From AU to PH: The Reality of Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite (if you have Partner Visa)

how to apply for CFO Certificate in the Philippines
If you have a valid Australian Partner Visa, and you don’t have this new CFO Sticker/Certificate yet, we recommend that you apply for your CFO Online Appointment before your departure from Australia to the Philippines, or days before your departure from the Philippines to Australia.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) conducts a mandatory Guidance and Counselling Program for departing Filippino spouses, fiancee/fiance, and other partners of foreign nationals. 

All Philippines nationals traveling to Australia should check with the CFO in order to comply with exit requirements.  This applies equally to whether you hold a temporary or permanent Australian visa.

Failure to comply with the CFO requirements may result in delays in departing the Philippines.

Note that getting your CFO Certificate is NOT 100% FREE


Here’s why:

This blog is about my personal experience when I tried to get my Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) Sticker and Certificate to comply with the latest mandate of the Philippine government for all Immigrant visa holders, Filipino Fiance(e)/Spouse/Partner of Foreign National/Former Filipino Citizen/Dual Citizen with visa, are encouraged to register online via Overseas Filipinos – CFO Online Registration System or OF-CORS.

Through online registration, you do not need to go to any CFO office to avail of pre-departure services. You could just print their own OF-CORS Temporary Certificate, which will be presented to the Bureau of Immigration on the day of their departure from the Philippines.

I will also share with you why getting the CFO Sticker/Certificate is not 100% free, showing you some hidden, non-monetary costs. 




UPDATE: As of 31 August 2023 - Tourist Visa Holders are no longer required for the CFO Guidance and Counselling Program

Tourist Visa Holders no longer need to get a CFO Certificate/Sticker
Tourist Visa Holders no longer need to get a CFO Certificate/Sticker, Source: Commission on Filipino Overseas 







What is a CFO Sticker/Certificate?

According to the CFO's website, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) – Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) is a distinct program of the Philippine government that aims to protect the welfare of Filipino fiancĂ©(e)s and spouses of foreign nationals who plan to migrate overseas. It is a definite deterrent (or warning) to mail-order bride schemes and trafficking in the guise of marriage.

The CFO website states that there are options for online and onsite to attend the mandatory Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP) in order to secure the Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC) and the CFO sticker.



Requirements for applying for CFO Sticker/Certificate:


1. Valid passport
2. Valid visa or visa grant notice 
3. Petitioner’s passport (meaning, your spouse’s passport)
4. Marriage Certificate or Report of Marriage (if available, but not required because Australian law doesn’t require couples to be married)
5. Other additional documents may be required during the tele-counseling, you it is best you have them available with you;
    - Divorce Certificate/Annulment Paper (if your spouse/partner was previously married)
    - Proof of Residency/Alien Registration Card (of a foreign spouse)
    - Proof of relationship (such as emails, pictures, letters, joint bank account, etc.)
    - Travel Itinerary (only if the tele-counselor will ask)
    - Affidavit of invitation and support (only if the tele-counselor will ask)






How to get your CFO Certificate online (less hassle, but not really)

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to register online.

how to apply for CFO Certificate in the Philippines

Step 1 – Create your own account through this link  - https://cfo.ph/Online_PDOS_Account_Creation/

Step 2 – Fill up the form. Attached is a copy of your passport and visa. Then hit submit.

how to apply for CFO Certificate in the Philippines

Step 3 – Check your email for confirmation and wait for another email for your schedule of online tele-counseling.





What to do during the tele-counseling appointment

You will receive your schedule via email. Check your spam folder as well if you haven’t received it in your main inbox.

1. Tele-counselling is thru WhatsApp. If you haven’t downloaded this app, best to download it right away. WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption services and rest assured that your information and messages are all safe.

2. Your assigned counselor will send you something that you need to fill in, such as:

     -Your personal information (name, email, date of birth, your home addresses locally and abroad, your mobile number, contact details of your nearest local relatives, etc.)
     - Your civil status before the current relationship (either annulled, divorced, single, etc.)
     - How many children did you have in your past relationship (including their ages)?
     - Your highest educational attainment
     - Your occupation in the last 6 months
     - Your spouse’s personal information (name, email, date of birth, your home addresses locally and abroad, your mobile number, contact details of your nearest local relatives, etc.)
     - Your spouse’s civil status before the current relationship (either annulled, divorced, single, etc.)
     - How many children did your spouse have in his/her past relationship (including their ages)?

3. The assigned counselor will also ask you about your relationship information, such as:
     - How long is your relationship with your partner?
     - How, when, and where did you first meet?
     - Have you met your partner, personally?
     - Living status (living separately, or living together)
     - Plans for the future.

4. When you were asked about your relationship information, feel free to tell your love story. Sharing your travels and plans together is also good. You have to let your counselor know that your relationship is genuine, and it is not made for convenience.

5. Your tele-counselor might ask you for additional documents, which you can send through WhatsApp.

6. After your tele-counselor is satisfied with your interview, wait for another email confirmation where you will know the details on how to pay for your CFO Sticker/Certificate.

email confirmation after tele-counseling
email confirmation after tele-counseling





How to pay for a CFO Sticker/Certificate

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

Payments are possible via several BAYAD Centers, Visa/Mastercard, Paymaya/Maya, or through GCASH. 
CFO Sticker/Certificate costs Php30.00 plus convenience fees. Upon payment, screenshot the proof of payment and send it to your assigned telecounselor. By then, you will receive an email with a temporary digital copy of your CFO certificate.

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

This is my CFO Certificate (temporary) that I received from the CFO Office after the payment of my CFO Sticker and Certificate for pick-up. The certificate was signed by the assigned counselor. You can show your digital/pdf copy of your CFO Certificate to the Immigration Officer during your departure from the Philippines to abroad. 






Expectation versus Reality

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

For the sake of this blog, I decided to pick up the actual CFO Sticker/Certificate at their main office in Manila. 

My experience was very stressful and very opposite to what I expected during and after the tele-counseling.

My schedule of pick-up was 2:00PM 5th of January 2023 at their main office in Manila. I thought everything would be fine and just a usual pick-up of documents. But I was wrong.

I was given the same forms that I previously filled up online, and told me that it was necessary. I’m glad that I brought all the documents I submitted online, including my passport and my husband’s passport. I waited for hours before they called my name, and I underwent another counseling interview, because the staff said, ‘it is necessary’.

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

Overall, it was a redundant process. I spent and waited for 3 hours, from 2:00PM to 4:00PM before they released the actual CFO Certificate and Sticker.

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

For the sake of principle, I endured many inconveniences just to get the actual CFO Sticker/Certificate that I could present to the Immigration Office upon departure. This is for me to avoid chances to meet a Filipino ‘Karen’ the immigration which will cause delays and stress during my flight.






Additional tips when visiting the CFO Office in Manila

Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

1. There is NO parking area in the CFO Office in Manila, and it will be a great hassle for you if you tried to do it in person. Arrive early at your scheduled time.

2. Bring all the documents you have in case they will ask for them. You’ve got to be prepared.

3. Bring snacks and water with you. There is no nearest shop to buy snacks, and they don’t provide refreshments. Do not go when your stomach is empty.

4. Bring a book or play games with your phone while waiting. Trust me, you will NEED IT.

5. Wearing a face mask is now optional, however, have it handy in case they require you to wear a face mask. 

6. Bring your vaccination certificate.

7. Bring a lot of patience. Be prepared for a local ‘Karen’.


Getting CFO Sticker/Certificate Online and Onsite

CFO – Commission on Filipino Overseas
Address: Citigold Center, 1345 Quirino Ave, Paco, Manila, 1007 Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: https://cfo.gov.ph/






Have you applied for your CFO Sticker/Certificate? How are your experiences?



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43 comments :

  1. This is very informative. I’m sure a lot of Filipinos planning to migrate to AU will benefit from your blog post. They may have been having a difficult time transitioning from the old school or ‘nakasanayan na’ process to an online (at least for the first part of the whole process) process that is why they still asked you to fill out the same forms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though most PH government agencies are transitioning, let's not disregard that they make the process redundant and still very slow. In this generation, we have no time to waste.

      Delete
  2. ang helpful! etong mga ganitong blog entry talaga ang dapat dumami kasi madaming natutulungan!

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG, welcome back to the Philippines where all process, including the unnecessary ones, take very looooooong! May online kunwari, pero may in person pa rin fill out of the same dang forms pa rin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their slow process only attracts many issues. Nkaka-stress talaga at hindi ko masisi karamihan sa mga OFW kung lagi sila mag-vent.

      Delete
  4. This CFO Counselling was often talked about by Filipino spouses of Koreans when I was still living in Korea. That time, they had to attend the counselling in person. I was not sure though if they can apply online first. At least, that's less travel back and forth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Blair, Thank you for the detail post. I was curious what additional information you had to provide during the counselling. My partner and I are going through the spouse/marriage visa process at the moment and I want to make sure I am prepared. We can provide most of the information but I have no idea what is meant by "Affidavit of invitation and support (only if the tele-counselor will ask)". Also, as you did the application online, why did you have to go there in person? We have read that they post you a copy of the digital certificate.

    I look forward to your reply :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! And thank you for checking my blog :)
      Recently, this 'Affidavit of Invitation / Support' is a document that contains inviting you to visit your partner abroad and declaring that your partner will support your whole travel expenses. Not everyone is being required by this document, especially if you never mentioned about your partner (abroad) will take charge on the expenses. During the tele-counselling, just be confident on your responses, tell your love story, how you met, etc.

      I did my application online, and yes there is an option to courier a copy of digital certificate. However, I didn't choose that because I only have limited time in the Philippines (and I don't trust the courier services, hahahaha). And for the sake of the blog, kaya I decided to do the great lengths.

      Delete
  6. We were allowed to travel without the cfo or certificates because we had all of the information immigration required. IO said "I will allow you to travel today, but next time you need a cfo certificates". Seriously Immigration in the Phillipines and the whole secondary screening system is broken. IO's are playing God with people's lives, the whole trafficking story relates to less than .03% of Travellers and 32,000 were offloaded last year. It's crazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand, and yeah it is crazy. However, I chose to comply to avoid any issues, and more questions and scrutiny of my documents especially travel. Until such time that I got my blue passport.

      Delete
  7. Hi do you have to make an appointment to get your original CFO sticker in the main office in Manila or you can walk in? and the temporary certificate is that okay to show the immigration officer upon departures? I'm going home in June but the available slots is not until August. Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! You have to book your appointment to pick-up your original CFO Sticker in the Main Office in Manila. If you have the temporary certificate (digital format) yes, you can use that to show to the Immigration Officer upon departure. If you still have plenty of time, best to get your sticker as well.

      Delete
  8. Do you have a format or a link on how to book an appointment in the Main office in Manila to pick my ORIGINAL CFO sticker up? Like do I have to register again to book an appointment? Thank you very much x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi po! Meron na ako digital/temporary cfo cert. When po kaya makuha yung original/actual certificate? Kac November 2021 ko pa inapply to. Eh dito nako sa australia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Contact CFO Office and you can request it to be courier to your address (charges applies) or booked an appointment for pick-up.

      Delete
  10. Hi! Thank you so much for this informative post.

    I’d like to ask po sana, after you filled up the forms online, did you have your tele-consult on the same day? Also, after the interview, were you also immediately issued the digital certificate or did it take a few days pa po?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I got an email notification about tele-consult the next day after successfully filing-up the forms. I got an email from the assigned tele-counsellor. She introduced herself and gave me her WhatsApp number kung saan kami nag tele-counselling. After the session, and when she felt satisfied with the interview, she emailed me the link where I could make the payment. I sent her the proof of payment via WhatsApp, and she gave me a 'digital copy' via email of my certificate. Siguro inabot kami ng halos 2 days on conversation (kasi mabagal mag reply yung assigned counsellor ko).

      Delete
  11. Hi! If I don't wanna go to their branch pa to physically claim the sticker and certificate, can I just present to the IO the PDF file/soft copy sent to my email as my exit clearance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, you can use the PDF (soft copy) of your certificate to the IO upon exit.

      Delete
  12. Hello! Very helpful, as someone who is currently going through the same process, im so glad to see a step by step guide.

    Nagkaron na po ba ng instance na di sila nagiissue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. Wala pa naman ako nababalitaan na hindi sila nag-issue ng certificate. When I took my certificate, I waited for hours at ang sabi nagka-problema daw yung printer nila, hahahaha. Anyway, I wasn't planning to go home empty handled.

      Delete
  13. Yes. It was easy peasy. I did the online thing, got my digital certificate and used that for traveling. Walang naging issue either sa CFO or sa BOI. As long kumpleto requirements, sagutin direkta ang tanong, okay naman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paano ka po ng booked online kc try ko lagi fully booked

      Delete
  14. Hi already submitted my visa and passport and I received an email then I confirm but I felt a bit sad because it says I can't continue the online Registration process because they've reached the Maximum Number of clients. I am not late I registered on time. do they still cater online ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I think they will still cater you. Try to reply on that email and inquire for the next step. In my experience, they didn't entertain my walk-in application because I already have a pending online application, in which they advise me to do online instead.

      Delete
    2. Hi, same thing happened to me today. Did you make a new account using a new email address or did you just proceed with your initial application? About the email confirmation that didn't go through?

      Delete
  15. Hi! Thank you so much for this, very big help to us. I'd like to ask how easy was it for you to access the Online registration for virtual counseling? I'm try to register but all their site says every time is "reached the Maximum Number of Clients for this day" Another concern is, are they the only one allowed to deliver the sticker and certificate? or is Lalamove allowed?

    Thank you so much <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Yeah, I noticed that it seems they only have limited # of quota each day. And I have no choice but to be patience and try and try again.
      I'm not sure if they allowed to use a third-party courier like Lalamove coz it is a personal document. Perhaps they use registered postal mail. Or you can opt to pick-up personally.

      Delete
  16. Hello,nakuha niyo po ba agad ang CFO certificate ninyo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. nakuha naman pero hindi automatic. Dumaan muna ako sa mahabang proseso. Habaan mo rin ang iyong pasensiya :)

      Delete
  17. Maam Blair para ma enlighten po ako itong CFO ba ay applicable ba ito sa lahat ng pinoy na paalis specifically sa mga may partner /fiancee/husband na nakatira sa abroad pinoy man or forener saan man sa mundo ? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes po! Itong CFO Sticker/Certification is only for those Filipinos na paalis na bansa specifically doon sa mga may foreigner na partner or asawa, kasama po yung dual citizen na Filipino, anywhere in the world.

      Thanks for checking our blog!

      Delete
  18. Maam pauwi ako sa pinas next week pero kasal na kami dto ng husband ki n Aussie at babalik ako dto sa Australia sa August need did ba ako kukuha bg CFO ?kc try to booked online ka so lagi nman fully booked.Salamat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, yan rin ang maraming reklamo sa online booking kasi limited lang ang quota nila per day. Kailangan na i-improve niya yan kung gusto nila marami ang kumuha ng CFO Certificates. Kung medyo mahaba-haba yung stay mo po sa Pinas, I recommend na kumuha ka pa rin po ng CFO.
      Make sure na nai-file mo na sa Philippine Consulate/Embassy sa Australia yung marriage certificate mo para updated ka.

      Delete
  19. Hello Po bakit Po ako di ako hinanapan ng cfo Po..Mula 2021 gang ngyon na umuwi ako..kinasal kme sa Japan Po..my report of marriage din..kauuwi ko lng Nung march tapos dto n nmn ako sunduin kopo anak ko.bale ung pinaka visa nmen is sofa stamp.military dependent Po.ngiisip tuloy ako if I need One.. Salamat po

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes they ask for this certificate from random travelers. However, mas mabuti na meron ka in case na biglang hanapin sayo.

      Delete
  20. I am honestly wondering if I need one. We've known each other for a while, sa BGC kami nagkakilala back in 2015, AU citizen rin siya, and nakapag travel na rin kami together. As far as I know, wala rin naman kami plans to get married pag nag visit ako sa kanya this October, but since I'll be staying with him for a month, mag-ccount kaya ako as a partner and kailangan ko rin kaya nito? I wouldn't mind undergoing this seminar if needed talaga.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you will only visit him in Australia using a tourist visa, you don't need to have this certificate. This is only applicable if you and your partner filed a Partners Visa 801/820.

      Delete
  21. Hi ma’am. Just want to ask po if pwedi na po ba akong kumuha ng CFO cert. kahit di pa approved yung K1-visa ko po? On-process pa po sya. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello from Australia! One of the requirements for CFO Certificate is your valid visa (K-1). Wait for its approval first.

      Delete
  22. Hiii miss, i have a question po, 2 months ago i also attended the cfo meeting and all the travel documents needed were discussed but i only listed down 11, could I please ask what all the travel documents were? I hope this gets noticed, hoping for your reply miss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Aside sa valid visa mo, please refer to the latest travel documents requirements guidelines that the PH Immigration released recently. :)

      Delete

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