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My Visiting Visa has been granted, but just to be sure with the process, I decided to attend the counseling as I’ve read some blogs that there were cases wherein the Philippine Immigration holds the tourist visa holder (note: only those who travel abroad to visit their partner) at the airport or even won’t let them travel because they failed to provide the CFO certificate. And to clarify this issue, I’ve contacted the CFO as well as the Immigration if this were true. According to them, this is only for those who will migrate permanently to other country, but the decision (please take note) still depends really on the Immigration Officer who will handle the interview. Just to be sure that no delay will be encountered in your future travel, I advice you to attend just in case you are considering to migrate in the next few months or so. Anyway when you have the Counseling Certificate with you (for those tourist /visiting visa holder), you can just present it to them later on and ask for the sticker (no need to attend the counseling again in the future).
Filipinos who are leaving as fiancé(e)/spouses or partner of a foreigner or a former Filipino are required to attend the Guidance Counseling Program (GCP). It is a mandatory pre-departure counseling services for Filipinos in intermarriages which is implemented in order to protect Filipino especially women in so called Republic Act 10906 (“Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act of 2016) and Republic Act 10364 (“An Act Expanding the Anti-Trafficking in Person Act of 2012”). This is also a requirement of those Filipino fiancé(e)s, partners and spouses of foreign nationals or former Filipino citizens who are applying for a passport for the first time or adopting the surname of the foreign spouse.
Based on the information above, we can say that the agency just want us to be aware of practical, cultural and psychological challenges in cross-cultural marriage and migration. Whether we like it or not, it is not that easy to adopt other culture. And this is the purpose of the counseling itself. Well, just like you, I am also one of those Filipinos who decided to leave the country and be with someone I love. And I think, it’s just a matter of self readiness with a fixed decision of course because after all it’s your happiness that counts the most.
Now that you’ve been reading this far, I assumed that you are a bit interested with the topic (hehehe) and is already decided to attend the counseling. If so, you must secure an appointment through the GCP On-line Appointment System (GOAS). Please click here if you live in/near Manila, and here if you are in/near Cebu City. Please also take note of the following: (1) Only 15 attendees per session will be accepted in CFO-Manila, while only 12 attendees for CFO-Cebu. (2) The session will automatically close when all allocated slots are taken. (3) Only clients with confirmed slot/appointment and complete requirements will be admitted to the counseling session. (4) Those with confirmed appointment should bring the printed bar coded confirmation form or present the digital copy (saved PDF form) in their mobile phone or tablet PC (copy must show name and reference number). (5) Slot is forfeited if you don’t show up on set date of appointment. Reservation must be done again online.
Once you’ve set an appointment, be sure to complete all the following requirements most especially for those who are living outside Cebu and Manila:
- Two (2) original valid identification cards with photograph
- Duly completed guidance and counseling form to be secured at the CFO;
- If married in the Philippines, original Certificate of Marriage on security paper from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA);
- If married overseas, original Report of Marriage duly registered by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate or the Department of Foreign Affairs; and
- Payment of PhP400.00 counseling and registration fee.
Additional documents may be required in the event that the counselor determines it to be essential to complete the guidance and counseling process. It is advised for all the GCP applicants to prepare the following documents (if applicable to them) in advance and bring these documents when they come to CFO:
- Divorce decree/certificate (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if previously married)
- Annulment paper (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if previously married)
- Proof of residency/Alien Registration Card-ARC (of foreign spouse)
- Proof of relationship (picture together, e-mails, among others)
- Death certificate (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if widow/widower)
- Certificate of Family relations / registration (of foreign spouse)
Additional registration requirements for those with visa:
- Original valid passport;
- Original valid visa
- Original Immigrant Data Summary (please do not detach fromyellow packet) for US-bound emigrants, except for K visa holders;
- Original Confirmation of Permanent Residencefor Canada-bound emigrants;
- Original Visa Grant Notice for Australia-bound emigrants;
- Original Certificate of Eligibility for Japan-bound emigrants;
- Original CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate (if already attended the GCP); and
- Duly completed emigrant registration form.
“Just a quick reminder: Please know every details of your partner such as his/her address, telephone number, work, and educational attainment because it is needed on the form you will be filling up.”
These are few shots that I’ve taken when I visited their office in Cebu City:
You can reach them on the address below:
4th floor, K&J Building,
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000Telefax: (632) 255-5253
1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway
Manila, Philippines 1007Tel. No.: (02) 552-4700
Fax No.: (02) 561-8332
Already drained with all of the informations above? You don’t have to worry! You only have a few steps away to be with your partner again, and I know that’s the most rewarding thing you both are waiting for. Goodluck with your journey and always put a smile in your face whenever you feel tired 🙂