The Bureau of Immigration (BI) earned a 16-percent increase in income from visa extension fees collected from foreign tourists who visited the country during the first five months of the year. Applications for tourist visa extension rose by six percent from January to May, compared to the same period in 2012.
An article in The Daily Tribune reported that the bureau’s main building in Manila and its extension offices in Makati and Pasay posted a combined five-month collection of P 342.8 million which is P 47.4 million higher than last year’s take of P 295.4 million.
Applications for extension of stay received at the three BI offices from January to May totaled 87,986, compared to 82,930 that were filed in the same period last year.
BI stated that the increases mean more foreign tourists are opting to stay longer in the country or beyond the period of their initial authorized stay.
The statistics do not include the visa fees collected by the different BI field and satellite offices outside Metro Manila which are authorized to process applications for visa extension, he said.
Since March 2011, visa applications and revenues in the BI have risen by 48 percent and the BI was cited by the Civil Service Commission for substantially cutting red tape.
Julius Cortez, BI acting visa section chief, said South Koreans topped the list of visa extension applicants, followed by nationals from China, US, Japan and India.
Cortez reported that his office at the Bureau of Immigration main building now processes an average of more than 14,000 applications for stay extension a month and 700 a day.
He also attributed the high collections to the intensified campaign of his office in apprehending holders of passports fake extensions and other fraudulent immigration stamps, thus ensuring the fees due the government are accurately and exactly assessed and collected.