Commission on Filipinos Overseas Program

An emigrating Filipino, or one who has been granted an immigrant-class visa, is required to register with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas before leaving the country to settle in a foreign land. They need to attend a seminar to help in understanding what their new life may be like.

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Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or the Peer Counseling Seminar

  • CFO = Commission on Filipinos Overseas
  • The Guidance And Counselling Certificate of Attendance = Seminar Attendance Certificate needed for the CFO Certificate.
  • The CFO Certificate = The Stamp in the Passport, needed to leave Philippines as an Emigrant.

Why do you need a CFO clearance ?

Who needs the CFO Seminar Stamp?

An emigrating Filipino, or one who has been granted an immigrant-class visa, is required to register with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas before leaving the country to settle in a foreign land. They need to attend a seminar to help in understanding what their new life may be like.
Note: Emigrants attending the PDOS or Peer Counseling Session must be at the CFO office at least 1 hour before their schedule to complete the registration requirements.

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Starting 30 January 2017, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) will be strictly implementing the ONLINE RESERVATION AND REGISTRATION requirement for J1 visa holders or Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) participants attending the mandatory pre-departure orientation seminar.

Does a Tourist Visa holder need to attend the CFO Seminar?

No. Only those who are leaving the country to settle in a foreign land will need to attend this seminar.

The CFO website now shows this statement:

If you are fiancé (e)/ spouse/partner of a foreign national or a former Filipino and you hold a visitor/ tourist visa, you only need a guidance and counseling certificate from our office. Kindly present the CFO Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC) to the port of exit and show them your temporary/ visit visa and other requirements asked by your host country.

What is the CFO Seminar?

The Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) or the Peer Counseling Seminar, is a brief, two-hour seminar on settlement issues and concerns such as finding employment, rights and obligations of immigrants as well as policies and procedures on how to secure foreign citizenship.

Exemptions from attending the PDOS include: Those who are 60 years old and above

One of the requirements for the CFO is to show proof of the relevant of Visa Grant. However, they seem to be not very strict on this, as I know of at least one person who went there with a Tourist Visa grant.  She got the CFO stamp but didn’t actually need it.  Another, also on a Tourist Visa, went for the seminar, but was turned away saying it wasn’t needed for her.

How long is the CFO stamp valid

The CFO Guidance and Counselling Certificate is a lifetime copy and has no validity dates. (see image below [click for larger picture])
However, if you change your partner, you do need to re-attend.

CFO Stamp Lifetime Validity

Citigold Center, 1345 Pres. Quirino Ave.
corner Osmena Highway (South Superhighway)
Manila, Philippines 1007
Telephone: (+632) 552-4700

4th Floor, K&J Building
#4 Don Julio Llorente St.,
Capitol Site, Cebu City 6000
Telephone: (032) 255-5253

One-Stop Processing Center in Clark (OSPC)
Clark Polytechnic Compound,
Jose Abad Santos Ave., Clark Freeport Zone
Telephone: (045) 499-8119

5th floor, AMQ Building, Lakandula St.
corner, Dacudao Ave., Agdao, Davao City
Telephone: (+6382) 228-2432

15 : 4,718 : 3,475,214

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As part of the CFO’s commitment to enhance the delivery of frontline services, Filipino fiancés, spouses, and other partners of foreign nationals holding TOURIST VISAS are no longer required to undergo the CFO Guidance and Counseling Program starting 3 September 2023.

Filipino fiancés, spouses, and partners of foreign nationals traveling as tourists can proceed directly to the airport and present to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) their proof of sponsorship or other documents showing that their travel is for a limited period of time.

Please be advised that the following international-bound travelers are still required to undergo the mandatory pre- departure registration of the Commission:

(1) immigrant, long-term or permanent residence visas;
(2) fiancé, spouse, or partner visas;
(3) J1 visa holders bound for the USA; and
(4) Au Pair visa holders bound for Europe.

Thank you.

31 August 2023

Office of the President of the Philippines COMMISSION ON FILIPINOS OVERSEAS

My husband just got approved for US Immigrant Visa in the Philippines but he’s been in the US for a long time before he came in the Philippines to process his Visa. Does he need to have CFO before leaving Philippines?

Hello! I need some advice for our plan with my Ecuadorian boyfriend. He want me to visit him and I’m free to visit him without tourist for only 90 days but we need to extend it and apply for tourist extension and we going to married there and apply for Amparo visa for permanent residence do I need to attend to attend GCC Or PDOS? Hope you can help me.

Hi im going to have a 3weeks vacations in philippines and i already have residents visa in netherlands im living here for almost 2 years i still need to attend cfo? Iam au apir before and now living under the name of my boyfriend.

Good day, I have been granted an open work visa with new zealand citizen partner. My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for 8 years. I have complete timeline of our relationship plus photos and have met his parents in Hong Kong twice for tour. Do I still need to attend CFO seminar for my visa? He is legally separated but can’t have the divorce processed yet.
Thank you in advance!

Hi, i just want to ask.. is it mandatory to attend a guidance Counseling Program for a vistor visa holder? And it is sponsored by my foreign boyfriend. I’m leaving 1 week from now. Tnx

Hi, quick question. My permanent resident visa (sponsored by partner) has been approved and I only need to attend the CFO seminar. Do they need my partner’s divorce paper with red ribbon?

Hi, just a quick question. If I already have my visa and I attend the GCP, do I still need to present my foreign partner’s divorce certificate and does it need to have a red ribbon?

Thank you very much!

Hi im a j1 trainee I already attend a seminar last 2015 and do I need to attend anothe seminar again to get a sticker? Thank you!

Hi, i personally processed my schengen visa to visit family in europe. My parents in law sponsored my Visit Visa and the whole trip. Me and my husband got married in Cebu in 2014. I didnt read about cfo sticker or certificate in all my researches prior to my visa application, until i saw one vlog mentioning about it. Im going for 58days only though im granted for 105 days. I couldnt stay that long eventhough i would like. I have an important concern the month of my return. Now i wonder if I need CFO Sticker or CFO Certificate since im not migrating? Please advise asap…

hi,I am married to a foriegner but married here in renewing my passport n change into married status as I hold an expired single status I have to apply CFO for renewing n change status for this?

Good day admin
I am now applying a Unmarried settlement visa to Uk, am I required to get a CFO certificate?

Good day

I am applying Unmarried settlement visa to United Kingdam
Do i need to apply CFO?

do i need to get cfo appointment? is its hard to get a apointment,thanks

I got married to an austrian citizen in Austria 6years ago already..I stayed there for almost 3years..And now im staying in Philippines also for almost 3years now..And now deciding to go back to Austria for settling down as my 4years old son is going to start his schooling by this year.Do i need to attend CFO again?The Austrian embassy granted me a single entry visa in order that i could enter Austria again,,,as I have an approved residence permit to be pick up once i get there..

i am offloaded immigration they said they need CFO i want to my meet partner and tour only there should i need to follow?

I went to Australia in November 2014 on a Tourist Visa and I did not need this. My friend told me I did need it, but the CFO website said I didn’t need it as tourist visa holder, and I didn’t.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x