May 13, 2010 – 12:17 pm
The Philippines is proposing the adoption of a single visa policy for 10 South-East Asian nations, saying it would benefit trade and tourism.
Visitors currently need to secure separate visas for each of the 10 members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Philippine Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said he was pushing for a single visa for citizens of countries not belonging to ASEAN that would enable them to Travel freely within the region. He said the proposal would be discussed at a three-day meeting of regional immigration heads that starts on Monday in the Philippine capital, Manila.
Libanan said a common visa, modelled on the European Union system, would bring huge benefits in trade, investment and tourism.
The ASEAN member countries are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
At the moment, most visitors travel to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country. Visas for Vietnam are exempted for the citizens of the countries, which have signed a bilateral or unilateral visa exemption agreement with Vietnam, tourist visa may be valid for 15 to 30 days.
Vietnam remains the most difficult and expensive of the ASEAN countries for most people from outside the region to visit with visas required prior to arrival, or at least authorisation to get one on arrival. Visa exemptions are in place for a few, as follows:
Citizens of ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand go to Vietnam from 14-30 days without visa. Citizens of Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Holland can travel to Vietnam for 14 days without visa.
Good luck, Mr Libanan!