PH gov't to launch e-Visa system

The Philippine government will be launching next month an electronic Visa (e-Visa) system for those entering the country, with Chinese nationals as the first to experience it during its soft launch.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the move is in line with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.’s policy of digitizing government transactions.

It is also part of the DFA’s "strategic goal of optimizing its consular services," DFA Undersecretary Jesus Domingo said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Before Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese visitors ranked second in the country’s top visitors after South Koreans, who are enjoying visa-free privilege to enter the country.

Currently, the number of Chinese visitors entering the country has not reached the country’s expectations as domestic travel remains the top option for Chinese nationals.

People-to-people exchange, which covers tourists, is among the four areas the current administrations of Marcos and China’s Xi Jinping want to strengthen in the relations between the two countries.

The soft launch will happen on August 24. Chinese nationals may start applying for e-Visa and access the Philippine website for it through

The Philippine embassy or the consulate may still require an applicant for a face-to-face interview, unless "everything is clear, and NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency) clears" him or her, DFA Assistant Secretary Henry Bensurto added.

"If the visa officer is of the view that there are certain points that need to be clarified or there are certain questions that need to be amplified, then a visa interview can actually be required by the consular officer. And they will be given a date and time where they have to see the visa officer," he said.

The DFA is aiming to fully roll out the system for all nationals before the year ends.

Other nationals may follow Chinese citizens in enjoying the e-Visa system, including Indians and North Americans, such as US citizens and Canadians, once the agency ensures its soft operations, Bensurto added.