CFO Philippines Seminar for US Spouse Visa
About CFO Philippines Seminar for US Spouse Visa
The CFO Philippines seminar is a requirement of the Philippine government for any spouse of a US citizens leaving on a US Spouse Visa.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) is an agency of the Philippine government. Primarily, the CFO is responsible for promoting and upholding the interest of Filipino emigrants. Also, the CFO is responsible for Filipino permanent residents in other countries. In addition, it is responsible for preserving and strengthening ties with Filipino communities outside the Philippines.
The Philippine government requires all Filipino’s that are emigrating to other countries to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or Peer Counseling Session. For example, this includes those on a U.S. IR-1 or CR-1 Spouse Visa.
Where to Attend CFO Philippines Seminar
The seminary or counseling sessions are held at a CFO office in the Philippines. In order to obtain the stamp in your US Spouse Visa, a 4 hour seminar is required either in the morning or afternoon.
Alternatively, there are three (3) locations in the Philippines to schedule and attend a CFO GCP or PDOS including:
1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway
Manila, Philippines 1007
Tel. No.: (02) 552-4700
Fax No.: (02) 561-8332
See our previous blog post on “Hotels near Manila CFO- Recommendations“.
4th floor, K&J Building,
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
See our previous blog post on “Hotels near Cebu CFO- Recommendations“.
The CFO Philippines now has a CFO-Clark Extension Desk at the “One-Stop Processing Center in Clark (OSPC)”. The One-Stop Processing Center is at the Clark Polytechnic Compound at Jose Abad Santos Ave. Clark Freeport Zone. In fact, it is nearby the Clark International Airport.
The CFO-Clark Extension Desk at the One-Stop Processing Center in Clark is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays to Fridays to make appointments.
Seminars for the United States are specifically only on Wednesdays and Fridays. The pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) are earlier from 10:00 am to noon. The Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) seminars are later from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
CFO Philippines Seminar Topics
Here find topics discussed in the seminar:
- travel regulations,
- immigration procedures,
- cultural differences,
- settlement concerns,
- employment and social security concerns, and
- rights and obligations of Filipino migrants.
The PDOS is for emigrants petitioning by their parents, siblings, or immediate relatives. This is including independent applicants who are 20-59 years old. The Peer Counseling Program is for emigrants ages 13-19 years old. However, it is not a requirement for children under 12 to attend. Also, there are certain requirements for children under 12 on the CFO web site shown below.
In order to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation/Peer Counseling Program at CFO Manila, clients are required to use the RESERVATION and REGISTRATION (R&R) Online System.
In contrast, attendance in the Pre-Departure Orientation/Peer Counseling Program at CFO Cebu is on a first-come, first-serve, walk-in basis. Also, the Commission only accept emigrants with complete registration requirements.
Click HERE for a flyer from the CFO on making an appointment and other information on the PDOS or peer counseling.
Click HERE for information from the CFO website on making an appointment. For example, the website provides information on who is exempt, requirements for minor children, documents, schedules and locations.
Time Frame to Do CFO Philippines
A spouse can schedule and do the CFO Philippines seminar anytime after you marry and have your marriage certificate back.
Remember, you must bring in your marriage certificate as proof of your marriage to a US Citizen.
There are two options (two types of seminars) for a spouse. In fact, both of them satisfy the requirement to get a CFO Philippines stamp in your passport. You only have to do one of them.
- Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP): This seminar is specifically for a spouse or partner of a foreign national. Also, this seminar can be done anytime after you marry. You do not have to wait for your US spouse visa. Therefore, do this option early to get the requirement done.
- Pre-departure Orientation Seminar: This seminar is for those just about to leave the Philippines. For example, it can be for a spouse, fiance or overseas worker. However, you must have your visa in hand to do this seminar. Also, if you do the GCP seminar, this one is not required.
After the CFO Philippines Seminar
After your spouse attends one of the seminars, he or she receives a certificate that certifies that he or she attended the GCP, PDOS or peer counseling seminar. Very important, make sure that your spouse keeps the certificate safe as he or she needs it after getting their US Spouse Visa.
When the US Spouse Visa arrives, go back to the CFO office to affix the CFO stamp in his or her Filipino passport. Also, make sure that they bring their visa packet and Filipino passport with them.
However, if your spouse has their US Spouse Visa already before the seminar, they will stamp her passport right there.
Philippine law specifically prohibits them leaving the country without the CFO stamp affixed in their passport. Remember, give yourself time to do this before leaving.
Check when the CFO offices are open. Furthermore, don’t cut it too short between getting the Visa and leaving for the U.S. without time to get the CFO stamp.
Above all, Philippines immigration will not let your spouse leave without the CFO Philippines stamp.