Visa Upon Arrival Program (VUAP)
The VUAP is a program designed by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration to attract more foreign visitors into the country to boost the Philippine economy. The Bureau originally conceived the Prearranged VUAP as a mechanism to facilitate the entry of foreign investors from visa-required countries intending to enter the Philippines.
Due to the positive response to the program, it has been expanded to include investors and tourists alike from visa-required countries.
Prior to the Pre-Arranged VUAP, visa-required foreigners seeking to come to the Philippines have to travel to the nearest Philippine Embassy or consular office in their country of origin to apply, process and secure their single entry visas. Under the VUAP, these foreigners are provided the option to only get in touch with their business chamber or a legitimate local association, to directly file their request with the Bureau of Immigration. Once the processing of all their documentary requirements are complete they are issued a confirmation letter from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and they can get a single or as much as up to three (3) year multiple entry visa upon arrival in the Philippines depending on the nature of their application.
Foreigners find the alternative system offered under the VUAP as a more convenient and expeditious way for them to secure visa to come to the Philippines instead of having to travel to the nearest Philippine embassy.
In fact, because it was found convenient, the Philippine Department of Tourism requested that the program be also made available to the tourist sector. Even the Asian Development Bank (ADM) and the TESDA, also requested to avail themselves of the program. Hence the decision to open the Pre-Arranged VUAP to all visitors from visa required countries.
The Philippines’ VUAP is unlike that of Thailand where all a traveler needs to do is board a flight and, upon arrival in Thailand, apply for a visa at the port of entry. Under the Philippines’ VUAP, one cannot just fly into the Philippines and apply for a visa at the port of entry. The traveler must get a PRE-APPROVED VISA ON ARRIVAL PERMISSION. The pre-approval is done or worked out by the traveler’s business contact or sponsor (supplier, customer or business associate) in the Philippines. The contact or sponsor will have to apply for the visa through the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) or any foreign chamber in the Philippines such as the Chinese Federation or Indian Chamber of Commerce.