Philippines suspends issuance of e-visas

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Chinese travelers have been temporarily denied online visas to the Philippines. The electronic visa or e-Visa system has been temporarily halted until further notice. The Philippine e-Visa was launched in beta testing in the summer of 2023 and was only available to Chinese citizens. After a three-month trial period, the online visa application service was suspended to make improvements. There is currently no information on the return of the e-visa service. Chinese passport holders will still have to go to Philippine embassies and consulates to plan a trip to the island country.

A statement from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday, December 1, 2023, said the service has been temporarily suspended to make improvements. The office said they are currently conducting a "re-evaluation" of the e-Visa platform to improve future operations. Particular attention will be paid to the e-Visa service's payment processing systems. Once these improvements are made, it is expected that the online visa will once again be available to Chinese citizens.

PRC passport holders can still obtain a tourist visa to the Philippines. However, due to the temporary suspension of the e-visa system, visa applications must be submitted in the traditional way. Philippine authorities advise applicants from China to go to the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate to apply for a visa. This can be done either through the official government website or in person.

The Philippines intends to introduce the new e-visa system for some time now. Philippine President, Marcos, advised government agencies to focus on key markets when developing the new e-visa after meeting with the tourism sector group of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC). This group includes China, India, Japan and South Korea. Chinese visitors are one of the largest groups of tourists to the Philippines. On August 24, 2023, the Philippines launched the beta testing of the e-visa in China. The first region where the e-visa was available was Shanghai, where the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) handled visa issuance. The system was then expanded to other regions of the country. The original plan was to expand the e-visa to citizens of other countries by the end of the year. No date has yet been set for the resumption of e-visa in China or the expansion to other countries.

Learn more about visas to the Philippines