Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to get a CFO Certificate to those filipinos who are marrying a Foreign National

I really have a confusion at first when I went to DFA, Davao, Philippines office to change my status in to Married because I was still single when I applied a passport 3 years ago. I thought that they will change it immediately but I was wrong! They're asking a CFO Certificate before they will allow me to apply for a change status and renew my passport because I was married to a Foreigner. I asked them where I can get or apply it?  And they said that I need to fly to Cebu or Manila just to get it. It really bothered me because of the expenses. I need to get a plane ticket,payment for the hotel, food, payment for taxi, and payment for the certificate. How I wish that we also have a CFO office here in Davao,Philippines but it is sad to say that we don't have. When I talked to the teller at the DFA office again, she said that I can't also apply a spouse visa if I don't have a passport that is why I don't have a choice but to fly in Cebu.

What is CFO stands for? It stands for Commission on Filipino Overseas. It was established on 16 June 1980 through Batas Pambansa 79, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas is an agency of the Philippine Government tasked to promote and uphold the interests of Filipino emigrants and permanent, residents abroad, and preserve and strengthen ties with Filipino communities overseas.

The night before my flight, I booked a ticket at Cebu Pacific. I went to their website using my laptop. Second to that is I also booked a hotel so that I don't have a problem anymore when I get there. My first option is Sampaguita Suite because it is not too far at the CFO office but when I called them, it is fully booked. I thanked God that I got another one which is in-front of this hotel. So I booked a room at Granprix Hotel. It is  a free breakfast for two that is why I and my sister in law have no problem what to eat every morning.

Our flight to Cebu was 8:30A.M. We arrived in Cebu Mactan Airport at 9:30A.M. The location of the hotel is beside the Fuente Robinson Mall in Cebu that is why we don't have a problem where to eat our meals too.  At 12 noon, I went immediately to CFO Office. I went there early because I read something on their website that the Guidance Counseling Seminar will start at 2:00PM. I need to go early since the audience is only limited. 12 slot only per session that is why I need to be hurry! When I went there, the security guard said that they never started yet their seminar for Guidance Counseling. They will going to start it on September 2012. They said that I need to go to SMEF-COW office to attend the seminar. I explained to him that I read it in their website that effective July 2012,there will be a guidance counseling session in their office. God is good because he helped me that I can really attend a seminar at that time. But I need to go to SMEF-COW office. Supposedly, the schedule at  SMEF-COW office is 8:00A.M- 5:00PM everyday but I was  having an opportunity to be able to attend the seminar at 2:00PM at SMEF-COW through his help.

The seminar is more about counseling, guidance for spouses or  fiancee who are marrying a foreign national, orientation, and some advices and tips how to get a visa. There is also a one on one counseling after the group lecture. They will ask you some questions when and where did you meet your spouse/ fiancee. How many months or year you are in relationship before you got married and what is the weaknesses and strong points of your spouse/fiancee and what are your plans? Some of my batch over there stayed very long. Their one on one counseling ended for 30 minutes. I was amazed for my interview because it is only 5 minutes. Maybe because my husband is single and no children before we got married.

Here are the procedure of getting a CFO certificate:
1. First, you need to get a priority number. Be sure that you arrived early since they only entertain 25 persons everyday. You need to prepare your documents that they required and wait for your number to be called.
2. When your number is called at the cashier, pass the required documents.They will give you a form to be filled up. You need to be sure that you know all the important details of your spouse/fiancee to answer all the questions in the form.
- Here are some questions that I remembered on that form.
   What is your spouse/fiancee name, his/her telephone number, complete home address, his/her work place, the name of the company where he/she worked. What is his/her job? What is his/her course? If he/she graduated, what is the name of the school? His/her maiden name, how many times he/she got married/divorced (reason of divorced), how many children he had (if there is any), Name of your relatives abroad including their address and telephone number. Name of your close relative too in the Philippines with their address and telephone number. You should know all these things because you can't leave it blank. They wont accept it.

Requirements for SMEF-COW Guidance Counseling Seminar are:
- Original and Photocopy of your Passport
- Original and Photopy of Birth Certificate (From NSO or CTC from Local Civil Registrar duly authenticated by NSO)
- Original and Photocopy of Marriage Contract, if you're  married (From NSO or CTC from Local Civil Registrar duly authenticated by NSO)
- Photocopy of Birth Certificate of Husband/Fiancee
- Photocopy of Passport of Husband/Fiancee
- Photocopy of a Divorce Decree of husband, if he is divorced
- Photocopy of Proof of Singleness of Fiancee
- Photocopy of Legal Capacity to Marry
- Photocopy of visa (IF you already have a visa)
- Photocopy of entry/exit stamped of husband/fiancee's  passport (If married to a Filipina more than once) 
- Photocopy or copy of picture together (you and your husband/fiancee)
- Photocopy of your two (2) ID's . ( SSS, GSIS, Driver's license, company id, etc)
- P250.00 pesos (Counselling Fee)
3. After you filled up the form, pass it to the cashier and pay P250.00. After paying, you will go to another window for picture taking. After everyone are done, one of the lecturer will gather you in a room and start the lecture. After the lecture is the one on one interview. After 3 minutes one on one counseling, you will wait at the cashier for your name to be called. And they will give you the Guidance Counseling Certificate (Blue). They will instruct you to go to CFO Office to get the CFO certificate. This is what the Guidance Counseling Certificate looks like:

Guidance Counseling Certificate

4. You need to photocopy this one and give the duplicate to the CFO office. Pay P400.00 to the cashier. You need to keep the original copy for immigration. CFO office will give you the CFO certificate. This is the CFO Certificate looks like:

CFO Certificate

The color has a combination of green/brown/orange. You need also to give a photocopy of this at DFA office to apply a new passport. Since I don't have a visa yet, I need to claim my CFO sticker either in CFO Cebu or CFO Manila at the moment I get my visa. Just keep the original copy of this because you will need it to claim your CFO sticker sooner. CFO certificate wont expire. The moment you'll get the visa, they will put the CFO sticker on it and to your passport.

Requirements for Registration
  1. Original and photocopy of Passport;
  2. Original and photocopy of visa;
  3. Original and photocopy of Immigrant Data Summary for US bound/ Confirmation of Permanent Residence for Canada bound/ Certification of Eligibility (for Japan-bound);
  4. Original CFO guidance and counseling certificate;
  5. Duly completed emigrant registration form; and
  6. Payment of the authorized registration fee.                
Here are the Two Offices To Visit To Secure or get The CFO Certificate:

SMEF-COW (St. Mary Euphrasia Foundation, Inc - Center for Overseas Workers)
Address: 60 3rd floor, Ayaay Arcade, Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City, right across University of San Carlos North Campus.
Monday to Friday (8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Tel.No: 32 2353745 
Email address:

CFO (Commission on Filipinos Overseas)
Causing-Lozada Building, OsmeƱa Boulevard corner  (Besides DFA Cebu)
MJ Cuenco Street, Cebu City, Philippines
Telefax: (032) 255-5253

For more information about the CFO or Commission of Filipino Overseas,  Please visit their website. Click HERE 

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