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Phillipines Passport Married Guidance & Counseling Certificate of Attendance

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My fiance and I are getting married this January in the Phillipines. In making future preparations for visa approval she will need a passport ready for that process.

We came across an unknown part to her passport application process which is also causing some confusion. Apparently if a woman is married to a foreign national she needs to attend a counseling seminar by the CFO (Commission of Philipino Overseas) to receive a Guidance and Counseling Certificate of Attendance. The catch is, the CFO reads like you need to have passport first to attend. The department that provides passport reads like you have to have the certificate first. The way we take it that makes any sense is that perhaps you can get passport prior to counseling but the sticker/stamp needs to be given to make the passport usable? So, can't seem to do one with out the other. Also, we have heard that some women were being denied stamp/sticker after  attending.

Anyone have any expeience with this? Is it easier for her to apply for passport first and make any necessary changes later as her name will change with marriage and what not?

Haven't come across this until now when researching the visa process.

First post on forum, thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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The first step is getting a certified copy from NSO (National Statistics Office) of your marriage certificate and your wife's birth certificate. You might as well order 3 or 4 of each. You will need them. Once you have those you can go to DFA to get her married passport. You are correct, getting the CFO comes after you get her a passport with her married name. FYI, it can take 2-3 months before NSO will be able to issue you a copy of your marriage certificate.

Will you be staying in the Philippines or returning to the US? The reason I ask is that once you have lived for 6 months in the Philippines you can apply for the spousal visa at the US Embassy in Manila. This is called Direct Consular Filing or DCF. My wife and I were able to get a CR-1 visa in just 3 months by doing it in the Philippines. If you can not meet the residency requirement of 6 months in the Philippines then you will have to file with USCIS in the US where the process can take 6-12 months for approval.

Congratulations on your pending wedding.

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Welcome to the forum and the complicated world of the PI paperwork.

Basically what you have said is true, but it is a long winded way around and more complicated than needs be. From what I've read, marriage doesn't automatically gives your wife access into US or another country, here in Oz it doesn't, firstly remember that.

My suggestion: get her passport in her maiden name, follow all requirements, no photocopies essential, originals only, Get a visa in her NAME TO ENTER USA AS A PROSPECTIVE BRIDE, or whatever they call it there, research the visa's. You are not going to do this in one month, Visas take time and so does the rest of the process. Once she has a Visa to go to USA she has to make an appointment online for a slot for her to attend a CFO seminar, follow all requirements, this will take time to get all paperwork in order, you will need personal paperwork as well. A word of warning: make sure your perspective is dressed nice and clean and although you do not go into the seminar yourself, dress respectably, don't smell of grog, big issue, you are eyed up and down.

 This is the shortest process and can take up to six months. DO NOT book flight tickets until after the CFO certificate is stuck into her passport, sometimes the women may have to go back a few times, don't get frustrated with her or anyone at the CFO, it's not anyone's fault.

This is a requirement she must know: make sure she knows family members names, address of where she is going to live and if you have children their names. Be patient with her as all this process will be new to her and she will have to memorize this information. Be patient, the process is frustrating

I know your future wants to have a traditional PI marriage, but mate, if you go down that path you've written, it will take a lot longer to take her out of the country. Once in USA get married, register her marriage with the PI embassy, then take her back to the PI's and remarry her in a traditional PI wedding there, then her replies and friends can attend.

I'll write another post after this so as not to confuse you, good luck. :thumbsup:

 

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So as not to confuse you, I have split an answer: Have you thought about taking her back on a tourist visa first, less complicated and she will have all the answers for her CFO. Also you didn't mention whether this has been a long term relation or not, no offense. A tourist Visa gives the prospective a chance to see her new life and meet your friends, worth thinking on. :thumbsup:

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We have been in contact since last March. I flew there this summer and spent a few weeks with her. We have spoken every day since the beginning and usually at least two hours daily. 

I leave January 1st for two months stay there. During this time we will marry and spend time with her family.

I have mulled over the visa options for some time now and am aware of the long waiting periods involved in the process. One of the first things we discussed, was if things went well and we wanted to continue to move forward with each other, could we endure the process. We new it could be hard at times, but agreed we could do it. 

So, marriage there is already baked into the cake. 

There is a lot of great advice out there others have shared in which I have learned a lot. Still one finds little details along the water that need to be addressed. This one of them. 

And yes, marriage there means satisfying both sides of the fence. 

Sometimes things do seem more difficult than they are. How things read don't always translate perfectly to the situation at hand. Hence seeking advice.

I'm lucky in that my fiance speaks very good English and was educated to be a teacher. So, communication is very fluid between us.

Its possible, like visa embassy interviews, that some ladies are not prepared sufficiantly delaying the certificate process. 

The chicken or egg first question came into play with the reading of requirements. 

Many visa processing companies have good prep advice although this hasn't been listed anywhere yet I have seen.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. Anything you can add knowing I will in fact marry there, is welcome. 

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Thanks earthdome and Clermont.  I just realized I scrolled past earthdome's response at first on this tiny tablet. I will take everything into consideration.

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Just another thought, make sure you keep a printed record of all emails, letters, cards, you will need them any, pictures of occasions the both of you attend. :thumbsup:

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I shall👍. I will try and share my experience along the way. Perhaps I may have my own tips I can offer to others as well.

Cheers!

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57 minutes ago, Clermont said:

Just another thought, make sure you keep a printed record of all emails, letters, cards, you will need them any, pictures of occasions the both of you attend. :thumbsup:

Pictures with their date stamp too. 

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