CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate

6:01 AM


I went to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Pasay City (Aseana Business Park) to renew my passport last November 29 despite the fact that my old passport is still valid until 2015. I decided to do so because I wanted to use my husband's last name for all my identification cards and documents. I prepped all my docs and signed up for an appointment (I chose 730AM which was the earliest) and I was there bright and early at 6AM on my appointment date only to see a very long line ahead of me. To cut the long story short, I was asked to secure another document before they can process the renewal but they were kind enough to tell me not to rebook an appointment anymore instead I can come back as soon as I have the certificate (which is the point of this post). I will write a separate post about my experience in renewing my passport so I can share it to you. 

I immediately went to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas office in Citigold Center (Pres Quirino Avenue corner Osmena Highway/South Superhighway) as advised by the documents processor who declined my attempt to renew my passport without that much needed certificate. When I got there all slots for Europe were already filled out around 7AM. I begged the guard to let me in but he said he can't do anything as they can only accommodate 15 per session. I resigned on the fact that I am wasting one day of paper pushing and decided to come back December 2. 

Click the picture to open the PDF file about the Philippine Passport Act

My husband and I went back to the CFO office at 4AM on Monday, December 2 and we were shocked to see several lines again. Oh my! I was secretly praying that I got there on time to secure a slot. See, you really really have to be early if you want to book a slot and they are very firm with their first come, first serve policy. You have to really arm yourself with patience, lots of it. 

SCHEDULE (This is for CFO Manila only)



REQUIREMENTS FOR ATTENDANCE TO THE GUIDANCE COUNSELLING PROGRAM

1. Two (2) valid identification cards (IDs) with photograph (i.e. SSS ID, Driver's license, etc)
2. Duly completed guidance and counseling form (to be issued in the CFO office)
3. If married, original and photocopy of marriage contract on security paper from the National Statistics Office, or Local Civil Registry Offices; or original and photocopy of marriage contract duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate (if married abroad) 
4. Other documents as may be required by the counselors (divorce papers, legal capacity to marry, certificate of singleness among others)
5. Payment of P400.00 counseling fee.

I was lucky enough to secure one of the 15 slots that day. Oh and yes, it is better if you can leave your husband or companion at home because the waiting area is not really a very comfortable area (it has a TV and a huge industrial fan though). Good thing my husband is not impatient so he just patiently waited for me in the waiting area near the basement parking.

The guards and a CFO employee started to let people in around 7AM. They checked the documents/requirements I brought with me and my SSS ID was left in the reception area in exchange for the visitor ID. We were then asked to go to the 3rd floor where we filled out a form.

NEED TO KNOW THE FOLLOWING:

1. Name of your spouse/partner/fiancee (you should know this for sure)
2. Address of your spouse/partner/fiancee in his country
3. Contact number of your spouse/partner/fiancee
4. Name of your mother in law if you are married
5. Information on where and when and how you met your spouse/partner/fiancee
6. All other information about your relationship and other questions that would ascertain your readiness to visit your spouse/partner/fiancee in his home country

After I filled out the form with the necessary information, I lined up so I can have my picture taken. Before my picture was taken, the CFO employee asked me my husband's name and his birthday as well as my birthday and to which country I am going to visit/travel. I was then told to enter the "Europe Room" and wait for the guidance counselor. I had a little chat with some of the counselling attendees while waiting.

The session promptly started at 9AM. The group was divided into 3 and we were asked to answer some questions about our expectations for marrying a foreign national and a few other questions that I honestly forgot already. We were then asked to share our answers to the group. After the group discussion, immigration requirements, culture, weather and those type of things were discussed. The session lasted for about an hour and a half. We were then told that the counselor will be calling our names for the one on one counselling session. The one on one session will determine if you will be given the certificate or not. I was able to manage to answer all the questions so I was told to go down to the main hall to wait for my name to be called by the cashier as well as to wait for my certificate and CFO sticker to be glued to my passport.

Click the picture for more information about the CFO Guidance and Counselling Process

I was in the CFO office from 4AM to 12PM - eight long hours. I was so glad when it was all over. If you are planning to secure your CFO guidance counselling certificate and sticker and you have any question, please do leave a comment and I will try to help as much as I can.

CFO Manila
Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Avenue
corner Osmeña Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
Tel. No.: (02) 552-4700
Fax No.: (02) 561-8332
E-mail: info@cfo.gov.ph
Website: www.cfo.gov.ph



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