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Jun 5, 2010
Faster and Easier Scheme to Get a Philippine Visa Imposed
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Foreign nationals who want to obtain a Philippine visa and other immigration documents need not to go to Manila anymore as the country’s Bureau of Immigration implement the agency’s visa-issuance-made-simple project in all subports and field offices.

Commissioner Marcelino Libanan of BI has finally ordered computer section chief Jollybert Galleon to make sure that the implementation of the VIMS system in the 24 subports and immigration offices that have yet to adopt the scheme.

“Foreigners in these areas must likewise benefit from the VIMS like their counterparts in Metro Manila and other areas in the provinces that are now benefiting from the scheme,” Libanan told Galleon.

“Foreigners living in the provinces should not come to our main office in Intramuros, Manila just to have their immigration status updated. They should do it in our satellite, district officers or subports nearest them,” Libanan said in a statement.

Considered as Libanan’s flagship project and launched in 2008, the VIMS simplified the procedures and reduced by an average of 58 percent the documentary requirements for filing visa applications

The VIMS integrates and speeds up the processing of applications for and the issuance of visa, change of immigration status, visa extension, cancellation of alien registry, recognition of Filipino citizens, and other special permits, before the commissioner’s office and other administrative and operating units.

Bureau spokesperson Floro Balato Jr. said the increase in the agency’s revenue was attributed to the success of the VIMS as the project gained confidence of foreigners in the country.

Balato cited records from the bureau’s finance and management division which showed that the immigration fees breached the P2-billion mark last year despite the global economic crisis.

“In 2008, when the VIMS was implemented, the bureau’s income reached a record-high of P2.11 billion,” Balato said.

He stressed that the project helped cut the red tape as it ushered in the expeditious processing and approval of visa applications, including the updating and extension of tourist visas.

“Incidence of petty graft was also reduced because foreigners realized it is no longer necessary to engage the services of fixers who facilitate their visa applications for a fee,” the spokesperson explained.

Galeon said that of the 53 immigration subports nationwide that have been targeted to adopt VIMS, 29 are already implementing the project.

Among the immigration offices outside of Metro Manila that have adopted the VIMS system are those in Cebu, Davao, Laoag, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Angeles, Baguio, Dumaguete, Olongapo, Dagupan, Batangas, Legaspi, Naga, Cabanatuan, Aparri, Santiago in Isabela, Calapan in Oriental Mindoro and Glan in Sarangani.

All immigration area and satellite offices in Metro Manila, including the extension offices in Makati and Pasay, are also implementing the VIMS.


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