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Guidance and Counseling Program of CFO

The following are the Filipino migrants who are required to attend the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO)-Guidance Counseling Program (GCP)

  1. Fiancé/e/ spouse/ partner of Foreign national;
  2. Fiancé/e/spouse/ partner of former Filipino citizen;
  3. Fiancé/e / spouse/partners of Filipino with dual citizenship;

The CFO counseling session takes a minimum of four (4) hours. It  aims to provide you with adequate information regarding intermarriage and migration, the cultural and social realities abroad as well as available support networks for migrants in distress, among others.

CFO counseling program for fiancé(e)/ spouses/ partner of foreign nationals is based on the country of citizenship of the foreign national or former Filipino sponsor/petitioner.  It can only accommodate 15 participants per session. CFO designed this small group’s session of four (4) hours to allow the participants greater interaction and more freedom to ask questions. The counselor or facilitator summarizes and synthesizes the participants’ interaction and sharing.

The final session is geared towards individual counseling where the counselor spends more time with counselee depending on the latter’s situation and may encourage submission of relevant documents (such as divorce papers, court decisions, annulment paper, certificate of no marriage, family registration, additional valid IDs, etc.) to address issues that surfaced during the counseling. This follow-up or one on one session could last for over an hour. In some cases the counsel and the counselor would agree to set another individual counseling appointment.

What is CFO Guidance and Counseling Program

For the past three decades, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has implemented the Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) for fiancé(e)s, spouses and other partners of foreign nationals or of former Filipino citizens. Republic Act 10906 (“Anti-Mail Order Spouse Act of 2016) and Republic Act 10364 (“An Act Expanding the Anti-Trafficking in Person Act of 2012”) require the conduct of mandatory per-departure counseling services for Filipinos in intermarriages.

The GCP is also a requirement under the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act for Filipino fiancé(e)s, partners and spouses of foreign nationals or former Filipino citizens who are applying for a passport for the first time or adopting the surname of the foreign spouse.

The main objective of the program is to assist the integration of Filipinos in their host countries by counseling them on the realities of international migration, and preparing them to meet the practical, cultural and psychological challenges in cross-cultural marriage and migration.

To attend the Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP), you must secure an appointment through the GCP On-line Appointment System (GOAS).

Sessions are based on your foreign fiancé(e)’s /spouse’s /partner’s citizenship.
• Only 15 attendees per session will be accepted in CFO-Manila, while only 12 attendees for CFO-Cebu.
• The session will automatically close when all allocated slots are taken.
• Only clients with confirmed slot/appointment and complete requirements will be admitted to the counseling session.
• Those with confirmed appointment should bring the printed barcoded confirmation form or present the digital copy (saved PDF form) in their mobile phone or tablet PC (copy must show name and reference number).
• Slot is forfeited if you don’t show up on set date of appointment. Reservation must be done again online.

Counseling Requirements:

  1. Two (2) original valid identification cards with photograph (see samples below);
  2. Duly completed guidance and counseling form to be secured at the CFO;
  3. If married in the Philippines, original Certificate of Marriage on security paper from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA);
  4. If married overseas, original Report of Marriage duly registered by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate or the Department of Foreign Affairs; and
  5. Payment of PhP400.00 counseling and registration fee.

Additional documents may be required in the event that the counselor determines it to be essential to complete the guidance and counseling process. It is advised for all the GCP applicants to prepare the following documents (if applicable to them) in advance and bring these documents when they come to CFO:

  1. Divorce decree/certificate (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if previously married)
  2. Annulment paper (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if previously married)
  3. Proof of residency/Alien Registration Card-ARC (of foreign spouse)
  4. Proof of relationship (picture together, e-mails, among others)
  5. Death certificate (of Filipino spouse or foreign spouse, if widow/widower)
  6. Certificate of Family relations / registration (of foreign spouse)

Additional registration requirements for those with visa:

  1. Original valid passport;
  2. Original valid visa
  3. Original Immigrant Data Summary (please do not detach fromyellow packet) for US-bound emigrants, except for K visa holders;
  4. Original Confirmation of Permanent Residencefor Canada-bound emigrants;
  5. Original Visa Grant Notice for Australia-bound emigrants;
  6. Original Certificate of Eligibility for Japan-bound emigrants;
  7. Original CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate (if already attended the GCP); and
  8. Duly completed emigrant registration form.

For the last ten (10) years (2003-2012), the number of Filipino female fiancé(e)s/spouses/ partners outnumbered their male counterparts by a ratio of approximately 12:1; or for every 100 spouses and partners registered in CFO, 91 are female and only 9 of them are male. Out of 206, 728 marriage migrant registrants over a ten year period, only 8% or 17, 513 were male while 92% or 189,215 were female. For the last 10 years, United States consistently emerged as the top destination of spouses and partners accounting to 45%, followed by Japan (22%) and Australia (7%).

Between 2003-2012, the highest number of registered marriage migrants was in 2006 with 24, 904 or 12% of the total number of permanent migrants registered with the CFO; next was in 2007 with 23,927 also 12%, then 2012 with 21,409 or 10%. A 6% increase from 2011 to 2012 was recorded.

(Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas)

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