Indonesia: New Immigration Policies to Attract more Tourists

The Indonesian Government will expand the visa exemption list at the end of this year, instead of in 2016 as had been previously announced, to include citizens from 45 countries. This exemption, signed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, will be valid for all foreigners coming from 90 countries who arrive in Indonesia as tourists, on official missions or for reasons related to study, business or socio-cultural activities. It will also apply to those who are in transit to other countries. According to the Tourism Minister of the Southeast Asian state, Arief Yahya, his country made this decision after releasing the economic stimulus package last week, where they propose increasing the number of tourists arriving to their many destinations. Additionally, they expect to reach the objectives outlined in the plan to attract 10 million foreign vacationers in 2015, and to double this number by 2019. In recent years, Indonesia has increased the number of foreign visitors by 25%, a number which they hope to double to 20 million in 2019. Last June, the Asian nation added 30 states to the list of those who benefit from the regulation, raising the total number to 45 nations, which contributed to raising the number of foreign visitors by 2.69% in the first...

Philippines – Immigration Changes

The Philippine Government requires foreign nationals who wish to work in the country to have an Alien Employment Permit (AEP). This permit is necessary to get a work visa, and applies to all foreigners who are currently in the Philippines or who wish to enter the country. To obtain this permit, it is necessary to have a work offer from a company based in the Philippines. However, as of September 28, 2015, order 146-15 was issued which establishes that some professionals are exempt from this requirement as it pertains to the processing of their work visas. Professionals who are now exempt from the documentation requirements and AEP process are: Officials of the company, specifically the president, secretary and treasurer of a Philippine company, as long as they do not perform management or operational roles in the company. Foreigners elected as members of a governing body who only have voting rights and do not hold other positions. Managers, specialists and executives who are transferred to the Philippines in conformity with commercial agreements between the Philippines and the workers´ country of origin. Consultants without a Philippine employer. Employees of contracted service providers.   In addition, results of the order will affect processing time for the AEP, which will be increased to a minimum of 33 days, and requirements to apply for it will also increase. More information can be found on the website...

Morocco – New Requirements for Residency Renewal

A new requirement has been issued for all foreigners presenting a renewal application for a residence permit. This requires that the applicant have a rental agreement valid for a minimum of six (6) months. This new requirement forms part of a series of procedures that are being revised on the part of law enforcement authorities, who have increased their control over documents presented for immigration renewals. Previously, specifications did not exist on the validity of rental agreements. The renewal application must be requested two months in advance of the expiration date, which means it is necessary to take into account whether the rental agreement meets the minimum validity of six months, beginning from the delivery date of the documentation, or if modification of the current contract to extend its validity period must be requested. Renewal of the residence permits granted have one year of validity, although after three years of residence it is possible to obtain a residence permit valid for five...

Stamped Visa required for Cubans entering Panama

On September 10, 2015 in a visit to Havana, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, the President of Panama, told the Cuban President Raúl Castro that he was currently working on reforming the visa system in order to make immigration formalities easier and more agile for Cubans. The Panamanian Government finally published Executive Decree 509 in the Official Gazette on September 14, 2015, in which Cuban citizens are included on the list of foreign citizens who only need a visa stamped by the Consulate to enter the Central American country as a tourist. This marks a clear improvement for all Cubans, who previously had restrictions on these types of visas. The Decree establishes that the stamped visa is good for multiple entries and exits for a period of up to three years, according to the verification criteria from the officials in the Immigration Services and the Security Council. Costs for the Stamped Visa cannot exceed 50 dollars, as established in Number 6, Article 17 of Executive Decree No.  320 of August 8, 2008, modified by Executive Decree No.  26 of March 2, 2009. To see details published in the Official Gazette click...