The Philippine Immigration Law is strictly enforced by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. Foreigners coming to the Philippines, whether a tourist or for business, need to comply with this Law.
If you are a citizen of Switzerland who wishes to travel to the Philippines, you can do so without the need to secure a visa, provided that you are not staying for more than 21 days. You must be a holder of a valid passport and have confirmed reservations for travel back to Switzerland or another country.
You may avail of the 21-day no-visa requirement. If you are a tourist and you decide to extend your stay, the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines may grant your extension for a period of 59 days to a maximum of one year, but you will be subjected to payment of applicable extension fees and other fees.
Conducting business or overstaying in the Philippines could result in serious fines, deportation and black listing from the country. You may use a tourist visa for one time business, but continuous business is a violation of Philippine Immigration Law. If you wish to do business or work in the Philippines, you must apply for a business or work visa to avoid serious penalties.
9(a) Visa (Temporary Stay for Business and Pleasure)
If you are a Swiss national who intends to stay in the Philippines for more than 21 days, you will be required to obtain a temporary visitor’s visa for pleasure or business.
Requirements for the 9(a) Visa are the following:
· Valid Passport
· Tourist Visa Extension Form (BI Form No. MCL 07-02)
· Bureau of Immigration Clearance Certificate
To know more about 9(a) Visa processing, please click the link below: http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=36
9(g) Visa (Pre-Arranged Employment Visa)
The Philippine Immigration Act allows for several types of employment or working visas depending on the exact nature of your business. This usually requires a legal business set-up in the Philippines. The 9(g) visa is a pre-arranged employment visa. A Swiss national who will be employed in the Philippines or will occupy a position in a company for at least one year can apply for this visa. Swiss nationals with companies registered to the BOI or PEZA are given priority.
Some of the requirements include:
· Letter of request from the petitioning company
· Authenticated copy of the applicant’s passport showing current valid visa
· Clearance Certificate issued by Bureau of Immigration
· Accomplished and Notarized Application Form (BI Form MCL-07-01 )
To know more about 9(g) Visa processing, please click the link below: http://immigration.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=36
For more information on the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and other types of visas, you may visit their website http://immigration.gov.ph/.
Booking a Flight to the Philippines
By air travel, the shortest distance from Switzerland to the Philippines (Manila, which is the country’s capital) is estimated to be around 10,670 kilometers (or 6,630 miles). This means a flight would take about 12-13 hours (if there are no layovers). With lay overs, it usually takes around 20 hours. There are numerous airlines that can take you to the Philippines from Switzerland. One such airline is Swiss Air. A roundtrip economy ticket from Geneva to Manila would cost around an estimated CHF 1,450, depending on how many days you plan to stay. For more information on flights from Geneva to Manila via Swiss Air, you may visit their website (https://booking.swiss.com/web/itinerary.html). If you want to search for the most affordable deals, you can try using this website (http://www.farecompare.com/) that compares rates of selected airlines.
If you need help in booking a flight, there are many travel agents who can help you get the best deal. (Links to member travel service providers)
Where to Stay in the Philippines
There is a wide range of accommodations in the Philippines, from five star hotels to budget hotels and hostels, especially in its capital city of Manila. If you are visiting the Philippines for business, lodging is not a problem because there are numerous business hotels to cater to your needs. Two important things to consider in picking a place to stay are: 1) your budget and 2) the location of your business activities. Traffic can get really bad in the metro, so it is advisable that you stay close to the place where most of your activities will be.
Some of the best hotels recommended for business travelers include:
Discovery Suites– Located in Ortigas Center, one of Metro Manila’s most demanding business districts, it offers apartment-style accommodations – complete with a small kitchen and a receiving area. It appeals to travelers who want to feel like they’re at home.
Address: 25 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Rates: From USD 130/night
Online Booking: http://www.discoverysuites-manila.com/ppc/index.html
InterContinental Manila– a landmark hotel with a perfect location, as it is right in the middle of the Makati Central Business District and is surrounded by malls and restaurants.
Address: No. 1, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Rates: From USD 150/night
Mandarin Oriental, Manila– a luxury business hotel located in the Makati business district. They have special business rooms that include international dialing telephones, fax, printer and free high speed internet access.
Address: Makati Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Rates: From USD 140/night for a business room
Online Booking: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/manila/
The Peninsula, Manila– A classically elegant hotel with international standards located in the Makati Central Business District. It offers impressive service and has been the hotel of choice for discerning travelers.
Address: Makati Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Rates: From USD 160/night
For other hotels and affordable rates, you can book a room here. (http://www.agoda.com/asia/philippines.html)