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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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Anonymous said...

I think having a seminar such as this is very important, for those people marrying/married to foreigners, especially if they don't know their spouses well. Sadly, there are lots of filipinas who marry just for security.. (As my fiance said, marriage is the most difficult decision in life, and I absolutely agree with him)

But for me, I think the seminar will not help a lot. I felt that they are just trying to brainwash people by showing videos of abused filipinas. And what I didn't like is that, its as if they're trying to say that all foreigners are bad people, which is, of course not true. And other than showing the video of abused filipinas, there's almost nothing else, just a short interview (the seminar lasted for only 2 hours) Sometimes I can't help but to think that the seminar's purpose is to gain money for the's just my opinion ^^


Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging the procedures. It is very helpful. I am going to cebu today for the seminar.

Yes, not all marriages to a foreign national is successful it all lies as to how you take good care of your relationship. Very important indeed that how you know the person you are marrying.

Bliss of marriage comes first but real structure goes afterwards. It is true that many filipinas suffered from abusive foreigners but also there are cases that they are successful. It is case to case basis.

As filipinas married to foreigner, we just have to be tough in our decisions in life and it really takes so much courage living a new life in a new place and with new people to interact with. With God's providence, we will be fine. It is good we will be armed with his wisdom and intellect so we know we will be making the right decisions at the right time. :)

Anonymous said...

IMHO, I don't think this is helpful. The news on TV already shows these kind of stories -such as abused Pinays married to a foreigner abroad. And i am sure all Filipino households has a TV. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you..! I am married last May 6,2010, He is a German, pag nakakarinig ako ng mga negative tungkol sa mga foreigner or mga kababayan natin na hindi naging successful ang relationship, parang natatakot na akong sumunod sa husband ko, pero sabi mo nga With God providence everything will be fine, ito din yung pinanghahawakan ko. Thanks talaga sa mga comments nyo. I pray na in 2 or 3 months magkaron na ako ng visa. God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Hallo anonymous congratz sayo.

Anonymous said...

Hello :)

my wife has a visa to Finland now and we are married here in the Philippines. She already took the CFO/seminar and got the CFO Guidance & Counseling Certificate stapled to her passport. But now we are confused :( Though my wife asked about it, they said that she doesn't need a sticker. How come? We already have plane tickets and we will go in a bit over a week. It would be be a terrible surprise to see at the airport that something important is missing.

Where can we make sure that we don't need the sticker but only the certificate will do? Should we call to DFA or CFO or visit? Who knows the official truth?

Anonymous said...

hello just want to know my passport last name have a enye in my visa my last name no enye is this acceptable ? plz help me i really confuse!

Anonymous said...

hello........naka pag cfo seminar na ako sa manila. pwede ba kunin yong cfo sticker sa cfo cebu office?

Anonymous said...

hallo....may Birth ako nung april 2011 ko po ni by october this year going to expired na un..kci 6 months na in this case .,by applying a spouse visa kailangan ko p bang mgrequest uli?kci this ako mg apply ng spouse visa due to some documents is still on the process...anyone have idea guys...thanks...

Anonymous said...

hallo ganon din sa akin.
ng apply ako ng Family reunion or spouse visa nung September 27 at kumuha ulit ako ng panibagong BC every 6 months ngchachange kasi sila kaya ganon..for sure kumuha ka nlng ng bago..Goodluck

Anonymous said...

hi. is a still cfo required to the guy na kahit yung wife is the foreigner but filipina by blood?

jenice said...

FAMILY REUNIFICATION VISA holder for Romania, me, i have already a certificate from last 2010 do i need to attend another one or to renew it? does my daughter needs to attend CFO seminar as well? thank you.

Chen Gayol said...

Tanung ko lng po pag dto po b kmi ng bf ko n german sa pinas kinasal klngan ko pdn po ba mgaral ng language? Kse po my ngsbe skn kht nd n mgaral kse kasal n nman kau. Anu po b ang first step para mkakuha ng visa ppnta germany? Sana msagot u po tanung ko

Danke schön

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