CFO stands for Commission on Filipinos Overseas. It is a Philippine government agency that is responsible for providing pre-departure seminars to Filipino emigrants. These seminars are helpful, especially to first-time emigrants, because it explains a bit of the immigration process, what people need to do or what to expect when they move abroad, who to turn to when things go awry, etc. More information about CFO here »
Read about it here: CFO Online Appointment System for Fiancé(e)’s, Spouses, and Partners »
Yes, you can. Though keep in mind that you will need to go back there to get the CFO Sticker affixed on your Passport with the issued K1 Visa.
Yes, this is a REQUIRED seminar in accordance to the Republic Act 10364 “Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012”. This is a mandatory counseling service for Filipinos in intermarraiges. The full text is found here: http://www.gov.ph/2013/02/06/republic-act-no-10364/
People who haven’t completed this Seminar will not get the CFO Guidance Counseling Certificate and the Passport Emigrant Sticker. If the immigrant is not able to present this at the time of his/her flight out of the Philippines, he/she will be refused to board his/her plane.
More Information here: CFO Seminar FAQ’s »
No, you have to have your passport with you. There are *SOME* reports that people may have been able to attend the CFO Seminar without a passport (But wasn’t issued a sticker yet. You have to come back for it). You only have to inform them that you’re done with the Visa Interview, that you were approved, and are just currently waiting for passport delivery. But *IF EVER* you do decide to go have your Seminar to check it off your list of things to do, make sure you have your passport photocopies with you.
My thoughts: Why take two trips when you can do it in one? You’re just waiting for your passport and visa delivery. Think about it especially if you come from outside of Metro Manila. Think of transportation and food expenses. ;) (I did do it in two trips though because I had time off from work and was in the area.)
There’s no -advertised- list but I learned at the CFO Seminar that they MAY ask you for a lot of things. If applicable, please bring the following:
Do take these additional documents seriously. Else, it might delay your issuance of clearance/certificate.
*UPDATE 3/18/2015: There have been reports that the Parental Consent and Advice need to be notarized. And that you must bring a valid ID of the parent(s) who signed it – with photo, and signature.
There is no CENOMAR equivalent for US Citizens. There’s the “Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”. It’s $50 at USEM and must be requested by the US Citizen (USC). This is mostly used by USC’s when contracting marraige in the Philippines. (I wouldn’t go through the trouble of acquiring it really, because…) They also have a tax form, Form 1040, that will indicate their status being “single”. If you choose to present/submit a photocopy of this Form 1040, make sure you block off the Social Security Number portion.
The CFO website advertises that they have only 30 slots for US-bound emigrants. 15 in the morning, 15 in the afternoon. Their schedule is posted here »
Yes, it is. So I suggest showing up at 5am (or earlier. Yes, earlier.) to secure a spot.
Not anymore (as of May 15th, 2014). You HAVE to schedule your Appointment for the CFO Seminar online through this link: http://gcp-appointment.cfo.gov.ph/
Line up by the RAMP.
Yes. Make sure you have the following information available:
It’s PhP 400.00, About $10. But do check the CFO Website for updated fees.
It’s because they have incomplete forms and/or documents and cannot answer the counselor’s questions confidently.
Well, there is no “perfect formula” / assurance that you won’t get 1-on-1 counseling but listening attentively to the counselor, answering his/her questions during the discussions. having complete documents / completely filled out forms, and being truthful/confident with your answers will probably help. All they are trying to do is make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into [moving and/or getting married].
*Update 10/24/2014: There might have been a policy change on One-on-One counseling. Everyone might be required to do so now.
*Please be reminded that as of May 15, 2014 the ONLINE CFO SEMINAR APPOINTMENT SYSTEM is LIVE. No Walk-ins Allowed!
Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
I’ve been reading threads here on VJ.com saying that there are only 30 slots for Fiance(e)’s and Spouses everyday at the CFO HQ. I checked the website, it said 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Though it said it’s country-specific and has “allocations” of 15 slots for each countries, I didn’t want to risk it.
I got there at 4:15am. We were only 5 at the time, and we sat on the steps leading to the CFO entrance. I met Steve previously in a Facebook Group and learned from him that his fiancee, Joan, would be attending too. She got there at about 4:30am and immediately called her.
It was about 5am when people started to show up and one lady (I suppose she owns the “mini-store” outside CFO), told us to line up by the ramp instead. This is where fiance(e)’s and spouses line up. There would be separate lines for other types of immigrants. (So make sure you tell your fiance(e)’s to line up at the ramp.) It wasn’t country-specific at all. Some people in line were fiancee’s of European nationals.
CFO opened at about quarter to 7, but they only let the other immigrants in first. We were the last line to enter the building.
Also a REMINDER: Make sure to bring 2 valid GOVERNMENT ID’s. Whether it’s a Driver’s License, Unified ID, SSS, PhilHealth, NBI Clearance. As long as it’s a goverment issued ID, you won’t get turned away. One lady was turned away because she only had one “valid” ID. They should’ve just stated that what they want are government ID’s in the first place. Make sure you have at least 2 photocopies of it, just to be sure.
When I got inside, at the reception desk, I was only asked for my: Passport, 2 Valid ID’s, Checked if I have my photocopy of those valid ID’s, and I was given an ID with a Lanyard with a Pink “F” on it. For Fiancee, I guess? :P We were then told to go up the 3rd floor to fill up forms.
Word of advice: Take the stairs. It’s faster than the so-called elevator. LOL
When you get to the 3rd floor, You’d be asked to fill up an Information Sheet. (Yes, you have to fill it up there, It’s not the downloadable one on the CFO website.)
Make sure you answer ALL questions/fields. Rendering this incomplete will be one of their criterias for you to be “HELD/ON HOLD” for one on one counseling.
Information Needed on the Form:
– Basic Information about you, the fiance(e)/spouse (Name, Address, Birthday, etc.; Your Birthplace is important too, specify which city/town/area/province)
– Basic Information about your petitioner (Sometimes you are going to be asked for the Birth Certificate copy)
– FULL MAIDEN NAME of fiance(e)/spouse’s MOTHER
– Contact person in the Philippines, specifically immediate family as in Father, Mother, Siblings. (I forgot what happened to the other one who listed her cousin. I think she was asked for her cousin’s birth certificate. Which got her on “Hold” status.)
– Landline Number of Petitioner. (I know, I know, most of you guys don’t use landlines now. That’s what was running through my mind too.) If no landline is available, Landline of Petitioner’s Nearest Relative or Petitioner’s Neighbor. (IKR!? Neighbor?)
– Petitioner’s Educational Attainment, Degree/Course, Occupation
– Information on Petitioner’s Divorce/Annulment/Death of previous wife or husband. You must have a copy of the Divorce Decree. (One lady was asked to show the Death Certificate of the petitioner’s previous wife.)
– ZIPCODES. Yes, people were given a few minutes to find out their Zipcodes. Both the petitioner and the beneficiary. Never forget to write those.
So far, these are the ones that stuck out from the tedious checking of individual forms by the counselor.
People were asked to show documents. It’s not a specified list of documents. Just whatever the counselor wants to see. So better go there prepared! As for me, I was just asked for photos of me and my fiance, Christopher.
By that time, she was already saying, If you don’t fill up your forms properly, I will put you on “hold”. She already mentioned 3 names that were on hold. Then she said, those of us who are “OK’d” by her, can now go downstairs to the first floor to pay at the Cashier.
So we did. We paid PHP400. Roughly $10.
We then went back upstairs and the counselor was still checking forms. In the end, the room full of 16 people, 10 were put on hold. Meaning, one-on-one counseling with her.
Mind you, we’re not all US fiance(e)’s/spouses in the seminar “Session” as prescribed in the CFO website info. At first I thought it would be 15 from US, 15 from Canada, and so on. NOPE. In the same session, some were fiance(e)s/spouses from other countries. So I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting there very early in the morning to secure a spot.
So when everything was already checked, we started with the lectures. She, of course, started with the history of CFO (which is in the website). The CFO Certificate and stickers. The CFO Certificate is valid for life. It doesn’t expire. So make sure you take care of it and make copies. Never hand in the original to anyone. You can show them the original, but they may not keep it. It’s a HUGE hassle to get it replaced.
And then explained at length who their CLIENTELE are. Meaning, they serve those family-based petition immigrants, the fiance(e) and spouses, etc. etc. Honestly, she didn’t have to explain those in detail, adding up stories. Most especially going into lengths about the Filipino Au Pair Visa. This part draaaaagggggeeeed for so long.
After that, Domestic Violence was discussed, which organizations to contact, who to call. (She gave her personal mobile number, she says she’s the only one who does that.)
She then covered what documents to bring when traveling, baggage allowances, airport fees, travel tax, embarkation cards, customs forms, etc.
Showed a visa packet brought by one of the spouses, and that the IDS (for IR/CR1’s) shouldn’t be removed from the packet.
She then proceeded to explaining what you should do when you get to the US: getting married, filing for adjustment of status, stressed on the validity of green cards, report of marraiges, amendments to passports, etc.
By this time, we were done. And those “OK’d” people can claim their certificates downstairs on the First floor, and those who were “On hold” will have their one-on-one counseling with her.
We got our certificates and got out at 1:30pm. We will have to go back there after the Visa is issued so we can get our passport CFO sticker.
So there, good luck to everyone who are going to take the CFO Seminar. Just remember, be armed with documents. Be prepared.
And go there early! :)
Yes I did. (Foursquare Check-in on July 19th!) I didn’t have to go there super early like with the seminar on May 30th.
No, you don’t need an appointment to get your Emigrant Sticker.
Nope. That Php 400.00 you paid beforehand will cover everything. Just show them the receipt you got with your CFO Seminar Certificate.
The CFO Seminar comes first. After completing the seminar, they will issue you a CFO Seminar / Guidance Counseling Certificate and Receipt. With those two, you will be able to get your CFO / Emigrant Sticker afterwards. This is,of course, assuming that you have your Visa in your Passport already. CFO has a flowchart posted on their website.
No, it’s not required for Tourist Visa Holders. It’s required for intending immigrants.
For life. As long as you have your certificate with you. No renewals. If you lose it, of course you have to acquire a replacement certificate, but with a fee.
Yes. You will be able to go through the seminar, get your CFO certificate, and have you passport affixed with the Emigrant Sticker in just one day. In half a day at the most. This is, of course, having already secured a slot for the seminar that day. Here’s a brief summary / timeline:
You can bring them to the CFO Office, Yes. Can they attend the seminar with you on the third floor? No. They will have to wait in the waiting area where there are a lot of seats in front of cashier-type windows. This is actually the room on the first floor where you are going to pay for your fees and where you would be getting your emigrant sticker.
Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
Disclaimer: I do not work for nor am I affiliated with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Manila, Philippines. This guide was made with the sole intention of helping other CFO Seminar attendees to understand what goes on during the CFO Seminar. For the full disclaimer, please click here.