Home DFA prepares to handle over 1 M Visa applications annually

DFA prepares to handle over 1 M Visa applications annually

dfa prepares to handle over 1 m visa applications annually

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – As pandemic restrictions ease, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is prepared to handle over 1 million Philippine visa applications annually announced on Wednesday, February 7. 

Leilani Feliciano, the Director of the Visa Section at the DFA Office of Consular Affairs, stated that in 2019, the country managed to issue a minimum of 1.62 million visas.

“We have issued 1.6 million Philippine visas to foreign tourists and travelers in 2019. It’s just that during the pandemic, everything has significantly declined,” she said. 

“We have the capacity to process and issue visas and go back to that pre-pandemic level,” she added.

In 2020, visa issuances dropped significantly to 159,440 due to global travel restrictions imposed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, the number further declined to 82,260 as travel remained severely restricted. However, in 2023, the total increased to 217,265, with Philippine Embassies and Consulates in China, India, and Dubai among the top visa-issuing posts of the DFA.

Regarding the e-Visa program in China, which was suspended for enhancement last year, the DFA has yet to set a specific date for its resumption. The department stated that the program is currently undergoing a reassessment, particularly focusing on the payment process.

Additionally, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo highlighted the DFA’s ongoing efforts to enhance consular services within the country.

“As a tangible outcome of our commitment, appointments for various services, including passports and apostille, are set to return to pre-pandemic levels within the year,” he said.

At DFA-Aseana headquarters alone, the department handles a daily workload of 1,200 passport appointments and an additional 1,200 appointments for apostille services. Globally, throughout January to December 2023, the DFA made available a total of 4,180,677 passport appointment slots, enhancing accessibility for Filipinos both domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, processing times for new passports have been reduced: expedited processing now takes five days instead of seven in the National Capital Region, while regular processing time has decreased from 12 days to 10 days. Similarly, processing times outside the National Capital Region have been shortened from 15 to 12 days.

Secretary Manalo announced plans to establish four new consular offices this year in Antique, Candon, Balanga, and Olongapo. Additionally, full apostille services will be offered at two consular offices in the Visayas and Mindanao.


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