After the UK Spouse Visa, UK Fiancée Visa or any other UK Settlement Visa had been issued by the UK Embassy here in the Philippines, most applicants are not aware that there is another step which the visa holder needs to undergo before he or she can finally be allowed to leave for the UK.
Although all the requirements and documents have been complied with (on the part of the UK Embassy), the applicant now needs to ask permission from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) under the Office of the President of the Philippines before flying to the UK.
ECO-Friendly explains that the main purpose of securing the CFO Sticker is to ensure that the holder of the UK Spouse Visa, UK Fiancée Visa or any other UK Settlement Visa attends a seminar on Guidance and Counseling Program (GCP).
According to the CFO website, the GCP “…is a country-specific discussion which provides Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign nationals with adequate information and advice on the realities of intermarriage and migration, rights and obligations overseas, available support networks for women in distress, cultural and social realities overseas, and other information which may help them make informed decisions about cross-cultural unions and settlement overseas”.
The seminar for spouses, fiancées or partners of British nationals or persons settled in the UK is conducted every Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the CFO Manila Office located at the Citigold Center 1345 Pres. Quirino Ave., corner Osmena Highway (South Superhighway) in Manila.
ECO-Friendly explains that the applicant for the UK Spouse Visa or UK Fiancée Visa actually has two options on how to comply with the requirement:
One, the applicant can take the seminar while the application for the UK Spouse Visa or UK Fiancée Visa is being processed at the UK Embassy. If this is the case, once the UK Visa has been issued by the UK Embassy, the applicant needs to return to the CFO Office to have the passport with the UK Visa stamped with the CFO sticker.
On the other hand, the applicant may opt to go to the CFO Office to take the seminar after the UK Visa has been issued so that on the same day, after the seminar has been conducted, her visa will be stamped with the appropriate CFO sticker.
In the first option, the applicant needs to go to the CFO Office twice: First during the seminar, before the visa is issued, and second after the visa is issued, in order to have the CFO sticker stamped on the passport.
In the second option, the applicant will only go to the CFO Office once. After the visa is issued, the applicant can attend the seminar and have the passport stamped with the CFO sticker on the same day.
ECO-Friendly suggests that the applicant arrive at least three (3) hours before the scheduled seminar since slots for the event is on a first-come, first serve basis.