. It does not foreclose the door for foreigners to consider applying for visa through the Philippine consulate should the feel that the scheme is more convenient for them.
It is also worth mentioning that the applicants for the visa under the VUAP are easier to monitor and to track when compared to those who file visa in our foreign embassies because of the guarantee arrangement of the Bureau with the sponsoring organizations who process the visa for an in behalf of the foreign applicant.
1. The BI has put in place technology based systems to make it easier for those using our ports of entry while making sure that security of country is protected.
2. The BI has put in place technology based systems that have made fixers at the BI Offices practically extinct.
3. The BI has undertaken reviews and audits of organization and personnel performance resulting in the BI getting the title of “valedictorian” in the government performance appraisal system.
4. The BI has made gains in changing the meaning of public service resulting in the BI making it to number 4 from number 76 in the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission grading system.
5. The BI is serious in its effort to go beyond guarding borders. Instead it is guarding Filipino interests in serving as one of the building blocks to the fulfillment of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s national economic agenda.
source: Bureau of Immigration