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Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Flight FOR and My Arrival IN Germany

My flight for Germany

What things did you prepared before traveling to Germany?

Last May 2008, I resigned from my job because after a week, was my flight for Germany. I thought "Finally, I will be with my partner!" This was my second flight and my first international flight. I felt fine and I did not feel nervous whatsoever. Though I was with my family waiting for my flight, I felt like I was already missing my family. Sad, but I have to go... But of course I am planning to go back to Cebu yearly (when I have enough money, hopefully...) ^_^

These were the things I prepared prior to my flight to Germany:

1. Important Documents:
  • NSO Birth Certificate
  • NSO Marriage Certificate
  • High School and College Diplomas
  • Transcript of Records or School Grades
  • Soft Copy or scanned copy of all my documents
  • Photocopies of all my documents
  • Philippine Passport

2. Clothes:
  • Pullover
  • Sweater
  • Jeans
  • Shirts
  • Polo Shirts (long and short sleeves)
  • Underwear
  • Jacket
3. Footwear:
  • Rubber shoes
  • Leather shoes
  • Socks
4. Miscellaneuos
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Medicine for headache, runny nose, dizzyness etc
5. Pasalubungs for my sweetheart ^_^
  • Dried Mangoes
  • Dried Sampalok

6. PLANE TICKET (I flew with Cathay Pacific)

Unfortunately, the baggage/luggage limit (Maleta) that I could carry was only 20 pounds and the hand baggage/luggage limit (backpack or knapsack) that I could carry was only 7 pounds. Be careful that you will not exceed the weight limit.

TIP: Buy a weighing scale because it will really help.

Otherwise you will have to pay for the extra weight limit. For how much per extra pound? I don't know.

I arrived at the airport 2 hours before my departure time. And PLEASE... DO THE SAME...

Travel Tips:
1. Choose a good baggage. I chose a semi hard baggage because it is light (the weight of your baggage is included).
2. Choose a good lock for your baggage (not just the cheap ones).
3. Put a belt around your baggage.
4. Put an Information Tag on your baggage:
  • Name
  • Home Address
  • Address Abroad
  • Phone Number at Home (your parents')
  • Phone Number Abroad
  • Email Address
5. Read the rules/guidelines and procedures of the Airlines Company you will be flying with
A man was told to open his baggage. The officer found out that he brought dried fishes with him and it was confiscated.

TIP: Don't bring things or food that literally stinks.

I am not insulting whatsoever because I myself love "buwad" or dried fish. Its just the law so don't complain. Here in Germany, your neighbor will call the Polizei (Police) if they smell something they don't understand/know such as "buwad".hehe

Finally I said Goodbye to my family. I was not crying because I know I could come back. I shall return!^_^ I want to help my family. ^_^

My flight was from Philippines to Hongkong. The flight was approximately 3 hours. When I arrived in Hongkong, I then changed to another plane which was from Hongkong to Frankfurt, Germany.

My arrival in Germany

Flying on the plane for 11 hours was boring. But I brought with me my PSP.^_^

TIP: First time passenger or not, it is always a good idea to choose an "aisle seat". Most of the first time passengers wanted to go for a "window seat". I prefer "aisle seats" because I could immediately go to the comfort room if I have to without disturbing anyone.

My flight from Hongkong to Germany was approximately 11 hours. I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany about 9:00 in the morning. It was May. The season was Spring. It was sunny and the sky was clear. But as I have stepped out of the plane, the first thing that surprised me was the weather. It was so cold that I was freezing. I can't walk straight unlike in the Philippines. And to think, it was not yet winter.

TIP: Don't buy winter jackets in the Philippines. If you think it is enough for winter, you are wrong. You will know once you arrive here.hehe

My darling was waiting at the airport to fetch me. And finally, we are together and could already start our plans. ^_^

We then rode a bus from the airport to the train station. From the train station we rode the ICE train from Frankfurt to Munich for about 3 hours. From Munich to our apartment we rode another train called S-Bahn (Schnell Bahn) for about 40 minutes. And finally we arrived in our apartment.^_^

Total time spent:
Cebu City Airport to Hongkong - 3 hours
Hongkong to Frankfurt - 11 hours
Frankfurt to Munich - 3 hours
Munich to Apartment - 40 minutes
TOTAL - approximately 17 hours 40 minutes

So long? Yeah! It was so long.hehe But being with your Sweetheart Forever is Priceless!^_^

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Approval of My German Spouse Visa

When did you received a confirmation that my German Spouse Visa Application has been APPROVED?
For how many months did you wait before you get your German Spouse Visa Application APPROVED?
Is there a way to speed things up in processing your German Spouse Visa Application ?
What is a Date of arrival in Germany requirement?

I was very surprised and at the same time nervous when I received a letter from the German Embassy. I don't know if they still needed additional papers or something was wrong with my application. Fortunately, the letter states: "the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is pleased to inform you that your application for a Visa has been approved."

In the letter also stated that I have to submit a VALID PASSPORT and the DATE OF ARRIVAL IN GERMANY.

What is a Date of arrival in Germany?
Literally it is the date of your arrival in Germany.
After receiving the approval letter from the embassy, I immediately told my German Spouse and my German Spouse immediately bought a ticket for me. So what I submitted was a Hard Copy of an electronic form of my plane ticket to Germany (I printed it).

Again, you can't just directly send your documents to the German Embassy. You have to call the call center of the German Embassy. The official COURIER of the German Embassy is Air21 and the fee cost 320 Pesos round trip. Roun trip means sending and then receiving back your documents. The fee is payable upon pick-up.

Please note that sending of the required documents through a non-accredited courier service of the Embassy can significantly delay the printing and releasing of your Visa.

After a week from sending my passport and date of arrival in Germany, I received my passport back with the German Visa.

At last, MY GERMAN SPOUSE VISA WAS APPROVED and my passport with the German Visa is already in my hands!

How long did it took? I went to the German Embassy in Manila at the End of February 2008. I received an Approval of my German Visa letter First Week of April 2008. I just waited for a month and my German Visa was approved. I honestly thought it would take 4 to 6 months or more as stated at there website.

How I did it? How did I make it quick? What specific measures did I go through to make it faster? Honestly, I don't know how to answer these questions. I just submitted all the necessary requirements and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany approved my visa after a month.

I really feel sorry for those people I have encountered at the CFO Seminar or at the German Embassy who told me they have waited for 6 months, 8 months and more than a year but still there German Visa are not yet approved.

Is marrying your German Spouse in the Philippines and getting a German Spouse Visa faster than getting a German Fiance Visa?
Based on my experience, PROBABLY. In my opinion, the processing of a German Fiance Visa is a bit longer because you are not yet married to your German Spouse. The embassy have to do more investigation or background check on you.

Do you have a relative or connection or someone you know at the German Embassy that helped you processed your papers faster?
100% NO! I just follow their rules and guidelines, submit the papers they needed and read a lot info from their website.

I really don't have any idea on what is behind the Embassy's Visa processing. I don't have any idea why someone's Visa was approved faster than the other one. Maybe I was just lucky... that I only waited for a month... ^_^

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interview at the German Embassy in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

What are your experiences during your interview at the German Embassy?
What are the common German Visa interview questions?
Are the German Visa interview questions hard?

Before your German Visa Interview date comes, please make sure to book a plane ticket a soon as possible. In my experience, I booked a 2-way ticket at Cebu Pacific Airlines. It costs around 2000+ Pesos. Also, keep in mind your interview time as this is very important. Remember, Germans are well-known of their PUNCTUALITY. So the saying “better late than never” is UNACCEPTABLE. My interview was scheduled at 8:30 AM and I arrived in Manila 2-3 hours before the actual interview time.

When I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I immediately called for a taxi. The complete address of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is:

25/F Tower 2 RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila

The travel time from the airport to the German Embassy is about 25 to 30 minutes and the taxi fare amounted to 100 Pesos. You might be assuming that the distance from the airport to the German Embassy is just near and you might be thinking “I will not book a very early flight. Otherwise I will be sitting there doing nothing...

Now please take note that I arrived at the airport at approximately 5:30 AM. No traffics. Not raining and the weather was fine. Not many cars around. Lastly, almost all stoplights I have encountered were GREEN. So if you arrive on a RUSH HOUR, then you better pray that you won't be late. Never UNDERESTIMATE the TRAFFIC situation in Manila (You know the story).

I just waited for the time to pass by at Jollibee just located near the German Embassy. I sat there, ate a light breakfast meal. I might get caught being a “StandbyER” so I just ordered something even though I was not hungry.^_^ Places where you can wait, sit, eat and drink just near the German Embassy are: Jollibee, Seven Eleven, StarBucks and several restaurants.

At 8:00 am I went to the German Embassy, left my bag at the counter, left my Company ID in exchange for something like a "Building Pass or ID" and brought my necessary papers and a ballpen. I drove the elevator and pressed the 25th floor. Then finally I was at the German Embassy. Before I entered the office I was checked by policemen probably for unnecessary things. Cellphones are prohibited! My cellphone was stored in a cellphone locker by the policeman and he gave me a key. As I entered, several people were already there. People who wanted their German Visa renewed. Seamen who wanted their Working Visa renewed. Half German and Half Filipino citizens who just started to process their German Passports. People who wanted a Visa (don't know what its called) for educational, study German Language and cross-cultural purposes. A single mother who wanted to get a German Visa for her Half German and Half Filipino son. And so many Filipina women who wanted to get a German Spouse Visa or a German Fiancee Visa. Approximately about 60 seats are available and approximately 120 people were coming and going that day. If I am not mistaken, there are 5 COUNTERS and a “Special Room” where as I have noticed, important conversations or special appointments were made.

The appointment system inside the German Embassy is based on PRIORITY NUMBER. Don't confuse yourself with the Visa Appointment by Phone. Therefore it is still first come first serve basis. When your number is called, make sure that you are there and immediately go to your counter. If it happens that you are not there or you have not heard when your number is called, you just SIMPLY WAIT AGAIN for your number to be called. For example there are 100 people having appointments, 100 priority numbers and your number is 50. You missed your turn. So you have to wait again from 51 to 100, then 1 to 49 before your number will be called. A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME! Note that the average time spent for every person interviewed is between 20 to 30 minutes. Please do the math... So if you are scheduled for an interview at 8:30, it does not mean that you will be interviewed at 8:30 sharp because it also depends on how long it will take for the people interviewed before you. And don't murmur or say to yourself “It is already 8:30!!!”, just be PATIENT. You might be questioning about my line in the first paragraph about German PUNCTUALITY. Well, what if your number will be called at 8:30 am sharp or earlier?

My number was finally called. I went to the counter. The interviewer asked for my papers. I submitted it and she interviewed me. We spoke in either Filipino or English. You might be wondering what the questions were, right? Well, the questions were really VERY HARD!

How did you meet your German spouse?
Where did you meet your German spouse?
When were you married?
How many years were you in a relationship prior to wedding?
When is your planned departure date to Germany?
Does your German spouse already worked in Germany?
Where is your German spouse residing?

Were the questions really that hard?hehe ^_^ But it really depends on what questions the interviewer will ask. There is really no format whatsoever. It is not a Nursing Board Exam or your Finals. Therefore there is NO NEED TO WORRY as long as you and your German spouse/fiance are legally married, have legal papers, and your relationship is “Genuine” (Sorry I could not explain the previous sentence further but I think you understand what I mean ^_^).

After the interview I received a paper that contains the ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS that I have to submit via COURIER SERVICE or PERSONALLY.

This paper also contains the status of your other documents or requirements. For example:

na - means not applicable e.g. "Proof of basic German Language"

x - means that you lack this paper and you have to submit this paper or requirement e.g. "11,250 Pesos verification fee"

/ - means check and that you have already submitted this paper e.g. "Birth Certificate issued by NSO on SECPA"

NOTE: The official COURIER SERVICE of the German Embassy is AIR21. If you have already gathered the additional requirements, you can't just send it to the German Embassy directly. You have to call the call center of the German Embassy again. The operator will give you the Reference Number of your documents and the pick-up time for your documents. For more details please read THIS (on the last page).

Summary of my experience of my Visa Interview at the German Embassy in Makati, Metro Manila:

1. I arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at approximately 5:30 am.
2. I immediately called for a taxi and arrived at the RCBC Plaza after 25 to 30 minutes.
3. I waited for the time to pass by at the McDonald's just located near the German Embassy.
4. I went to the German Embassy at 8:00 am.
5. My interview was scheduled at 8:30 but my number was called at approximately 10:30 am.
6. My interview lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes.
7. I received a Additional Requirements paper from the interviewer.
8. I was finished for the day.
9. I flew back to Cebu.

After I have submitted my additional requirements, I just waited for a Mail or an Email from the German Embassy on what step should I do next or what the result is. The processing will take 4 to 6 months or maybe earlier or later, you will never know. So be PATIENT! ^_^

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

German Visa Appointment at the German Embassy in Manila

How can I make or set an appointment at the German Embassy in Manila?
What should I prepare before calling the Call Center of the German Embassy in Manila?
How much does the call cost?

As I have mentioned in my previous post about German Spouse Visa Requirements, PLEASE MAKE SURE that you already have all the requirements at hand/in your possession before you call the German Embassy at Manila to have an interview schedule/appointment. As stated in the official website of the German Embassy in the Philippines,, “Visa applications can strictly be submitted only after making an appointment”.

There are 2 Ways to make an appointment at the German Embassy in Manila:

1. You can set an appointment through the Call Center of the German Embassy in Manila.

2. You can set an appointment directly and free of charge at the German Embassy itself.
For the arrangement of the appointment the applicant must appear personally at the Embassy with the passport that is to contain the required visa. Note that this is only available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. Obviously this way of making an appointment is only advantageous for people living in or near Makati City.

3 Useful TIPS when calling the Call Center of the German Embassy:

1. Call early in the morning, if possible at 6:00 AM. If you call during peak hours there is a great possibility that you will be waiting on a long queue of callers.
2. Keep at hand your completed application form as well as your Philippine Passport before dialing.
3. When you talk to the phone operator and ask for example your name, tell him/her complete name and spell your name using Phonetic Alphabets. “I am Juan Dela Cruz – Juliet-Uniform-Alpha-November...”

During the time I called for an appointment (as far as I can remember), the call cost was 37 Pesos + NDD costs PER MINUTE! My phone bill for that month approximately amounted to 1500 Pesos. So make sure not to waste your TIME and MONEY. At the end of your conversation with the phone operator, he/she will give you your German Visa Appointment Date and Time.

For updates, please visit the official website of the German Embassy in the Philippines at or click here to directly access the information above.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

German Spouse Visa Requirements

What are the requirements for a German Spouse Visa?

Before you call the German Embassy at Manila to have an interview schedule/appointment, PLEASE MAKE SURE that you already have all the requirements at hand/in your possession because you really have to submit these requirements personally.

The list of German Visa Requirements I listed here were based on my experience:
- I applied for a Family reunion and marriage visa (German Spouse Visa)
- I am already married to my German spouse in the Philippines.
- I was in the Philippines.
- My spouse is already back in Germany.
- I have at hand all the requirements.


- 3 application forms duly filled in (can be obtained at the reception area of the Embassy or downloaded from their website)
- 4 pictures (please click here for photo requirements specifications). Three (3) of these pictures must each be glued to the application forms, the fourth must be attached with a paper clip to the passport (please do not staple). The applicant must write his or her complete name and date of birth on the back of the picture.
- Valid passport
- Visa fee 60,- € payable in Philippine Pesos (cash) at the current exchange rate
- Security questionnaire (‘Sicherheitsbelehrung’) answered completely and signed

FOR FAMILY REUNION TO SPOUSE (also for applicants with previous residence permits)
- NSO Birth Certificate of applicant
- NSO Marriage Certificate
- NSO certificate regarding the appearance of your name in the ‘National Indices of Marriages’ (CEMAR=Advisory Marriages); this must not be older than six (6) months from the date of issuance
- Proof of basic knowledge of German language (Certificate of language examination “Start Deutsch 1” of Institute)
- Copy of the federal identity card (front- and back page) OR registration card of the spouse in Germany

For updates, please visit the official site of the German Embassy of the Philippines at or directly access the Requirements listed above for Spouse Visa or Fiance Visa here.

Please always check the official site of the German Embassy of the Philippines for the list of visa requirements as it will always change from time to time. In my experience, I was very surprised and worried when the embassy suddenly requires for a Proof of basic knowledge of German language.

Fortunately, I have a university degree and I don't need the basic German requirement. Unfortunately as I am already here in Germany, I am still required to have a basic knowledge of German language. Either way you are still required to take a Basic German Language Course. Whether you are one of the exceptions or not, keep in mind that your are going or will be living in Germany. Therefore you need to learn, understand and speak their language.

The German Language Course last for 6 months. Until now I am still going to school everyday and will be finished this December 2008. Hopefully I could pass the examination and get a Basic German Language Certificate.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008


What is a CFO-SMEF-COW seminar and what is it for?
Why is CFO-SMEF-COW seminar required?
What are the requirements for the CFO-SMEF-COW seminar?
How long will a CFO-SMEF-COW take?

CFO = “Commision on Filipinos Overseas”
SMEF = “St. Mary Euphrasia Foundation, Inc.”
COW = “Center for Overseas Workers”

Before you can travel abroad or travel in other countries, you are required to attend a CFO-SMEF-COW Seminar. The purpose of this seminar is to give an orientation, guidance and counseling to Filipinos married or who will marry a foreigner/foreign national.

This seminar is important because many Filipinos don't know who really their partners are. They have no idea who they are marrying to and to what kind of life are they entering. The mentality of most Filipinos is that when a foreigner marries them means they can have a relaxing life. They can go to other countries and will enjoy. They will have money. They will become rich. They will have everything. But the sad truth is that there are also many Filipinos who are married to foreigners who lived a miserable life. You are probably going to watch a film and hear stories such as abused Filipinos abroad, Filipinos as maids (wife?) etcetera. And many of these Filipinos call and seek help from the Philippine Embassies because they want to go back to the Philippines.

The SMEF-COW personnel actually conducts the seminar. The seminar only takes about 8 hours or less in 1 day. The seminar is only available at Manila and Cebu City (don't know if they opened in other places in the Philippines). Fortunately, I lived in Cebu City and the SMEF-COW office is just in front of the University of San Carlos North Campus (formerly known as University of San Carlos Boys School). Unfortunately for those who live in other places, you really have to go to either Manila or Cebu. During my seminar, I saw a woman carrying a big bag probably with all her important papers, clothes and stuff and if my memory serves me right, she came from Maasin, Southern Leyte.

Counseling Requirements for Filipino Spouses and Other Partners of Foreign Nationals
1. Two (2) valid identification cards with photograph;
2. Duly completed guidance and counseling form;
3. If married, certified true copy and photocopy of marriage contract on security paper from the National Statistics Office (NSO), or the Local Civil Registry Offices (LCRO); 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; and
5. Payment of P250.00 counseling fee.

After the seminar, you will receive your CFO Guidance & Counselling - Certificate of Attendance and CFO Guidance & Counselling Certificate. If your VISA has already been approved and your passport is with you, you can immediately go to the CFO Office (just beside the DFA, near Sto. Niño Church). At the CFO Office, your passport will be stamped with a CFO Emigrant Registration Sticker and the CFO Guidance & Counselling Certificate will be stapled on your passport.

Registration Requirements for Filipino Spouses and Other Partners of Foreign Nationals
1. Original 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/ Embassy Certification of Eligibility (for Spain bound C visa
4. Original CFO guidance and counseling certificate;
5. Duly completed emigrant registration form; and
6. Payment of PhP400.00 registration fee.

For updates, please visit the official website of CFO at or click here to directly access the information above.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Endorsing of Certificate of Marriage to the NSO

What is endorsing of Certificate of Marriage to the NSO?
How long will the endorsing of Certificate of Marriage to the NSO take?

NSO = "National Statistics Office"

Your Certificate of Marriage will be endorsed at the NSO after your marriage. But it is endorsed by batch maybe like by date of marriage. This procedure is not a problem if you and your spouse are both Filipinos. If you want to be with your spouse in Germany or any foreign country and you need to speed things up for your VISA, you must endorse your Certificate of Marriage immediately and personally at the NSO. In my experience, I went to the local NSO office at Cebu City and submitted the documents personally.

When your paper is endorsed, it will be put inside the NSO database. This means that your document is being archived not just in your local government for example in my case, not just in Cebu but archived in the Philippine documents database or archive. The duration of the paper processing usually takes about 1-2 months.

Your “ordinary” Certificate of Marriage will look like this:

After the paper processing at NSO and you requested for a copy, your Certificate of Marriage will be like this:

This is now called an NSO Certificate of Marriage. There is really no big difference of the contents between an “ordinary” Certificate of Marriage and an NSO Certificate of Marriage. Your “ordinary” Certificate of Marriage will just be scanned, they put it in the database or archive it and then when you get a copy of your Certificate of Marriage from the NSO, it will be on a Yellow Paper or what they call the SECPA (Security Paper). It will have an NSO Seal at the upper left side, a document number and a bar code at the lower left side, and a signature from the NSO Administrator at the bottom right side.

This is important because most papers requested by institutions, schools, universities, jobs and especially papers requested for purposes abroad, such as VISAs, are the ones from the NSO. One good thing about this is that you can request a copy online at and it will be delivered at your door step.

As far as I can remember, these were the cost of an NSO Certificate of Marriage and an NSO Birth Certificate:

Requested at
NSO Certificate of Marriage – 400 Pesos per copy
NSO Birth Certificate – 300 Pesos per copy

Requested at your local NSO office:
NSO Certificate of Marriage – 180 Pesos per copy
NSO Birth Certificate – 150 Pesos per copy

*Note that these prices were as of February 2008. Prices may subject to change.

Note also that not all provinces in the Philippines had their own local NSO office.
If you live in these provinces, your only option would be requesting your NSO paper online at

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