THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) is eyeing the implementation of a “cruise visa waiver” in a bid to entice more cruise ships to choose the country as their destination.
The implementation of the cruise visa waiver would allow a more seamless immigration processing for cruise tourists, according to the agency.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the plan is still up for approval of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“This would be a quicker way of securing it [a visa], instead of having to apply for an entry visa,” Sandoval explained.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco said they are now are finalizing the requirements necessary to implement the plan, which is is in line with the Department of Tourism’s bid to encourage more cruise ships to the country as part of its campaign to boost the local tourism industry.
The BI noted that for every cruise ship, there are between 2,000 to 4,000 tourists on board.
The BI chief shared that they are expecting the number of tourists to surge following the aggressive campaigns of the DOT, thus, the need to implement more projects to make international travel smooth and seamless.
In line with this, Tansingco said they are set to replace 25 percent of their manual operations to electronic gates in 2024 as part of the agency’s medium-term plan, while he expected that half of their operations will be electronic by 2026.
He also shared that they are set to expand their e-services to include other immigration services.
Tansingco added that he is anticipating that the BI modernization law will finally be passed this year with the support of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The proposed modernization measures, according to Tansingco, will authorize the BI to utilize its income to acquire advanced tools and technologies.
He added that this would also enable the BI to operate more efficiently and effectively in fulfilling its role in national security.
The bill, which is being deliberated upon in Senate, is expected to update the 84-year-old Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.