Last Wednesday was an exhausting day. It’s like worse than being on a bus for 12 hours. My husband and I, together with our son, Kai, went to the immigration to apply for my husband’s visa. We underestimated the energy we needed to bring to complete the process of a Non-Quota A Immigrant Visa by Marriage. Being stuck on heavy traffic, bringing a 3 month (almost four) old baby and not being able to have lunch was not that fun.
I’m going to talk about the necessary documents and the process of this visa. We prepared everything mentioned on the BI webite (almost everything) beforehand. Since I already mentioned it, here are what they ask the applicants to secure:
1. Joint letter request addressed to the Commissioner from the applicant and the petitioning Filipino spouse
- I searched online on how to make this request however everyone has different opinion so I decided to copy a format from a post and made some changes then have it notarized since everyone said so. When I made this request the commissioner on Bureau of Immigration was Ricardo A David Jr. (so I thought) but they asked my husband to make a new one and change the name to Hon. Jaime H. Morente. Fortunately for us the mall had an internet cafe where we made a new one. Although we went to a notary public in the building to authenticate the document, there was no notarization necessary at that point. The only reason we had it authenticated in the first place was everyone mentioned it online. I guess you can never really trust what you read on the web.
2. Duly accomplished CGAF (BI Form CGAF-001-Rev 2)
- Although it is possible to download the form online (here) and print it using a long paper, my husband decided to get a copy from the immigration. They gave him one copy. Upon completing the application form, the officer in charged attached the picture he provided her. There was no specific size nor background color mentioned regarding the photo. They did not mention any photo necessary online but fortunately my husband brought the house and was able to give them two. The officer asked to give 3 photocopies of the form which my husband fill out his information with. They received 4 copies in total. Two of them had the original picture attached and the other two had only a photo copy of the picture since we couldn’t give them more.
3. Marriage Certificate or Marriage Contract
- They got the original copy of our NSO- issued marriage certificate.
4. Birth Certificate or certified true copy of BI-issued Identification Certificate as Filipino citizen of the Filipino spouse
- They got the original copy of my NSO- issued birth certificate.
5. THREE photocopies of passport bio-page and latest admission with valid authorized stay
- You have no idea how many trips to the photocopy center we did. They actually did not mention how many photo copies we would need prior,so every time my husband return to the counter, another photo copy of this and that are added.
6. Valid National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance, if application is filed six (6) months or more from the date of first arrival in the Philippines
- My husband secured an NBI clearance certificate weeks earlier.
7. BI Clearance Certificate
- There was a form that was given that my husband filled out with his information.
8. Original or certified true copy of Bureau of Quarantine Medical Clearance, if applicant is a national of any of the countries listed under Annex “A” of Immigration Operations Order No. SBM-14-059-A who arrived in the Philippines on or after June 2014.
- We had nothing to do with this.
Additional: They asked us to buy a long folder and a fastener.
When we arrived at the immigration office, it was crowded. My husband received the applications and request form from the window that says ‘visa’. There were no tables so we went to the closest coffee shop. Upon completing the application form, he went back to the ‘visa’ window and brought the necessary documents with him. I made the story shorter since it was actually a bit of chaos. The officer checked the documents and we were told to get to the person in charged of marking. He put stamps on each paper. Then we handed the documents to the receiving window. Then we wait.
After the long wait, my husband received the documents, certification that clears his name from the blacklist and the bill. They printed a copy of the breakdown of the bill and it cost 11,135 Philippine Peso (wow). We are not certain if this depends on the nationality of the applicant, but husband was asked his nationality when he was at the cashier. At the end of the process all documents and receipt were brought to the first window. They gave two dates when my husband would like to do the interview with me. The first date was two days later and the other one was after a week. We opted a week later which will be nest week.
I will make an update on how the interview go.
Update: Today we went to the immigration and had the ‘interview’. It wasn’t actually an interview. It’s like an orientation sort of. The Filipino spouse should join the foreign husband inside the office where they orient the applicant. It did not take long and the officer was very nice. At the end of it, we were asked to apply for the ACR I- card. It was rather a long wait. They asked for my husband to fill out a form (again), buy an envelope and when done, give his finger prints, signature, and took his photos. We were told that within 2 months, we should check online whether the visa is approved or not. We might as well claim the ACR I-card then.