BI field offices can now accept visa petitions

By Guillermo A. Abad, Jr.

MANILA, (PNA) — FIELD offices of the Bureau of Immigration nationwide have been authorized to accept and process applications for immigrant and non-immigrant visas in line with the agency’s thrust to bring its services closer to the doorsteps of foreigners staying in the provinces.

BI Officer-in-Charge Siegfred Mison has authorized the bureau’s Alien Control Officers (ACOs) to hear petitions for the various types of visas being issued to foreigners pursuant to the Philippine Immigration Act.

ACOs refer to the heads of more than 48 immigration field, satellite, and district offices throughout the country where foreigners may avail of the BI’s services to comply with their immigration requirements.

Previously, these ACOs were only authorized to process applications for extension of stay of tourists as well as special work permits (SWPs) and special study permits (SSPs).

“We hope that by bringing our services closer to them more foreigners will be encouraged to apply for visas, do business here and generate job opportunities for our people,” Mison said.

He assured foreigners that there will be no red tape or unnecessary delays in the processing of their visa applications.

“I have instructed our ACOs to immediately forward their recommendations on visa applications to our Law and Investigation Division (LID) for review so these can be acted upon by the Board of Commissioners during our weekly meetings,” Mison said.

Mison chairs the three-man board which approves or denies all visa applications filed with the BI.

Under the Immigration Act, immigrant visas may be issued, among others, to foreigners who are married to Filipino citizens; former Filipino citizens; returning permanent residents; and children of immigrant visa holders.

On the other hand, a non-immigrant visa holder may refer to a temporary visitor; student; or expatriate.