As previously mentioned in my other blog entry, 2015 Philippine Consulate General in Chicago – Consular Outreach in Minnesota (Part I), found below is Part II of the Consular Outreach in Maplewood, Minnesota that happened on August 8th, 2015.
The Philippine Consulate General, Chicago sent me an email on August 1, exactly a week before the Consular Outreach as promised.
Note: Please be early when you show up for ANY appointment you have. Whether for USCIS, US Embassy Visa Interview, Passport Applications, Job Interviews, and so on. Better be early than be late. Always think, if you’re “exactly on time / on the dot” then you’re “late”. Budget your time and show up at least 15 to 20 minutes before your appointment. Factor in the distance from your origin to destination, traffic and events around you. From the hotel we were staying at, it was at least a 20-minute drive to the Philippine Center.
I replied, confirming receipt of their email, and went on ahead to pack all the documents I needed for the Consular Outreach.
***I’ve ordered these through eCensus.gov.ph back in May when I had my authorized representatives in the Philippines update my SSS and Pag-ibig to reflect my Married Name, Marital Status, and Beneficiaries. (This will be another blog post / article.)
Honestly, I packed everything I could think of. We are driving from Grand Forks to Minneapolis, which is a 6-hour drive ONE-WAY, so imagine if I forgot an important document to bring with. It would be such a huge hassle.
Both my husband and I took a short personal time-off / vacation from work just to show up for this Consular Outreach. It was also a mini-vacation for us – a pre-2nd Wedding Anniversary trip. We headed down to the Twin Cities on a Friday, August 7th.
Before I forget, If the consulate says show up in “decent attire”, please don’t show up in flashy clothes and denim mini-skirts and sleeveless tops. For the guys, don’t show up in shorts and sleeveless shirts. Observe the appropriate dress codes. These are simple rules. Some consulates may be strict about this, especially if they say show up in “business attire”. At least this Consular Outreach wasn’t that strict. The least you can do is show up in BUSINESS/SMART CASUAL but make sure your tops/shirts have sleeves and collars! I’ve seen people who have completely disregarded this. There were some who were wearing sleeveless tops, had their earrings on when they were told not to, showing up in slippers “tsinelas”. Really, people?
Anyway, the Philippine Center wasn’t too hard to look for. (You’d know you’re near it if you see a lot of Asians around you. Haha.) I think it was a part of an area where there’s a huge Asian community/population. I am not entirely sure.
We arrived there 15 minutes early, and proceeded to enter the building. I was given a post-it note by a woman who set up a small reception table by the door. She checked my confirmation number and name on her list. Then, a volunteer heard me that I was there for my ePassport Renewal and asked me what my confirmation number was. I said it was “28” and she said that numbers 1-40 were already called upstairs into the ePassport Renewal area. We were escorted to the third floor where everyone was. (HELLO MY PEOPLE. Haha, I’ve never seen so many Filipinos in one room. LOL.) I was then given a laminated number card and my husband and I were led to the ePassport Renewal area.
Somebody in the room was asking for the number cards given to us earlier so that essentially would be our “line” (pila). After just 10 minutes, The lady at the table directly in front of me called for my number and she pulled up everything that I have sent a month ago, including the pre-paid USPS Self-Addressed Envelope (With Tracking). She told me to re-check my information that was already pre-printed on my form, and was asked to sign it for acknowledgement. She asked for my current ePassport (bearing my K1 Visa and Married Name) and I was told to sit back down where I was originally waiting and said they’d call for my name when it’s time for my photo and biometrics capturing.
That’s all they asked from me, my current Philippine ePassport. They didn’t ask me for my Original Report of Marriage, or any original document, for that matter, besides my ePassport. Everything that was needed to process my ePassport Renewal, I’ve already sent to them beforehand. (Read: 2015 Philippine Consulate General in Chicago – Consular Outreach in Minnesota (Part I))
Total elapsed time at this point? 15 minutes! We have been there at the Philippine Center for just 15 minutes. It was actually fast and efficient. Well, at least for the ePassport Renewal part.
During that time, while waiting for my number to be called, there was an on-going “Oath of Allegiance” from the first batch of Filipino-Americans who are reacquiring their Philippine Citizenship. The Philippine Consul General of Chicago, Generoso D. G. Calonge, was also there having his picture taken with all the newly-inducted Filipino Citizens. (Too bad I wasn’t able to take a photo with him. He was in a hurry to go elsewhere.)
My first name was called at the biometrics booth, and hurriedly went there. Usual stuff:
The only thing that was kinda strange was, he gave back my current ePassport (bearing my K1 Visa and Maiden Name) and told me it’s still valid until I get my new ePassport in the mail. And that I should “clip” the back cover with a scissor to “invalidate” / “cancel” it.
Believe it or not, the entire ePassport Renewal / Biometrics only took about 25-30 minutes. That’s lightning fast for Philippine processes. -cough cough-
Oh, and he also told me, “Go to the person at the far side of this room, the one wearing the white shirt and line up there.”
Of course, he didn’t tell me what it was. I found out later on that it was the line for the Overseas Voter’s Registration, which I was doing anyway. (But it seemed like it was a “mandatory” process if you applied for an ePassport Renewal.) All the forms needed for it was pre-filled, all you had to do was sign the paper and have your fingerprints and photo captured again.
The line for the Overseas Voter’s Registration took about 30 minutes and about 10 minutes for the registration itself. I was given a “receipt”, a cut-out of the paper form I signed, as proof that I’ve registered for it.
There was only one thing left to do, to have my Sun Life Non-Financial Amendment Form authenticated or what they call “Consularized”. It’s almost the same Authentication process like what the Department of Foreign Affairs does, only it’s signed by a Consular Officer and it doesn’t have that fancy “Blue Framed Certificate” on it. It does have a “Red-ribbon” and “Official Seal”.
Sun Life Insurance requires Amendment Forms to be “Consularized” if not signed in front of your Sun Life Insurance Agent. I figured, this could be additional evidence for my upcoming USCIS Process, Removing of Conditions – that my Married Name, Marital Status, and my husband’s name as an Irrevocable Beneficiary would be reflected on my Updated Life Insurance Policy.
For document authentication, you can do it by mail (directly sent to your designated Philippine Consulate) or in-person (at the Philippine Consulate / Embassy or at a Consular Outreach). If you’re having documents authenticated through mail, you must observe the instructions noted by the Philippine Consulate to have documents and forms notarized before sending it to them. (Check your designated Philippine Consulate’s website for instructions.)
While waiting for my name to be called for Document Authentication, there was another batch of Filipino-American’s who took the “Oath of Allegiance” and re-acquired their Philippine Citizenship. This time, it was led by Consul Alena Grace Borra.
The wait for my document to be authenticated took so much longer than expected. I had to wait 2 hours for it to be done. That was the longest wait we did.
We left the Philippine Center at around 1:20pm and reached the hotel by 2pm. By then, we were so famished. After dropping off our things in our room, we headed straight to Mall of America (MOA) to have lunch as Masu Sushi & Robata! (YAY RAMEN!!!!!!! :D)
For 2015 Philippine Consular Outreach Schedules by your designated Philippine Consulate, please refer to this blog post: